I have a confession to make: I had never been to a dinner theater show before. I’m not really sure why because I’ve certainly come across them during all my travels. But I had always some other place, usually a local place, to have dinner. This past Friday night I decided it was time to remedy this gap in my travel adventures: I traveled up the coast to Myrtle Beach and spent an evening at the Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show.
The Pirates Village
The evening began in the Pirates Village, a large two-story space with a stage at one end, tables across the first floor, and three-tier seating around the second floor gallery. The tables are small and meant more for just hanging out for awhile before the main event. I opted to grab a seat on the second floor gallery at the edge of the railing with a pretty good view below.
There was a bar on each floor and waiters/waitresses walking around taking orders. The food was limited to nachos with cheese, popcorn, and a salty pretzel but the bar had plenty of beers on tap and specialty cocktails. I figured this was an appropriate time to have a Corona with a slice of lime and enjoy the show.
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People were quiet at first. A slideshow on the main screen displayed trivia questions. What was the name of Blackbeard’s ship? What is a pirate swab? What does Ahoy mean? Each question was accompanied with four choices. One incorrect answer at a time would fade away to finally reveal the correct answer. And each time the slideshow would tell people to clap or shout “Aye” if they got it right. At first the crowd was quiet but as the hundreds of people began filling the tables the shouts from correct answers got louder.
With an hour to go until the main event a pirate with a guitar (not sure this was ever a thing for pirates) walked into the middle of the first floor and began the pre-show entertainment. Pirates songs, sing-a-longs with the crowd, and learning pirate vocabulary kept us going for awhile. There was juggling, gravity-defying balancing acts, and moments of magic on the main stage. A woman came out with Salty, a giant seal, for a few minutes of fun. Salty was smart ass and the rowdy crowd loved it.
Fortunately for me the entrance into Buccaneer Bay, the main dining hall, was just behind where I was sitting in the second floor gallery. I joined the massive crowd as we slowly sauntered into the space. At first it was a bit dark and there was something blocking my view straight ahead. But as soon as I turned the corner and caught sight of the entire space I broke out into an uncontrollable fit of laughter.
Buccaneer Bay was probably as long as a football field and as tall as a basketball coliseum. The stern of a massive pirate vessel stuck out of the wall at each end, with a large flat platform shaped like a pirate vessel in the center surrounded by water. Water. There was so much water. It looked like it was only a few feet deep but it was a deep azure like the kind of water you’d expect to find in Nassau.
The seating had been cleverly designed to provide the largest number of guests with the best view. Five tiers of tables stretched along both side of the bay with chairs on the side facing the water. Each tier in front of the next was about three feet lower so even while standing no one ever blocked your view of the entertainment. There was just enough room on the opposite side of the table for the waiters and waitresses to move back and forth.
Almost as soon as the last stragglers found their table the action started in the bay below. You should probably think of Pirates Voyage as more Pirates of Penzance than Pirates of the Caribbean. Again I erupted into laughter as music boomed throughout the bay, pirates somersaulted across the stage, and more pirates spun down ropes hanging from the ceiling. With a flash and a boom the entertainment had begun. The entertainment lasted throughout the meal with perfect timing. Sword fights, dazzling displays of fire and light, friendly competitions, and pirates swinging over and diving into the water. At times even members of the audience were selected to participate in competitions.
The Four Course Dinner
I was treated to a full four-course dinner throughout the show. I didn’t get a choice of what I could eat (but they do have vegetarian and gluten free alternatives) but that’s okay because it was a great meal anyway. My waiter, a nice man named Nathaniel, first came by to fill my goblet with sweet tea (fitting drink of choice considering how often tea was stolen from Charles Town by pirates).
The next time I saw Nathaniel was just after the show began. He dropped a piece of delicisou Buccaneer Bread onto my plate and few minutes later returned to fill my bowl with Voyager Creamy Vegetable Soup. After this was done Nathaniel returned carrying a large metal sheet of Half O’ Roasted Cackler, or chicken in layman’s terms. It was some of the most tender chicken I’d ever eaten that literally fell of the bones. Nathaniel continued to return every few minutes with Captain BBQ Pork, Cob O’ Buttery Corn, and Pirate Herb-basted Potato.
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Nathaniel did a great job keeping my goblet filled and spent very little time blocking my view of the entertainment. Near the end of the show he returned with a warm Apple O’ Me Eye Pie (an apple turnover). I would see him one last time as he returned with warm towlets for cleaning off my fingers. Oh did I forget to tell you dinnerware is sparse and rarely allowed? It’s a pirate’s life for me!
Tips for the Best Experience
The Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show is such a popular attraction and big event it’s easy for it to get out of hand. It is one of those place that can easily get a bit overwhelming for one-time travelers or first time visitors. So here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your experience.
- There are only one or two shows per night depending on the current schedule. You must buy a ticket for a particular time.
- Buy your tickets in advance online. You can choose the date and time you want to attend.
- You can buy tickets on site before the show but there is no guarantee you’ll get one because space is limited
- There is no difference between Crimson and Sapphire seating other than one is on the left side and the other the right side
- Seating is spread out across five tiers with Tier 5 at the top and Tier 1 at the bottom
- Preferred seating is the center three sections and Regular seating in the corners. You can see all the action from any seat in the house, though.
- Handicap seating is available on the top tier of Buccaneer Bay
- Doors open an hour and a half early
- Arrive early to find the best seat in Pirates Village for the pre-show entertainment
- While facing the stage sit on the left side of the second floor gallery for the quickest and easiest access to Buccaneer Bay
- Learn how to disable the flash on your phone or camera; this is required during the show
- Bring cash for your alcoholic drinks for easier and quicker ordering
At my first experience with the dinner show I sat in Section A5 on the Sapphire side. This was in a corner at the far end from the entrance. It was a great seat and I was able to fully enjoy the show. But in my opinion the best seat in the house is either Sapphire or Crimson Preferred on Tier 1 at the bottom. You’ll be courtside right in front of the action (and close enough for the pirates to yell at you from time to time).
Getting to Pirates Voyage
Finding lost treasure might’ve been difficult for pirates, but finding the Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show really couldn’t get any easier if there was a giant “x” marked on your map.
The dinner show is located at the convergence of Highway 17 Business and Bypass at the north end of Myrtle Beach. From North Myrtle Beach take Highway 17 south. Stay in the second lane from the left heading toward Myrtle Beach Highway 17 Business. After the road splits you’ll pass under a bridge then you’ll see a sign for The Carolina Opry on the right; turn here to find Pirates Voyage.
From Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach you’ll take Highway 17 Business north. You’ll see The Carolina Opry sign on your left. There is a left turn lane but no traffic light. From other points around Myrtle Beach you’ll take Highway 17 Bypass (this road passes Broadway at the Beach). You’ll pass the Grand Strand Regional Hospital on your right. Just a minute or two later you’ll see a traffic light intersection just before the Pirates Voyage sign on the right. Turn at this traffic light, then immediately turn left.
8997 North Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, SC | 843-497-9700 | https://piratesvoyage.com/ | Dinner and the show costs $44.99 for Adults and $24.99 for Children