Festival At Sea, a Black Cruise group photo

Festival At Sea, the  Black Cruise group photo on deck; (c) Blue World Travel

Black Cruises

For first-time cruisers or infrequent cruisers, consider the following “Cruising 101 Tips.”

Cruise Line Operators:
Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian, Holland America, Celebrity, and many others own very large cruise ships for multi-day journeys. They follow strict onboarding & offboarding schedules, so be timely. Big Cruise Line Operators are required to follow Cruise Ship Law which is a bit convoluted because the ports of call in so many nations have different laws. The big brands do, however, attempt to follow high sanitary and safety standards. If something is not right in your room, report it to the Cruise Line Operator staff. Some Cruise Line Operators include one-day excursion activities on an island they own.

Cruise Group Operators:
The groups listed below organize themed cruises for groups, in this case, Black Cultural Cruises. Some cruises take up a quarter, half, or all of a ship big cruise ship. Other Black Cultural Cruises may have groups of 100-200. The largest Cruise Group Operators have staff to help your journey be more comfortable or better informed. They also tend to have the best entertainment. Only Cruise Group Operators can answer questions about their pricing and services.

Shore Excursion Operators
Independent operators who arrange dining, shopping, cultural tours, snorkeling, and other activities. Their quality and pricing vary. In the Passenger Welcome pitch & brochures, Cruise Line Operators will provide extensive lists. Some have special arrangements with local businesses and receive a commission on sales from tourists in their group. The largest and oldest Cruise Group Operators sometimes have connections with Shore Excursion Operators too. Focus on the Price-Value of the shore excursions you want.

Busiest Domestic & International Cruise Ports
The busiest cruise ports typically have more amenities. From America’s Lower 48 states to the Caribbean, Mexico & Alaska consider excursions from Port Canaveral on Space Coast, Miami, Port Everglades Fort Lauderdale, Galveston, New York & New Jersey, New Orleans, Tampa, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Baltimore. If cruising to the Southern Caribbean consider excursions from Puerto Rico or St. Thomas USVI. In Europe, consider excursions from Barcelona, Civitavecchia, Southhampton, and Marseille.

Packing for a Cruise    TSA ID Requirements    Hurricane Status    Travel Insurance Pros & Cons

Established Black Cruises

White Night Deck Party on Festival At Sea

Experience White Night Deck Party on Festival At Sea; (c) Blue World Travel

Festival At Sea
PORTS: Bahamas, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas & St. Maarten
SHIP: Celebrity Reflection
DATES: 8 Nights from July 13-21, 2024 (SOLD OUT, get on the Wait List)
WEBSITE: https://www.festivalatsea.com
ITINERARY: In 1992, 31 years ago, Blue World Travel launched the first African American cultural cruise program — Festival at Sea (FAS). Today, FAS welcomes about 3,000 passengers from around the world to celebrate a curated Black culture experience that honors the essence and traditions of the African American diaspora. Some signature events include an African Attire Night, the UNCF Bachelor Auction, annual DJ and Comedian competitions, Stomp The Deck Step Show and White Night Deck Party. FAS curates the whole itinerary with activities for every type of passenger – including Speed Dating, Gospel Brunch, Worship Service, Bible Study, Bid Whist, Dominoes, daily Dance & Fitness classes,, African-American Idol, Urban Ballroom Dancing, Family Feud, Jewelry Raffle Giveaway, 2-on-2 Basketball Tournament, Renewal of Wedding Vows and much more. Not to be forgotten, every year FAS provides top name entertainment. Past acts have included, Charlie Wilson, Ledisi, Kem, Jazzy Jeff, Slick Rick, Bill Bellamy, Babyface, Cedric the Entertainer, Anthony Hamilton, Fantasia, Faith Evans, Zapp Band, Kirk Franklin, Keith Sweat, Musiq Soulchild, Dru Hill, Gary Owen, Mary Mary, En Vogue, Gladys Knight, DL Hughley, Babyface, Tamia, Teddy Riley and many more. Join their mailing list to ensure getting first announcements on their next sailing. Because once you go, then you know!

Friends of Festival at Sea – French River Cruise
PORTS: Arles, Avignon, Rivers, Tournon, Lyon & Paris in France
SHIP: AMA Christina
DATES: August 22 – September 1, 2024, includes a Free 3-night Post-Cruise in Paris
WEBSITE: https://www.festivalatsea.com/xfrance2024/
ITINERARY: If you are looking for more explorative travels, Festival at Sea has an alternative program called Friends. In 1998, Blue World Travel created Friends to help passengers expand their horizons without sacrificing the culture and fun community they had created with FAS. In 2024, they will be collaborating with AmaWaterways to bring their tagline “Cruising with An African-American Twist” to this Soulful Epicurean French River experience onboard the award-winning AMA Kristina. The ship features a walking track, fitness room and bicycles for in-port exploration, a pool with swim-up bar, and specialty restaurants with multi-course dinners made from the fresh local ingredients paired with hand-selected wine and beer or soft drinks. Sail from Arles along the Rhone River through the South of France while you enjoy a superior standard of service, gourmet dining, fine wines, and premium spirits. Take in culture from onboard and on shore. Enjoy a variety of experiences exclusive to this itinerary such as guided tours showcasing jazz, food, win and captivating World War II history all while shining a light on Black culture and history. Festival at Sea provides entertainment from comedian and host Damon Williams, their DJ Al “Your Pal,” dance instructor Wilber McZeal and other signature events and activities from FAS. Check them out and see why you get much more traveling with Friends.

