• Nightly concerts for a week in the Caribbean with country star Blake Shelton and others Oct. 14-21, 2012 aboard Norwegian Jewel ($999).
• Four nights of southern rock Oct. 27-31 on Norwegian Pearl out of Miami with Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Doobie Brothers, the Outlaws, Blackberry Smoke, Bonepony, Dirty Guv’nahs ($775).
• Four-night rock legends cruise Jan. 10-14, 2013, from Fort Lauderdale in the Caribbean with Foreigner, Kansas, Blue Oyster Cult, 38 Special and 20 other bands on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas, sponsored by the Native American Heritage Association ($1,049).
• A week in the Caribbean out of Fort Lauderdale on a Soul Train cruise Feb. 17-24, 2013 with Patti LaBelle, the O’Jays, Kool & The Gang, Jeffrey Osborne, in nightly concerts in the Vista Lounge of Holland America’s Westerdam ($1,875).
Look for more music theme cruises with top stars in the future, as their success has intrigued cruise line executives in two key areas: Cabin rates for music cruises tend to be higher and the average age of passengers lower than on more typical voyages. Andy Levine, president of Sixthman, largest of the music cruise promoters, has estimated his per-day rate at between $175 and $350 per person, not including airfare, which is higher than the current industry standard for non-music themed cruises. Levine also has said that his cruise passenger’s average age is 35, which is nearly 15 years younger than the average on most other cruises.
Hundreds of cruises include some sort of theme, and music cruises range from blues and Irish to gospel and Christian. For ideas, click on ThemeCruiseFinder.com. For recommendations, consult a travel agent who specializes in cruises.
David Molyneaux writes monthly about cruising. He is editor of TheTravelMavens.com