Atlantis Bahamas cruise ships
Photograph ©2010 by Brian Cohen.

A Word of Caution About Music-Themed Cruises

This can also apply to live concerts as well.

Music is not only important to me in my life; but it is also important to many other people as well, as it evokes memories and serves as an outlet for expressing our emotions. It can create a special mood — often like no other art form — and is an integral part of the history of society and mankind in general…

A Word of Caution About Music-Themed Cruises

Cruise ship Bahamas
Photograph ©2010 by Brian Cohen.

…and artists who create and perform the music are significantly responsible for the way their music affects people and society in general. As one result, people and corporate entities tend to capitalize and profit handsomely on popular music — and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. If your favorite band or artist is performing live at a venue at which you can attend and you are willing to pay the ticket price to see them sing and play the instruments of the songs you like, that is a win-win situation.

What if, however, the band you paid to see is not necessarily the band that created the music you like? Would that scenario still be worthy of your hard-earned money?

“My family loves to cruise”, Nancy — I do not know her last name — wrote in this article pertaining to themed cruises in 2022 for Miles For Family. “I’ve sailed on 10 cruises, and I have two more scheduled. Most of our cruises have been ‘normal’ cruises with no special theme. However, on Disney Cruise Line my family has experienced Halloween, Christmas and Star Wars themed cruises. The theming adds an extra layer of activities and fun, in my opinion.”

One of the cruises which she highlighted in the aforementioned article is The Beach Boys Good Vibrations Cruise, in which the legendary band will be accompanied by The Monkees, The Temptations, at least three other bands, and Joe Piscopo — all hosted by Mark McGrath. If seeing all of them perform live on a cruise sounds good to you and you are willing to pay anywhere between $800.00 for an interior cabin on a lower deck of the cruise ship and $4,741.00 in a penthouse suite — not including daily onboard service charges — while sailing between Miami and Nassau in the Bahamas for three days, you will likely have a great time and some very fond memories…

…but you should know a few things before you purchase your tickets — things which are fairly clear by the entities which operate this themed cruise:

  • Even though Brian Wilson and Al Jardine are technically still members of The Beach Boys, Mike Love is the only original member who will be aboard the ship; and Bruce Johnston — who replaced Glen Campbell in 1965 — is expected to attend live as well. Carl Wilson and Dennis Wilson are deceased. Interestingly, John Cowsill of The Cowsills — which is the family band on which The Partridge Family is based — is a member of The Beach Boys.
  • Mickey Dolenz — who was the lead singer on many hit songs — and Michael Nesmith are the only surviving members of The Monkees, as Davy Jones and Peter Took are deceased.
  • Otis Williams — who is 80 years old — is the only surviving member of the original iteration of The Temptations, which he co-founded sometime in 1960.

When Is a Band Not a Band?

Elliot Root
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

As an example, one rather intriguing story which is still ongoing is the Little River Band. None of the original members are still with the band — the last one left greater than 20 years ago — and yet they perform the songs for which the band is known. Members of the original Little River Band were primarily from Australia; whereas members of the current Little River Band are primarily from the United States — yet through a series of bizarre twists and turns, the current iteration of the band is legally allowed to call itself the Little River Band; while the original members have been barred from using the name and even performing the songs they wrote and performed at times as the Little River Band. The fight over the use of the name Little River Band has been contentious for approximately 20 years.

To complicate matters, Wayne Nelson — who is one of the lead singers of the current Little River Band — did sing on at least a couple of hit songs during the last years of the heyday of the band. However, he was not an original member of the band. Read what he had to say about the ongoing controversy.

Regardless, would you pay to see the current Little River Band in a live concert?

Final Boarding Call

Neon Trees concert
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Members of bands come and go over the years. Few bands — such as Rush and The Dells as two examples — stay together for decades with few or no changes in membership during their active tenures…

…but does that constitute an experience which you will enjoy?

That depends: for example, John Fogerty performed an excellent concert of both solo hit songs and those from Creedence Clearwater Revival — even though none of the other members of the band performed at the concert at which I attended back in 2015.

Be forewarned that some operators of themed cruises and live concerts will attempt to mislead you by selling you tickets to what they claim is an authentic concert by bands who legally use their legendary names even though few to no members of the legacy lineups no longer participate in the bands. That is where the value proposition can get rather murky.

You can look at this from a few points of view:

  • Unless the majority of the members of the band were involved in the creation and performance of the songs you like, attending one of their concerts is not worth the money or the time.
  • Who is in the band does not really matter much to you, as long as they perform great music and have a memorable time — so purchasing tickets to see the band live will still be worth the time and money.
  • Save the money and go instead to see a good “cover” band perform the songs you enjoy.

Any one of the three bulleted items could apply to The Beach Boys Good Vibrations Cruise — as long as you know beforehand on what exactly your time and money will be spent, about which the operators of the cruise are clear in this case…

…and if you do decide to go — enjoy yourself! After all, the whole point of going on one of these themed cruises is to have a great time.

All photographs ©2010 and ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

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