Few Clouds 40° Good Afternoon
Few Clouds 40° Good Afternoon

2010 Music cruises hit the right note

Grammy Winner Rick Springfield will be performing on

Grammy Winner Rick Springfield will be performing on the high seas. Photo Credit: Handout

Scrreeeeech! For your listening pleasure, the soundtrack aboard Carnival Destiny next May will be industrial-metal rock.

It's courtesy of the Genitorturers, stars of the five-night Devils & Dolls Cruise from Miami on May 8.

"Interaction with fans will be on a daily basis. One just might end up in the pool with the Genitorturers," says cruise promoter Zaida Brown of All Genre Travel in Hilliard, Ohio.

But that's not all.

In the next few months, Kid Rock and his rowdy legions will set sail on Carnival Inspiration. Gospel will boom to the heavens on Norwegian Sky. Bluegrass will twang on Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas. New Kids on the Block will croon on a sold-out Carnival Imagination sailing. Smooth jazz will soothe on Holland America Noordam.

What kind of music goes with cruising? All kinds.

Music at sea

"The fact that album sales aren't what they used to be means that bands and promoters are looking for different ways for the bands and fans to connect," says Cherie Weinstein, vice president of group business development for Carnival Cruise Lines.

She sees bigger and bigger acts willing to set sail with fans. Irish. Jam band. Blues. Bluegrass. Goth. Rock. Pop. Classical. Urban gospel. Jazz. Christian. Gay country-western.

Kristen Gregory of Ann Arbor, Mich., has been on a trio of cruises since 2007 featuring the group Barenaked Ladies.

"Even with BNL headlining all three cruises, there were tons of different bands on board and concerts running all day and all night," says Gregory, 30. "The great perk of music cruises is discovering new bands that I like." The only downside? "I was exhausted when I got back."

What to expect

Most music cruises last four to five days and sail the Caribbean. The biggest take up a whole ship. For instance, the sold-out Kid Rock cruise April 29 is organized by Sixthman, an Atlanta company that specializes in chartering ships and turning them into floating music festivals. Besides the crew, everyone aboard is in a band or is a fan. Next year's Smooth Jazz Cruise and K-Love and Friends Christian Cruise will be whole-ship cruises too.

Other music cruise promoters book only a few hundred or so cabins on a larger ship. On the Genitorturers cruise, regular passengers will be aboard the Destiny - although they're not invited to the private concerts and parties. Ditto with an Irish music cruise coming up in January on the Holland America Noordam.

Smaller is better, says Debbie Casey, owner of Irish Music Cruises in South Dartmouth, Mass. "The smaller the group, the more one-on-one time fans can have with the musicians," she says.

Her cruise will take up only 200 spaces on the 1,900-passenger Noordam from Jan. 24 to Feb. 3. Fans will see private performances by 10 acts, plus have time to interact and even jam with musicians - and have regular ship activities available as well.

Fans on board

Because cruising tends to attract people in their 40s and 50s, music cruises can bring in a demographic that normally stays away from the sea - the thirtysomethings and even twentysomethings. That thrills promoters, the cruise lines and fans themselves.

Meeting other Barenaked Ladies fans close to her age created an instant bond, Gregory says. She stays in touch with many of them. "Making friends," she says, "has made my cruises seem more like going to summer camp than going on vacation as an anonymous tourist."

All of these music cruises are in 2010 in the Caribbean except as noted. Most last three to seven days. Most cost $700 to $1,500 a person.


Jam Cruise: Jan. 3-8 on MSC Poesia

Info 561-368-8922,


Radio One Love Gospel Cruise: April 12-17 on Norwegian Sky

Info 877-735-5625,

Xist Urban Gospel Cruise: Sept. 17-20 on RCL Majesty of the Seas

Info 888-518-7571,

Singing at Sea Southern Gospel Cruise: Feb. 15-20 on Carnival Fascination

Info 800-334-2630,


12th Annual Bluegrass Cruise: Feb. 20-27 on RCL Oasis of the Seas

Info 888-711-7447,


Irish Music Cruise: Jan. 24-Feb. 3, Holland America Noordam

Info 888-564-7474,


7th Annual K-Love and Friends and Family Christian Cruise: Feb. 1-5 on RCL Monarch of the Seas

Info 800-889-5265,

Music Boat (host Third Day): Nov. 8-12 on RCL Majesty of the Seas

Info 800-889-5265,


Malt Shop Memories: May 13-17 on Carnival Inspiration

Info 877-223-7030,


VH1 Best Cruise Ever: April 15-19 on Carnival Inspiration

Info 877-749-8462,

Rick Springfield and Friends Cruise: Nov. 12-16, 2009, on Carnival Destiny

Info 888-491-7673,

Lynyrd Skynyrd's Simple Man Cruise 2010: Jan. 21-25 on Carnival Inspiration

Info 877-749-8462,

ShipRocked Cruise (hard rock): Nov. 15-20, 2009 on MSC Poesia

Info 877-855-5502,

Smooth Jazz Cruise 2011: Jan. 16-23 and 23-30, 2011 on Holland American Noordam

Info 888-852-9987,

Burgundy & Provence Jazz Cruise: July 6-15 in Europe on Avalon Scenery

Info 877-797-8791,


Cayamo Cruise: Feb. 21-26 on Norwegian Dawn

Info 877-749-8462,


Grand Ole Opry Country Classics Cruise: Jan. 24-30 on Carnival Valor

Info 866-653-6779,

Gay Cowboy Country Western Cruise: April 10-15 on Carnival Destiny

Info 877-515-5100,


Blues Cruise: Oct. 17-24 on Holland America Zaandam to the Mexican Riviera

Info 888-258-3746,


Genitorturers Devils & Dolls Cruise: May 8-12 on Carnival Destiny

Info 813-325-7435,


Chubby Party Cruise III: Jan. 9-16 on Carnival Triumph

Info 800-683-9882,

Jimmy Buffett Tribute Cruise: Dec. 12-19, 2009, on Carnival Dream

Info 888-361-5708,

Parrothead Tahiti Cruise: March 6-12 on the Regent Seven Seas Paul Gauguin in Tahiti

Info 888-361-5708,


Magnificent Europe Music Cruise: Oct. 17-31 in Europe on Avalon Poetry

Info 877-797-8791,

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