Carnival Launches Name-Brand Concerts – For a Fee

Jennifer HudsonLady AntebellumDaughtry, and even such classic rock groups as Foreigner and Chicago, will soon be performing live on Carnival Cruise Lines ships, as part of a first-of-its-kind shipboard concert series.

For a fee, passengers will be able to see the popular acts perform in the ships’ main show lounges.

At a press conference in New York, with Grammy-winner Hudson in attendance, Carnival officials announced the Carnival LIVE Concert Series – with 49 shipboard concerts scheduled in 2014.

“Performing live is one of my favorite things,” said Hudson. “I’m excited to be part of this unique concert series that will allow me to interact with my fans in such an intimate and memorable setting.”

It’s not unusual for music superstars to appear shipboard on music theme cruises. What’s unusual here is the stars will come aboard regular sailings, performing while the ship is in port, and then disembark.

The other big difference: To see the performance passengers will pay $20 to $40 per ticket. VIP tickets will also be available at each show for $100 to $150, including seating in the first three rows and the opportunity to meet and have your photo taken with the artists.

The concert series kicks off in April on eight Carnival ships, with artists coming aboard in the ports of Cozumel (for Western Caribbean cruises), Nassau (for Eastern Caribbean and Bahamas cruises), and Catalina Island in California (for Mexican Riviera cruises).

Passengers can purchase tickets online or shipboard at the shore excursion desk.

Among other notable performers appearing soon on Carnival ships: 38 SpecialREO SpeedwagonGavin DeGrawJewelKansasLeAnn RimesMartina McBrideOlivia Newton-JohnStyx, and Trace Adkins (recently in the news after a reported altercation on a music-themed cruise).

As part of its entertainment redo, Carnival officials say the line is also beefing up its house bands to feature both male and female singers and a more choreographed and diverse set list.