In the 1970’s, Norwegian Cruise Line (“NCL”) sponsored an annual jazz cruise on the old SS Norway. This program was a special "group", meaning that the jazz program shared the ship with other passengers. Though this form of jazz cruise had its limitations, it was very successful and provided the foundation for the growth of Entertainment Cruise Productions.
During those early years of NCL’s Jazz Cruise, Anita E. Berry quickly became the largest group leader in terms of the number of guests she produced for the cruise. Eventually her group was so large that NCL asked her to become involved in the production of the cruise, the selection of the artists, the ports-of-call and other aspects of the cruise’s development.
In 2000, NCL decided to terminate their theme cruises. This setback did not stop Anita, who, though just turning 70 years old, decided that she had the resources (guest list, cruise expertise, relationships with musicians and finances) to go it on her own. More than that, she had always wanted the “holy grail” of theme cruises, a full ship charter.
Anita met with Holland America Line, chartered the 1245 passenger m/s Maasdam and created The Jazz Cruise, the first and still only full ship charter in the world dedicated to “straight ahead” jazz. Further, The Jazz Cruise became the beginning of Entertainment Cruise Productions and the pro-type for its future cruise programs
Today, Entertainment Cruise Productions (ECP) is the world's leader in full ship charter music cruises. Since its first sailing, through its various cruise programs, ECP has produced nearly 70 full ship charters featuring music themes as diverse as Rock 'n Roll, Elvis, Soul Train, Celtic, Country Music and several varieties of Jazz. The diversity of music presentations is reflected in our current programs, The Smooth Jazz Cruise, The Jazz Cruise, Blue Note at Sea, The 80s Cruise and Star Trek: The Cruise.
ECP provides the finest music and entertainment cruise experience in the world. Pleasing our guests is our most important goal and objective. To ensure that we achieve this goal, we are on top of every aspect of our cruise programs. A great cruise experience is the accumulation of many, many small steps and tasks. When combined properly, the result is a seamless and fabulous program. We take our company motto very seriously …Your vacation is our business…and we undertake that mission with pride, skill, energy and love.
ECP is unique in this industry for it is the only company that we know that is fully integrated in all aspects of the charter cruise program and operation. Here are just some of the duties that ECP undertakes:
- Selects the cruise line for the specific cruise program
- Establishes the itinerary for the cruises
- Establishes the program and schedule of events for each cruise
- Creates its own special events for each cruise
- Directly hires musicians, crew and staff for the cruises
- Takes, processes and confirms all guest reservations
- Works with the guests to ensure that all of their cruise information is accurate
- Personally staffs the cruises and directs the ships operations for the week of the cruise
In short, Entertainment Cruise Productions does it all! We envision ourselves as a cruise line and we operate accordingly. We do not just lease a ship; we take it over, make the cruise ours and deliver a finished product to our guests that is second to none. The result is the most successful charter cruise company in the world and the happiest guests on the high seas.
Michael Lazaroff (Anita’s son) serves as the Executive Director of Entertainment Cruise Productions and is the driving force behind the company’s growth and current success. Michael was primarily responsible for the development of The Smooth Jazz Cruise, The Smooth Jazz Cruise, hosted by Wayman Tisdale, Dave Koz & Friends at Sea, the 2007 North Sea Jazz Cruise, hosted by Marcus Miller, The Playboy Jazz Cruise™, The Signature Jazz Cruise on Seabournand, with StarVista Time Life, the Malt Shop Memories Cruise, Country Music Cruise, Soul Train Cruise, The 80s Cruise, The Gospel Music Cruise, Blue Note at Sea and Star Trek: The Cruise.
ECP has become the most dominant force in live entertainment at sea, growing a group of cruises that began in the world of jazz, but now includes many music and entertainment genres. Though the focus of the cruises may change, in terms of the type of entertainment, the basic dedication to excellence and to guest satisfaction, which Anita insisted upon during the beginning of the company, lives on today in every aspect of our cruises.
ECP is fortunate to have a core group of talented and dedicated individuals heading its key departments. Dave Jetton (Administrative Director), Dane Butcher (Programming Director) and Joey Fairchild (Production Manager) have combined for more than 30 years of experience at ECP. The rest of the team is combined of other longstanding participants and highly capable newcomers. To continue as a member of the team, each person must do their job with the highest degree of excellence and be committed to creating the perfect guest experience.
What makes an Entertainment Cruise Productions' cruise special? Actually our recipe for success is quite simple. For every cruise that Entertainment Cruise Productions produces, we pledge the following:
- Full ship charters – no other experience can compare
- The best musicians/entertainers that the specific genre can offer
- Venues, sound and music production that are conducive to the best possible experience
- Quality cruise experience in terms of food, service and accommodations
- Attention to detail so that all of our guests will relax and enjoy the cruise
- Interesting and varied ports-of-call
- Enough routine to make you comfortable and enough surprises to make you excited
Entertainment Cruise Productions promises to provide each guest with a cruise vacation unlike any other, where fans of similar interests gather to enjoy the finest musicians/entertainment in their genre in a setting that is exciting, luxurious and fun. To fulfill this promise, the careful and creative execution of our programs and the mindful and meticulous attention to our guests must come first.