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Malt Shop Cruise

Erin De Santiago
Musicians playing in jazz band

Taking place once a year, the Malt Shop Memories Cruise is a rock-and-roll experience that takes you down memory lane to the late 1950s and early 1960s. This cruise is ideal for anyone who grew up in this great era, or music lovers who identify with the legendary period. It is considered one of the biggest rock-and-roll parties at sea, and not surprisingly, it sells out every year!

Malt Shop Memories Cruise Essentials

The cruise takes place on the Holland America Line's MS Nieuw Amsterdam, a Signature-class cruise ship with spacious staterooms that average 25 percent larger than some other ships, with private verandahs that are 50 percent larger on average. The Nieuw Amsterdam has the capacity to accommodate over 2,000 passengers, and it's one of the newer ships in the fleet, dedicated in 2010 by Queen Maxima of the Netherlands.

Travel Itinerary

For 2018, the cruise departs on Sunday, November 4th from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. You have three days at sea, and ports of call include Turks & Caicos, St. Kitts & Nevis, and Puerto Rico. The ship returns to Fort Lauderdale on November 11.

2018 Entertainment Lineup

What makes this cruise so desirable is the lineup of legendary musicians and stars. For 2018, a few of the headliners include:

  • Frankie Avalon
  • Four Tops
  • Chubby Checker
  • Little Anthony and the Imperials
  • The Coasters
  • Sha Na Na
  • The Chantels

The annual lineup may change, but many of these legends are regulars, and have performed on prior Malt Shop Memories Cruises.

What's Included?

The cruise packages for this annual voyage include:

  • Themed Events: A big highlight is the Sock Hop, complete with dance instructors. The onboard prom encourages passengers to wear nostalgic prom attire. Other themed events include more than 25 celebrity-hosted events, trivia contests, karaoke, game shows, vow renewal services, and pool parties.
  • Dining and Service: Meals in the main dining room are included, while specialty restaurants like the Pinnacle Grill, Canaletto, and Tamarind cost extra and require reservations.

There are several things that are not included in the base cost of the trip.

  • Bottled beverages: Water, soda, energy drinks, beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages are all extra.
  • Onboard purchases: If you purchase anything in the gift shop, that's on your own account.
  • Onboard services: Spa services, excursions, internet access, and other similar services are out of pocket as well.

Pricing, Cabins and Discounts

Cabin prices range from just over $2,100 per person for an interior cabin up to the Penthouse Suite for over $6,000 per person. These prices are for "freshmen," or people who have never sailed on one of these cruises. There is a special "alumni" rate that will provide a small discount as well as special pricing on other similar cruises if scheduled. Contact (844) 855-MALT for current information on this year's special alumni rate.

A number of cabin types are already sold out with a waiting list available, so it pays to book as far in advance as possible. Guests who may be interested in payment plans will find there are several options available, including standard, monthly, or semi-annual plans. Military discounts of 5 percent are available with proof of ID.

Solo travelers for this special cruise can inquire about the limited number of solo rates that are available. If they are sold out, guests will have to pay the single supplement, which is essentially the cost of two people. They may have a list available with others looking for a roommate, which would help defer the cost.

Guest Reviews

Past reviews are pretty positive. With this being a specialty charter cruise, the passenger list consists of die hard 50s and 60s music fans. Guests love the musical acts and themed activities. Cruise Diva noted they loved being on a ship with all like-minded people who shared the same interests. A Cruise Critic reviewer had plenty of praise for this event, with only a slight hiccup at debarkation, which had nothing to do with the charter aspect of the specialty cruise itself.

Tips for a Memorable Vacation

The least expensive and the most expensive cabins are the ones that seem to sell out the soonest, based on current availability. If you can't make this year's Malt Shop Memories charter, set a calendar reminder to inquire about booking the 2019 event as soon as booking is open. Also, if you're interested in similar musical-themed cruises, check out the lineup of charter cruises Soul at Sea has. There is everything from concerts at sea to specialty genres like country or disco.

If you do secure a cabin reservation, go all out and have fun. Hit up the thrift stores and vintage shops and get period-era clothing for the trip. And, even though this cruise takes place in November, don't forget to wear plenty of sunscreen and stay hydrated in the Caribbean. There's nothing worse than dealing with a painful sunburn and subsequently peeling for your "prom night" photos!

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Malt Shop Cruise