One of the big growth areas in cruising over recent seasons has been in the selling of themed musical cruises, aimed at specific genres and tastes. Some of these are runaway successes, others not quite so much.
Not so long ago, Carnival had a runaway success with their first themed cruise, featuring the reformed line up of New Kids on The Block. This was judged to be such a success that the line intends to repeat the exercise next year.
Not to be outdone, rivals Royal Caribbean have hosted several short, themed musical cruises to the Bahamas, featuring acts such as the Dave Matthews band. Closer to home, and further back in time, Cruise and Maritime recently hosted a cruise featuring the full Syd Lawrence orchestra.
Keen to ramp up their presence in the American market, MSC Cruises recently hosted a five day run to Cozumel and Grand Cayman, and thoughtfully brought along the Moody Blues for the ride.
But, truth be told, few lines do this kind of thing better than suave, sassy Crystal. Their transatlantic crossings usually have a big band and/or swing theme. One this March- aboard Crystal Serenity- featured the entire Glenn Miller orchestra. Smaller sibling, Crystal Symphony, usually offers one or two jazz-themed round trip cruises per year, from Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera, or northwards to San Francisco and breezy Santa Barbara.
But the daddy of all big band cruises used to be offered by Norwegian, back in the mid eighties. Each October, the enormous Norway would embark a whole retinue of jazz greats, including the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, for a week long, floating jazz festival that acquired almost cult status. This is much missed, and sorely overdue for a revival.
I don’t know about you, but personally I’d like to see a Soul and Motown themed cruise, with the disco given over entirely to the sounds that defined two decades; the sixties and the seventies. I think that any line that organised such a cruise would have a sell out trip on their hands, especially over in the USA. Just humour us for one week a year, and then the disco can go back to it’s normal, lethargic clunk-boom sound track….
P&O manages to show some real panache by snagging the likes of Russell Watson for the odd short cruise. Alas, most of the ‘named’ entertainers hired by many lines are so far over the hill that you couldn’t lift them back up without a crane.
Still, different strokes for different folks. And it remains true that one man’s Celine Dion is another man’s Cruella de Ville.
OK. Maybe more than one…..