What are Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Cheryl Barker and Simon Tedeschi all doing on a cruise ship?

I’m sitting in a theatre listening to Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Cheryl Barker, but the repertoire is anything but operatic – they’re doing Wunderbar from Kiss Me Kate. The stage is pitching from side to side, and I feel slightly nauseous. No, I’m not drunk on pre-concert champagne again… I’m in the Cascade Theatre aboard a Bravo Cruise, a seafaring tour dedicated to the performing arts. With me on the ship are some of the leading lights of classical music in Australia: not only Teddy and Cheryl, but also Simon Tedeschi, David Hobson, Guy Noble, the Seven Sopranos and the entire Metropolitan Orchestra.

This is the maiden voyage of Bravo, one of a growing number of cruises where the focus is on performance, rather than bingo and mini-golf (although they do still have bingo and mini-golf). If you’re wondering why the ship, Radiance of the Seas, has a 1000-seat theatre, it’s because this vessel is bloody enormous. Imagine setting afloat one of the larger Westfield malls, and you’re halfway there. The central point of the...