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Theme Cruises Finale: Join Pro Tony Dovolani on ‘DWTS: At Sea’ in Jan. 2016

Why should you cruise on the final two “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” theme cruises? In addition to the dazzling performances, fantastic costumes, up-close encounters with the show’s stars and the hilariously antics of Carson Kressley, there’s a new addition to the featured talent: Dance Professional Tony Dovolani!

Dance Pro Tony Dovolani.

Dance Pro Tony Dovolani.

In addition to Tony and Carson, the theme cruises also will showcase pro dancer and Mirrorball Trophy winner Kym Johnson, along with America’s favorite TV mom Florence Henderson. The Champions Cruise departs Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Jan. 10, 2016, and the Jan. 3, 2016, theme cruise sets sail the week prior. These voyages mark the final chances to experience “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” programming before the partnership concludes.

When ms Nieuw Amsterdam heads to the Caribbean on the two seven-day voyages, guests will be able to watch these four fan favorites take the stage to perform routines from the hit ABC television show as well as exciting new choreographed dances. Additional events on these cruises include dance lessons with the ship’s professional dancers; a special fashion show featuring glamorous show costumes from the TV show; and a chance to meet the stars, ask questions and take photos with them.

“We are thrilled to have the talents of Tony, Kym, Carson and Florence, entertaining and mingling with our guests on these last two special theme cruises,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “And the Champions Cruise on the Jan. 10 sailing features the exciting grand finale dance-off following a year of guest competitions, and we look forward to crowning a new Mirrorball Trophy winner with the help of these fabulous stars.”

It’s been a wonderful partnership between Holland America Line and Dancing with the Stars over the last few years,” added Ashford. “The program added an engaging element to our cruises that many guests embraced with passion and dedication. We are thankful to Dancing with the Stars and BBC Worldwide for an amazing run.”

If you’re thinking about joining us for these voyages, read about guest Diana’s adventures on a recent “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” cruise to Canada and New England. She shared her experience with the blog and got some assistance from fellow guest Shigeo Morita who contributed many of the great pictures. We think you’ll be convinced to put on your dancing shoes!

CRUISE DIARY: SAILING ON A ‘DANCING WITH THE STARS: AT SEA’ THEME CRUISE
by Guest Diana

Kym and Carson share a laugh on stage.

Kym and Carson share a laugh on stage.

When Holland America Line’s Veedam sailed from Boston a sunny, cool Saturday a couple weeks ago, there was a special vibe in the air from everyone onboard excited to jive, samba and waltz their way through Canada and New England with “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea.”

It didn’t take long for the dancing to begin with the first class of the cruise scheduled right after sailaway. I put on my dancing shoes and headed to Veendam’s Showroom at Sea. The waltz class began with a few words from the host of DWTS: at Sea, Jason Venner, and a video lesson by one of the TV show’s dancing pros, Sharna Burgess. After learning a full Waltz routine, a couple participants were selected for a dance-off. They were scored by a panel and a winner was selected to participate in the guest competition on the final night of the cruise! What a perfect start to the voyage.

On the second day of the cruise, a jive lesson had guests kicking and flicking in no time. Later that night we lined up for a photo opportunity with the four stars on this sailing: professional dancers Kym Johnson and Tristan MacManus, Florence Henderson of “The Brady Bunch” fame and Carson Kressley from “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”. Incredibly gracious, they had a quick chat with each guest. My mom, whom I was traveling with, told Kym she loved watching her with Robert Herjavec in the past season and much to my surprise was able to hold back mentioning she felt Riker Lynch had been robbed of the Mirrorball. An opinion she holds strongly!

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Later in the cruise, guests would be able to get these photos autographed by the stars in a special autograph session.

The real glitz and glamour came midway through the cruise when the full “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” cast put on a stellar show in the Showroom at Sea. Carson Kressley was a fantastic MC, but he also participated in a couple of routines.

Kym and Tristan danced a magnificent latin-style routine, and Tristan and Florence delighted guests with a classy waltz. The “DWTS: at Sea” dance troupe also wowed guests, particularly with a two-person rumba routine that packed in more lifts and tricks than any routine I had ever seen on the show. On this night in particular, guests who already knew of Carson were delighted to see him at his best, and those who had not heard of him before quickly became fans. His witty remarks, hilarious commentary and perfectly-timed jokes had guests laughing in between every performance. It felt like he put the star in “Dancing with the Stars.”

