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Named America’s fastest-growing travel company by Inc. Magazine last year, Sixthman specializes in theme cruises designed to bring music fans closer to their favorite artists. Since its inception in 2001, the Atlanta, Georgia-based company has hosted more than 45 full-ship charters, delivering exclusive, intimate, and interactive vacation experiences to countless people. Previous cruises have featured musicians such as John Mayer, Kid Rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Lifehouse, Sarah McLachlan, Weezer, Zac Brown Band, and 311. Sixthman has also formed partnerships with brands like Graceland, VH1, and TCM, with the second annual TCM Classic Cruise taking place just last month.

Interestingly, Sixthman started out as an artist management company. According to founder and CEO Andy Levine, the company’s entry into the cruise industry happened by accident. Sixthman had enlisted the help of a group of fans to promote alternative rock group Sister Hazel on the grassroots level, and in return, Levine and his team arranged a cruise for the fans and the band. That, was the first of many more floating music festivals to come.

Levine says, “It was a magical thing. And from that point forward, we’ve spent every waking hour trying to figure out how to pioneer this.”

Last October, rock band KISS hit the waves with the first KISS Kruise, which sailed from Miami to Nassau, Bahamas. In addition to enjoying live performances by KISS (and other acts), fans also got to meet and have their picture taken with the group.

“It was important for us to work with KISS, because this is the band that had the first army. We felt like that is how our business was born,” says Levine.

Indeed, Sixthman has amassed its own “army” of loyal fans over the years – the company maintains a 60 percent return rate among cruise goers. In 2010, Sixthman was selected as the “Best for Music Lovers” voyage by Cruise Critic editors.

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