We’re all set for three cruises in a row: The Smooth Jazz Cruise ‘20.1, Blue Note at Sea ’20 and The Jazz Cruise ’20.
Our Take: What’s In Your Luggage?
Does anyone enjoy packing for a trip? I do not think so. Most of us are used to opening our closets and enjoying the full array of clothing options that our wardrobes provide. Choosing a precious few items to join us on a trip where we are uncertain of the weather, what type of entertaining we might do and, even more important to some, what others may be wearing is nerve-wracking. In no way is packing a pleasant experience.
Packing for a cruise is even more daunting. Say you are packing to go to New York, Chicago or Los Angeles. If you forget something or need a jacket or a sweater, you have stores to save the day. I love our ships, but they are not meccas for shopping for clothes. Which is why we have worked hard to create an atmosphere on the ship where comfort rules over fashion, and less is always more. Even our “dress up” nights do not require much. All in all, our guests look great without trying too hard to look great. It is a wonderful balance.
But, you still have to put together a wardrobe, gather up your meds and other daily requirements, and do so in a manner that makes some sense. Despite the very casual nature of the cruises, the unknown weather factor still looms large in the decision-making.
Why am I discussing this now? Because I am in the process of packing for an entire month. I board the Celebrity Infinity on Monday for a 5-day pre-cruise where we set up the ship. Then we have three, 7–day cruises in a row: The Smooth Jazz Cruise ‘20.1, Blue Note at Sea ’20 and The Jazz Cruise ’20. Long ago I abandoned the notion that I was packing for a month. That was overwhelming and caused me to bring more clothes than I needed and more than would fit in my stateroom. Please note that, contrary to rumor and speculation, I stay in a standard Veranda Stateroom and have done so for more than a decade.
Instead, I pack for 10 days and rely on the great laundry services that the ship offers. I choose one or two basic colors as my base and try to limit the number of pairs of shoes as those are both heavy and take up a lot of room. I used to dump all my shoes, underwear, socks, active wear and equipment in a large green duffle bag that I named my “Big Green Bag.” Pretty clever name! That bag went everywhere and was so distinctive that it became my indicator that my luggage was indeed on the carousel and I had dodged another bullet of not having clothes for a trip. The Big Green Bag has been retired. Actually, Paula insisted that it retire. She may have thrown it away, as I have not seen it in a bit. Now my luggage matches and even sports my initials. Actually, the recent pieces say “LAZ” — meaning that they are marital property at best and, in all likelihood, are being loaned to me for limited use.
My packing began about a month ago. A few items were given the “green light” each day. It was like the television show “Survivor.” Some items were chosen to remain on the island though most were not. I am comfortable with my selections for the cruises, however there is one step remaining. I call it “last in, most worn.” Invariably, the item that I throw in last becomes my “go-to” clothing for the trip. It never fails. If you are on the ship for the upcoming cruises, try and guess what it is.
Our Take is written by Michael Lazaroff, Executive Director – Jazz of Entertainment Cruise Productions. Feel free to express your views or pose questions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
YOUR SHIP HASN’T SAILED: A Few Staterooms Are Now Available for
Blue Note at Sea ’20!
Blue Note at Sea ’20 became fully subscribed before Thanksgiving, but as is the case for all cruises, a handful of staterooms always become available, for various reasons, as we approach Embarkation Day.
That means you still have an opportunity to sail with Marcus Miller, Robert Glasper, Gregory Porter, Melody Gardot, David Sanborn, Christian McBride, Kamasi Washington and dozens more electrifying musicians. Between 5 and 9 staterooms have become available, including options in the Concierge, Veranda, Ocean View and Inside categories.
It may be short notice — Blue Note at Sea ’20 sets sail on January 25 — but this immersive musical experience is timeless. For more information and to secure one of the last few staterooms, please give us a call between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Central Time Monday-Friday at 844.768.5157.
JANUARY 15 DEADLINE: Lock In Pre-Sale Benefits for
Blue Note at Sea ’21 & The Jazz Cruise ’21
Wednesday is the last day to complete a Pre-Sale Reservation for the 2021 sailings of Blue Note at Sea and The Jazz Cruise. Doing so provides you with the priority to reserve a stateroom on these two sailings ahead of the public and with many of the same benefits afforded guests sailing this year. Here are the Cruise Details and Special Benefits:
Pianist and composer Gerald Clayton, who is sailing back to back on Blue Note at Sea and The Jazz Cruise this year, has been working on a very special project for the last few years about the music of the Piedmont region of the American South.
His “Piedmont Blues: A Search for Salvation” is a long-form and mixed-media piece that features his group, plus vocalist René Marie and a gospel choir, as well as footage and images from that area. In an interview with JazzTimes, Gerald said: “I knew that I was paying tribute to the blues — the blues as a philosophy, as an expression. I think there’s no doubt that it’s birthed out of pain, out of suffering. This is a release of our emotion. I wanted to observe that process, the idea of a people in need of a release of expressing their pain, their suffering, finding that expression in the Piedmont language, and then what happens afterwards — what the blues gives back to us.”
Gerald will be showcasing this ambitious work tonight (Saturday, January 11) at the Sheen Center in New York City.
A Conversation with Diana Krall and Christian McBride
In a special fundraising event for the Jazz House Kids (JHK) organization, Christian McBride will interview singer/pianist Diana Krall on Wednesday, January 15, at Ralph Pucci’s showroom in NYC. Christian is the artistic director of JHK, an incredible organization founded by his wife Melissa Walker and dedicated to teaching jazz to kids 8 to 18 years old. In addition to the classes at its facilities in Montclair, NJ, JHK hosts programs in local schools and runs a “Give An Instrument, Make a Musician” fund to place musical instruments in the hands of young people.
And it hosts the annual Montclair Jazz Festival featuring national headliners as well as groups from its youth programs. All proceeds from this special event go to support those programs and other worthy efforts.