Have you ever been to a show you enjoyed so much that you stuck around for the second showing? This show was such a hit that the room barely cleared out after the first showing, with many guests staying in the showroom and waiting around for an hour or so for the next one to begin! I was one of them and I can tell you, it was just as fun to watch the second time around. Here are some more moments from the show:

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The following day, a Samba class was on the schedule. Samba is a fun dance to learn. The music is quick and up-beat, and it felt like a party while dancing to it, or “pah-ty” as Kym described it with her Australian accent.

That night we watched the “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” Fashion Show in a packed house, standing-room only. Members of the “Dancing with the Stars” dance troupe were joined by Veendam’s dancers modeling some of the impressive costumes used on the TV show. True DWTS fans could quickly recall who had worn what, like the fire-y gown donned by Willow Shields in her contemporary dance with Mark Ballas this past season. Carson and Kym MC’d and it was interesting to hear Kym’s commentary on the amount of fabric used for each piece, general inspiration behind them and the totals of Swarovski crystals!

Veendam's dancers and Florence Henderson modeled some of the gowns worn on the show.

Veendam’s dancers and Florence Henderson modeled some of the gowns worn on the show.

I got an early start the following morning with a 10 a.m. fitness class in the Showroom at Sea led by Kym. In the warm-up she told the large crowd of exercisers we would “start with a cha-cha and end with a jive,” a dance-pro way of noting that though things would start slow they would quickly pick up. She wasn’t lying! The catchy music she selected had everyone shimmying up a sweat in no time. Each song involved a different genre of dance and we quickly learned its basic steps. As the tempo picked up the routines got quicker. I was impressed with the routine, a true workout that had everyone out of breath by the end.

Kym Johnson found herself in the spotlight again with a work out class on an early morning.

Kym Johnson found herself in the spotlight again with a work-out class on an early morning.

That afternoon, Kym, Tristan, Carson and Florence took the stage with Jason for a Q&A session. Guests asked the stars questions varying from what a typical week during the show is like to what a certain pro-dancer and her past-partner’s current relationship status is. As they say, what happens on Veendam stays on Veendam, so I can’t give you the answer! Florence spoke about her childhood and her early days on Broadway. Carson spoke about his experience on the dancing show and his passion for horses and Kym talked of her busy schedule. The female guests in the audience weren’t concerned with what Tristan was saying, rather just wanted him to just keep speaking with his charming Irish accent.

An exciting week of “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” ended with a bang when six guests took the stage, partnered with Veendam’s full-time dancers, for an incredibly entertaining guest competition. The winning routine was an impressive jive and the guest was awarded with a gold star. Her routine will put her in the running to represent Veendam in a competition with the highest scoring guest from every ship. If she’s selected she’ll have to clear her schedule in early January for the “DWTS: At Sea” Champions Cruise where Holland America will crown its final Mirrorball Trophy winner. As for myself and many other cruisers who had just spent the past week with some of a hit TV competition show’s best stars, we’ll be clearing our schedules, too, to sail as regular passengers.

Guests were paired with Veendam's dancers and performed a routine for the panel, which included Kym and Carson. One outstanding jiver won a gold star!

Guests were paired with Veendam’s dancers and performed a routine for the panel, which included Kym and Carson. One outstanding jiver won a gold star!

Will you be joining us for one of the two final “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” cruises? Tell us which one below!

10 Comments
  • Megan

    Please please please tell me what kym had to say about Robert! They’re so adorable! And now that it’s official that they’re dating I would love to know what she had to say about it on the cruise!

  • Julie

    What happens onboard stays onboard 😉 Be he did sail with her on one of the theme cruises!

  • David

    I’ll be there! I’ve already been on five cruises with them (7 weeks total). That’s me dancing the samba in the pictures above (I’m with the dancer in the green dress with the long legs:) ) I can’t miss the last ones.

  • Helen

    I’ll be on the January 10th, 2016 sailing on the Nieuw Amsterdam for the finale finale!

  • Carolina

    My family and I will be there! Jan 3rd can’t wait!!

  • Forrest

    DWTS: At Sea has been such a hit, that HAL mariners wish the partnership would sail on for another season!

  • jackie burnstein

    Got off the ship yesterday…was a blast….Carson, Tony, Kym and Florence were amazing. loved mingling with the stars throughout the cruise…loved the dancers and dances, shows were awesome…Keep it going Holland America……

  • robert

    Can you inform me who was the winner from the Mirror-Ball Trophy in the final DWTS.

  • Julie

    The winner was Katrina Pederson!

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