We're going boldly into cruise season.
Entertainment Cruise Productions

As you may have guessed by the headline, I am currently sailing on our Star Trek: The Cruise III charter cruise program. I know that I told you last week that our non-jazz cruises are now under the direction of new people in our company, but, to ensure a proper handoff, my presence was required on this sailing. Though my preference would have been to remain at home, I have to admit that this cruise is a lot of fun.

The cruise is a six day voyage where 2,200+ Star Trek fans come together and enjoy reliving the Star Trek experience. The centerpiece is the list of actors who have participated in any Star Trek iteration, whether that be on television, movies or streaming. Over the years, we have presented some of the big names of the brand, William Shatner, George Takei, Karl Urban, Brent Spiner and Jonathan Frakes, to name but a few. 

Our current sailing features Wil Wheaton, Jason Isaacs and a whole host of actors from The Next Generation and other Star Trek franchises. The 2020 sailing will be 7 days in length and will feature the one female captain, Kate Mulgrew. The new guys are taking the cruise to an even larger ship, over 3,000 passengers. Talk about "boldly going!”

So, the question that everyone reading this column is now asking, are there any similarities between our jazz cruise programs and Star Trek: The Cruise?

Certainly there are the obvious similarities. They are all cruise programs. The entertainment on the cruises is created by us and is presented in lieu of customary cruise line entertainment. The cruise is as much about the experience and meeting up with like-minded people as it is about the subject matter itself.

Then, there are the obvious differences. The attire on Star Trek is almost entirely in character. No, our Star Trek guests do not call them costumes. A costume is something you wear on Halloween. This attire is a uniform and the uniforms come in various styles, including one for Formal Night. Though our jazz cruise guests have a similarity among themselves as to attire, it is certainly not a costume or a uniform. We do have theme nights and costume parties on the jazz cruises, but on Star Trek, the themed attire is 24/7.

In fact, the sale of Star Trek merchandise is a major component of the cruise programming, as well as photographs, autographs and other remembrances. What would be considered to be a "pillow gift” on a jazz cruise is "authorized issued equipment” on Star Trek. We have music on Star Trek, but it is on a relatively minor scale and is designed to enhance the theme as opposed to being the main attraction.

But, at the end of the day, both our jazz programs and our Star Trek cruise prove the same thing. If you put together people who passionately enjoy something and you provide them with the wherewithal to experience that theme in ways that you cannot do on land, then you have a successful and meaningful cruise program, one that makes people happy and fulfilled.

Yes, you can see and hear every performer on our jazz cruise programs in some way on land. What you cannot do is to see them all together, performing in configurations that are new and different and see them on multiple nights (and days) in a 7-day period. Doing all that in a lovely venue with the very best in professional sound, lighting and staging makes the cruise even more special and unique. 

Well, it is time for me to prepare for Q's Masquerade Ball, one of the highlights of the Star Trek: The Cruise. In a few days, I will be boarding Celebrity Infinity for 5 days of pre-cruise activities and preparation, followed by three consecutive 7-day jazz programs: The Jazz Cruise, Blue Note at Sea and The Smooth Jazz Cruise. I am always very excited to be sailing on those cruises, but this year is particularly special. I know that going forward I can spend all my time and energy on these programs. While we may not go "where no one has gone before," I assure you that we will do so "boldly!” Isn't that what jazz is all about?

Our Take is written by Michael Lazaroff, Executive Director of Entertainment Cruise Productions. Feel free to express your views or pose questions to him at michael@ecpcruises.com.

Playing how cool we are is not our style, particularly because 99 out of 100 times we are so not cool, but we did have a very cool New Year's Eve!

Alonzo Bodden was in town for two shows at Helium, St. Louis' only comedy club, unless of course you count the offices of Entertainment Cruise Productions! Well, not only did we attend his hilarious "midnight" show, but we were able to have dinner with him first at our favorite restaurant. A whole new meaning to the term "dinner and a show."

Alonzo is now ready for the jazz cruises. Again, sit in the front row at your peril.

If so, be on the lookout for our "Get Ready" emails pertaining to the cruises. Each cruise has its own announcements and they are filled with tips, up-to-the-minute cruise details and some "heads-ups" for making the cruise even better.

Here is quick rundown of the status of reservations for our 2020 Jazz Cruise Programs:

The Smooth Jazz Cruise ’20.1

  • Sailing Dates: January 18 - 25, 2020
  • Reservation Status: Open Booking. Anyone may reserve any available stateroom here.

Blue Note at Sea ’20

  • Sailing Dates: January 25 - February 1, 2020
  • Reservation Status: Guests on Blue Note at Sea ’19 may rebook their current stateroom on an exclusive basis from now through February 2, 2019.
  • Open Booking for all begins on February 4, 2019.
  • More information and the full line-up are available here. 

The Jazz Cruise ’20

  • Sailing Dates: February 1 - 8, 2020
  • Reservation Status: Guests on The Jazz Cruise ’19 may rebook their current stateroom on an exclusive basis from now through January 26, 2019.
  • Open Booking for all begins on January 28, 2019.
  • More information and the full line-up are available here. 

The Smooth Jazz Cruise ’20.2

  • Sailing Dates: March 1 - 8, 2020
  • Reservation Status: Open Booking. Anyone may reserve any available stateroom here.