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Malt Shop Memories Cruise

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If you have never taken a music cruise, trust me, it takes cruising to a whole new level, far better than you ever imagined. It’s like the sum of one plus one becomes three as you become completely esconced in a world where the music is the only thing that matters.

There are several music cruises that are so successful they have been running every year for over a decade now; the Smooth Jazz Cruises and the Sixthman Rock & Roll cruises, for example. Malt Shop Memories is a new idea from the same people who produce the Smooth Jazz Cruises. This will be the second annual Malt Shop Memoties cruise.

The actual cruise features hit artists from the 50’s including Chubby Checker, Little Anthony & the Imperials, Shirley Alston Reeves—Original Lead of the Shirelles, The Crystals, The Original Drifters, The Tymes, and the DelRays.

Chubby Checker will be onboard – and the cruise just happens to correspond to the 50th anniversary of The Twist, a dance and a song that Chubby (real name Ernest Evans, but his nickname is “Checker,” not Chubby) made ultra famous in the early 1960s.

Other guests on the bill include The Beach Boys and a great Elvis tribute artist, Shawn Klush (this guy looks more like Elvis in his heyday than Elvis did five years later).

Some of the songs these artists had hits with include:

Beachboys – lead songwriter Brian Wilson is considered a songwriting genous who had an ear for harmony that inspired the Beatles and more. Their hits include: “Fun, Fun, Fun,” “I Get Around,” “Help Me Rhonda,” “California Girls” and the Grammy nominated “Good Vibrations.” Many years later, in 1988, he wrote the chart-topping hit “Kokomo.”

Chubby Checker started with “The Twist,” but he followed it up with : The Hucklebuck (#9), Pony Time (#1), The Mess Around (#24), The Fly (#7), Slow Twistn’ (#3), Limbo Rock (#2), Jingle Bell Rock (#21), Popeye (#10), Dancin’ Party (#12), as well as the first Certified Platinum single ever, “Lets Twist Again.” Chubby had 10 double sided hits and according to Billboard was one of the top charting Artists in 59,60,61,62, & 63.

Jay Black may not be a household name, but he should be. His fame was somewhat overshadowed by the Beatles arrival in 1963, but starting in 1962 he had hit records with these songs: “Cara Mia,” “Come a Little Bit Closer,” “Some Enchanted Evening,” “This Magic Moment,” “Walkin In The Rain,” “Sunday And Me,” (Neil Diamond’s first hit as a songwriter) and “Only In America.”

Shawn Klush is now largely recognized as one of the world’s top professional Elvis Tribute Artist. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Shawn began imitating his musical idol, Elvis Presley, in the Poconos region followed by a tour of Canada where he entered and won the $5,000.00 prize in the “Worldwide Elvis Competition” in Montreal. This caught the attention of the award winning Las Vegas show, “Legends in Concert” where in 2004 he starred as ‘Elvis’ in their Branson MO. production. He also alternated in their Las Vegas and Atlantic City show rooms. Each January he stars in the “Elvis Birthday Tribute Tour”, an Elvis extravaganza with Elvis’ own musicians, singers, and friends, in major venues in multiple cities.

The Malt Shop cruise was originally scheduled to take place in May of 2011, but it was re-scheduled for Oct 27-31. The ship is Carnival Inspiration sailing out of Tampa to Freeport, Bahamas, on a four night cruise with two days at sea for full immersion in the music.

Prices start as low as $789 per person, or a single cabin can be had for just $1099. The cruise includes passage, all meals and entrance to all of the music-related events. This includes an Elvis tribute contest which will be judged by Shawn Klush. Othert activities include a “Prom Night”, a sock hop, a twist contest, a beach party, dance lessons, karaoke and the usual shipboard activites like bingo, casino, swimming, fitness center, etc. This ia full ship charter however so the regular cruise entertainment will be replaced by the Maltshop Memories concerts.

For more information or to book the cruise go to Malt Shop Memories. This cruise can only be booked through the producers, not through a travel agent.

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Comment from judia12000
Time March 8, 2011 at 2:32 pm

This sounds like an absolute blast. I did a rock & roll cruise on Costa a couple of years ago and it was incredible. Not in this article, but in another cruisemates piece I saw mention of an upcoming Beatles theme cruise on Silversea hosted by Joe Johnson and Beatles Brunch. I sailed his Beatles cruise aboard Regent (believe it was Radisson at the time) and that was outstanding as well. It’s curious though about the Beatles sailings: They always seem to pick high-end ships when you’d think they’d attract many, many more follwers on a more mass market line. The Beatles trip was incredible: A Beatles tribute band who (particularly “John Lennon”) looked and sounded identical to the real thing. Each night, they’d perform a different period of the Beatles’ music, complete with costumes–early Beatles, Sgt. Pepper, Abby Road. And a wonderful acoustic set by the pool, Beatles film on the in-cabin TV, Beatles music over the sound system, contests, quizzes, tons of prizes. After that trip a friend saw a photo of me with one of the members of the tribute band and said “When did you meet John Lennon?” As I said: EXACTLY like the Beatles!

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time March 9, 2011 at 6:43 am

I have not cruised on a themed cruise such as the one mentioned above. They are not new, in fact, they were very popular during the 1980’s, and early ’90’s.

Back then the cruise lines that had dedicated cruises with the Golden Oldies, or “Malt Shop” theme were the more casual lines, notably, NCL, RCL and Carnival. There others as well.

It is of vital importance that these cruises be assembled with the artists, original or not, as a living testament to our unique musical culture in the USA, and to present this in a hands on, let it all hang out dance and sing blast at sea.

So many of us BOOMERS grew up with this music, and although our tastes may have changed, musically, the artists and songs remain. Gotta love it all!

Comment from Robbie
Time April 23, 2011 at 3:36 am


“Kokomo” was written “on spec” by Papa John Phillips and his old friend Scott McKenzie, whose hit “San Francisco” was written by Papa John. The pair specifically wrote the song for Beach Boy type harmonies and gave pieces of the songwriting credit to lead vocalist Mike Love and producer Terry Melcher (Doris Day’s son and regretful Charles Manson musical collaborator).

Due to scheduling conflicts Brian Wilson had nothing to do with Kokomo, even though the vocal arrangement is a perfect pastiche of his style.

I am waiting to be an invited guest on one of these themed cruises, once we reach the 1981 California Hardcore generation!

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