Celebrity’s At-Sea Music Fest: Brilliant Marketing or a Huge Risk?

July 18, 2012 | By | 1 Comment

A Southern California desert institution will become a floating festival, undoubtedly attracting one of the youngest groups of passengers ever to sail on a Celebrity Cruises ship.
The promoters behind Coachella, the annual music and art fest held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, have unveiled the S.S. Coachella, AKA the 2,886-passenger Celebrity Silhouette. The ship’s manifest for a pair of short December 2012 cruises will include headliners Pulp, Hot Chip, Yeasayer and Girl Talk, as well as more than a dozen other outfits that rank high on the hipster scale.

Both cruises sail roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. A three-night version leaves December 16 and calls in Nassau, Bahamas; a four-nighter sails on December 19 and stops in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Per-person prices range from $500 (four people sharing an inside) to $9,000 (two in a Royal Suite); load the Royal Suite up with four and you’ll pay $4,500 each for the four-nighter. Bookings open on Saturday.
The land-to-sea metamorphosis of a music fest doesn’t come as much of a surprise given the rapidly expanding music cruise niche, which has seen the likes of Kid Rock, John Mayer and, most recently, Weezer sign up to sail in the past few years.
Still, the news sparked an immediate reaction on the Cruise Critic message boards, with some approving of Celebrity’s focus on a younger demographic, with others worried what will become of the line’s newest ship in the hands of 3,000 revelers.
“I am having one of those ‘I am SO over 50 and am such a fuddyduddy’ moments. I took a look at [the lineup] and have to admit that I don’t recognize any of them. But as a shareholder I think this is an excellent idea,” posted Northern Aurora.
The opportunity to showcase Silhouette to a captive audience of ostensible first-timers has likewise lured Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival into the music theme cruise business.
But many veteran cruisers were startled at the decision — they argued that Coachella, known for its free-flowing vibe and makeshift tent city, and Celebrity, an “upper premium” line catering to a relatively affluent 50-plus set, did not harmonize. Some voiced concern over the fate of the 2,886-passenger Silhouette Lawn Club, which features a half-acre of real grass. “They are taking a huge risk with a new ship,” wrote travelinggirl70. “And, the week before a Christmas cruise when people are paying top dollar, there will be a lot of unhappy campers if there is visible damage on the ship.”
What do you think? Sound off in the comments.
Curious about the ship tha’ll become a floating concert venue? Check out our Celebrity Silhouette review.
Check out other theme cruises.
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    One Response to “Celebrity’s At-Sea Music Fest: Brilliant Marketing or a Huge Risk?”

    1. Jonathon
      July 19th, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

      This would be ideal for Carnival but so not Celebrity Cruises.

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