Five Faves: Sea-centric Songs

Porthole’s Five Faves

Sea-centric Songs

Enya may have created the sounds most synonymous with sailing away, but it’s not the only song in the key of cruising.


If you were putting together the typical cruising soundtrack, it would need to include the Love Boat theme, a dozen Bob Marley songs, and the absolute cheesiest ’80s song you wouldn’t be caught dead dancing to on land. Today, however, we celebrate a handful of songs we’d love to see join Enya’s formally named “Orinoco Flow” as the perfect uplifting, cruise-related songs with which to begin any journey at sea.


“Sea Cruise” by Frankie Ford

No generation can deny this golden oldie. With his cover of a Huey “Piano” Smith tune (which has since been covered countless times over), 19-year-old Frankie Ford stormed the Billboard charts in 1959. His catchy chorus concludes with an invitation to join him on a no-strings-attached cruise; perhaps solicitors calling us during dinner with similar offers should take note of the charm in Ford’s proposition.


“Come Sail Away” by Styx

Depending on when you grew up, this song was either a staple of your homecoming dance … or that song playing during the homecoming scene of cult classic Freaks and Geeks’s beloved first episode. Either way, its building crescendo and ultimate pay-off would do just the trick when bidding farewell to a port and serenading a fellow champagne-toaster.


“The Cruise” by The Rentals

Released on the 1999 album Seven More Minutes, The Rentals’ “The Cruise” has a memorable sing-along chorus of its own — “And we sing out of tune / we are on the cruise” — that was a trademark of this Matt Sharp–led band as well as the one Sharp left: Weezer, in which he played bass and provided lush harmonies. Other travel-friendly songs on the album mention drinking acquaintances off the coast of Spain, an itinerary of “a thousand places we could be” (including Paris, Australia, London, Tokyo, and, well, Pittsburgh), and “a blue world floating endlessly / where there’s no language and there’s no country.”


“Proud Mary” by Ike & Tina Turner

While technically a song about a specific vessel, this rollicking 1970 rocker is too powerful and full of life for the seafaring public at large to deny. Written by John Fogerty and recorded in its own noteworthy rendition by Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Proud Mary” celebrates both hard work and the happy, giving folk you see rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the other side.


“I’m on a Boat” by Lonely Island

Naughty and nautical, silly and sophomoric, this profanity-laden hip-hop ode to the ocean’s greatest toy first premiered on Saturday Night Live in February 2009 before joining “Lazy Sunday,” “Like a Boss,” and “Dick in a Box” on the Lonely Island debut album, Incredibad. If you can’t get in the sailing spirit with lyrics like “I’m the king of the world, on a boat like Leo / If you’re on the shore, then you’re sure not me-oh,” then why bother boarding?


Rico Bronte

Now in its 25th year, Porthole Cruise and Travel Magazine is published bi-monthly and available worldwide through digital subscription. It offers the latest news in cruise and travel, with in-depth features on voyages, new ships, the best destinations, readers' picks, onboard cuisine, entertainment, and more!