The Magic Castle at sea? The iconic Hollywood club gets a themed cruise


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One comfort in cruising is predictability: Each day, as you glide from port to port, you’ll eat in the same ship restaurants, walk the same decks, swim in the same pools and sleep in the same bed (well, probably).

But when the Discovery Princess sails from Los Angeles Oct. 7, many aboard will be hoping for surprise and deception instead. That’s because the seven-day itinerary is billed as Princess’ first Magic Castle Conjurer’s Cruise.

It will feature a team of at least seven magicians offering performances, workshops and lectures, augmented by themed movies, meals and cocktails and artifacts from the collection of the Magic Castle, the Hollywood headquarters of the Academy of Magical Arts. Prices start at $699 per person (for interior cabins that usually book up first) or $963 and up for fancier accommodations. Besides embarkation and disembarkation in Los Angeles, the port calls include San Francisco, San Diego and Ensenada.

The itinerary is a common one for Princess, and many passengers in the ship’s 1,830 guest cabins will be there for those ports or the ship’s many usual amenities. But this collaboration with the Magic Castle is a new element.

Co-founders Milt Larsen, William Larsen Jr. and Irene Larsen opened the venue in 1963 as a private clubhouse for Academy of Magical Arts members and guests. Through the decades it became known as an exclusive venue with an exacting dress code and a team of performers who show their skills as guests meander from room to room and restaurant to bar.

To be admitted, you have to be a member, be invited by a member or be an overnight guest at the adjacent Magic Hotel.

The themed cruise will transplant that experience from the Magic Castle — a three-story mansion built in 1909 — to a 1,083-foot-long, 19-deck ship that debuted in March 2022. Discovery Princess has several performance venues, and Princess says the week will feature a mix of private events specifically for people joining the themed cruise, plus public events open to all passengers.

Two differences between the mansion and the ship: To join the cruise, there’s no requirement of membership or referral. And the dress code will be less demanding. The castle’s management has long banned denim, sneakers, shorts, skorts, athletic wear, hoodies, bare midriffs, exposed undergarments and more. For the cruise, those limits will be thrown overboard (although there will be a formal night, as there are on most cruises).

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Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

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