Cruise Industry trying to cope with Concordia's Aftermath

 If you’re old enough to remember the big-band era of music, and love to dance to that kind of music, several cruises can provide a nostagic fix.

The Glenn Miller Orchestra will perform aboard Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Symphony on its transatlantic sailing March 19 from Miami to Lisbon. The Crystal Serenity’s Barcelona-Miami transatlantic sailing Dec. 9 will feature the Artie Shaw Orchestra. Each orchestra will have 17 to 20 members.

Meanwhile, Great American Steamboat’s American Queen sternwheeler, which debuts on the Mississippi River in April, will feature big-band orchestras on selected cruises. The Glenn Miller Orchestra will be on board July 27, Aug. 3 and Dec. 28, and the Harry James Orchestra April 19 and 27. An old-time singing group, the Platters, will bring back the sound of the 1950s on the American Queen’s June 21 and Sept. 7 cruises.

A related “Malt Shop Memories” seven-night cruise on Holland America’s Eurodam Oct. 27-Nov. 3 will feature such artists of the past as Bobby Rydell, Frankie Avalon and Dion. 

Cunard Line’s three ships — Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth — have their own big bands of varying sizes that play for Royal Night theme balls. Big Band and Glenn Miller are two of the themes, which also include other music genres. In addition, the Queen Mary 2 will have a five-day Big Band cruise July 1 featuring performances by the Juillard Jazz Orchestra.

YOUTH PROGRAMS

With the increased number of families taking cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line is revamping its youth program fleetwide. More focus will be placed on sporting activities, arts and crafts, theater and technology, with activities changing every 30 to 80 minutes. Tthe new programs will include themed days such as Circus Day, during which youngsters will learn real circus skills. The ratio of staff to children will be increased and age groups will be realigned as follows: 3-5 years, 6-8, 9-12, 13 and 14 and 15-17, plus programming for babies and toddlers.

The new program will be inroduced on the Norwegian Gem in mid-February and be rolled out on all the line’s other ships subsequently.

P&O’S ‘GRAND EVENT’

All seven ships in P&O Cruises’ fleet will dock together for the first time in Southampton, England, July 3 in a “Grand Event” to celebrate the line’s 175th anniversary. Each ship will be heritage-themed with special entertainment on board, including guest speakers, a heritage art display and gala anniversary dinner.

On leaving the port, the seven ships will form a procession and meet again in open water for a final salute before continuing on their individual cruises, which range from four to 21 nights. P&O operates the Azura, Ventura, Oceana, Arcadia, Aurora, Oriana and Adonia.

CRUISING TO THE DERBY

Horse-racing fans can combine a day at one of America’s greatest races with a cruise this May aboard the American Queen. The 436-passenger Mississippi steamboat offers general admission tickets to this year’s Kentucky Derby included as part of a four-night roundtrip voyage from Cincinnati with stops at Louisille, Ky., site of the Derby, and Madison, Ind. Alternatively, guests can choose a special Derby Day Party at the Seelbach Hilton Hotel in Louisville. 

OFFBEAT VISITS

Alaska Dream Cruises will add several new itineraries and ports of call this year, its second season. New are an eight-night trip to many less-explored destinations and two 11- and 14-night cruises through the Inside Passage. The eight-night trip will call at Kake, Kasaan, Thorne Bay and Hobart Bay. In addition to some standard ports, the new Inside Passage cruises also visit some unusual destinations, among them Gustavius, Wrangell, Colt Island, Windham Bay, and Lake Eva