A little over a year ago, Carnival Cruise Lines saw how popular its comedy shows were and decided to repurpose lounges so that each ship would have a dedicated “Punchliner Comedy Club.” On the surface, this sounds like a great idea – if something is really popular – why not have a spot dedicated to it on the ship? The problem arises when you take a popular program out of a 1400 seat theater and put it in a 400 seat theater.
In general, Carnival has activities and programs in venues that make sense. Trivia isn’t that popular (maybe 20 people out of 3700 will show up) so it’s held in a small seating area adjacent to the faux-Starbucks on the promenade. However, we attempted several times to attend the comedy shows in the new dedicated lounge, but were unable to find a seat – even with arriving 10 minutes early.
Now, we could have gotten there 30 minutes early and gotten great seats – but that still doesn’t help the next 300 people who wanted to see the show but couldn’t find a seat. Not everyone turned around and left, though – there were probably 60 people standing along the walls and another 25 standing OUTSIDE the venue. On the Conquest, the Degas lounge (AKA Punchliner Comedy Club) has a wall of windows into the lobby where many just stood and tried to listen through the open door.
The comedy shows often coincide with the main entertainment in the large lounge which holds about three and a half times that of the comedy club, but there were times when nothing was happening in the 1400-person theater at the same time.
Carnival knows that its comedy shows are extremely popular – and in some cases – even more popular than the shows being performed in the main-lounge at the same time.
If the comedy shows are so popular that many people are turned away and 100 are willing to stand in the back and outside – why would they be moved to a theater a fraction of the size of where they were held just over a year ago?