The Monocle Culture Show

Culture goes cruising

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23 May 2016

Episode 241

30 minutes


Photo: Salva Lopez

Robert Bound is on board the ‘MSC Preziosa’, somewhere between Rome and Marseille, to find out about the most misunderstood area of the arts: cruise-ship entertainers.

23 May 2016

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Chapter 1

8 minutes


Photo: Salva Lopez

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Chapter 1

Franco Pili, cruise director: part one

Cover art for The Monocle Culture Show

Franco Pili, cruise director of the ‘MSC Preziosa’, is an old hand with a young heart and matchless energy for running around, talking fluently and constantly in half a dozen languages and being the very voice of the ship. For up to five months at a time Franco takes charge of everything from aerobics classes to the big nightly shows in the 1,600-seater showpiece theatre.

8 minutes

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Chapter 2

7 minutes


Photo: Salva Lopez

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Chapter 2

Acrobatics with Michael and Zibi

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Michael and Zibi are 24-year-old Polish acrobats who have been working together for 10 years. After backflipping their way through circuses and large-scale productions around the world they’ve boarded the ‘MSC Preziosa’. They tell Robert Bound about their acrobatic style and how on earth you stay stable at sea.

7 minutes

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Chapter 3

4 minutes


Photo: Salva Lopez

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Chapter 3

Bogdan Ristea, theatre production co-ordinator

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Behind the scenes we meet Bogdan Ristea, the very level-headed Romanian theatre production co-ordinator. He talks us through how you put an international group of performers together to create a ship-shape show.

4 minutes

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Chapter 4

6 minutes


Photo: Salva Lopez

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Chapter 4

Franco Pili, cruise director: part two

Cover art for The Monocle Culture Show

Franco Pili, cruise director of the ‘MSC Preziosa’, tells us about the latest trends in cruising. He compares the US style with this European glitziness and reveals how, entertainment-wise, he keeps the whole thing afloat, smiling and projecting to the back row of the dress circle.

6 minutes

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