Friends of Festival at Sea will also be exploring the Allure of Asia sailing on the Regent Seven Seas Explorer in 2025 from February 5th-19th visiting Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Hong Kong. See https://www.festivalatsea.com/friends2025/

Capital Super Cruise
A spin-off cruise from the Capital Jazz Concert in the Washington-Baltimore metro area
PORTS: Puerto Rico, Tortola BVI, St. Croix USVI, St. Maarten/St. Martin
DATES: January 15-22, 2023
ITINERARY: Entertainment includes concerts, theme parties, DJ jam sessions, contests, dancing, Open Mic, workshops, card games, karaoke, films, golf tournament, fitness classes

Aventura Latin Dance Cruise
Get your Latin Dance groove on with a ship take-over in the Caribbean
DATES: Febraury 3-7, 2023 and watch here for the 2024 date
PORTS: Miami, Cuba, and the Bahamas
ITINERARY: Features Day & Night Dance Parties, great dance workshops and watch world-class shows in Salsa, Bachata, Cha Cha, Zouk, Kizomba, Reggaeton, Hip-Hop, Merengue & more!

Tom Joyner Fantastic Voyage Cruise
“Party with a Purpose” in the Caribbean with Tom Joyner and friends
PORTS: Fort Lauderdale, Cozumel Mexico, Grand Cayman, Falmouth Jamaica
DATES: May 20-27, 2023
PAST ITINERARY: Entertainment includes concerts, theme parties, DJ jam sessions, contests, dancing, Open Mic, workshops, card games, karaoke, films, fitness classes

Love and Harmony Cruise
A medium size cruise group that emphasizes friendship and good times harmony
DATES: April 4-9, 2023
PORTS: Fort Lauderdale, Ocho Rios, Nassau
ITINERARY: Includes Live Concerts day & night, meet the performers, parties throughout the ship, plus Roots and Afrobeat music

Grown and Sexy Cruise
Calls itself the “Biggest Party at Sea” and you can’t blame them for trying
PORTS: Miami, Great Stirrup Cay Bahamas, Nassau,
DATES: May-26-29, 2023
ITINERARY: Includes 1 Dinner at a specialty restaurant; Events include Theme Parties, the “SEXYFEST” Island beach party on Great Stirrup Caye, the Nassau “WE TURN UP” party, comedy show, karaoke, game shows, contests

Jamrock Reggae Cruise
Jamrock Productions invites you to take a journey to Jamaica
PORTS: Miami, Falmouth Jamaica, Ocho Rios Jamaica
DATES: December 4-9, 2023
ITINERARY: Experience top-tier Reggae artists as they perform in multiple venues on the ship. In addition, there will be sound systems blazing the vibes all day and all night

Smooth Jazz Cruise
Its like a mega-Jazz concert at sea. After the music, enjoy up-close meet-ups with Jazz greats
DATES: 1/25/2024-2/01/2024 and 2/01/2024-2/08/2024
PORTS: Miami, Aruba, Curacao
ITINERARY: An line-up of nightly performances by Marcus Miller, Boney James, Alonzo Bowden, Jeffrey Osborne, Brian Culbertson, Jonathan Butler, Candy Dulfer, Rick Braun, Norman Brown, Mindi Abair, Richard Elliot, Peter White, Vincent Ingala, DW3 and more

Soul Train Cruise
Official cruise of the legendary Soul Train TV show
PORTS: Fort Lauderdale, Tortola BVI, St. Maarten
DATES: January 23-February 3, 2024
ITINERARY: An incredible line-up of nightly Soul, Funk, and R&B performances by The Temptations, Boyz II Men, Stephanie Mills, En Vogue, Melba Moore, Tower of Power, The Dramatics, Rose Royce, and War; activities include Dance the Soul Train Line, dance lessons from original Soul Train Dancers, 25+ Celebrity-hosted events, panel discussions, artist Q&A sessions, happy hours, game shows, wine tasting, trivia contests, Karaoke, pool parties and more

Huddle On The Sea Cruise
Join sexy, accomplished, beautiful people at sea
PORTS: Miami, Dominican Republic, Aruba, Curaçao
DATES: February 10-18, 2024
ITINERARY: Includes Lypc-Sync Battle, Bad & Boozy Beach Bash 2, HOTS Play Date, Pre-Super Bowl Tailgate Party, Trick or Treat Costume Party, HOTS Fitness

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10 replies

    Hello, I just found this site. Is there any updated information on cruises for 2022 or 2023 and beyond? Do you plan cruises on any other beside Carnival or Royal Caribbean (like Celebrity)? Thansl, Paul JC

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