Squished into the shallow space beneath the Pharaoh’s Palace on Deck 1, this theater is a fine intimate venue for standup comedians. The walls are lined with models of French chateaus, illuminated from behind; this does a nice job of opening up the room (the stage is not much more than seven feet tall!). Couches with cocktail tables provide ample slouching room for several hundred.
The Versailles Lounge is used for karaoke, art auctions and future cruise seminars (the advice we heard here was informative, as far as Carnival cruises go), but comedians are the rule. The acts were family-oriented for the early shows, with blue words and raunchy bits being flung after 9 p.m. Either side of that hour the comedians we saw were pretty entertaining, and everyone in the front rows was fair game.
Versailles Lounge is reached by descending the narrow, spiral staircases found on either side of Pharaoh’s Palace; it is also accessible from the forward elevators.
Recalling the extravagant theme décor of old movie palaces, the main theater on Carnival Spirit wowed us with its splashy take on Egyptiana. The 1100-seat venue sparkles with hieroglyphics and is lined with sarcophagi—plaster, of course, but gleaming with gold.
The lower, main level (Deck 2) has lounge-style couches with small cocktail tables; rows in the rear have somewhat limited sightlines (blocked by the bottom of the balcony). Upper levels have comfy high-back chairs offering ample legroom; arrive early for these—a number of the upper-level seats have views obstructed by various pillars and supports.
The entertainment here was above average, performed by a solid crew of singers, dancers and musicians. One show, Singin’ With the Big Band, featured a 10-piece band with several sizzling performances. Big Easy, an even more lavish entertainment, was a tribute to the music of New Orleans. Carnival obviously invests a lot in their live shows and, while not Broadway-quality, they certainly aspire to it.
As the largest entertainment venue on Carnival Spirit, Pharaoh’s Palace was used for a number of other events during our cruise, including trivia games, bingo, and seminars on shore excursions and shopping.