Carnival Studios: Inside Carnival’s Onboard Entertainment

Photo: © TalkingCruise

Have you even wondered how those amazing shows on Carnival Cruise Line’s ships are created? We’ve got your backstage pass as we tour Carnival Studio.

From concept to opening night onboard, the process of creating new shows for the ships of Carnival Cruise Line can take 2 years of planning, development and production. I recently had the opportunity to spend the afternoon at the Carnival Studios located in South Florida. In this post, I’ll share some of the work that goes on behind the scenes at the busy facility and also provide details on a brand-new show coming to Carnival’s newest Ship, Carnival Panorama.

Studios Overview

Opened in 2017, Carnival Studios took 3 years of development. The 44,500 square foot complex is comprised of 21 separate spaces designed to be used simultaneously, providing soundproof rehearsal environments which include 9 band rooms, 4 vocal studios and 3 dance studios. Each of the rehearsal spaces are setup to represent specific ship class stage spacings, so that prop placement, lighting, and dancer positions can be incorporated into the shows production before even steeping foot onboard the ship.

Playlist Productions

Carnival Cruise Line’s newest lineup of production shows onboard their ships, known as Playlist Productions, combines a world class talented cast with the latest technology in sound, lighting and visual effects including giant walls of high-resolution LEDs to create amazing moving backdrops. Each Playlist Production cast is made up of 8 members with an equal number of female and male singers and dancers. On the largest ships, there are 4 additional dancers.  When new shows are in production, the creative team led by Director Kerry Stables, work from the studios.


These dedicated and talented performers come from all over the globe. Many have completed multiple contracts with Carnival Cruise Line over several years. They typical spend 2-5 weeks rehearsing at the studios and 2-3 months for inaugural productions. Performers and studio team members have a short commute to work every day as they are housed in townhomes next door while at the studios for rehearsals.


Although not a large space, the wardrobe room is a busy hive of activity with a team of designers and tailors creating incredibly designed costumes that are also functional, wear resistant and able to accommodate several body types as new performers step into the roles.


The facility has 4,653 square feet dedicated to the storage of props and set pieces to be used in productions across the fleet.


At any one time there are 14 shows in rehearsal per week. In addition to the main production shows, Carnival needs to fill the complement of performers required for each ship’s various entertainment venues. On my visit to Carnival Studios, I was able to enjoy the following performances:

Singers/Dancers, Horn Trios, Rock Band, Classical Trios, Latin Quartets

Development Studio

The largest single rehearsal space at Carnival Studios is the Development Studio. At 5,200 square feet, it features a massive LED wall made up of 6 automated sections, re-configurable lighting rig and sound equipment and the ability to be re-staged to every ship class theater layout. This space is also used to provide full dress rehearsals of productions.

Rock Revolution

As part of the tour, we also received a sneak peek preview of “Rock Revolution”, a brand-new show exploding with hit music from the summer of ’69’, set to debut on Carnival Panorama in December 2019. The show features as solid cast of performers belting out chart-topping hits after another. While we were told that the preview was at around 80% developed, from the synchronized dance moves, vocals, sound and lighting, this was a ship worthy performance.

Carnival Panorama will be launched as Carnival’s first new ship on the west coast in 20 years. The third Vista-class vessel, will have most of the features found on sister ships Carnival Vista and Carnival Horizon, like SkyRide, SportSquare and popular eateries, however, the IMAX theater will be replaced by a brand new concept at sea, SkyZone, an indoor trampoline park. Carnival Panorama will sail weekly cruises to the Mexican Riviera from Long Beach, California with stops at Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta.

Also Watch: Carnival Panorama – New Cruise Ship Preview

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