Whip out the air guitars and prepare for a voyage of musical discovery, from headline rockers and hep cats to enchanting classics.

Join the jazz age

It’s all about jazz and nothing else on the Smooth Jazz Cruise, which has been running since 2004. Close to 40,000 passengers have sailed on more than 20 itineraries since then, and the 2020 edition promises to be the best and biggest yet, with a colossal line-up featuring 21 performers at the ‘Greatest Party at Sea’, as some have called it. There are two departures in 2020, both from Miami – the first on 18 January and the second on 14 March, on board Celebrity Infinity. Prices start from approximately £2,100pp for an inside cabin.

Take to the stage

A full-on, bonafide musical theatre festival is what guests can expect from Stages, which is held on board Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas, departing 14 October 2019 from Southampton, round trip, with a day in Dublin. Confirmed special guests include Alfie Boe, Sheridan Smith and Collabro, with many more to follow over the coming months. The format follows a traditional land-based festival, with multiple shows running simultaneously and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. There is also an as-yet-unconfirmed unique theme night during the cruise. Prices from £799pp for an inside cabin.

Reliving the 80s

Return to a time of big hair, copious quantities of hairspray and spandex on the aptly named 80s Cruise, tagged as the ‘ultimate 80s party’ by the promoter, Entertainment Cruise Productions. With the star line-up including Dee Snider of Twisted Sister fame, Kenny Loggins, who wrote and sang Footloose, and Berlin, guests are sure to be transported back in time. Speaking in 2018, Snider said: “It’s going to bigger, louder and more radical than ever.” Tubular theme nights are also a highlight of the eight-day itinerary, which departs 2 March 2019 from Fort Lauderdale on Celebrity Infinity. Prices from approximately £1,950pp per person for an inside cabin.

Jazz, music cruises, cruise
The Smooth Jazz Cruise has been running since 2004.

 

Love it loud

Now in its ninth year, the KISS Kruise is heaven for all the rock ‘n’ rollers out there. Departing Miami on 30 October 2019 on board Norwegian Pearl, The Starchild, Demon, Spaceman and Catman put on an epic five-day cruise, which also features music from support acts. Organised by Sixthman – which since 2001 has hosted more than 250,000 guests on a variety of themed cruises – the KISS edition is undoubtedly one of the finest of its kind, partly because of the talent and longevity of its indefatigable headline act. Those interested should join the pre-sale period now, as full prices have yet to be announced.

Magic recreated

Cruising from Barcelona to Sardinia, the Boaty Weekender was devised to recreate the Bowlie Weekender, a festival held in 1999 in Sussex that was the inspiration for the long-running festival All Tomorrow’s Parties. The four-day 2019 cruise features live performances from Scottish band Belle and Sebastian – who are also the organisers of the event – and a Q&A with the band, as well sets from support acts, of which Belle and Sebastian said in a statement: “They’re going to earn their passage by playing their best for you, digging deep into their musical reservoirs.” Those who reserve a stateroom during the pre-sale period will get an exclusive cruise vinyl. Prices from £979pp for an interior room on Norwegian Pearl.

Classical moments

Saga’s 10-night Classical Music on the Danube itinerary starts with three days in Vienna before departing for Budapest on the Danube, stopping at Esztergom, Bratislava and more. Guests are treated to performances on board the ship – Filia Rheni II – and a programme of music-themed excursions, including the Hall of Mirrors in Vienna, where Mozart played, and the Palace Theatre in Hungary, where Prince Antal Grassalkovich II once kept a permanent 24-piece orchestra on call. Prices from £2,079pp, departing 18 October 2019.