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Follow along with our cruise journal for photos, videos, and notes from on board the Westerdam
Notes from Your Cruise Host
January 14, 2015
The date March 14, a Saturday, is an ornate illuminated date on my calendar, coming at the end of a busy week of touring through the Carolinas, after a busy winter. On the 12th I’m in Greenville, and on the 13th I fly to Fort Lauderdale, and on the 14th I board the ms Westerdam with my wife and my daughter, on her spring break from school, and sail away to the Caribbean. Back in the bad old days, the show didn’t believe in taking vacations — we did a 50-week season — and I did a five-day-a-week 6 a.m. air shift, but eventually wisdom dawned. The beauty of having March 14 on my calendar is that it stimulates productive creativity through the winter months — you work harder and steadier knowing that on that sunny day you’ll sit on the aft deck with hundreds of others and all sing the national anthem, The Battle Hymn of the Republic, America the Beautiful, I Saw Her Standing There, Brown-Eyed Girl, It’s A Grand Old Flag, et cetera, et cetera, as a warm-up to a week of music and frivolity and companionship. And warmth. Very important for us pale northerners. The polar excesses of January and February are more bearable when you have March 14 and Fort Lauderdale on your calendar.
But you know all of that.
There will be more musicians than ever on this cruise and opportunities for you to play and sing with them, if you wish. Maybe you and I will get to sing a duet. I’m working on my cruise musical, a sequel to Babes on the Baltic — called Cowboys on the Caribbean — and looking forward to Choir Practice and singing in the Crow’s Nest and hanging out with all of you for a week. And then back to radio — New York, Washington, Chicago, Nashville, Seattle, Tanglewood, and back to St. Paul for the Fourth of July. And a summer tour of 25 cities in 30 days, and the Minnesota State Fair in August, and — yes — a new season of the old show starting with the Street Dance in September. Why stop when it’s still so much fun?
September 4, 2014
Up here on the frozen tundra, we know the way to stay buoyant and cheerful through the wintry blast is to schedule a break, preferably in March when winter starts to wear us down, and so we’ve scheduled ours: the Prairie Home Caribbean Week, March 14–21, out of Fort Lauderdale aboard the MS Westerdam, calling at Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Maarten, and Half Moon Cay. It’s only a week because how much sun and sand and coral sea does one need? Not much. A break is good enough and then you’re ready to go home and wait for the ice to melt.
I know people who got a little cabin fever in winter and went and did a desperate thing and moved to Phoenix and they’ve been reaping the whirlwind ever since. A little irritation about snow shoveling drove them to live in a vast air-conditioned wasteland where the grass is brown and feels like Brillo and the weather is hellish for six months a year and you need a hot pad to open your car door. A week in the Caribbean could’ve saved them the trouble and heartbreak.
Space is limited on the PHCaribbean Week because we will be carrying a larger complement of musicians than usual. So book early to make sure you get a berth.
|March 14||Depart 4:00 p.m.||Fort Lauderdale, Florida|
|March 15||At Sea||Caribbean Sea|
|March 16||8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.||Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos|
|March 17||Noon-8:00 p.m.||San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|March 18||8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.||Philipsburg, St. Maarten|
|March 19||At Sea||Caribbean Sea|
|March 20||8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.||Half Moon Cay, Bahamas|
|March 21||Arrive 7:00 a.m.||Fort Lauderdale, Florida|
A Prairie Home Companion Cruise is produced by Prairie Home Productions and presented by American Public Media. Ship’s registry: The Netherlands.