The golden fleece: music and cruise ship tourism

Document Type

Book chapter

Publication details

Cashman, D & Hayward, P 2013, 'The golden fleece: music and cruise ship tourism', in S Krüger & R Trandafoiu (eds), The globalization of musics in transit: music migration and tourism, Routledge, New York. ISBN: 9780415640077


Cruise ship tourism has traditionally offered an integrated leisure experience that provides a mobile ‘comfort zone’ for passengers as they move between ports-of-call on prescribed routes. Over the last three decades cruise tourism has increasingly focused on the amenities and environment of the ship rather than the places visited on the cruise. While the latter provide the pretext for cruise ship travel, the industry has geared itself to maximizing opportunities for revenue generation onboard by providing a multi-facetted entertainment experience that often outshines the more limited fare available during brief onshore stopovers. Cruise ships provide a variety of sensory experiences through cuisine, décor, dance and, in particular, music. This chapter analyses the institutional logic, organization and delivery of music on cruise ships. Somewhat paradoxically, local experience remains central to cruise tourists’ pleasure and satisfaction; it is just that the locale for this experience is increasingly the ‘floating pleasure palace’ of the ship itself rather than places visited en route. The tourist in this formulation does not so much travel to encounter the ‘other’ as consume ‘more of the same’ in a carefully cocooned environment.