Last updated: 09:30 AM ET, Wed October 12 2016

Blue Note Heads to Sea with Newly Branded Theme Cruise

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Celebrity Cruises | Jason Leppert | October 12, 2016

Blue Note Heads to Sea with Newly Branded Theme Cruise

Screen grab of Blue Note at Sea logo

Formerly The Contemporary Jazz Cruise, Blue Note at Sea, presented by Entertainment Cruise Productions, now promises to be an even better musical theme sailing when it embarks on Feb. 4-11, 2017 aboard Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Summit.

The new branding is a big deal. Blue Note Records has been featured on cruise ships before, including my own recent transatlantic crossing on Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2, showcasing performances by legendary jazz musician Herbie Hancock. While the sailing was not an outright theme cruise, the shows, which were complimentary mind you, were wonderful value-added extras. In fact, the line’s next jazz sailing featuring Gregory Porter is already sold out, so Blue Note is definitely making waves on the ocean these days.

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Perfectly described as “The Jazz Event of the Season,” Blue Note at Sea is now set to up the musical ante even more. The direct partnership provides not only access to outstanding musical artists but also the record company’s “assets and historical materials.” Those will come alive onboard as the Blue Note Jazz Club, similar to how The Cosmopolitan Restaurant is converted into a late-night supper club as The Crystal Room on The Smooth Jazz Cruise and Birdland on The Jazz Cruise, for instance.

A statement on the Blue Note at Sea website reads, “On a personal note, I have the highest admiration for the work and jazz acumen of Don Was (president of Blue Note Records) and the first-class operation that Steven Bensusan (Blue Note Jazz Clubs) maintains throughout the world. To be able to work with them on a cruise of this type is an honor. If you recall, earlier notes from me about this cruise have stated that it is a particularly personal project of mine, as the music being offered represents the most important to me of all the music I love.”

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Among the 34 big names already scheduled to perform onboard are Blue Note recording artists Terence Blanchard, the Robert Glasper Trio, Gregory Porter, Dianne Reeves, Chucho Valdes and Marcus Miller, who is also doubling as the cruise’s musical director. Plus, even more musicians are expected to sign on. I for one would love to listen to the tunes of Blanchard, who is known as a great film composer as well as a jazz artist.

Cruise fares begin at $2,400 per person including all concert performances, meals, special events and port charges. After all, the sailing would be enticing if it just stayed put in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but it does, in fact, encompass visits to Nassau, Bahamas; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Samana, Dominican Republic and Labadee, Haiti before returning roundtrip to the States.

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