What’s New for the Greatest Party at Sea
Besides offering the most exciting musical lineup and great events, The Smooth Jazz Cruise retains its title as “The Greatest Party at Sea” by keeping it fresh and new, year after year, sailing after sailing.
Credit for most of this is owed to the creative genius of Dane Butcher, your Cruise Host, and Joey Fairchild, your Production Manager. But a lot of the new ideas come from the most important group on the ship: our loyal passengers!
New Events Added to Both Sailings
A group of highly trained, professional women will be conducting a seminar titled “SOS,” or Save Our Skin, which is a very timely discussion on the effects of too much sun.
Special Shows for Each Sailing
In terms of musical performances, both sailings will continue to feature not only the individual shows of our Artists, but also the “group shows” that you know so well.
On the January '15 cruise, with Norman Brown, Kirk Whalum and Rick Braun on board, we will have a special show of “BWB.” On the March '15 cruise, with Marcus Miller, David Sanborn and Joe Sample, we have the makings of one of the most exciting shows ever. And there are some other combinations being discussed as well.
We know that our Guests clamor for what is new and different and something they can see and hear on the ship that is not otherwise available on land. Dane and Joey are on it and, as always, will come up with some great items.
The January 11, 2015 cruise sold out, so if this is the only date that works for you, please put your name on the Wait List. Cabins are available for the March 1, 2015 cruise, which was just added, so this is a great opportunity to not only secure a cabin but also establish your priority for future cruises.
If you have already reserved your cabin, you are set to go.
If you have not, now is the best time to join us for The Smooth Jazz Cruise ... the first and the very best smooth-jazz cruise in the world.
Many of you may know, earlier this month I went on a 7-day cruise on the brand spanking new Norwegian Getaway which just made it's debut in February. It is aptly called, "Miami's Ultimate Ship" as it definitely has a Miami vibe, with plenty of Latin flair and flavor and it will sail year-round from the Port of Miami.
The Getaway cruises an Eastern Caribbean route and this summer 2014 will be her inaugural summer season.
There's really nothing quite like a brand new cruise ship -- the newest ships have all the bells and whistles, and the Getaway was no different -- it has it all. I had planned on blogging my experience and I could have, as I enjoyed every aspect of the first 4 of 7 days.
First thing I noticed is the fun vibe, but as with most all new ships, I also noticed the nickle and diming. About the only free feature I found were 2 little stand-alone photo kiosks where you can send a photo of yourself direct to your facebook page, and such. Heads-up, if you don't want to do a close-up head shot (and look like a fat face), after pushing the button, step back away from the kiosk, at least 5 or 6 feet before taking the photo...
One of my favorite things was the 10:30pm party nightly outside at Spice H20. Each night's theme was a different decade of music, with videos and non-stop dancing -- no partners needed, just dance! Just as exhaustion and thirst kicks in from all that dancing, a dazzling and lengthy fireworks display kicks off.
Late each night I would join my friend who likes watching the late night movies -- I like them too -- and after all that dancing, it felt good kicking back in nice comfy seating for the movie inside.
With well over a dozen dining options, my favorite meal was in the Illusionarium; though, not due to the awesome food, as it was a fixed menu with no selection and luckily they had a vegetarian alternative for me. It rated as a favorite due to the dinner entertainment: Magic! There were 5 "greats" ranging from a magician doing close-up from the stage -- it just didn't carry over in a crowd -- to a fabulous mentalist who truly amazed me and, in the end, I left wondering, is a mentalist really a magician? Okay, maybe I should cut the close-up guy some slack. Possibly he was good and I'm a bit jaded by being from Las Vegas where magic shows are a-plenty, and shoot, my own brother-in-law does excellent sleight-of-hand and is always a source of entertainment himself ... but I have not seen many mentalists, so I was mighty impressed with what sure appeared to be psychic abilities.
