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Smooth Jazz Cruise, 2008
By Glenn Arnette, lll / Photo’s by John Neister
It is all about the man, Michael Lazaroff. He is the Executive Director and creator of one of the best Cruises in the United States and possibly Europe. Known as the Smooth Jazz Cruise, people come from all over the world just to enjoy his week of concerts on the Holland American Cruise Ship m/s Westerdam featuring the top names in the Jazz industry.
Nothing is left to your imagination. It is a complete package of entertainment and fun and one of the best values in the travel industry. Where have I been? Not really knowing much about Jazz, this trip was a real education to me. “Smooth Jazz” was a pleasant surprise. I discovered a sound that haunts the body and gives you a musical sensation that you will never forget. WOW! I can’t get enough of it now!
This cruise had approximately 1800 people on the Holland American’s m/s Westerdam. Did they like Jazz? It is like a cult following! They want it every minute of every day. They eat, sleep and dream of JAZZ! The camaraderie was overwhelming and the LOVE was everywhere. There were a lot of happy people together and they all believed in the same thing. There are jazz meetings with the Jazz stars, autograph sessions, and more. Most people never left the ship in the ports of call. If you did, you would miss another jazz moment better that the last. It is like another world! After one week, seven days, I felt I lost many friends when the ship sailed back into Ft. Lauderdale. However, every year, most return for another week and rekindle the friendships and sail again. As a matter of fact, next year’s Smooth Jazz Cruise was 85% booked during the week at sea. “Jazz people” mean business and they know every artist and sound.
Each night there is the main concert in the Ship’s theatre and features two stars for each performance with surprise drop-in appearances of fellow musicians. Well, was I shocked to know that when Jazz stars get together, they have “jam sessions” and that will blow your mind. From dancing in the aisles, to singing along with the music, to screams of “Bravo” and clapping until your hands are raw, this is like heaven. From the opening night concert, a Gospel night, the Smooth Jazz T-shirt Party, Jersey Night, the Grover Jam, the Formal Affair, to the final “All Star” evening where every artist on the ship appeared and played one number and everything in between, including Pa-JAM-a parties, Comedy Night and Star Search, it is a moment in time and the stage is never bare.
Thank you, Michael and the members of your staff for “the week that was!” I had the pleasure of working with Paula J, Gregory, the Director of Travel and meeting her sister, Sue, while on the cruise. Now I know why Michael’s success is right on target. Dane Butcher, Director of Cruise Operations and Programming, Pete Clingan, Assistant Director of Cruise Operations and Programming, Nancy Walsh, Director of Guest Relations, Dave Jetton, Administrative Director and Stefanie Millette in Sales, they help this travel adventure one of the best to consider. The “money value” is there, the “concept” is exceptional, the “talent” only the best, and the people are fantastic. Needless to say, the Holland American Cruise line is ranked to top in the World and the m/s Westerdam made this trip first class!
Next time I will be telling you about all of the talent enjoyed during the week. So, be ready for my talent review when I talk about The Smooth Jazz Cruise hosted by Wayman Tisdale. Oh, my goodness!
For immediate information you can go to their website when you google: WWW.SMOOTHJAZZ CRUISE.COM or call direct : 888-852-9987. For other travels you can Google: Glenn Arnette.
Best Suited For: Friends