A UNIQUE PARTNERSHIP WITH THE WORLD LEADER IN ENTERTAINMENT
The long-term partnership between MSC Cruises and Cirque du Soleil created a brand new entertainment concept, Cirque du Soleil at Sea.
Cirque du Soleil at Sea, which began on board MSC Meraviglia whenshe launched in June 2017, will result in a total of eight original shows that will be exclusively available on MSC Cruises’ four Meraviglia generation ships, coming into service between 2017 and 2020.
A VISION TO TAKE MSC CRUISES ON BOARD ENTERTAINMENT TO THE NEXT LEVEL
Mr. Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises, had the vision to take on board entertainment to the next level. Since MSC Cruises always seeks to work with innovative, world-class leaders, it was only natural that the cruise line would look to approach Cirque du Soleil. A first contact was made back in 2013, through Cirque du Soleil’s events and special projects division, 45 DEGREES. That led to a trip to Las Vegas with Mr. Vago, architect De Jorio Design, and other members from MSC Cruises to experience two of their shows. From there, a dream was born — MSC Cruises began to work with Cirque du Soleil’s 45 DEGREES team to create a purpose-built entertainment lounge and the first two Cirque du Soleil shows for MSC Meraviglia.
FOUR YEARS IN THE MAKING
Work began on the partnership in 2013 and the plans for the purpose-built Carousel Lounge on MSC Meraviglia were integrated in the ship design with construction beginning in 2015. In 2016, the creative process began and the concepts for the two shows were finalized. Cirque du Soleil’s 45 DEGREES team then recruited the cast and began workshops in Montreal. The performers and creative team moved on board while the ship was still at the shipyard in St Nazaire to finalize the shows in May 2017 and rehearse in the space, putting the finishing touches on the performances. The first show was then performed at the Christening in Le Havre on June 3, 2017.
TOTAL OF EIGHT UNIQUE SHOWS WITH 2 EXCLUSIVE SHOWS FOR EACH SHIP
The Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows have been specially created for MSC Meraviglia and cannot be seen anywhere else in the world. For each ship in the Meraviglia generation of ships there will be two very different, contrasting shows, each with a different concept, ambiance and storyline. Each show features an original soundtrack, staging and costumes. Work is already underway for the next two new shows for MSC Bellissima, which comes into service in 2019.
A CAST OF VERY SPECIAL ARTISTS
All of the artists were carefully selected by Cirque du Soleil to meet the specific needs of the shows. Some of the artists had performed in other Cirque du Soleil shows whereas others were chosen specifically for the Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows. All of the artists were handpicked for their special skills and trained to the high standards required of Cirque du Soleil performers. The Cirque du Soleil team needed to find artists that were multi-disciplinary, with a background in dancing and character work for most, as the artists all would have to have a very strong presence on stage due to the intimate nature of the theater.
THE CHALLENGES OF A SHOW AT SEA
For the shows on the ship the artists needed to get used to performing at sea and MSC Cruises has worked on ensuring that the shows can be adapted to the sea conditions, all the while making sure that the audience experiences the same quality of show each night. The shows are tightly choreographed but always have different scenarios so that if conditions are rough or an artist is injured, the performance can be adapted. Finding their “sea legs” has been easier on some than others!
PERFORMANCE DESIGNED FOR THE CAROUSEL LOUNGE
The Carousel Lounge is one of the most intimate venues that Cirque du Soleil has created a show for, challenging the Creative team to expand the boundaries of their imagination with this performance space. The ceiling height is much lower than for a usual show, so one of the challenges was to look at different kinds of aerial acts and to incorporate new and fascinating visuals. The Carousel Lounge joins innovative, technical elements with a stylish design, including: a 131 ft. LED screen, a rotating stage, lifts, and a retractable staircase, to name a few. All of these elements fueled the creative team to dream up concepts of both shows. Some acts that can be seen in the shows include aerial hoop, silk, straps, Roue Cyr, suspending an acrobat in a large metal ring, juggling, cheerleading, dancing, acrobatic duets, ladder and a beat-boxer.
Discover Cirque du Soleil at Sea for yourself on the MSC Cruises USA YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/MSCCruisesUSA.