Supporting everything the musical theatre arts scene has to offer, the revered BRAVO Cruise Of Performing Arts celebrates its fifth year in 2018 with one of the biggest line-ups yet. The luxurious eight-night cruise, which visits ports in Noumea, Mystery Island and Lifou, is headlined this year by the likes of award-winning performer, actor and host Todd McKenny and ARIA and two-time Helpmann Award winner Teddy Tahu Rhodes, taking more than 40 esteemed artists onboard.
Over the years since its maiden cruise in 2014, BRAVO has become one of the most popular events under the Choose Your Cruise brand, which is also responsible for Cruisin’ Country, Cruise N Groove and Rock The Boat. It regularly sells out well in advance and sees many cruise-goers returning annually. It isn’t just the passengers heading back onboard either, many of the artists are BRAVO veterans and continue to add the cruise to their touring schedule. In fact, Teddy Tahu Rhodes was one of the headliners on the very first BRAVO cruise and returns by popular demand. Other illustrious artists such as renowned singer and conductor Jonathon Welch (from Choir Of Hard Knocks fame) and all-round musical entertainer Guy Noble return again for the 2018 cruise.
Choose Your Cruise’s Caitlin Manov says there is something special about the BRAVO brand that sees people return year-after-year. “Combining the luxury that comes with cruising and the experience of a musical holiday is what sets BRAVO apart from the rest,” she says. “We strive to create an intimate and immersive atmosphere for our guests which leave them with a sense of being a part of something, rather than just a passenger on board.”
Passengers can indeed expect luxury aboard the 2,466 passenger Radiance Of The Seas vessel. Described as an ‘all-consuming music cruise’, there is a host of live entertainment across different style venues, specialty dining and an array of theme nights, artist meet-and-greet opportunities, as well as day tours at port. Visiting the paradise that is the French Capital of New Caledonia, passengers will be treated to palm trees and fine beaches of Baie des Citrons and Anse Vata. The ship will anchor at Baie du Santal off of the small town of Easo on Lifou, the largest island on New Caledonia’s Loyalty Islands. The perfect location for snorkelling and forest walks, passengers will be able to experience an open-air market and palm-fringed sandy beaches. In addition, the port of Mystery Island – a tiny uninhabited isle at the southern end of the Vanuatu group of Islands – will see passengers board tenders to this deserted beach of pure white sand and coral reefs.
It is all these things together – the port experiences, the onboard atmosphere and the amazing performances that make BRAVO one of the most well-loved ‘music festivals at sea’. Caitlin says that a week of music, excellent food and service is a real luxury. “There are not many opportunities where you would see a show and have a waiter hand-deliver a drink to your seat or having the convenience of your room just a short walk away from the venue, where you are greeted to fresh sheets and a turndown service before you go to bed each night,” she says. “Having the opportunity to see a different performer each night in the beautiful Aurora Theatre which spans over three levels gives our guests the experience of a large-scale theatre show, however you are in the comfort of your seat in a more intimate setting alongside passengers who share the same love for music as you do. This is what sets us apart from the rest.”
Pulling together just the right mix of artists to perform together is always a challenge, but something that BRAVO excels at year-after-year. The 2018 cruise sees some of the best on the coveted line-up, including The Celtic Tenors, Cheryl Barker, Peter Coleman-Wright, Tom Burlinson, Rhonda Burchmore, Mirusia, Peter Cousens, Rachael Beck, Clem Leske and Antoinette Halloran. The popular In Conversation series returns again, this year with David Prior.
“BRAVO is a cruise experience that encompasses everything under the performing arts banner from opera, to musical theatre, jazz, cabaret, and even dance to create an atmosphere like no other,” says Caitlin. Creating a line up which has the right balance of genres and which compliments the other artists is something we like to take our time with when preparing for a new cruise. Each year, we have a slight variation in the theme, with 2018’s having a focus on Australian artists and musical theatre. It is very important to find the suitability of artists on a line-up, so it is not just a collection of performers on a bill. Luckily, many of the wonderful performers onboard have musically collaborated previously, which makes for some very special moments on board which are unique to BRAVO.”
There are also acclaimed choirs and orchestras that round out the 2018 line-up, such as the returning Bravo Choir and The Metropolitan Orchestra. Other acclaimed artists onboard include Henry Choo, George Washingmachine, Libby O’Donovan, Swing Force Big Band, Cathrine Summers and The Pacific Belles. There are also workshops with Jonathon Welch and other great opportunities to get to know the artists onboard. The week will be unforgettable to say the least.
“Having such a wide selection of musicians right at your disposal for a week at sea is an experience you would not be able to find anywhere else, especially on land,” says Caitlin. “Many of our passengers live in rural areas or are unable to frequently make it into the city to see performers on a regular basis, so having the opportunity to see over thirty high calibre artists in such a short period of time is a very special event to many people. The intimacy of being up close and personal with internationally acclaimed artists is also a very special feature for guests on board BRAVO – having opportunities to meet the artists during our meet and greet session provides a unique opportunity for our passengers to get up close and personal with the performers.”
Tickets for the 2018 BRAVO Cruise Of Performing Arts [13th – 21st November 2018] are on sale now, departing from Sydney. Prices start from $2,748 per person twin share (interior stateroom).