Now that I’m a veteran cruiser with over 10 voyages under my belt, I like to seek out new and different cruise experiences. As a music lover, I think music-themed cruises offer the best of cruising combined with a music festival. The cruises are like floating music festivals, with multiple stages and many artists and multiple performances happening at the same time in different places. One band might be performing on the Lido Deck stage, while another is rocking the Casino Stage, someone else is performing in the lounge, and another band is hosting karaoke in the bar.
Here are three great music cruises with international destinations coming up in 2013:
Cayamo – A Journey Through Song
The first cool music cruise of 2013 happens in January and features a great mix of singers and songwriters. Cayamo is a bit more mellow than my other two choices but has some big names performing on a cruise from Miami to San Juan, Tortola, and Antigua. Lyle Lovett, Keb’ Mo’, Rodney Crowell, Jill Sobule, Edwin McCain, and about 20 more new and upcoming artists will be aboard. There’s a lot of music, dancing, artist-hosted activities, and other fun. The 2013 Cayamo cruise is from January 13-20 on the Norwegian Pearl leaving from Miami. Prices start at $918 for the seven-night cruise.
311 Caribbean Cruise
I experienced this one myself in May of this year and really had an amazing time. The cool thing I found here was a friendly, welcoming community of fans. The 2012 cruise was the second 311 Caribbean Cruise, and many of the people I met were returning guests. The band has a strong, tight-knit fan community, and this really makes it a ship full of like-minded people. With a cruise full of four solid days of drinking and partying, I didn’t see one fight, no problems or issues, just happy people. The music was also amazing. I discovered new groups like Full Service and amazing new artists like J. Randy, which is another part of the experience. You get to see artists perform and also meet and interact with them. 311 was really good, and every cruiser gets to see them twice, once on the deck of the ship and once inside the ship’s big theater. The 311 Caribbean Cruise 2013 is March 1-5 on the Norwegian Pearl departing from Miami. Prices start at $599 per person for four people in an interior cabin, with balcony cabins available for $1,299 per person, double-occupancy.
Kid Rock’s Chillin’ The Most Cruise
If you like to party and have fun, a cruise with Kid Rock to the Bahamas just may be the ultimate experience. Cruisers get all the amenities and fun of a normal cruise, plus two shows with Kid Rock and even a photo with him. The ship sails to Great Stirrup Cay (renamed “Redneck Paradise” for the cruise), the cruise company’s private island, and stays there for two days. A stage is set up on the beach, and the best view is from the water, floating in some type of floatie, drink in hand. Along with Kid Rock, there will be about 10 other artists and bands performing during the cruise. The Kid Rock Chillin’ The Most Cruise is aboard the Norwegian Pearl and happens March 6-10, 2013. The cruise is already sold out, but a waiting list is available, and some space will probably open up before sailing. Prices start at $675 per person for four people sharing an inside cabin. I recommend a balcony cabin to have some private space — these start at $1,350 per person for two people sharing.
The cruise infrastructure is a like a normal cruise. You’re on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship, and I think that’s the best part. Everything is seamless, and the cruise part of the experience is fun and easy. All meals are included, even 24-hour room service. Some fancy restaurants on the ship charge a surcharge of $20-$50 per meal, but the regular dining room and buffet options are good and included in your price. Alcoholic drinks are not included, nor are sodas and soft drinks, and this is where some cruisers can spend more on beverages than the cost of the cruise itself. The cruises leave and depart from Miami.
Freddy Sherman is a world traveler and editor of the travel blog travel4people.com. You can follow him on Twitter @thefredsherman.