The Great White Wave will hit the high seas
From March 31 through April 5, 2023, water-loving Broadway superfans can join some of the biggest names in the industry aboard a luxury cruise from New York City to Bermuda.
Cruise lines have run many types of themed cruises, including trips for wrestling fans, cat lovers, knitting circles, genealogy enthusiasts, as well as every genre of music imaginable. Decades like the 50s and 80s, TV/movie themes like Harry Potter and the Walking DeadReligion and even NASCAR draw travelers of all ages and backgrounds onto the ships.
Broadway on the high seas
This special journey will feature multiple Tony nominees and winners including crowd favorite Laura Benanti (gypsy), Kristin Chenoweth (Evil), Alan Cumming (cabaret), Sierra Swamp (Phantom of the opera), Lena Hall (Hedwig and the bad customs), Joshua Henry (Scottsboro boys), Jeremy Jordan (Newsies), Taylor Loudermilk (mean girls) and popular parodist Randy Rainbow.
The five-day cruise aboard the stunning ship, Norwegian Gem, offers a variety of accommodation, venues, dining options and payment plans.
In addition to great performances from the all-star cast, Broadway cruisers can expect intimate concerts and cabarets, as well as advice and industry insights. Planned events include immersive experiences such as celebrity meet-ups, panel discussions, late-night sing-alongs, and Broadway-style karaoke and bingo.
For those dragged along by their Broadway-loving family members, plenty of non-theater activities and excursions are also available to keep them sane.
Sailing on the high (cost) sea
While prices are generally all-inclusive (despite fine print fees), the vacation wouldn’t be considered budget-friendly, especially given the travel duration is under a week.
Given that the clientele (mainly tourists wanting to see Broadway’s elite up close and personal) are probably used to paying big bucks for Broadway tickets, the cruise seems good value for money. For example, 2 people could book an inside cabin on The Broadway Cruise for around $3,000 per couple.
While this amount includes basic amenities (meals, lodging, and entertainment), it does not include alcohol, spa services, daily onboard fees, a 20% automatic gratuity, pre- or post-cruise airline tickets, ground transportation or lodging, specialty restaurants, or any tours, events, or meals in the ports of call. These additional costs can add up very quickly.
All on the same boat
Of course, lavish entertainment with high production value has been a mainstay on cruise ships for decades, but musical theater fans are typically more discerning when it comes to acoustics and the sonic experience.
Passengers need not worry as Sixthman, the company behind this venture, has over 20 years of experience outfitting ships for precisely this type of venture. Plus, with such a range of options, guests are sure to find a performance to enjoy.
What motivates Broadway stars to go on such an adventure? Well, it’s nice work if you can get it.
“Broadway on the High Seas” in 2017 didn’t do too well
In 2017, lead actress Melissa Errico was invited to perform and take her entire family on a “Broadway on the High Seas” cruise organized by Playbill magazine. That my beautiful lady star was a little unnerved when Phil Birsh, President of Playbill Publishing, gathered Errico (along with Broadway stars Alice Ripley and Brian Stokes Mitchell) to tell them the 250 fans were NOT stalkers. She noted that everyone was on display, for better or for worse, guests and cast members alike.
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. There was seasickness. There was vulnerability. There were life jacket exercises. And there were casual reminders from guests that the talent was still seen as hired help.
A passenger thoughtlessly remarked that they were going to give Errico a high rating, an unintentional criticism intended as simple praise. Ultimately, Errico enjoyed the performance, especially the camaraderie with her peers, but neither of them ever forgot they were here to put on a show.
In the wake of the pandemic, Broadway luminaries may not be as willing to mingle as freely.
Not the only ship in town
Some might consider Broadway cruises a niche, but the sheer volume of cruise lines out there offering similar experiences suggests otherwise.
In addition to The Broadway Cruise (a great affair, to be sure), folks looking for maritime musicals can look forward to the aforementioned Playbill Broadway Cruise (a smaller, more intimate atmosphere), Seth’s Big Fat Broadway Vacations (run by the outstanding music director Seth Rudetsky) and even Disney Cruise Lines (more family-oriented) for a theatrical vacation.
Disney, notably, has not only invited Broadway stars to perform, but has also curated their own branded musicals, written and designed specifically for their fleet of ships.
The Broadway cruise has been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, meaning the upcoming cruise will be her maiden voyage in 2023. Strict safety regulations and protocols have been put in place to ensure everyone’s safety.
All guests 12 years and older (including all performers and crew) aboard the Broadway Cruise must be fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination in order to board.
In pre-pandemic times, the only mask worn was by the Phantom, But now, while face masks aren’t currently required, things may change closer to the date.