If you haven’t been on a cruise ship before, how would you describe a typical cruise passenger?
You might think they would typically be advancing in years, have a penchant for dressing up in Dinner Suits and Cocktail dresses and like to spend their time playing deck quoits and bridge, before retiring to the lounge for a nice cup of tea and a nap.
If this is your view of a typical cruiser then think again, because the new kids on the block, certain to bring down the average age of the 20 million people who take a cruise every year, are those of us taking music festival cruises.
In the UK, for the moment at least, these mostly take the form of themed sailings aimed at the traditional cruise market, with operatic offerings being a fairly typical example. But in recent years, and across the pond in the US, you really have been able to go to sea with some of the biggest names in popular music sailing alongside you, often quite literally.
A diverse group of artists that will be familiar to rock & pop fans in the UK that hosted their own themed cruises in 2014 included; Paramore, Train, Lynryd Skynrd, Kid Rock, New Kids on the Block, Weezer and even Kiss. If they sound a bit mainstream for you how about a dance cruise? For the really young at heart there’s "Inception at Sea", a Spring Break cruise – not for the faint hearted!
The cruises themselves tend to be short, typically 4 nights sailing out of Miami, and most actually tend to attract a pretty mixed bunch, teenagers happily rock out with younger kids and their parents alongside – this was certainly the case on Train’s "Sail Across the Sun Cruise" that we attended anyway.
We left a sunny Miami late on a Friday afternoon to the sounds of Train playing live on the pool deck, before wandering off around the ship to see other artists performing. Bands played in the bars, in reception, in the theatre, or even if you were lucky in the lift. They were around the whole time anyway, with the chance to bump into a famous face at any time being all part of the fun. If you want the chance to chat during safety drill to some of the biggest rock & pop stars in the world then Festival cruising is for you.
Is it expensive I hear you ask? Well, if you compare the cost of attending Glastonbury for 4 nights in the relative comfort of a camper van then no is the answer. A Glasto ticket (if you can get one) is around £250 and a parking ticket an extra £80, then there is the cost of hiring a camper van which for that particular weekend in June will set you back £1200, so that’s £1800 before you add in the cost of food for a couple.
On a music festival cruise you get all of the above and more! Firstly, you get almost guaranteed sunshine in the middle of winter. Secondly, you are never more than 5 minutes from a warm comfortable bed and then of course you have the toilets which are, at worst about 1000 times better than those in Mr Eavis’ Somerset field! Bear in mind also that your festival site is constantly on the move (ours, on Norwegian Pearl, stopped at Key West In Florida and The Bahamas) so you get to see a bit of the world too and if you’re worried about missing the music whilst you’re away from the ship, don’t – they even take the live bands ashore with you on most sailings!
Fares start at a very reasonable £685 per person for the next Train cruise in February 2016. Add some Economy flights and a pre-cruise hotel stay to that and you are pretty close to having an alternative to the muddy English festival experience for around the same price.
If you would like more information about upcoming Music Festival cruises including discounted fares, flights and hotel accommodation, please contact me here) or call me on my Freephone number 0800 840 3513.
To read more about my exploits on the Train Sail Across the Sun Cruise click here.
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