While the music entertainment was a very far cry from the entertainment cruises I've enjoyed, I still had lots of fun at "Bandaraoke" (live band Karaoke) and a fierce "Name that Tune" competition pitting one side of the room against the other, all in the name of a pina colada prize. When a rep for the other team ran up to "name that tune" as "Freedom by Aretha Franklin", I saw my shot, ran to the front, grabbed the mike for our side of the room, and blurted "It's called 'Think' by Aretha Franklin". With that, the band started up and I belted it out (all off-key) while my team danced behind me. Oh yeah, I also got talked into being an Ikette when the "Groove International" group was on their Tina Turner vibe. Okay, maybe it didn't take much talking into ... just a friend's wave of the hand as she was heading to the stage and I bounced up front and center :-) Guess I need to break out of my shell and be a little more out-going, ha!
Legally Blonde the Musical was cute and fun, especially considering, unlike the others in my group, I had never seen the movie, plus I always enjoy musicals,love to watch good dancing. And speaking of "dancing" ... Burn the Floor was smoookin'; the music was Santana-esque hot and the dancers were fabulous. At times their feet and legs moved so fast, they almost looked ... mechanical, LOL. The comedians were okay; a favorite line, "I like to call Florida ... God's Waiting Room".
Two things I was really looking forward to, I was unable to do. One was the aqua park; with 5 multi-story water slides, including 2 free-falls and 2 side-by-side competing twister water slides called The Whip. Though really not daring enough for the free-falls, just hearing those choices, I knew I would be in water slide heaven ...
Wrong-o. The aqua park was lousy with little kids, like ants at a picnic, hollering, splashing, running, slipping, and sliding. It may have something to do with being in my mid-60's, but .... being around that many little ones is not my cup of tea. So I chose to not go on the awesome water slides; however, in their defense, I later learned I was cruising during Spring Break which may be why there were so many kids there.
Additionally, there's a three-story sports complex with a multi-level elevated ropes course that includes a zip track and there's a special ropes course for kids. Hey, if you want a free photo taken of you for your bravery, you can "Walk the Plank" -- that's right -- it's a board sticking 8' off the side of the ship (are they nuts?!?). The 9-hole miniature golf course is located directly beneath the ropes course. There's a rock climbing wall (I know my grand-daughter would be ringing that bell!), a bungee trampoline and a spider web, a 24-foot enclosed climbing cage with a spiral slide.
Secondly, the Getaway micro-site lists Fat Catz Jazz & Blues Club, but it was not to be found. With fun memories of Fat Catz on the then-new NCL Epic with the Soul Singles at Sea group, I was looking forward to the same fun. Possibly it will be added later on(?).
Because my momma said, "If you can't say something good, don't say anything at all" and because I don't want to bite the hand that feeds me (LOL), I will stop here without touching on the last 3 days. I could tell it all, as I doubt anyone will read down this far but, just in case, I'll stop here. Suffice it to say, I entered the 4,000 passenger Getaway happily skipping along. When I made my getaway from the Getaway, I was pushed out in a wheelchair. I have since recovered, after all, I didn't have a wheelchair at home, so I was forced into a real quick recovery, ha!
We are incredibly pleased that The Grand Ole Opry will again have a significant presence on the 2015 cruise with some favorite fan activities and some brand-new events.
Opry will start with two very special events. The first will be “Backstage at the Opry,” a one-hour look backstage at the Grand Ole Opry through photos and stories found in the book "Backstage at the Grand Ole Opry." We’ll be guided through the rich traditions of the Grand Ole Opry House and those country superstars who have brought this amazing building to life.
Next will be “Opry Story Set to Music,” an audiovisual history of the Opry complemented with live musical interludes by cruise Artist Chuck Mead, featuring samples of the sounds that have defined the Opry throughout its 90-year history. This is Opry history brought to life through music, and there is no one better than Chuck to take us on this part of the voyage.
Other Opry activities will be announced soon, and all of them are sure to capture both the excitement and fun of the show that made country music famous!
Federal Sanitation Reports and Scores are in and there's good news and there's bad news. And with a tip of the hat to the marvelous Mabel King as Evillene, "Don't nobody bring me no bad news", we send a cheer up to Holland America Line's m/s Eurodam.
Passionate about music and passionate about cruising. Put 'em together and I'm in heaven -- you can catch up with me on a themed cruise and, especially, on an Entertainment Cruise!