It is Day 3 of the inaugural sailing of Botti at Sea ’24, one of the most highly anticipated cruise programs in the history of Jazz Cruises. Every stateroom was filled with either an amazing performer or an eager guest, both groups ready to have a great week at sea. So far, this sailing has exceeded even the highest expectations. Cruise Emcee Mario Vines started the festivities with a Champagne Sail Away event, that was filled with dancing and a lot of very happy faces. Upon its conclusion, the guests began the nightly schedule of events, with half of them heading to their first dining experience on the ship and the other half scurrying to Chris Botti in concert. In a few hours, these groups would swap places and the enjoyment would continue.

Chris Botti’s show was a tour de force, led off with a duet rendition of “O’ Danny Boy” with Chris and David Foster followed by 100 minutes of great music and performances by the various members of Chris’s stellar band and a special guest performance by Katharine McPhee. Beginning the cruise with a concert by our host was the perfect first night as no one can set the tone for the Chris Botti at Sea Cruise better than the man himself. Take 6 took over the entertainment from there and served as the late-night capper to an amazing first day and night of the cruise. As we have shared several times, Take 6 can make it work on any cruise we do. They are simply top, top talent and so much fun to be around.

Day 2 music events included the traditional T-Shirt Party featuring the Emmet Cohen Organ Band. Besides being one of the very best jazz pianists in the world, Emmet is honing his skills on the Hammond B-3. If it has a keyboard, Emmet can make it work. The pool area was filled with guests donning their Botti at Sea T-Shirts and enjoying the festivities.

Several interview sessions were held including Alonzo Bodden interviewing Wycliffe Gordon, Emmet Cohen interviewing John Splithoff, Taylor Eigsti interviewing Lisa Fischer, and, of course, Chris Botti’s interview of David Foster. The Main Show featured the comedy of Alonzo Bodden and the musical majesty of Gregory Porter.

Jazz Cruises paired Alonzo and Gregory in Las Vegas a few months ago, a landmark event that sold out The Smith Center. Many have told us that this show was one of the most successful jazz shows ever produced in Las Vegas. Mainly due to the time of the year (August), several local producers were skeptical of the show, but Jazz Cruises knew that any show that has Alonzo and Gregory must be a hit.

Well, it is Day 3 and I am off to share The Weekender with a group of guests in my Q & A Session. More than 75% of the guests this week are new to Jazz Cruises, so it will be interesting to see what questions are asked. Hopefully, I will be ready.

This is the last of the “At Sea” editions of The Weekender. Next Saturday’s jazz blab will be written back at home after 33 days at sea, sailing with 8,000 guests and nearly 300 musicians. The post sailing days are bittersweet. Sadness that it is over, but thrilled that everyone had a great time.

Until then, we will be awaiting the music of David Foster, Katharine McPhee, Melody Gardot, Samara Joy, and many more. 5 more days of great music.

By Michael Lazaroff, Executive Director of The Jazz Cruise, The Smooth Jazz Cruise, Chris Botti at Sea and The McDonald & LaBelle Cruise. Feel free to express your views or pose questions to him at [email protected].

Photo Credit: John Abbott


Once again, the second week of The Smooth Jazz Cruise ’24 was an amazing week of great music and great events. Hundreds of photos will soon be available, but for now, check out this sample section from the cruise.


Frank & Rose C. with Rick Braun
Beverly S. – Florida

Guests on the ’24 jazz cruises received The Weekender mug, which we hope you will use with your Saturday morning coffee while you read the latest edition. Please share a picture of yourself & your mug with us so that we can include it for the 100,000+ folks who receive The Weekender each Saturday.

Tag us @thejazzcruise @bottiatsea @thesmoothjazzcruise #jazzcruises and #theweekender. Email your photo to [email protected].

Jazz Cruises’ ’25 Programs

The Jazz Cruise ’25
Celebrating its 25th Anniversary

The Jazz Cruise ’25 is 82% reserved and is currently in “Open Booking,” where anyone may reserve any available stateroom. You may view current stateroom availability and start your reservation on the website now.

The Smooth Jazz Cruise ‘25.1 & ‘25.2
Starting its 3rd Decade

With both sailings being fully reserved, guests wishing to sail on a ’25 sailing of The Smooth Jazz Cruise should JOIN WAITLIST now. Cancellations will be filled exclusively from the WAITLIST.

Botti at Sea II
(’25 Sailing)

Botti at Sea II began “Open Booking” on March 5, 2024 and is over 50% reserved. Anyone may reserve any available stateroom either by calling the office during regular business hours or doing so online.

Journey of Jazz ’25
Jazz Life at Sea & On Land 

Jazz Cruises’ newest program, Journey of Jazz ’25, hosted by Marcus Miller & Gregory Porter is currently in the stateroom Selection Process for Pre-Sale Reservation holders. “Open Booking” will begin on April 30, 2024.

For more information about the cruise, the lineup of musicians (as of today), full itinerary, pricing and reservation process, go to www.journeyofjazz.com.

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