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Considering a cruise on a megaliner? Brace yourself for nonstop action (and nonstop food).


If you came of age in the late 1970s and early ’80s, as I did, there were three absolutes in life: You made some very questionable hairstyle decisions (mullet, anyone?), driving a Trans- Am made you “the man,” and you watched The Love Boat on Friday nights.

The latter is especially true if your father stubbornly refused to subscribe to cable TV no matter how much you whined and wheedled, limiting your viewing options to the Big Three networks (and PBS, if you were truly desperate). So, by default, The Love Boat became my early-teen instruction manual on the finer points of romance -- which admittedly did not always serve me well later in life -- and the glamour of ocean liners. Frankly, any TV show that could build a plotline around the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders was worthy of multiple Emmys as far as I was concerned.

But you get the idea: I was young and relatively stupid.

And while I eventually outgrew my adolescent fascination with Doc, “Gopher,” and Captain Stubing, my wanderlust for life on the high seas remained intact as I transitioned from feckless youth to semiresponsible adulthood/fatherhood/mortgage-payer-hood. Along the way, friends who had taken cruises painted a Technicolor picture of sumptuous meals, bikinis, endless buffets, Las Vegas–style gambling, bikinis, exotic ports of call, midnight shows, and did I mention the bikinis?

It couldn’t really be that good … Could it?

Trust me, it is.

Forget what you’ve heard about Elvis flipping burgers at a greasy joint in Kalamazoo -- he’s actually alive and working on a cruise ship in the Caribbean. True, it may be the Champagne whispering craziness in my ear (or maybe it’s the wine from dinner), but I’m suddenly reconsidering my long-held belief that “the King” is planted six feet under at Graceland as I watch Kevin & Caruso pull off a spectacular Elvis-themed illusion while we sail somewhere near the British Virgin Islands on a seven-day cruise.

Kevin & Caruso, my family, I, and possibly Elvis are on board the Carnival Cruise Lines ship Triumph, an 893-foot floating palace masquerading as a $420 million oceangoing vessel. Kevin & Caruso (Kevin Jeffrey and Augustine “Gus” Caruso -- no ampersand) have been pulling in standing-room-only crowds to the ship’s Rome Lounge theater for years with their magic show, which they also perform once a week at the Deauville Beach Resort in Miami Beach, Florida.

Laced with humor, the performance features disappearing showgirls, dazzling pyrotechnics, lasers, card tricks, levitation, and even a couple of Harley-Davidsons. All that, along with the show’s booming soundtrack, multiple costume changes, and intricately choreographed dance numbers, will have you believing Elvis is alive too.