One week until Blue Note at Sea '18 sets sail... kicking off the 2018 jazz cruise season.
Entertainment Cruise Productions
I just walked off Star Trek: The Cruise II – Voyage 2, the second of our six day voyages featuring stars of the legendary franchise. George Takei was our host and he was delightful. Joining George were Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes, John DeLancie, Nana Visitor, Gates McFadden, Robert Picardo and many others. The actors performed for the guests as comics, singers, dancers and story tellers. Most of them are quite talented and all are very nice people. That is the actor side of the equation.

The other side are the guests. These guests are passionate, dedicated and very knowledgeable fans of Star Trek. They dress in character 24/7 and rejoice in sharing the Star Trek world with their friends and fellow guests. They were delightful, though, like in all gatherings, there were some who were over the top. One guest was Spock… all the time and a dead-on likeness. And, for whatever reason, a Colonel Sanders lookalike was omnipresent. The cruise was great fun for all.

But, now it is time to get serious. Our pre-cruise team is gathering in Miami for the flight to San Juan to pick up Celebrity Summit for one week of preparation, followed by three amazing jazz cruise programs. As the title of this note suggests, Blue Note at Sea ’18 leads off the jazz cruise season. Sold out again this year, Blue Note at Sea is assuming its role as our third brand of jazz cruise program. But, for many, Blue Note at Sea’s slot in our jazz world is a bit fuzzy. Let me see if I can decode this riddle.

There is a body of jazz which dominates the world jazz scene that is neither “straight ahead” or “smooth.” Putting a label on it is very difficult. Witness how hard it was to name this particular cruise. If you recall, the cruise was first called “The Contemporary Jazz Cruise,” a moniker that took our obfuscation one step further into the shadows. Not that “Blue Note” clarifies the issue automatically. It takes a moment and some understanding of what Blue Note Records has meant over the years and the type of music and experience that Blue Note Jazz Clubs provide.

If explaining this cruise were limited to word association, “hip” and “cool” come to mind, but stopping there does not tell us much. At the risk of over-simplification and trying to pigeon hole “art,” let’s say that the music of Blue Note at Sea is more interpretive than “straight ahead” and more jazzy than “smooth.” It is an evolving instrumental music form that reflects the feelings and ideas of the musician as opposed to a musician’s interpretation of a tune. Finally, this music has a world stage on which to perform.

Not all musicians performing on Blue Note at Sea fall neatly into this category, nor should they. In fact, I would love to forego categories entirely, except we need some definitions so that we can distinguish among our programs and give our guests some insight into the direction of a particular cruise program. Blue Note at Sea, The Jazz Cruise and The Smooth Jazz Cruise are like having three dance partners. Which one do you enjoy the most? The one you are dancing with at the time, of course. For Entertainment Cruise Productions, our dance card’s #1 is Blue Note at Sea ’19, fully subscribed and ready to sail on January 27

Earlier this week, we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. That reminded me of a speech of his that I read years ago about his feelings for jazz. It is a beautiful piece and I thought that you might like to read it.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Opening Address to the 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival:

God has wrought many things out of oppression. He has endowed his creatures with the capacity to create—and from this capacity has flowed the sweet songs of sorrow and joy that have allowed man to cope with his environment and many different situations.  Jazz speaks for life. The Blues tell the story of life's difficulties, and if you think for a moment, you will realize that they take the hardest realities of life and put them into music, only to come out with some new hope or sense of triumph.

This is triumphant music. Modern jazz has continued in this tradition, singing the songs of a more complicated urban existence. When life itself offers no order and meaning, the musician creates an order and meaning from the sounds of the earth which flow through his instrument.

It is no wonder that so much of the search for identity among American Negroes was championed by Jazz musicians. Long before the modern essayists and scholars wrote of racial identity as a problem for a multiracial world, musicians were returning to their roots to affirm that which was stirring within their souls.

Much of the power of our Freedom Movement in the United States has come from this music. It has strengthened us with its sweet rhythms when courage began to fail. It has calmed us with its rich harmonies when spirits were down.
And now, Jazz is exported to the world. For in the particular struggle of the Negro in America there is something akin to the universal struggle of modern man. Everybody has the Blues. Everybody longs for meaning. Everybody needs to love and be loved. Everybody needs to clap hands and be happy. Everybody longs for faith.

In music, especially this broad category called Jazz, there is a stepping stone towards all of these.

Guests on our 2018 sailings of Blue Note at Sea ( and The Jazz Cruise ( are currently eligible to book cabins for the 2019 sailings of those programs. Effective February 12, 2018, The Jazz Cruise will have Open Booking and all fans can reserve a cabin and Open Booking for The Jazz Cruise starts on February 5, 2018.
Open Booking is currently in effect for both The Smooth Jazz Cruise '19.1 and The Smooth Jazz Cruise '19.2 (  Each sailing is more than 80% sold, so act now.
NOTE:  The 2018 sailings of Blue Note at Sea, The Jazz Cruise, The Smooth Jazz Cruise ’18.1 and The Smooth Jazz Cruise ’18.2 are fully subscribed. Cancellations do occur, so if you desire to sail on these cruises, contact the office for more details.