Unique Themed Cruise Brings Wine, Stars And Seminars

Themed cruises are becoming more popular all the time as fans of (insert almost anything here) gather at sea. Music fans dominate the offerings with ships setting sail sold out with fans of Kid Rock, KISS, Blake Shelton and others each hosting their own theme cruise. Then there are fans of movies like the Turner Classic Movies cruise, now in its third year. Another one that caught our attention features music, wine and dining in a way that looks to epitomize what themed cruising is all about.

The Wine, Dine and Music cruise asks a simple question on its website: “Spend a weekend in wine country or a week on a wine cruise – you decide!” Appealing to someone who might go on a weeklong trek through California wine country, this one looks to be a good alternative that brings wine country to you. On your ship. In the Caribbean. With musical guests.Music
Featuring Kenny Loggins, Three Dog Night and others, the Wine, Dine and Music cruise will have nightly entertainment along with Meet ‘n Greet artist sessions and Jam sessions and special music performances on days at sea. For many theme cruise fans, that would be a week’s worth of fun. But there is more.

Each stateroom gets a free bottle of wine from each of the seven wineries also along for the ride, delivered nightly to their stateroom. Like a tour through wine country, the onboard programming also makes available wine tastings, wine seminars and wine club memberships. Focusing on specialty varietal wines in an experiential sort of way, those on the Wine, Music and Dining cruise are likely to meet and spend time with others sharing similar interests.

A central focus of this well planned themed sailing is to enjoy a gourmet meal paired with excellent wine, with others who appreciate the experience.

On the food front, the Wine, Dine and Music cruise features menus created by Chef John Ash (Author, From Earth To The Table), also known as the “Father of Wine Country Cuisine,” as well as food tastings by Catherine Venturini (Chef-Owner, Olive & Vine), chef recipes and lectures.

Unique to this theme cruise, and something we have not seen before, is the combination of all three elements, Wine, Music and Dining, all on one sailing. Also included is all the regular onboard programming and features with prices starting at $1029 per person. That price compares favorably to a weeklong land vacation through California wine country, minus the vineyards, making the Wine, Dine and Music cruise a good choice for budget travel too.

Sailing November 9-16, 2013, on Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas from Tampa, the seven-night itinerary includes Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico as well as Georgetown, Grand Cayman and three days at sea.

When Monsters Are The Theme, Anything Goes

The Monsters of Rock cruise, coming up in March 2013 looks to have just about all the head-banging fun a heavy metal rock fan could ask for. Sailing from Fort Lauderdale and titled “Monsters of Rock: The Lost Weekend,” the four-night sailing is being promoted as “the greatest rock cruise to sail the seven seas.” Unlike some other festivals at sea, this one looks set to deliver too.

The headliners alone should cause hard-core rock fans, if not rock historians, to get excited. Cinderella, Tesla, Queensryche, Kix, Saxon, Lita Ford, Stryper, Y & T, Loudness and Great White join a total of 35 bands and a bunch of special guests on a full ship charter of MSC Poesia, sailing from Port Everglades. That translates to non-stop hard rock around the clock the entire four days.

On a great number of music-themed cruises, that would probably be plenty to keep fans busy between a few artist-specific events, meet and greets plus enjoying features of the ship itself. But Monsters of Rock has much more. Contests for “Best Tattoo,” “Best ’80s Hairstyle,” and three competitions titled “So you think you can sing?” “So you think you can drum?” and “So you think you can Shred?” promise to create some unique memories of the voyage.

Guests who have been on a cruise before will find some familiar activities and entertainment but with a heavy metal focus. “The Rock Star Dating Game,” “Celebrity Bingo” and “Shore Excursions With Your Favorite Rock Star” promise to put a unique twist on standard cruise ship fare. There is even what looks to be a far from traditional formal night titled “Monsters Of Rock Prom 1987.”

These people have really put some thought into this.

