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BWW Interview: Richard Ambrose Talks Norwegian Cruise Line’s Entertainment and Broadway-Caliber Productions

Richard Ambrose is the Vice President, Entertainment for Norwegian Cruise Lines. He oversees the Entertainment Departments for Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas and Oceania Cruise Lines. Under Ambrose, Norwegian has emerged as a cruise line with top-notch entertainment, including Broadway-caliber productions.

Norwegian has recently debuted its newest ship, the Encore, which features productions of the musicals Kinky Boots and Choir of Man, which Ambrose facilitated as head of Entertainment.

Ambrose took the time to talk with us about Norwegian, its entertainment offerings, and how he runs his department!

What drew you to Norwegian [Cruise Lines]?

I actually started with another cruise line. I got headhunted out of New York, when I worked in New York on Broadway In 2007, I started with Norwegian. When I was interviewing, I asked, ‘What do you want?’ and they said ‘Broadway’ and I told them, ‘You can’t have Broadway, Broadway’s in New York.’ But I knew what they wanted. They wanted the talent and I saw at the time we had a lot of work to do. So, I came up with a five-year plan. And the great thing about Norwegian Cruise Line is that when they say something, they back it up. I said I needed five years and I needed to bring everything in house, from a creative and production perspective. So they built Norwegian Creative Studios, which we rehearse out in Tampa. When I came to the cruise industry, I was like, ‘Why does it take two to three weeks to mount a 45-minute review?’ I used to do seven truck shows and we’d load in in 18 hours. I don’t get what’s going on here. Basically what it was that they weren’t prepared, so Norwegian Creative Studios really prepares them. By the time they’re leaving we’ve done a full dress

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