9 Smooth Sailing Music Cruises

  • Norwegian Pearl
    Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line

Imagine this: You're at a concert featuring one of your favorite artists and you're on a ship. Not only are you sailing the deep blue seas, you're rocking out with band members offstage, meeting fellow fans and possibly sharing a fruity beverage or two. No, this isn't a dream, it's a real-life music cruise — a VIP experience that makes for a one-of-a-kind musical vacation.

The Recording Academy partnered with marketing and travel company Sixthman to produce the first GRAMMY Music Festival at Sea, which set sail on Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Pearl from Nov. 4–8, traveling from Miami to Grand Bahama Island and Nassau, Bahamas. The inaugural cruise, dubbed GRAMMY Festival at Sea: Women Who Rock, featured performances by GRAMMY winners Shawn Colvin, Estelle, Emmylou Harris, and Indigo Girls, and GRAMMY nominees Heart, among others.

To get a taste of the fun you missed, check out our GRAMMY Festival at Sea photo gallery.

Until the next GRAMMY Festival at Sea sets sail, below is a list of nine upcoming music cruises you might want to consider for your next music-themed getaway.

Holy Ship!
Dates: Jan. 3–6, 2015; Feb. 18–21, 2015
Voyage: Miami to Half Moon Cay, Bahamas; Miami to Nassau and Coco Cay, Bahamas
Lineup: The January cruise will feature A-Trak, Boys Noize, Knife Party, and Pretty Lights, among others. The February installment will feature Basement Jaxx, Skrillex, Ty Dolla $ign, DJ Mustard, and DJ Snake, among others
The Scene: Set aboard the MSC Divina (which was inspired by Italian actress Sophia Loren), the sold-out Holy Ship! excursions will deliver around-the-clock performances, as well as a variety of activities and special themed parties. Previous activities have included autograph signing sessions, poker tournaments and yoga sessions. 
Connect: @holy_ship

The Smooth Jazz Cruise
Dates: Jan. 11–18, 2015; March 1–8, 2015
Voyage: Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Nassau and Half Moon Cay, Bahamas; and St. Thomas and St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Lineup: Gerald Albright, Natalie Cole, Boney James, David Sanborn, and Kirk Whalum, among others
The Scene: Aside from eight straight days of music aboard the luxurious MS Eurodam, passengers are also treated to artist-hosted excursions, including a champagne sunset sail with Whalum, an island drive with Brian Culbertson and horseback riding with Brian Simpson.
Connect: @JazzCruisin

Cayamo, A Journey Through Song
Dates: Jan. 17–24, 2015
Voyage: Miami to St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, and St. Barthélemy, France
Lineup: Brandi Carlile, Shawn Colvin, Lyle Lovett, Buddy Miller, Kacey Musgraves, and Lucinda Williams, among others
The Scene: The eighth installment of Cayamo will feature seven sun-drenched days of performances from an esteemed group of singer/songwriters. Unique onboard activities include Brandioke, during which 10 selected guests will have the opportunity to perform a song with Carlile, open mic contests, immersive workshops, and a Tai Chi class with Jim Lauderdale.
Connect: @cayamo

The Country Music Cruise
Dates: Jan. 18–25, 2015
Voyage: Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Nassau, Bahamas; St. Thomas and St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
Lineup: Asleep At The Wheel, Martina McBride, the Oak Ridge Boys, and Charley Pride, among others
The Scene: Grab your boots, hit the deck and mingle with performers during artist-led events and themed activities such as a Boots, Buckles and Boot-Scootin' Ball; Red, White and Blue Barbeque; Hat Night, and more. The Grand Ole Opry will also host a number of events, including Backstage At The Opry, an hour-long look at the history of the Nashville, Tenn., landmark.

Dates: Feb. 2–6, 2015
Voyage: Miami to Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas
Lineup: Black Label Society, Buckcherry, Limp Bizkit, P.O.D., Sevendust, and Andrew W.K., among others
The Scene: When guest aren't rocking out in front of one of the cruise's six stages, they can keep rocking with artist meet-and-greets, a door decoration contest, question-and-answer sessions, trivia challenges, game shows, parties, contests, and more.
Connect: @shiprocked

Keeping The Blues Alive At Sea
Dates: Feb. 17–21, 2015
Voyage: Miami to Key West, Fla., and Nassau, Bahamas
Lineup: Joe Bonamassa, Robben Ford, John Hiatt, and Robert Randolph & The Family Band, among others
The Scene: Blues aficionados aboard this cruise — presented in part by Bonamassa and his Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation — will enjoy four days of performances and special themed nights, from Mardi Gras to Woodstock.
Connect: @BluesAliveAtSea

Soul Train Cruise
Dates: Feb. 22–March 1, 2015
Voyage: Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands; San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
Lineup: James Ingram, KC & The Sunshine Band, Gladys Knight, and the Stylistics, among others
The Scene: On the Soul Train Cruise, guests are treated to lots of love, peace and soul. And there's plenty to go around. Onboard activities include dance lessons from original "Soul Train" dancers, celebrity-hosted events such as excursions and cooking classes, Club Soul Train, and the opportunity for slow jams lovers to renew their vows at sea.
Connect: @SoulTrainAtSea

Kid Rock's Chillin' The Most Cruise
Dates: March 2–6, 2015
Voyage: Miami to Cozumel, Mexico
Lineup: Kid Rock, among others
The Scene: This cruise is already sold out and Kid Rock hasn't even announced the full lineup yet. (You can sign up for the waiting list.) Instead he's taking festivalgoers on a "blind date" and will announce guest performers once the ship sets sail. Fans will also be treated to a question-and-answer session with the cowboy, and we're sure plenty of other surprises are in store.
Connect: @kidrockcruise

Symphony On The Blue Danube: A Classical Music Cruise
Dates: Sep 30–Oct 14, 2015
Voyage: Budapest, Hungary to Kraków, Poland
Lineup: Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin (well, not exactly …)
The Scene: Classical music fans can experience some of Europe's most famous cultural landmarks that are tied to classical greats Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin. Hosted by music expert Maxine Ramey, passengers will travel to six countries and eight world heritage sites and will likely return classical music experts themselves.

Email Newsletter