When we were asked what our most memorable cruise experience was, my husband and I gave each other a little grin, knowing our answer would be the same. People are surprised to hear our answer, because it wasn’t a particular excursion or event. Dogsledding in Alaska? Snorkeling in the Virgin Islands? Nah, it was October 2004, and while I had been on a cruise before, my husband hadn’t. My first cruise sort of didn’t really count, because I was a teenager on a VERY old and outdated ship. We’d finally saved up for our first cruise as a married couple and couldn’t wait for embarkation day. It was a 7 night cruise to the Mexican Riviera on the Diamond Princess. We’d planned and packed tirelessly, and even bought shiny new luggage. Part of that tireless planning was putting together a list of songs to enjoy on our portable player and speakers. Little did we know, our simple playlist, or “cruise tunes” as we liked to call it, would forever define our voyage.
Embarkation day finally arrived. I proudly rolled my new luggage through the parking lot, and gazed in awe at the massive ship in front of us. The first-day-of-vacay joy set in as we walked the decks, and got the lay of the giant place we’d call our home for the next week. Finally, the muster drill was over, and the sun was sinking lower in the fall sky. We could hear the soft steel drum sounds coming from the lido signaling the start of the sailaway party, but we had other plans. We rushed back to our balcony, uncorked a bottle of wine, and hit the play button for our private sailaway party. “As the rush comes” (Motorcyle Boy) flowed from the portable speakers and seemed to perfectly sync with the event. The ship picked up speed, and the air quickly grew cool and salty as the noise of the port faded in favor of our portable speakers. All these exhilarating elements lined up in harmony with our playlist and filled us with a feeling of excitement and freedom. We had the whole cruise ahead of us. No work. No phones. No email. No responsibility. Just us, the sea, the adventure, and the music.
We spent many more nights on the balcony letting our little portable player serenade us. We took our sweet time dressing to the nines for dinner (EVERY night), as we listened to our playlist and planned the next day. A luxury we’d never have at home, in the rush of our routine of “work, eat, exercise, sleep, repeat”. As we left each port, we’d sit on our balcony, still covered in the salt and sand of the day, and soak in the views, with the music as an emotional backdrop.
Music has such a powerful grip on our memories and experiences, and without a doubt, it can burn those memories a little deeper, with a little more color. It did for us. Our recollections of that trip will always be tied to the songs we played – on repeat. The crew, ports, elegant dinners, and time on our balcony live in our memories forever entwined with our playlist. We had no idea this simple music selection would add so much to the experience and take our cruise to a new sensory level.
Of course, photos and videos will stir these memories, and remind us of the fun we had, but those are certainly more specific and require a bit more intent. For example we’d have to open an album of some sort where, with effort, we find a captured moment. A song on the other hand can suddenly play on the way to work, while I’m shopping, or even cooking dinner. But rather than a specific moment, it will often bring back a feeling – like a feeling of cool salty air, a balcony, freedom and sailaway.
Over 12 years, and 20 cruises, our playlist has grown and changed. Many of the songs on this list are from our 2004 experience, and some are from recent years. We’ve put a snapshot of our favorites below. Of course, music is very personal, and I’m sure our list may seem a bit eclectic to some … or most, but that’s okay. We’re happy to share them with you, and hope you’ll take the time to build YOUR soundtrack for your next sailing.
Happy soundtracking, and we’ll see you on the high seas!
- Edge of the Ocean- Ivy
- Take me away- 4 Strings
- 1000 Oceans- Tori Amos
- As the rush comes- Motorcycle Boy
- Ocean breathes salty- Modest Mouse
- Take you on a cruise- Interpol
- Ocean- The Cure
- Don’t dream it’s over- Crowded House
- Into the Ocean- Blue October
- Oceania- Bjork
- On the sea- Beach House
- Deep Blue- Arcade Fire
- Falling Away with you- Muse
- Come Sail Away- Styx
- So far away- Staind
- Traveling Light – Markus Schulz
- Cerulean- The Ocean Blue
- Walk on the Ocean- Toad the Wet Sprocket
- Porcelain- Moby
- Sail- Awolnation
- Pure Shores- All Saints (The Beach Soundtrack)
- Fire in the water- Feist
- South of the Border- Patsy Cline
- South of the Border- Chris Isaak
- Breathe- Telepopmusik
- Down by the Seaside- Robert Plant, with Tori Amos
- Good Feeling- FloRida
- Good Life- OneRepublic