Theme cruises are changing the perception of cruising, but it took "The Rock Boat," to blow cruising's stodgy image completely
out of the water.
My wife and I sailed on The Rock Boat (via Carnival Cruise Lines) last January out of Miami, not totally sure of what to expect, since our musical tastes go back to, well, the "oldies but goodies." What we found was that with some twenty acts to choose from, there were plenty of entertainers that fit our musical proclivities, and we even learned a thing or two.
The Rock Boat began almost a decade ago when a popular Southern rock band, Sister Hazel, floated the idea to some of their counterparts. A number of groups warmed to the idea and now, though Southern rock still predominates, there is a blend of many musical styles, including country, Cajun, ballads, and alternative rock. On our trip, Sister Hazel was joined by such groups as Toad the Wet Sprocket, which had several top ten hits in the 90's; Jon McLaughlin, a keyboardist who sang the theme from "Enchanted" at the most recent Academy Awards show; and up-and-coming rocker Josh Kelley, who's best known (for the present) as the husband of actress Katherine Heigl. These and other acts performed seemingly non-stop at such venues as the pool deck, theatres, lounges and other locations throughout the ship. What also made the experience memorable was that the bands and individual acts mingled with the passengers, many of whom were regular fans of particular bands. These were not just your ordinary "groupies," either. Some of the regular followers were college professors and CEOs of their own companies.
Next January's installment of The Rock Boat will include such acts as Gaelic Storm, Alternate Routes, Francisco Vidal and Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers, as well as the original, Sister Hazel. The cruise will leave Miami on January 17 and stop at Nassau, the Bahamas and Half Moon Cay, returning on January 22.
For more information, you can go to www.therockboat.com.