So You Think You Can Dance?
…. But How About At Sea?
More and more couples enjoy dancing, and many are learning onboard cruise ships. The dancers above were photographed onboard Royal Caribbean International.*
By Susan J. Young
When Emmitt Smith, the pro football legend, won last year’s “Dancing with the Stars” reality tv contest, the world cheered. The belief of many was that “hey, if a beefy athlete could deliver the ‘moves’ and win, why not me?”
This year skater Apolo Anton Ohno won the contest, followed closely by boxer Laila Ali, NSynch star Joey Fatone, actor Ian Ziering, activist Heather Mills and other celebs.
So it makes sense to think the rest of us might want to do the same. This rapid-fire growth of popularity in the combination of dance training and reality tv has not gone unnoticed by major cruise lines.
Yes, luxury lines have offered dance classes for years. But now dance fever has gone decidedly mainstream.
Dip, Sway, Two-Step and Samba
Interested in learning how to swing, sway or salsa while at sea? Consider this sampling of dance moves by the cruise lines.
Celebrity Cruises (www.celebritycruises.com) introduced a new interactive entertainment event called “Everybody Dance!” in January. It debuted on Summit and is being extended fleetwide. Celebrity’s production team members pair with guests to compete in ballroom and modern-style routines, with winners chosen by a panel of judges and a live audience. A similar event is being introduced for teenage cruisers.
Travel agents believe Celebrity's thinking is sound. They say it's wise for cruise lines to cash in on the dance tv craze, but not just for those who love to dance. The newest dance reality shows are developing a whole new crop of consumers who simply love to watch dancing. And hey, it's just what the cruise lines needed -- a new, hot onboard activity to fill time between climbing rock walls and bingo.
Celebrity also now has another dance program, in which the line’s onboard activity staff and production cast members will teach at least four instructional classes every seven days. Those might encompass ballroom, modern, Latin, country or hip hop.
Line dancing is increasingly popular, easy to learn and offered on a number of cruise lines. A Princess Cruises class is shown above.*
You might alternatively head to Princess Cruises (www.princess.com) for that line’s newest dance event, aptly called “Ballroom Blitz.” Guests learn the basics of ballroom dancing with special lessons throughout their cruise. Then they show off their best moves in a series of evening competitions. In a royal approach befitting Princess’ name, the most savvy dancers will be “crowned” as winners.
On 14-day or longer cruises, dance hosts sail onboard Holland America Line(www.hollandamerica.com). The line’s dance team also teaches ballroom dancing on longer "Grand Cruise" voyages.
Want to see yourself on tv? On the Grand World Voyage, a ballroom dance show is conducted at cruise’s end and taped for showing on the ship’s onboard television system. On shorter cruises, Holland America sometimes offers dance on sea days or as part of “70s” and “Country” nights.
In a resemblance to “So You Think You Can Dance,” Royal Caribbean International (www.royalcaribbean.com) expanded its onboard dance offerings earlier this year. Now eight new lines dances have been introduced.
Royal Caribbean’s fleetwide Explorer Academy program also offers dance classes in salsa, swing and hip hop. On select ships, guests may take instruction from professional ballroom and Latin dancers.
Guests on Royal Caribbean International, such as these above, have several options for dance training onboard the line's ships.*
In addition to staff-led dance lessons on all MSC Cruises’ (www.msccruises.com) sailings, an 18-night Dance Cruise departs Nov. 26 from Genoa, Italy to Buenos Aires. During this MSC Sinfonia cruise, guests may opt for professional dance lessons in samba, bolero, tango, salsa, country, lambada, mambo, meringue, rumba, cha cha and jazz. Also on tap are dance competitions, a tango show and costumed themed evenings.
On select Caribbean sailings, Costa Cruises (www.costacruises.com) offers “Tarantella Dancing.” This traditional Italian dance is characterized by the rapid whirling of couples and is a favorite traditional dance at celebrations throughout Italy.
Guests on Carnival Cruise Lines (www.carnival.com.com) ships will find many fun dance venues for creating their own dance moves. Varying by ship, Carnival at times also offers country line, swing, rock ‘n roll, and hip-hop dance classes as well as “Austin Powers” and “Saturday Night Fever” dance classes.
Finally, all Norwegian Cruise Line’s (www.ncl.com) repositioning cruises and 10-to-14 day programs feature dance instruction. The Jean Ann Ryan Productions dance duo onboard have been teaching guests the dances with a contemporary flair.
And hey if you’re a real klutz and need extra help or just want to be a perfectionist (thinking of trying out for the national shows perhaps?), you might also opt to book a private dance lesson with that NCL duo at an additional charge.