OUR TAKE: Flipping the Script

For the past few years, Jazz Cruises has declared a few days around July 4th to be our Midsummer Holiday. Usually, that is a slower time of year, but the main reason for the break is to offset our necessity to keep regular hours during the year-end holidays. While most of the entertainment world is involved in the “’Tis The Season to be Merry” festivities, we are putting the final touches on our January and February cruises. The upcoming July 4 – 14, 2024 hiatus is meant to compensate.

With our first sailing (The Jazz Cruise ’25) not until January 28, 2025, we have more time this year, but we continued our tradition of this holiday, nonetheless. In part, because the break comes at a good time, as you will learn below, and, in part, because my first ever trip to Wimbledon, while heavily-insured, is too tempting to cancel. Yes, we believe in purchasing Travel Insurance as well as advising our guests to do so! To keep up appearances as a supporter of the art of jazz, we will be visiting Pizza Express and Ronnie Scott’s while in London.

Believe it or not, one of the artists we will be seeing is our very own Marcus Miller, who has a long set of shows at Ronnie Scott’s. For years, our UK friends have jumped the pond to spend time with us listening to jazz. Just the beginning of our theme for this note, “flipping the script.”  

I mentioned that this time of the year is a perfect “break” for us. Our year is divided into four parts, in terms of our focus — January and February we spend at sea mostly, presenting our programs. March through the end of June sees us in full launch mode for the sailings of the next year. Mostly, we are reserving staterooms, finalizing lineups and sharing that information with our guests.

The time after July 4th through Halloween is spent in two ways: We are either creating and finalizing the programming for the upcoming cruises or preparing lineups and other information for the launch of the next set of cruises. These activities are not linear. We flip back and forth all the time, dedicating certain days for Performance Schedules, Programming and Special Events and some time for new lineups, website improvements and guest correspondence. Once we hit Halloween, it is full go on the production of the upcoming sailings. When we are closer to those dates, we can share some stories with you.

By now, you have either forgotten or no longer care to learn about why this note is titled “Flipping the Script.” Sorry, but I cannot let you off that easily. In part, out of curiosity and, in part, to either confirm or deny our recent conclusions, rather than us telling you something, we are asking you to “tell us what you think.”

Specifically, share with us the 3 – 5 aspects, events or elements of one or more of our cruise programs that you enjoy the most and 3 – 5 of such items that you would prefer us to either delete or modify in some way. Please identify the cruise you are assessing somewhere in your note. We would hate to remove an item on Cruise #1 that was a sticking point on Cruise #2!

Bullet points are sufficient. No need to explain in detail why you like or dislike something, but, if you believe that a description would assist us, feel free to add one. Send your notes to us at [email protected]. We may respond back to you asking for more information or posing questions for you to consider. Your participation would be greatly appreciated. Let’s shoot for all incoming guest emails be delivered to us by June 30. And all responses from us by July 31.

From the inception of our cruise programs, we made it clear that our goal is to present the type of cruise programs that our guests want to experience. Given the popularity of the programs, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that not everything we do is loved by all and that we may not realize what elements of the cruises are “gold” to our guests. We think we know these things, but it has been a while since we have asked you to share.

Granted, most of our guest information is gathered anecdotally and our guests, never known for their shyness, frequently share their thoughts with us via email or by phone. We do our very best to respond in a timely manner, but sometimes the volume of emails causes us to miss one or two or not respond as we would like to do. By this process, you sending us your comments by email, we will have the holiday time to carefully review each submission.  

St. Louis to London is a long plane ride. Reading your mail will make that trip go by very quickly.

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


Clarinetist and saxophonist Ken Peplowski, a longtime regular of The Jazz Cruise, has just released his second album of the year. Live at Mezzrow was recorded at the intimate jazz club in NYC and features Ken with Ted RosenthalMartin Wind and Willie Jones III, performing several jazz classics as well as some lesser-known gems.

“This is my favorite way to record,” Ken explained. “I like to work on song material for a year or two, find some interesting tunes that are not so often played, revive some tunes that I haven’t played in years, and just go in with friends and record in a set up like a band on stage and play through the music, warts and all, and that’s exactly what we did.”


As mentioned in the “Our Take,” the offices of Jazz Cruises will be closed starting at 2:00 PM ET on July 3 through July 14 for a Midsummer Vacation. We will reopen at the usual time (10 AM ET) on Monday, July 15, 2024. During this time, guests may complete reservations online, check their Jazz Cruises account and submit questions to us at [email protected]. Responses may take a bit longer, but we will answer all questions submitted.

All of us at Jazz Cruises wish you and yours a happy, fun and safe July 4th holiday. Whether you spend it on the beach, at a pool, on the deck or just lounging, every holiday deserves a few hours of great jazz! Do not live without it!


The Jazz Cruise ’25
Celebrating its 25th Anniversary
The Last 90 Staterooms…Act Now! 

The plans for the 25th Anniversary sailing of The Jazz Cruise ’25 are spectacular. The cruise is over 94% reserved and is currently in Open Booking, which means that anyone may reserve any available stateroom. The remaining inventory, totaling just over 80 staterooms, includes Veranda, Ocean View and Inside Staterooms.

The Smooth Jazz Cruise ‘25.1 & ‘25.2
Starting its 3rd Decade
Both Sailings Fully Reserved

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. WAITLIST guests qualify for special terms when reserving a stateroom on The Jazz Cruise ’25 or Botti at Sea II.

Botti at Sea II
Every Night is a Night on the Town
New Performer – Diana Krall! 

Botti at Sea ’25 is over 65% reserved. Anyone may reserve an available stateroom by calling the office during regular business hours or doing so online. It was this time last year that there was a “run” on staterooms, so act now! Diana Krall has just been added to the lineup! 

Journey of Jazz ’25
Jazz Life at Sea & On Land 
Reserve Now – Land Events Menu Soon

Jazz Cruises’ newest program, Journey of Jazz, hosted by Marcus Miller & Gregory Porter, is in Open Booking. Though not sailing for 15 months, the cruise is more than 65% reserved. Menu of land-based events in Victoria and San Francisco to be announced in late July! Reserve your stateroom now to be eligible for events at that time.


1-Day tickets for STL Jazz Fest are now on sale! For details about the festival and information on how to purchase tickets, see below:

Produced by Jazz Cruises
The Factory – Chesterfield (St. Louis) Missouri

Eric Marienthal Quintet, featuring Niki Haris
The Comedy of Alonzo Bodden

Mindi Abair with Eric Marienthal & Friends
The Comedy of Alonzo Bodden

Doors 6 PM / Showtime 7 PM


Beth B.
Dorethea and Charles

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].

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