Performance Cruise Field Trips for Music, Band, and Drama Students

The next time you consider taking your high school band or drama students on a road trip or educational field trip, especially to Florida, consider taking them on the high seas. Performance and festival cruises have been growing in popularity over the past several years. A performance cruise as a high school band trip may seem more extravagant than other field trips but the benefits of such a student trip make it worthwhile.

Many performance and festival cruises depart from Port Canaveral, Florida on four-day/three-night cruises in the Caribbean and include stops in the Bahamas, usually at Nassau and another port. There are other performance cruises that leave out of ports in California, Texas, Alabama, as well as other Florida ports. One cruise out of Tampa is a five-day excursion in the Western Caribbean and includes stops in Key West and at Cozumel Island, Mexico. Whichever cruise you decide on, with expert advice from an educational travel service, it will be memorable, fun, exciting, and an educational trip for your students.

Performance Education on a Ship
During a performance cruise, students will have an opportunity to showcase their talent in a performance aboard ship or at a port of call or both, depending on the cruise. Additionally, some cruises offer workshops, specialty clinics, seminars, and adjudication. Thus allowing student musicians, singers, and actors to gain confidence, assess their own skills, and learn new techniques.

Student performers will also have an opportunity to interact with a variety of theater and music professionals in an educational setting and learn about performing arts careers. Through critical feedback and instruction from performance clinicians, students will be able to identify their strengths and areas in need of development and improvement.

Students will also have plenty of time to socialize and make friends with peers in other performance groups who share their passion for music or drama. And if their performance is adjudicated, their efforts and talents will be recognized at a special awards ceremony. At the very least, they will get immediate feedback and encouragement from their audience as well as experience performing somewhere other than their high school football field or auditorium.

Performance Cruises for Students are Packed with Fun, Excitement and Educational Opportunities
A typical cruise leaving from Port Canaveral, Florida will sail through the eastern Caribbean to the Bahamas. This English-speaking commonwealth is an archipelago consisting of hundreds of islands and many ports of call north of Cuba and south east of Florida.

Most cruises make a stop at Nassau, the capitol, on the island of New Providence. Students can spend the day exploring this sub-tropical island city known for its sunny days and balmy breezes. Students can take a water taxi to Paradise Island for a day on the beach or to see the underground aquariums at the Atlantis resort. Students can also wander through local markets like the Straw Market, sample island delicacies such as conch fritters, and admire the architecture which is a colorful blend of colonial and old world styles.

The mix of African and European cultures in the Bahamas has resulted in a unique culture and one that is rich in various musical styles that are indigenous to the Caribbean. Students may be surprised to learn that marching bands are central to Bahamian life. Marching bands play at weddings, funerals and many other events rather than at football games or in holiday parades as in the United States. They may hear rake, scrape, calypso, or Junkanoo music in person while they are in Nassau. Hearing these different forms of music may inspire students to learn a new style or incorporate new techniques and sounds into their own musical performance.

Performance Cruises for Students: Field Trips Made Simple

Like other cruises, most everything is included, even meals and some port excursions, too. That means the cost is comparable to a traditional student or band filed trip. The ship board activities and entertainment will leave Chaperones with little to organize once they get their group to the port and aboard the ship allowing them to have as much fun as their band, music, and theater students. Many packages include one free trip for every 15 or 20 passengers in a group. It is always best to work with an educational travel consultant or expert to select and plan the best trip for your high school student performers. For more information about performance and festival cruise packages for student groups, Request a Quote and a professional travel consultant will respond to your inquiry.

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Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Tour of NYC: Student Travel Groups Learn About American History

Seeing historic sights in person can bring history to life for students, help put the information into context for them, and spark their interest for further study. One of the important lessons students learn is that the United States of America is a nation of immigrants.

A great way to teach immigration is to take students on an educational field trip to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty as part of a student trip to New York City.

There are a variety of ways for students to tour the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Guided tours with a park ranger are available as are audio tours. Both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island offer a variety of special programs for a wide range of grades and students. Teachers can also request a free curriculum guide or a traveling trunk or “Park in a Pack” curriculum kit packed full of learning activities and teaching aids. For more information about the Park in a Pack and other curriculum materials go to or

The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island offers as many opportunities for teaching American history as it does views of New York City.

A gift from the French in 1886, the Statue of Liberty is one of the most symbolic monuments in America. It has been under the administration of the National Park Service since 1933(Ellis Island is part of the same park).

Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi designed and created the statue and Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel built the interior framework of iron and steel. The statue, situated within the star-shaped walls of Fort Wood, stands on top of a granite pedestal.

