When it comes to cruising, Jane McDonald knows a thing or two. So it was no surprise when she announced her own voyage – the seven-night Sail Away With Jane McDonald cruise next September on board Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas.
“I can’t believe I’m doing my own cruise,” says bubbly Jane. “I have worked on cruise ships all my life and have always had a real passion for them. But this is something different. I keep thinking ‘‘Wow, I have chartered my own ship.’ “
So was this always an ambition? “Yes,” she says. “I’ve been wanting to do it for 20 years – now it’s happening. The cruise promoters, Floating Festivals, have a great reputation, so I know I’m in good hands.”
With room on board for 4,905 guests, Jane is aiming big. “I wanted a ship large enough for everyone – Anthem of the Seas ticks all the boxes. I didn’t want to start small, that’s not me. I like to shoot for the moon. We’ve already sold 50 per cent, with more than 2,000 places booked. So if this is a success, we can look to venture out to other fantastic destinations, too. I’d love to do my own cruise every year.”
So why sail with Jane? “People want to come on holiday with me,” she says. “It’s going to be party central and I can’t wait for my fans to join me. If you’re not a party animal that’s not a problem. The ship is big enough for you to just come and see me in concert or just have a nice leisurely trip – you can do that too.
“It’s going to be the perfect holiday if you like me. If you don’t like me, don’t come on board!” she laughs. “It’ll be seven days of complete and utter fun. I want everyone to have a good time and make friends when they’re on board.”
Jane’s fans are a passionate bunch, and many have already signed up for the cruise (as the itinerary is a round trip from Southampton, it’s also good for anyone who doesn’t like flying).
“The great thing about my fans is that they all know each other,’ says Jane. “And if you’re single, you can easily meet other singles on board.”
Jane says many of her fans are already starting to talk to each other on social media and making plans to meet up on board, with some singles planning to share cabins too. Many are meeting up for coffee to see if they get on, then booking a cabin together.
“A lot of single people go on to my fan page and start talking to other fans,” she says. “It’s easy to say, ‘I’m on my own, do you fancy having a drink when you get on board?’’ They will be inundated with invites, and make some new friends on the way, too.”
So what can we expect to see on the trip from the Cruise With Jane star?
“I’ll be out and about on board when I can through the whole trip,” she says. “I’m not going to be one of those artists stuck in their room. I will be on deck meeting as many people as possible. I know that’s what people will want and I’m really happy to do it.”
Jane will be travelling with her family and her partner, Ed, as well as her long-term band, so it looks like being a family affair. As well as taking part in her ‘An Audience With’ event, Jane will also be performing two completely different shows on the cruise.
“We’re going to be putting on a real showbiz extravaganza,” she reveals. “I like music that makes you feel happy, so look out for my Nile Rodgers and Queen medleys. I’ll also be singing all my hits like You’re My World, and lots of show tunes including some from Cats.
Jane is also promising “lots of sparkly outfits” and some showbiz surprises, too.
“I’ve got a lot of friends in the industry so you never know who’ll be on board,” she teases. “I’ll be calling a lot of my showbiz mates to say, ‘Do you fancy coming on my ship?’’’
Seven days sailing around the Med with the Queen of Cruise sounds very tempting, but I’ll leave the last word to Jane – “I want everyone on my cruise to enjoy themselves – so let your hair down and leave your problems behind – you’re on holiday and you’re allowed to enjoy yourself!”
Get on Board
7-night ‘Sail Away With Jane McDonald’ cruise aboard Anthem of the Seas, round trip from Southampton, departing 20 September 2020, from £1,499, floatingfestivals.co.uk