by Lee Zimmerman
Photograph by Laura Carbone
Picture this: You’re on the deck of one of the world’s most luxurious cruise ships. It’s a clear, crisp night and the stars shine down to illuminate a magical evening. Several hundred happy passengers mill about, while only a few feet away, one of your favorite bands offers up a familiar tune. The boat may rock ever so slightly from a choppy sea, but mostly due to the music that’s become a continuous soundtrack lasting from early afternoon until long after midnight. That rocking may also have to do with that exotic beverage you’ve been holding in your hand, but clearly that’s the least of it. Sharing time with your musical idols is the ultimate high. ¶ While today’s ever-growing choices of music cruises vary from voyage to voyage and lineup to lineup, that starlit scene above could apply to any of the dozens of oceangoing offerings music lovers can choose from these days. There’s an excursion for every taste and genre. Heavy metal or classic rock, bluegrass or Americana, oldies or electronica—whatever a music lover may crave, there’s a cruise for it. ¶ While a weekend or even a week of nonstop music would seem inducement enough, there’s a deeper reason why fans are increasingly drawn to these outings. A decade ago, the possibility of actually connecting with your musical idols was relatively rare. Nowadays, in an era in which social media has become the norm and communication with your heroes is often no more difficult than clicking the contact link on their website, connections between artists and their fans have grown exponentially.