The symbols incorporated into the statue make great discussion points as student tour groups learn about the history of the monument and America as well as the various meanings the Statue of Liberty has to people around the world.

Student Travel Groups Tour the Statue of Liberty
During a visit to Liberty Island and the Stature of Liberty, student groups on educational field trips with monument passes are able to tour the museum, areas of Fort Wood, the promenade, and take in the view from the pedestal observation deck.

Although the crown and the statue’s structure have been closed to the public since 2001, a glass ceiling allows student groups to view the magnificent engineering within the statue.

Highlights of a Student Tour of the Statue of Liberty
The museum, located within the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, includes several exhibits incorporating artifacts, photographs, prints, videos, drawings, oral histories, full-scale replicas, and even cartoons to educate student tour groups about history of the statue and its symbolism. Student groups come face-to-face with the original torch, replaced in 1984, from the lobby floor or the second floor balcony.

Ellis Island
Ellis Island was the first federal immigration station. Some 12 million immigrants passed through it between 1892 and 1954. Now it is a physical reminder of these events. It is also a monument to all who came to America in search of a new life. Educational travel groups can tie their visit to a curriculum about immigration, the Industrial Revolution, and the War of 1812 when Ellis Island was home to Fort Gibson.

Touring Ellis Island with a Student Group

The Main Building, dating from 1900, has been restored and is open to the public as the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. The Ellis Island Immigration Museum is an excellent stop on any educational field trip to New York City.

The museum occupies more than 40,000 square feet on three floors in the Main Building. The French Renaissance structure designed by Boring and Tilton is as much an exhibit as the ones inside. The building was restored to its 1918-1924 appearance in the 1980s.

Highlights of the Ellis Island Immigration Museum

The American Immigrant Wall of Honor is a remembrance of all immigrants regardless of where they came from, when they arrived, or through which port they entered. Over 700,000 names are already inscribed on the Wall. Students can look for their family name on the Wall.

Students can follow in the footsteps of the brave immigrants by touring the many rooms in the building. A variety of exhibits chronicle the history of Ellis Island, 400 years of immigration, and personalize the immigrant story with clothing, personal objects, photographs, papers, interactive displays, videos, and oral histories. All of this make Ellis Island a valuable and memorable learning experience for any student travel trip. Visit the New York City page for more details on student travel tours of the big apple.

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Spring is the Season for Student Travel

Educational Travel Consultants are bringing in the spring with some great ideas for student travel groups headed to New York City.

After working for over 25 years in the student travel industry, we wanted to take a moment to recommend some student favorites in shopping, dining, and entertainment while visiting New York City.

Educational Travel Consultants only works with the best-licensed NYC tour guides, and Karen Goodman is among our finest. She gives some insight into touring New York City with student travel groups, and so do I in this recent article

I always try to give student travel groups an ethnic experience when dining out in New York City. Some New York City basics like good Jewish Delis, real Italian food and pastry, and even the classic New York City hot dog can all be appealing food choices for student travel groups. Check out our specific recommendations in the article.

These days, students are influenced by cable television, the World-Wide-Web, and music. To help satisfy student curiosity about a popular cable show, Project Runway, and give students an authentic educational experience, we are offering to add a tour of Parson’s School of Design to NYC student trips. This addition to a trip would work best for the Art Tour of New York City. However, ETC’s professional travel consultants are willing to work directly with student groups who are taking another type of student tour.

Group tours of interesting schools are a great way to get students to think about their future career path. I thought it would be nice to highlight our tour of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater as well, since it is often requested. We cannot get large groups into the actual show, but we can provide tours of the performing arts school, and even schedule interactive dance workshops, with enough advance notice.

Interactive student workshops are a great way to capture student attention, and keep it – especially with a performance focus.

Festival Disney

For a thrilling student performance experience, music directors might want to consider
participation in Festival Disney. The group gets to perform on a Disney stage, tour Walt Disney World, and if they choose, be judged by a panel of professionals.

Learn more about Festival Destiny by reading the entire article. Or visit our Orlando page to find out more.

