Award-winning musicians of all genres are realizing one thing: Working with cruise lines is a fantastic way to plan a special event for their hard-core fans while promoting their music to a new demographic. The Norwegian Getaway launches this month with the Grammy Experience at sea, which features performances by former Grammy winners and nominees; cruise line Cunard is hosting James Taylor this summer; and now Carnival is coming to the table with a full-blown concert program that is second to none.
The Carnival Live Concert Series is unique in that the concerts take place on the ship when it’s docked at certain ports of call. In 2014, Carnival has arranged for nearly 50 rocking concerts featuring artists as diverse as 38 Special, Chicago, Foreigner, Gavin DeGraw, Jennifer Hudson, Jewel, Kansas, LeAnn Rimes, Martina McBride, Olivia Newton-John, REO Speedwagon, STYX, and Trace Adkins.
Concerts will take place when select Carnival ships—Fantasy, Fascination, Sensation, Paradise, Ecstasy, Breeze, Imagination, and Inspiration—are in the ports of Cozumel, Mexico; Nassau, Bahamas; and Catalina Island in California. Artists will board the ship when it’s in port and will depart after the concert encores, but that doesn’t meant you won’t have an opportunity to meet the musicians. Limited numbers of VIP tickets are available for $100–$150 per person and include an artist meet-and-greet, photo opportunity, seating in the first three rows of the ship’s theater, and a commemorative laminated concert pass.
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Tickets without the VIP treatment run $20–$40 per person. Buy your tickets through Carnival’s online Shore Excursion System before sailing or onboard at the Shore Excursion Desk (if the show hasn’t already sold out).
There are no seating assignments so it’s first-come, first-served once inside the theater. The first featured artist, STYX, will play a concert aboard Carnival Fantasy’s April 4, 2014 five-day Bahamas round-trip out of Charleston, SC.
Andrea M. Rotondo is a freelance writer based in New York City. She covers cruise news and luxury travel trends for Fodors.com and writes for a variety of outlets, including her website Luxury Travel Mavens. Follow her on Twitter: @luxtravelmavens.