All Aboard: A Pop Culture Round-up on Cruise Ships

By Charlene Adhiambo

This week we are highlighting The MS Phoenix Rising, a serial podcast created by director Katie Brook and writer Trish Harnetiaux about a cruise ship conglomerate using avant-garde theatre to rebrand on their latest voyage. We have gathered a round-up of articles, film, television, and songs on cruise ships that, like the MS Phoenix Rising, journey from the absurd to the iconic to the catastrophic. 

Shipping Out (On the Nearly Lethal Comforts of a Luxury Cruise) by David Foster Wallace
In this essay, David Foster Wallace writes about his eerily pleasant experience on a cruise ship.

Kokomo by The Beach Boys 
Don’t you just want to be laid out on a cruise deck with a cocktail listening to this song?

The Time I Went On A Lesbian Cruise And It Blew Up My Entire Life 
In this essay, writer Shannon Keating is on assignment on a lesbian cruise, an experience she expects to be droll but is unforgettable.

The Suite Life on Deck (2008-2011)
This teen sitcom is set entirely on a cruise ship. It sounds as ridiculous as it was. 

What it’s Like to Be a Cruise Ship Comedian 
Comedian Jimmy Dunn tells of his best and worst experiences as a cruise ship performer.

The Titanic (1997)
Fun fact: I have a phobia of cruise ships because of this film. It remains, however, one of my favorites. Fingers crossed the MS Phoenix Rising does not suffer a similar fate.



Charlene Adhiambo is The Play Company’s current Literary Intern. She hails from Atlanta, Georgia by way of Nairobi, Kenya. You can reach her at