Every Holland America sailing features inviting Dancing with the Stars dance classes and competitions, but only on the theme cruises – when pros and celebs from the TV show are onboard – can passengers literally rub shoulders with dancers like Derek Hough and Emma Slater.
Just this past week on the Nieuw Amsterdam, last year’s dance finalists competed to win a genuine mirrorball trophy, guests learned a few steps from the pros, and everyone onboard had a hearty chuckle thanks to the funniest cruise director ever.
Dancing with the Stars: At Sea – Guest Competition Finale
Fifteen dance finalists – the best competitors from last year, one representing each Holland America Line ship – stepped onto the Nieuw Amsterdam, and only one champion disembarked with the first ever Dancing with the Stars: At Sea mirrorball trophy (pictured above).
The interactivity for those competing was experienced almost immediately as their dance routines were judged, complete with numbered panels, by the pro dancers onboard just as they and their star partners are judged by Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli on the TV show.
Dance styles were intentionally mixed to challenge the teams, with a raffle randomizing the different routines the dancers would perform each round. The final three teams could choose their own last dance performed freestyle but only after dancing a penultimate preselection with the original choreography.
In the end, it came down to a masterful tango that raised the bar far too high for the runners-up to surmount. Performing the best Dancing with the Stars: At Sea routine that pro Jaymz Tuaileva said he had ever seen, guest competitor Allyse Ishino and ship dancer Tiago were crowned the winning team, based on a combined score of all 10s from the judges and thunderous applause from the audience.
Dancing with the Stars: At Sea – Dance Classes
Not all interactions were had only by the fifteen finalists onboard. In fact, Emma Slater and Derek Hough personally taught a dance class in the show lounge that drew out quite the crowd of passengers to the stage (as seen in the header image above). Even when the pros are not present, the Dancing with the Stars: At Sea classes are just as popular. For those, the session is introduced by a video of Kym Johnson outlining the steps that are then demonstrated and taught by the ship’s company of dancers.
This time, however, the class was a great opportunity for Derek to impart his wisdom about the importance of movement in daily life before expertly instructing the class along with Emma as his partner. Just when the class was about to wrap up and they were meant to present the dance one last time in its entirety, Derek and Emma were instead amusingly called upon by the guests to dance with them, which they were gracious to do. In fact, the friendliness and approachability of the pros and celebs on these theme sailings are part of what makes them so enjoyable.
Dancing with the Stars: At Sea – Cruise Director
On a final note, little did we expect a highlight of this Dancing with the Stars: At Sea sailing to be the cruise director. Nonetheless, Eric Dowis had the entire ship rolling in the aisles with his Southern charm and snappy wit as a tongue-in-cheek judge of the dance competition.
When egged on to show off his own moves, he put together an extensive comedic number for the finale. Featuring every music genre imaginable, Eric let his humor shine in a medley that included a whimsical reference to the film Titanic to the song “My Heart Will Go On,” while supported by Dancing with the Stars: At Sea host Jason Venner and wearing a lifejacket no less. Encore!
For additional information about the Dancing with the Stars: At Sea theme cruises, visit Holland America Line’s website here.
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HEADER IMAGE SOURCE: JASON LEPPERT