A growing trend in special theme cruises has inspired the music industry to charter entire ships for major bands and their fans.
Sixthman LLC of Atlanta, Georgia and Tribute Cruises of St. Augustine, Florida are two companies that have featured musicians such as Barenaked Ladies, John Mayer, Lynyrd Skynyrd and many well-known tribute bands. Many more music cruises are scheduled this year on lines such as Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean.
The third annual Elvis Cruise sails Nov. 12 to 16. This is the only officially licensed cruise by Elvis Presley Enterprises, partnered with Sixthman LLC and Carnival Cruises. The cruise sets sail on the 2,052-passenger Carnival Inspiration, departing from Tampa.
Hosted by Presley’s close friend and entourage member Jerry Schilling, the cruise features live music and entertainment from some of Elvis’s former band mates and backup singers along with Elvis tribute artists.
Schilling says, “The type of talent performing on this cruise is what you would have found on tour or in the recording studio with Elvis. Many of the artists worked with him professionally for many years.”
The TCB Band, Imperials, Sweet Inspirations, Joe Guercio, D.J. Fontana, Andy Childs, Ronnie McDowell, the Dempseys and many others are scheduled.
Joining the cruise for the first time are Elvis’s movie co-stars Celeste Yarnall from Live a Little, Love a Little, Cynthia Pepper from Kissin’ Cousins and Chris Noel from Girl Happy.
Guests also enjoy Elvis movies, receptions with celebrity guests, an Elvis fashion show, trivia tournaments and more. Jack Soden, CEO of Elvis Presley Enterprises says, “This allows fans to experience his music in a unique setting, surrounded by like-minded passengers.”
Participants can also enjoy the Inspiration’s multimillion-dollar refurbishments such as a water park, adults-only retreat, resort-style pool and more. Visit theelviscruise.com or call (toll-free) 1-877-749-8462 or 404-525-0222.
The Ultimate Beatles Tribute Cruise, Oct. 17 to 24, sets sail aboard the Norwegian Pearl from Miami to Samana, St. Thomas, Tortola and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.
The look-alike, sound-alike cast of former members from the Broadway hit show Beatlemania are featured, performing more than 30 songs.
The show begins with a recreation of the Beatles’ 1964 debut on the Ed Sullivan Show performing early hits such as “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “She Loves You” in matching black suits.
Changing into colourful satin uniforms, the band then performs songs from the Sgt. Pepper era such as “A Day in the Life” and “Penny Lane.” Their hippie days are expressed with Abbey Road and Let It Be.
Super Cruise III, the largest jazz cruise at sea, is a week of concerts, parties, jam sessions, comedy, activities, mixers and more. The cruise sails Oct. 10 to 17 on the 2,400-passenger Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas. It departs from Baltimore and stops at Nassau, Coco Cay and Key West.
This year’s lineup includes singer/songwriter Kem, jazz legends Joe Sample and David Sanborn, vocal diva Patti Austin, South African singer-guitarist Jonathan Butler and funky favourites such as Brian Culbertson, Candy Dulfer and Najee. Trumpeters Rick Braun and Joey Sommerville, multicultural Latin Soul band War, sax man B.K. Jackson and the Hidden Beach Unwrapped Band also perform.
Key to the fun are jam sessions, casual encounters between the stars and their fans, and activities such as the Brian Culbertson Ping Pong Tournament, Patti Austin’s For-Women-Only Workshop, Pyjama Jammy-Jam pool party, contests, comedies, wine and martini tastings.
These floating concerts will bring whole new meaning to the term “rock the boat.”