Five Faves: The Best Things About a Music Theme Cruise

Porthole‘s Five Faves

Rock This Ship

Five Reasons You’ll Love a Music Theme Cruise

I recently had the pure joy of spending four days on a cruise with six of my favorite people: Emily, Donnie, Danny, Jordan, Jon, and Joe. The former, my BFF since kindergarten; the latter five, none other than our all-time favorite band of (cough) 20 years — New Kids on the Block, now NKOTB.

You can read the full account of the cruise in an upcoming issue of Porthole Cruise Magazine, but for now, all I have to say is that if you ever get the chance to cruise with your favorite musician or band — don’t think twice. Here are just five reasons why a music-theme cruise will rock your world.

Instant Camaraderie

Whether at the buffet, waiting for an elevator, or in line for a selfie, it doesn’t take long to strike up a conversation with fellow band lovers (in this case, “Blockheads”). You’re literally surrounded by like-minded people who can talk just as long as you can about that amazing concert in ’90, who your favorite band member is and why, or all the funny, nice, and ridiculous things you’ve read on the cruise’s dedicated Facebook page. Deck corridors felt like dorm hallways as fans spent the first few hours on board decorating their doors with posters, photos, and signs and then wandering around to check out some of the amazing masterpieces.

Intimate Venues

NKOTB On Stage photoThe first time Emily and I saw New Kids in concert was at the Meadowlands, a stadium venue with more than 80,000 seats where we danced all night as five little specks on stage sang for the roaring crowd. This time, we were two of approximately 1,500 in Carnival Victory’s Caribbean Lounge. We joked that we were in the nosebleed section, but truth be told: There wasn’t a bad seat in the house to watch our boys sing their classic songs, new hits, and a few that were voted for ahead of time by cruisers via email survey. Even better, each night brought a Lido Deck party that went well into the night and offered the most amazing opportunities to get even closer to the guys as they made their way around, sometimes crowd surfing their way from stage to stage.

Behind the Scenes

Travel with anyone for four days straight and you’ll learn a lot about them by watching them interact. NKOTB selfie Emily photoIt’s these types of exchanges that made me realize that a group of world-famous singers is just like any other group of close, 40-something guy friends. Pay attention and you’ll get to hear banter, stories, and secrets that become exclusive to you. Some of the most memorable moments come from spontaneous, unscripted, unplanned scenarios.

For example, one day Donnie decided he wanted to try to break the world record for most selfies in three minutes, which is currently held by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who took 105 selfies at the premiere of San Andreas. Fans had no problem lining up on deck to help him achieve this goal, and first counts showed Donnie coming in at around 140. (Counts are currently being finalized and submitted to Guinness World Records.) In fact, speaking of selfies — Ask any cruiser about their favorite moment on the cruise, and the majority will say it was taking a selfie with their favorite New Kid. (Myself included.)

Chance Encounters

As in life, on a music cruise you just never know when you’ll be in the right place at the right time. We decided early on not to fight the crowds, but instead to just go with the flow in hopes of chance encounters — and the strategy worked. You see, band members are not just onboard celebrities; they are cruise passengers, too, which is why I happened to run into Donnie at guest services, Emily got pulled on stage to dance with her fave, Joe, and a few women relaxing in the ocean in Grand Turk suddenly found Jon swimming right beside them. Certainly moments that weren’t on the daily agenda!

NKOTB all on stage imageYou’re on a Cruise

Maybe I’m biased, but with any given vacation, I will always vote for a cruise. The logistics are easy, schedules are planned for you, there’s no need to break down a dinner bill among friends, and, best of all during this type of at-sea party, there’s no need to assign a designated driver. The benefits of a cruise make a long list; combine these perks with cruising with your favorite band and you have the recipe for a perfect vacation.


— Jodi Ornstein


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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!