Festival Disney: Perform and Compete on a Disney Stage in Orlando Florida

Student travel groups can achieve performance excellence in the only all-Disney produced competitive music festival. When student performance groups excite international audiences on the Disney stage, they may feel as if they own the world. Bring your student travel group to Disney World in Orlando, for a Festival Disney performance.
Festival Disney provides a venue for talented student performers who have the chance to compete with the finest instrumental, choral, and other types of performance groups from schools across the United States. It is the highest caliber festival in Orlando. No auditions are necessary. The student travel group must simply fill out an application. One caution: do not be fooled by imitators giving a group the impression they are a Walt Disney festival. If it does not say Festival Disney, it is not the official adjudicated music festival of Disney World.
When is Festival Disney?
Festival Disney is scheduled on Fridays and Saturdays and some Thursdays at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando Florida. Student travel groups will perform as scheduled at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, Downtown Disney Pleasure Island or Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
What Types of Ensembles May Participate?
For student groups who want to perform but are not ready to be judged, their music directors will be able to select a non-competitive adjudication option for Festival Disney. Participation is open to concert bands, jazz ensembles, marching bands, orchestras, choral ensembles, show choirs and auxiliary units.
Does Festival Disney Include Admission to Walt Disney World?
There are usually some great package deals available for student travel to Orlando Florida. Educational Travel Consultants offers student performance groups economic packages that include hotel quad accommodations near Walt Disney World and admission to the park for four or five days. In addition to participating in Festival Disney, student travel groups tour Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Disney MGM Studios or Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
How are Festival Disney Participants Judged?
The adjudicated music festival at Disney includes a highly professional approach to judging competing student performance groups. The panel of adjudicators will provide the performance groups with feedback. If the musical director chooses, the group may participate in an Educational Clinic. Here the feedback is more in depth and judges provide critiques and suggestions on how to improve the level of performance.

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New York City: Student Travel Favorites: Shopping, Dining, & Entertainment

Dining, shopping and entertainment activities in New York City are educational experiences for student travel groups. New York City was formed by an immigrant population, and still retains these national identities in some neighborhoods such as Chinatown and Little Italy. While many student travel groups originate from small towns across America, these places do not often have the ethnic diversity of New York City. So even touring the city streets in Manhattan can be an educational experience for many.

For this article, I wanted to discover what some of the more popular choices for dining, shopping and entertainment were among student travelers in NYC. I have interviewed one of Educational Travel Consultants’ licensed NYC Tour Guides. Karen Goodman belongs to the Guide Association of New York, where “Guides go on various tours that are sponsored by the Association to keep us up-to-date on new happenings in the city.”

Following is a compilation of some of my own best picks for dining for student travel in NYC, along with Karen Goodman’s thoughts on shopping and entertainment.

Student Tour Groups Can Shop in Times Square
A student group tour of New York City should include shopping visits that are convenient to historic or arts districts students are already visiting. “Broadway is a popular destination for student groups and also a great place to pick up some souvenirs,” said Karen Goodman. “Students can purchase NYC t-shirts, and baseball hats for a NYC ball team or NYC police or fire departments. The Times Square area is filled with these sorts of stores.”

Shopping on Fifth Avenue in New York City

Students enjoy shopping on 5th Avenue, which is convenient to the Rockefeller Center area. Saks 5th Avenue is in the vicinity, as well as Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and Trump Plaza. “More than anything, student travelers seem to love to visit a food vendor or purchase a scarf or shawl from licensed street vendors,” said Goodman. So, shopping on 5th Avenue does not always have to be decadent, it can still be simple and pragmatic and fit the student budget.

Student Travel Groups Shop in Chinatown
Goodman observed that students love to go shopping in Chinatown. “There is a strong ethnic feel,” she says. “Some things are written in Chinese. The streets are windy and not on a grid like other parts of NYC. Student travelers love to purchase the costume jewelry, sunglasses and hats that are available in Chinatown,” added Goodman.

Dining Out In New York City With Student Travelers
Eating out in a city on the scale of New York can be a great adventure. Student groups request Hard Rock Café and Planet Hollywood, because they are widely known.

I recommend ethnic choices for food to many student groups. We all have our favorites. I like to take student travel groups to Jewish delis, out for real Italian food, or to a Chinese restaurant.

My two personal favorite Jewish Delis are the Stage Deli and the Carnegie Deli. At these authentic New York delis students are astounded by sandwiches with one pound of meat. The overlarge portion of NYC cheesecake is also impressive.

Taking students to restaurants in Chinatown for an authentic Chinese dining experience is usually on the itinerary for NYC. I take student travel groups to Jack’s Pizzeria and Restaurant for authentic Italian food. Jack’s pizza is right off Broadway in Greenwich Village. It’s probably the best pizza in New York City. One half block away is an Italian Bakery Ferraras. It has been a bakery since the 19th Century. Ferrara’s is a place where students can indulge their longing for sweets.

