The music cruise industry has really taken flight — or, shall we say, really set sail — in recent years, spawned by a desire by fans and musicians alike to take the fun of a festival to sea. After all, music cruises offer certain advantages, specifically a variety of bands all playing in the same setting, but without forcing their fans to rough the rigours of camping or trek from distant stage to another.
After all, what could be better than seeing some great groups in both intimate and theatre-like venues, not to mention the chance to get up close and personal with the performers via various shipboard encounters? Then too there’s the sightseeing in various ports of call, the opportunity to eat to your heart’s content, and eventually settle in for the night in a luxurious stateroom.
The trend has been successfully nurtured over the years through music themed cruises like Cayamo and Rock the Boat, but lately the concept has expanded to voyages hosted by specific bands and artists. Feel like five days at sea in the company of legends like Yes or the Moody Blues? Indeed, for the right price — and a reasonable one at that considering all the music and amenities that you get for your dollar — you can enjoy a rock ‘n’ roll fantasy practically 24/7, and in a variety of tropical locales to boot.
Beginning in late March 2014, three specialty cruises, courtesy of the luxurious MSC Divina, will cast off from the port of Miami. The first of these,”The Monsters of Rock Cruise,” takes its name and its theme from the legendary hard rock festivals held at Castle Donigan in the U.K. Sailing from March 29 – April 2 to Nassau Bahamas and its own private Monster Island, this celebration of heavy metal mayhem features a a no-nonsense cast of fearsome rockers, lots of spandex and extreme hairdos, the likes of which haven’t been seen Ronald Reagan was in office.
Clearly not for those who are faint of heart — or don’t own an adequate set of earplugs — the line-up features such heavyweights as ELP drummer Carl Palmer, Tesla, Ratt, Cinderella, Kix, Y & T, Firehouse, Slaughter, Winger, The Winery Dogs, Great White, Loudness, Jake E. Lee’s Red Dragon Cartel, Dangerous Toys, Doro, London Quireboys, Quiet Riot, Faster Pussycat, Love/Hate, Femme Fatale, Rough Cut, Tuff, Tyketto, Charm City Devils, Mike Tramp, Eric Martin, John Corabi, Joel Hoekstra, Ron Keel, Richie Kotzen, and Moby Dicks (featuring members of Whitesnake, Foreigner, Vince Neil and Lynch Mob), among others.
Cruise rates start at $999 per person (double occupancy) and are sold a first-come, first-served basis exclusively through the Monsters of Rock Cruise website at http://www.MonstersOfRockCruise.com.
No sooner do the head bangers depart, then the MSC Divina makes a quick turnaround – both logistically and stylistically – all in preparation for the “Moody Blues Cruise II,” departing April 2 – April 5 for Grand Turk Island, Turks & Caicos, and Nassau Bahamas.
Here’s a hint for any crew involved in the transition – the odor of perspiration is easily masked by the smell of patchouli, and with the transition from extreme metal to the mellow Moodies, one might expect plenty of lofty fragrances to go round regardless. Sadly, the departure date isn’t scheduled for a “Tuesday Afternoon” (it falls on a Wednesday, actually), but there will be no shortage of Moody Blues classics.
As a special bonus, — and well worth the price of admission alone — Roger Daltrey and his band will also perform, marking the first time the two icons have shared a bill since the legendary Isle of Wight Festival in 1970.
The other musical guests announced so far aren’t too shabby either. The roll call of legendary artists includes Carl Palmer, the Zombies, Strawbs, Lighthouse, Shawn Phillips, The Orchestra (featuring former members of ELO), Strawbs, Starship, Little River Band, Sound of Contact (starring Simon Collins, son of Phil), Joe Williams of Toto, and Glass Hammer, along with tributes to Jimi Hendrix and the Eagles to keep that vintage vibe alive.
Several cabins are already sold open. Prices for those remaining start at $1099. For more information, go to www.Moodycruises.com
* * *
Prog gets its day — or rather, its five days, from April 7 to 12, when the MSC Divina departs for Isla de Roatan, Honduras and Cozumel Mexico. Billed as the “Cruise to the Edge,” it gives an affirmative nod to Yes and its classic album of practically the same name. Expect an ample ingestion of mellotrons, synths and complex motifs as the Yes men host fellow travellers Steve Hackett (with Genesis Revisited), Marillion, UK, Patrick Moraz, Three Friends (former members of Gentle Giant), Tangerine Dream, PFM, Saga, Queensryche, Renaissance, Strawbs, Stick Men (featuring Tony Levin), 10 Earth, Pineapple Thief, Sound of Contact, Lifesigns, and Soft Machine (Legacy), among others. We’d expect each outfit will do its best to recreate those dazzlingly complex symphonic suites known to be lengthy enough to allow many an FM deejay a well deserved bathroom break back in the day. Famed album artist Roger Dean’s work will also be well represented, so allocate some funds for a poster or two as either a keepsake or gift for those unfortunates left back on shore.
Several categories of accommodations have already sold out, so current cruise rates now start at $999 per person (double occupancy) and will be sold a first-come, first-served basis exclusively through the www.cruisetotheedge.com website. — LEE ZIMMERMAN