REVIEW: Stages – The Musical Theatre Festival at Sea ★★★★★

For the second year, Floating Festivals held Stages – The Musical Theatre Festival at Sea , for four days and nights onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise liner.

We were delighted to be invited back on board for the second year, after we had such a ball last year (that’s not a Michael Ball pun although he was one of the performers last year which we had the pleasure of interviewing).

Performers taking to the seas this year included Alfie Boe, Sheridan Smith and (returning for their second year), musical theatre boyband Collabro. A shortened version of the musical Avenue Q performed one night and musical theatre royalty Rachel Tucker gave everyone goosebumps belting out classic songs from everything from Come From Away to of course Wicked.

There was a lot more to see and do this year, from Q&A’s with the performers, talks from some people from within the creative industry (for those interested in what goes on behind the scenes in theatre), as well as album signings and a roaring success of a Musical Theatre sing-a-long, late night show, hosted by Tim McArthur, where audience members and performers were welcome to go up on stage and sing a song. We ended up there every night as it was so much fun and on the final night we got some exclusive performances from Jenna Russell and Rachel Tucker.

During the day you could chill out in the outdoor hot tubs or take a swim in the pool, whilst watching some musical theatre classic films on the big screen. There were activities such as rock climbing and even a surf simulator which I tried out on my birthday (I wasn’t very good at all but it was fun).

As well as headline shows from the incredible line up of performers, some evenings were themed and on ‘Musical Theatre Characters Night’ I dressed as my mum which was not my intention but the experience was so much fun that I wanted to go all-out.

With an incredible buffet restaurant included in the price, we ate like kings and queens three times a day, with pretty much every type of cuisine our hearts desired. Several speciality restaurants were also available, for those nights when you wanted a little more luxury.

There were some teething problems last year but producers listened to the people and made sure changes were made so this year would run perfectly – and it did!

Next year’s Stages – The Musical Theatre Festival at Sea sets sail on 27 September – 1 October 2020 onboard Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas, with headline acts including Lea Salonga, John Barrowman, Ramin Karimloo, Bonnie Langford, John Owen Jones, and Marisha Wallace.

Prices start at £699pp which does sound a lot but when you consider how much a ticket would be to see each of these perfromers live (plus you get all your meals and accommodation), it’s really not bad at all.

And where else can you be eating your lunch and find performers like Steph Parry just casually doing the YMCA?!

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Reviewed by West End Wilma


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