We Tried It! Late-Night Comedy on Carnival Cruise Lineby John Roberts | March 16, 2016
Comedy fans are all well taken care of on Carnival Cruise Line — the line partnered with George Lopez to create a sharp, funny line-up of stellar stand-up talent for the Punchliner Comedy Club. Lopez selects both established stars and up-and-comers from the comedy world to join the sailings and bring the funny. The club, which can be found on all of Carnival's ships, has two early shows for all ages where the jokes are rated PG, to attract families to (safely) laugh together. The late-night shows, on the other hand, are for strictly 18 and older — and things get R-rated, fast.
Choose Your Seat Wisely: We tried the late-night comedy show on Carnival Ecstasy in the ship's Starlight Aft Lounge, an intimate space with comfy chairs encircling the stage. Get there at least 15 minutes ahead of showtime if you want a good seat, but bear in mind if you sit close to the stage, you could end up as part of the show. The bar can provide you with liquid courage, with potent drinks like the Screw LooZe and Zany Zombie available by the pitcher. If you don't want to be the center of attention (and potential butt of jokes), just pick a seat a few rows back, out of the sight of the comedian.
Prepare Yourself: There is plenty of coarse language and sexual humor in the act. The audience may range from groups of 20-somethings to grandparents — but by the end everyone is howling hard as infectious laughter takes over the room. Even if you have a high tolerance for bawdy jokes, you're likely to blush a deep hue — deeper still if you’re sitting next to someone who reminds you of your Nana back home.
The Details: Punchliner Comedy Club shows are just 35 minutes long and are included in your fare. The comedians are a diverse group and longer sailings typically host many different acts to keep things interesting. Early shows aren't just toned down versions of the late shows — they're completely different. If you want a double dose of comedy, check out both.
Update: While Carnival Cruise Line no longer has a partnership with George Lopez, you can still find late-night shows at the line's Punchliner Comedy Clubs.
John Roberts is a New Jersey-based writer for ShermansCruise who worked at The Virginian-Pilot.