A photo show titled “Every Picture Tells a Story” has rock and roll photographer Mark Weiss sharing his photographs that capture the look of music and celebrity personalities of the 1980s. For a nominal fee, aspiring musicians can sign up for “Master Class Clinics Featuring Some of the Finest Musicians in the World” giving lessons on guitar, bass, vocals and drums.

Think this sounds like the rock gods have answered your prayers? Hold that thought.

In 2011, officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs, U.S. Marshals, DEA agents, and the Broward Sheriff’s Office stormed MSC Poesia in a raid just before setting sail for the Jam Fest Cruise. The raid resulted in the arrest of some passengers and the seizure of an assortment of party favors ranging from small quantities of marijuana, mushrooms, hash oil, LSD, ecstasy, prescription drugs and a variety of drug paraphernalia.

Too much heavy metal fun? Want to play it a bit safer?
There’s always the Blake Shelton Cruise, a full-ship charter of Norwegian Pearl sailing from the port of Miami on October 15, 2012.

Still too much fun?
A Barbie cruise could work. The Barbie Premium Experience will be on Royal Caribbean ships starting in January 2013.

Monsters of Rock sails March 16-20, 2013. Pricing starts as low as $679 per person with three people in an interior stateroom (+ government taxes, fees, and gratuities of $199 per person, added automatically). See Monsters of Rock for details.

Here is a recap of the 2012 Monsters of Rock cruise for your head-banging pleasure:

Flickr photo by The-E

Blake Shelton Cruise Brings Country To Sea, Kid Rock Not Worried

The Blake Shelton cruise is coming up in October, marking the first-ever country music themed cruise. On a seven-day sailing from Miami, country music fans will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with Shelton and some of the hottest names in country music. Believed to be the biggest act yet to sponsor a themed cruise, Shelton is in good company.

Called the Blake Shelton and Friends cruise, on board will be 25 country music artists performing live every night in multiple venues around the ship. Shelton will perform two live concerts during the cruise, a full-ship charter of Norwegian Pearl sailing from the port of Miami on October 15, 2012.

Taking fans to San Juan, St. Thomas, Tortola and Nassau, the itinerary also includes three days at sea and performances by special guest Trace Adkins along with Neal McCoy, Lee Brice, Easton Corbin and more.As the first country music festival at sea, this one looks to be a bit tamer than some of the hard rock festivals we have reported on previously. Kid Rock’s 4th annual Chillin the Most cruise would be one extreme, along with the KISS cruise. On the other end of the entertainment at sea spectrum would be the Beatles Fans cruise or the Turner Classic Movies cruise. Somewhere in-between looks to be where the Blake Shelton version will find a home.

Sold out in several categories, cabins are still available. Information about pricing and booking is available on the Blake Shelton Cruise website.

[Photo via Blake Shelton Cruise]

Universal Orlando announces Mardi Gras concert lineup

Thirty Seconds to Mars, Ne-Yo and Blake Shelton are among the headliners just announced for Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras this spring.

The 2011 Mardi Gras celebration happens on weekend nights Feb. 12 through April 23 at the Universal Studios Florida theme park in Orlando, Florida.

Here’s the concert lineup:

  • Feb. 12: Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
  • Feb. 19: The B-52s
  • Feb. 20: KC & The Sunshine Band
  • Feb. 26: Pitbull
  • March 5: Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • March 12: Foreigner
  • March 18: Neon Trees
  • March 19: Thirty Seconds to Mars
  • March 25: OneRepublic
  • March 26: Blake Shelton
  • April 1: Sean Kingston
  • April 2: Ne-Yo
  • April 9: Lifehouse
  • April 16: The Beach Boys

Universal’s Mardi Gras also includes a nightly parade with floats designed by Blaine Kern Artists in New Orleans, and, of course, lots and lots of beads.

A “French Quarter” street party serves up cajun food and musicians playing blues, jazz and zydeco.

Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras is included with regular theme park admission to Universal Studios Florida – no separate ticket is required for the concerts.