Believe it or not, sometimes a real authentic experience for students is buying a hot dog or hot pretzel right on the streets of NYC.

For the student tour group wanting something a little different, I have found that visiting Mars 2010, an alien experience restaurant, may be just what they need.
The choices for dining out in New York City seem endless. And, they are.


Karen Goodman says some of the best entertainment for student travel groups combines culture and education. Goodman says, “Many of the student performance tours will be given a tour of Lincoln Center. Often these groups have the opportunity to take a backstage tour. They are thrilled to see the home of the New York Philharmonic. They also like to visit Carnegie Hall and take that backstage tour, where guides may give them a chance to sing at the stage microphone, briefly.”

Student travel groups that want to take in a Broadway play may select long running Broadway musicals, such as The Lion King and Phantom of the Opera. “Students are also fond of the Disney productions, such as Mary Poppins or Wicked. They are thrilled by the musical Momma Mia, too. Momma Mia is a string of Abba songs, and the audience dances. Students like it because it’s lively,” said Goodman.

Goodman says that a simple walk through Central Park can be invigorating and exciting for student travel groups as well. Here they will see the place memorialized in John Lennon’s name, as well as a glimpse of some splendid gardens and other historic markers in New York City.

This short list of recommended destinations is by no means complete. For even more details on dining entertainment and shopping in New York City for student travel groups, visit


Specialty Student Travel Tours of New York City With Artistic Highlights

Creating a specialty tour for student groups interested in an arts career can include tours of popular specialized colleges such as Parsons New School of Design.
The Emmy nominated competition reality series, Project Runway, takes place at this Manhattan school of fashion design. Noted designer Tim Gunn and supermodel Heidi Klumm host Project Runway.

Another learning institution dedicated to the arts is The Ailey School of dance, created by dancer Alvin Ailey, also in Manhattan. The Ailey School is a student favorite, mainly because of the interactive dance workshop available to student tour groups.

Parsons New School for Design
The Parsons New School for Design was founded in 1896 as the Chase School. It was renamed as Parsons New School for Design in 1939 after the late former president of the school, Frank Alvah Parsons.

Parsons New School of Design’s founding faculty were concerned with the practical use of design in everyday life. This included the spaces people lived in, the clothing they wore, the advertising and media they were exposed to regularly, and the furniture and tableware they used.

A modern curriculum developed at the Parsons New School of design and many successful designers remained closely tied to the school. By the middle of the 1960s Parsons had become “the training ground for Seventh Avenue.”

A majority of the Parsons faculty are professional designers who teach part-time. This gives Parsons students a decided advantage. Because Parsons’ students are taught by New York’s successful working artists and designers, they may have greater insight into the world of contemporary fashion.

Parsons’ main campus is in an historic neighborhood in Greenwich Village. Student tour groups who visit Parsons will also tour the Village that is home to design and art studios, galleries, shops and restaurants, as well as avant garde artists, musicians and writers.
A student tour of this facility must be guided by a representative of the school for security reasons and must be scheduled well in advance to ensure accommodations. Village Campus and Fashion Campus tours are offered regularly, from September through December.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Another popular stop on the itinerary for student travel to New York City is the Alvin Aily American Dance Theater. In 1969, Alvin Ailey founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center in Brooklyn, New York with an initial enrollment of 125 students. Ailey joined forces with Pearl Lang in 1970 to establish the American Dance Center in Manhattan. They believed that dance should be available to everyone.

Students from the Ailey school have gone on to successful performing arts careers in theater productions such as The Lion King, The King and I, The Color Purple, Movin’ Out and the Radio City Rockettes. Other graduates of the dance school are teachers, choreographers, administrators and life-long supporters of dance. The Ailey School is now located at 405 West 55th Street in Manhattan. Students will tour a portion of the 77,000 square foot building. They will see a professionally equipped dance studio and the main performance space for Ailey school, a 294- seat Ailey Citigroup Theater. Student tour groups may also visit the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Boutique and library as part of the tour. Located in New York City’s theater district, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is easily accessible to student travel groups touring Broadway and Times Square.

On a student travel tour of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, students will learn the history of Alvin Ailey, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Judith Jamison, its Artistic Director. Tours are available on Mondays at 1:30pm and Fridays at 12:00 noon. Reservations must be made well in advance by a student travel consultant.

Students taking an art tour or performance tour of New York City may be most interested in a tour of Parson’s New School for Design or the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Yet these destinations can also be added to the itinerary of a history tour of New York City, or tours of other types. Visit

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