Soul Train Cruise 2015: Fun with Function for HBCU Groups

The Soul Train Cruise has become the “homecoming” event for fans of classic R&B music. And the Soul Train Cruise 2015, departing Feb. 22, 2015, will continue the tradition.
Join the HBCU Lifestyle on the Soul Train Cruise 2015. Photos via Entertainment Cruise Productions.

Last year, we had the pleasure of partnering with the Soul Train Cruise on a unique fundraising promotion geared toward our HBCU alumni groups and other Black organizations. We are happy to once again get “on-board” for the 2015 voyage. With a new line-up of amazing artists slated to perform and stops planned at some of the Caribbean’s most exotic locales, the 2015 seven-day trip is poised to be the best ever.

Soul Train Cruise 2015 Fun and Fundraising

The fundraising promotion remains tailored to helping our groups combine fun with function: the cruise producers will donate up to seven percent of full-fare cabin sales back to participating outlets, allowing you to invite your community to enjoy a fabulous cruise while also raising funds to support your local HBCU group or other organization.

How to Get Started

If you’re interested in promoting or learning more about Soul Train Cruise 2015, information is available online by clicking here. Seven-day cruise packages start at $1,975 (full pricing details are available here), but remember that seven percent of the cost will be donated to’s mission if you use the Promo Code HBCULIFE when you book your trip

If you’re interested in promoting the 2015 Soul Train Cruise to raise money for your HBCU club or organization, you can contact HBCU alum Chris Cathcart for more information by email at or on the phone at (213) 840-8740.

Soul Train Cruise 2015 Details

The Soul Train Cruise is headed back to the Caribbean bigger and better than ever. Sail with Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Gladys Knight, James Ingram, KC & The Sunshine Band, The Spinners, Russell Thompkins Jr. & The New Stylistics, Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes, Regina Belle, Doug E. Fresh and more! See complete details at

The Soul Train Cruise will depart from Fort Lauderdale, FL on February 22, 2015 and return on March 1. The cruise takes place on the luxurious 4.5-star-rated Holland America m/s Eurodam. Enjoy seven days of non-stop love, peace and soul.

  • Groove to more than thirty unforgettable live performances by the biggest names in R&B;
  • Rub elbows with R&B royalty as you share in more than twenty-five interactive celebrity experiences;
  • Explore beautiful tropical destinations including Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and the beautiful private island of Half Moon Cay;
  • Enjoy fabulous luxury cruising and world-class service from Holland America.

HBCU LIFESTYLE Chats with Soul Train Cruise Producer Michael Mitchell

Michael Mitchell  VP Time Life/Executive Producer Soul Train Cruise
Michael Mitchell

HBCU Lifestyle caught up with Michael Mitchell, vice president of marketing, strategic partnerships, live entertainment and cruises at Time Life, one of the producers of the Soul Train Cruise. Michael took a moment to fill us in on the cruise and the things that make it the “hippest trip at sea.”

HL: What is the story behind how the Soul Train Cruise came about? Who are the presenting groups?

 MM: Time Life is known for its nostalgic infomercials that market and sell classic CD and DVD collections.  We have had a great deal of success over the years with urban music and DVDs.  In fact, Black music and product are about 25 percent of our entertainment business.  People who watched and bought our products from the infomercials many times would also ask if they could buy a copy of the show itself because they loved the classic clips of the artists’ performances.  That is where the idea came from: creating a live version of our infomercials.

We initially were looking at doing touring shows and concerts, then moved into the themed cruise area.  A few years back I licensed the Soul Train show to release on DVD and we had a big success with that collection, so when we were looking for an urban theme for a cruise I decided to go to the Soul Train people and license the name for a cruise.  I also brought in Centric/BET as our media partner.  That is the genesis of how we launched the Soul Train Cruise.

StarVista/Time Life wholly owns and produces the cruise.

HL: From an overall theme standpoint, does the cruise reflect the energy and excitement of the landmark television show?

MM: Absolutely. We have the biggest names is classic R&B performing live on the ship, plus we have them participating in interactive events with the cruisers.  Our guests are able to get up close and personal with the artists.

HL: Is Don Cornelius’ family involved with the cruise; if so, how?

MM: Tony Cornelius, son of Soul Train Creator Don Cornelius and a producer of the weekly Soul Train show for 15 years, is our on-board host.

HL: What’s an average day on the Soul Train Cruise like?

MM: Chock-full of live performances, artist Q&A sessions, meet and greets, cooking demonstrations, cocktail receptions, dance lessons with the Original Soul Train dancers, wine tastings, tribute events, wedding vow renewal ceremonies, theme nights and costume parties, great food and drink, Club Soul Train (a jammin’ dance club late into the night), spa treatments, stops at great ports like Grand Turk, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay, with excursions…NON-STOP events!

HL: You have had some legendary artists on the cruise. Generally speaking, how do they respond to being asked to perform?

MM: They all love Soul Train and owe Don Cornelius and Soul Train a debt of gratitude because, for most of them, Soul Train was their first television appearance.  It gave them national exposure and helped launch many a career.

HL: What is it about the Soul Train Cruise that distinguishes it from some of the other music-themed cruises out there?

MM: The interactive artist/cruiser activities: a real opportunity to rub elbows with R&B superstars in a relaxed, fun setting.  The opportunity to spend a week on a full-ship charter with 2000 likeminded music fans from similar backgrounds having a great time together.

HL: Is there anything planned for the 2015 journey that’s new or special to the cruise?

MM: Yes. In addition to our fantastic line-up of Frankie Beverly and Maze, Gladys Knight, James Ingram, KC & The Sunshine Band, The Spinners, The Stylistics, Regina Belle, The Fifth Dimension’s Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes and more, we have added MC extraordinaire Doug E. Fresh and his DJ, who will be in Club Soul Train every night.

HL: We understand many of the folk who go on the cruise are repeat “offenders.” Why do you think that is?

MM: Because they have such a wonderful time with the experience of a lifetime.  They make new friends and come back to see them each year.  At least fifty percent of our cruise guests have cruised on a prior Soul Train Cruise.

HL: What are some of the special deals and/or discounts you extend to groups and organizations?

MM: We have many special offers and opportunities for groups and organizations to get special discounts, free cabins, special on-board events, etc. if they deliver cabins sales.  The more success groups have in selling cabins, the more opportunities are available to them.

HL: We hear the cruise draws many graduates of our HBCUs, as well as members of other Black organizations.  Is that a focused effort on your part?

MM: Funny you asked that.  In the beginning, we simply put the call out to all folk who we thought would enjoy the cruise. However, after a couple of cruises, we began to notice that a lot of our guests proudly wore HBCU and Greek-lettered paraphernalia around the ship.  We also noticed that many cruisers who traveled together were often members of the same organizations and clubs.  So we decided it might be a good idea to create additional incentive packages that would appeal to specific groups, like HBCU alumni associations, the Black fraternities and sororities, as well as other Black affinity groups.

If we are able to attract enough Black college grads, frat and sorority members and so on, we’d love to host a “Homecoming on the Sea” event on-board.  In many ways, the cruise itself feels like a homecoming anyway, in terms of the vibe and camaraderie.

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