Are Cruise Ships the New Fairgrounds?

How times do change! How many years ago was it that we trekked three kids and a busload of friends (well, it felt like a busload) five hours from home to a concert featuring multiple acts, most of whom we'd never heard of…a couple of stars and a large supporting cast.

Now you can do the same kind of thing just by getting on the Norwegian Pearl.

The ship is the "fairgrounds" for a week of concerts by the star, Blake Shelton, and 24 of his closest fans. Once you get by Shelton, Trace Adkins (left, in "the hat" with Shelton), Easton Corbin and Neal McCoy, the other 21 are up-and-comers or solid performers unfamiliar to most of us…something like that concert in the wilds, many moons ago.

Is this what has happened?

Are cruise ships now the fairgrounds where interested spectators can see not one or two but a whole bunch of singers and musicians do their work, and entertain in the process?

The Blake Shelton and Friends Cruise (no, it doesn't include his wife Miranda Lambert, but that doesn't mean they're not friends) leaves Miami on October 14. On the way to San Juan, St. Thomas (Virgin Islands), Tortola (British Virgin Islands) and Nassau, Shelton and his buds will supply the music in at least three different venues on the Pearl. Country music's current biggest star will be the headliner twice during the cruise, in the Stardust Theater.

It's a promotion operated for Norwegian by Flying Dutchmen Travel and Fan Fair Country Cruises and the price to spend seven days at sea with Blake and Co. starts at $1,099.

We'd offer to take our kids but…well, they might bring their friends.

Golden Princess
14 nights
December 5, 2012
Los Angeles (return): Hilo, Honolulu, Kauai, Maui, Ensenada
Inside: $1,199
Cost per day: $92
www.princess.com

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