Norwegian Cruise Line has effectively developed an ideal way to breathe fresh life into two of its older and smaller ships. The cruise line acquired event company Sixthman in 2012, and the result has been fun and immersive theme cruises that are regularly available on Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Jade.
Both cruise ships launched in 2006 and can carry about 2,400 passengers. By today’s new standard for giant ships loaded with flashy attractions, restaurants and amenities, these two vessels would be considered modest.
Norwegian Jade just hosted the first “Runaway to Paradise” cruise featuring Jon Bon Jovi. Norwegian Pearl will be the home for another Bon Jovi cruise August 26 to 30 in the Mediterranean.
Sixthman and Norwegian Cruise Line offer a whole lineup of great music-themed cruises.
You might like the Melissa Etheridge Cruise, Brantley Gilbert’s Kick It In the Ship Cruise, The Kiss Kruise, Chris Jericho’s Rock ‘N’ Wrestling Rager at Sea and The Boaty Weekender Cruise.
The Norwegian Jade and Norwegian Pearl ships are ideal, Sixthman says, because they have a large lido deck area that is wide open and easily converts to a main stage venue that can hold 2,000 people to view the main acts. Not many other ships offer such a layout. I was a guest of Sixthman during the Bon Jovi cruise.
Music cruises are growing more popular, and they offer a great chance for cruise lines to show people what cruising is all about. Sixthman says that only about 26 percent of the people on any one of their theme cruises have been on a sailing before.
The passenger mix on these Sixthman cruises is typically a 50-50 split for men and women. But certain sailings definitely hold unique appeal to certain audiences.
For the Jon Bon Jovi cruise, 73 percent of the more than 2,100 attendees were women. And many of them had seen dozens of concerts of the rock star.
The Kiss Kruise, though, sees the numbers reversed, heavily weighted toward dudes who flock to see their favorite stars don the makeup and belt out hits like “Detroit Rock City.”
Either way, the Norwegian Cruise Line and Sixthman partnership works because of the companies’ shared vision for these festivals at sea.
The ships can be outfitted to deliver a customized and immersive music experience for like-minded fans who also enjoy travel.
The ships are transformed to create up to eight or nine venues onboard that will offer live music. Collective Soul, Tonic and a lineup of up-and-coming performers played multiple shows on the undercard for Jon Bon Jovi’s two appearances with his band Kings of Suburbia.
Passengers also got to see tribute bands Slippery When Wet (Bon Jovi) and Tempt (Def Leppard) as well as participate in lip-sync contests and behind-the-scenes talks with Jon Bon Jovi’s tour photographer David Bergman and members of the Bon Jovi organization like brother Matt Bongiovi and longtime producer Obie O’Brien.
Itineraries are typically about three to five days and include a couple sea days and a port stop or two. This leaves plenty of time on the ship for shows, day and night, plus a couple of days at a destination so people can rejuvenate and refresh with a beach day or cultural exploring before revving it up again for another night of partying with their new friends and favorite music.
The Jon Bon Jovi “Runaway to Paradise” cruise stopped in Nasssau, Bahamas, and had two seas days. The main shows started just before sunset on the pool deck, and it’s an incredible setting for a concert. With about 2,000 people lining the railings and filling the lido deck while the ship floats on calm waters at sunset, the intimate surroundings offer picture-perfect experience that you’ll want to recreate again and again.
Norwegian Cruise Line and Sixthman are counting on it.
John Roberts is a freelance writer and operator of InTheLoopTravel.com. He writes about cruising and active travel, highlighting how people can connect with the world and other cultures through rewarding travel experiences.