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South America Goes ‘On Location’ — Experience the Tango from Ship to Shore

Dance is an integral part of Latin culture, and on cruises to Argentina the sultry tango takes center stage. As they say it takes two to tango, and through the “On Location” program and a variety of shore excursions Holland America Line offers guests of all ages and abilities an opportunity to get familiar with this feisty dance.

Tango conjures up images of elegant women in beautiful dresses and men in sleek attire, but the dance has origins in the urban lower classes of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Montevideo, Uruguay. The regions’ mixture of European, African and native influences merged and created a distinctive cultural identity. Enthusiasm for the dance spread and today tango is so well-recognized that it was placed on UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage in 2009.

Shall we dance? Guests of all ages and abilities can enjoy tango lessons.

Shall we dance? Guests of all ages and abilities can enjoy tango lessons.

With Holland America Line’s “On Location” program that brings local culture onboard, guests are able to experience the tradition of tango in a number of ways. As you cruise around South America, take advantage of the complimentary tango lessons onboard and learn to dance in a relaxed atmosphere from world-class dance professionals. These classes are separate from “Dancing With the Stars: at Sea” lessons, but the moves can translate from stage to stage! A variety of styles and levels are taught during the entire voyage, ensuring everyone can get in on the fun.

Once you’ve got the steps down head to the Milonga “On Location” event. Milonga is a term for a place or an event where tango is danced. Authentic Argentinian performers, including dancers, singers and a traditional bandoneon player, set the tempo at the tango-themed parties. Guests even have the opportunity to dance with world champion tango dancers throughout the evening.

Mix with the dance pros at the Milonga.

Mix with the dance pros at the Milonga.

“It’s amazing to see guests night after night packing the Ocean Bar dance floor to watch our world champion tango performers. The informality of Milongas is the perfect way for guests to truly experience firsthand the South American culture without leaving the vessel.”

– John Mann
Holland America Line “On Location” Talent Scout

Toward the end of the cruise guests are treated to a particularly wonderful performance in the ship’s main theater. “Tango Pasión” is a highlight of all of the tango activities. The program showcases the talents of professional dancers who have dedicated their lives to tango music and dance in an intimate cabaret-style performance. They are the same pros who teach lessons throughout the cruise, so it is especially exciting to see them let loose and perform to their fullest abilities. The show is extremely popular with high energy and passion, so be sure to catch their performance.

The dancers and musicians showcase their talents at Tango Pasión.

The dancers and musicians showcase their talents at Tango Pasión.

With all of the “On Location” tango offerings you need not even step ashore in order to enjoy the culture of Argentina. However, going ashore means more marvelously entertaining tango shows! If you’re enjoying the tango onboard be sure to check out the Tango: A Night of Passion & Desire with Dinner shore excursion at Buenos Aires. The tour takes you to one of the most iconic tango theaters in Buenos Aires for a special performance by exceptional professionals who will leave you breathless with their skills, timing, passion and stamina.

A tango show ashore in Argentina.

A tango show ashore in Argentina.

Enjoy drinks and a sumptuous three-course dinner in opulent surroundings while the artists get ready for the tango show. Then, you’ll be amazed by the intensity and precision of the dancers, singers and live orchestra as they take you on exquisitely choreographed journey through the ages of Argentina’s most celebrated dance.

At Buenos Aires enjoy dinner and a show with Tango: A Night of Passion & Desire.

At Buenos Aires enjoy dinner and a show with Tango: A Night of Passion & Desire.

Whether you get up and dance yourself, or choose to watch, tango is an exciting addition to South American cruises. Zaandam will be cruising 19-21-day South America and Antarctica itineraries in early 2014. These cruises end in Buenos Aires, Argentina. If you want to extend your tango time look into post-cruise hotel packages!

The tango isn’t the only “On Location” program in South America. Guests on voyages to Antarctica aboard ms Prinsendam and ms Zaandam will be joined by a special “Expedition Team.” These world-renowned Antarctica experts will mingle with guests and give history, geology and zoology presentations; wildlife observations; scenic cruising commentary; lead marine animal and bird watching encounters; and host question-and-answer sessions. Read more about the Expedition Team from a previous blog post.

Travelers wanting to see the tango live can cruise aboard Zaandam, left, and Prinsendam in 2015.

Travelers wanting to see the tango live can cruise aboard Zaandam, left, and Prinsendam in 2015.

Have you enjoyed an “On Location” program? Let us know in the comments!

If you’re taking a cruise that visits Buenos Aires, don’t forget that shore excursions can be pre-booked so you get the tour of your choice.

2 Comments
  • margie

    I am looking for a latin dance cruise in the next 6 months, any info..

  • Julie

    Margie, while we don’t have a “Latin Dance Cruise” we do have Dancing with the Stars: at Sea theme cruises, and our South America cruises all feature Latin Dancing. Please contact a travel agent or Holland America Line reservations for more info (hal_reservations@hollandamerica.com).

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