For years, Norwegian Cruise Lines produced a jazz cruise. It was never a full ship charter, but it attracted a large number of guests year after year. Anita E. Berry was the most successful producer of guests for the cruise, so in late 1999, when NCL dropped the concept, she quickly took matters into her own hands and created The Jazz Cruise, which became the world's first full ship charter devoted to music. The Jazz Cruise is not only the first full ship charter in the world featuring "straight ahead" jazz. It is the only one such program.
Fall of 2001 was the first sailing and it occurred just weeks after the 9/11 disaster. There is no more tribute to the power of this music and the excitement generated by this cruise than the fact that despite all of the fear of travel and the presumed danger of being at sea, the cruise was not only a sellout, but no one canceled their reservation due to the circumstances.
With an overwhelmingly successful first year in hand, The Jazz Cruise grew year after year, from the m/s Maasdam to the m/s Zaandam (1462 passengers) to its current home on the V Class ships of Holland America, which can hold up to 2000 passengers. Each cruise has been a sellout long before the sailing date. The Jazz Cruise 2012, the next sailing, sold out more than 5 months before it's sailing date. And, despite increasing the size of the ships, the intimacy remains, creating a "family" atmosphere and philosophy.
Each year the programming and strength of the lineups grows and grows. The Jazz Cruise now produces its own big band, comprised of true jazz all stars and has added many theme nights, special events and passenger jam sessions to its already legendary schedule of performances and events. The Jazz Cruise has appeal throughout the world as it can boast guests from 26 different countries and most continents.
The Jazz Cruise is a unique program which offers the finest "straight ahead" jazz programming and more musicians performing than any other festival or program in the world.