When Monsters Are The Theme, Anything Goes

The Monsters of Rock cruise, coming up in March 2013 looks to have just about all the head-banging fun a heavy metal rock fan could ask for. Sailing from Fort Lauderdale and titled “Monsters of Rock: The Lost Weekend,” the four-night sailing is being promoted as “the greatest rock cruise to sail the seven seas.” Unlike some other festivals at sea, this one looks set to deliver too.

The headliners alone should cause hard-core rock fans, if not rock historians, to get excited. Cinderella, Tesla, Queensryche, Kix, Saxon, Lita Ford, Stryper, Y & T, Loudness and Great White join a total of 35 bands and a bunch of special guests on a full ship charter of MSC Poesia, sailing from Port Everglades. That translates to non-stop hard rock around the clock the entire four days.

On a great number of music-themed cruises, that would probably be plenty to keep fans busy between a few artist-specific events, meet and greets plus enjoying features of the ship itself. But Monsters of Rock has much more. Contests for “Best Tattoo,” “Best ’80s Hairstyle,” and three competitions titled “So you think you can sing?” “So you think you can drum?” and “So you think you can Shred?” promise to create some unique memories of the voyage.

Guests who have been on a cruise before will find some familiar activities and entertainment but with a heavy metal focus. “The Rock Star Dating Game,” “Celebrity Bingo” and “Shore Excursions With Your Favorite Rock Star” promise to put a unique twist on standard cruise ship fare. There is even what looks to be a far from traditional formal night titled “Monsters Of Rock Prom 1987.”

These people have really put some thought into this.

A photo show titled “Every Picture Tells a Story” has rock and roll photographer Mark Weiss sharing his photographs that capture the look of music and celebrity personalities of the 1980s. For a nominal fee, aspiring musicians can sign up for “Master Class Clinics Featuring Some of the Finest Musicians in the World” giving lessons on guitar, bass, vocals and drums.

Think this sounds like the rock gods have answered your prayers? Hold that thought.

In 2011, officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs, U.S. Marshals, DEA agents, and the Broward Sheriff’s Office stormed MSC Poesia in a raid just before setting sail for the Jam Fest Cruise. The raid resulted in the arrest of some passengers and the seizure of an assortment of party favors ranging from small quantities of marijuana, mushrooms, hash oil, LSD, ecstasy, prescription drugs and a variety of drug paraphernalia.

Too much heavy metal fun? Want to play it a bit safer?
There’s always the Blake Shelton Cruise, a full-ship charter of Norwegian Pearl sailing from the port of Miami on October 15, 2012.

Still too much fun?
A Barbie cruise could work. The Barbie Premium Experience will be on Royal Caribbean ships starting in January 2013.

Monsters of Rock sails March 16-20, 2013. Pricing starts as low as $679 per person with three people in an interior stateroom (+ government taxes, fees, and gratuities of $199 per person, added automatically). See Monsters of Rock for details.

Here is a recap of the 2012 Monsters of Rock cruise for your head-banging pleasure:

Flickr photo by The-E

Grand Prix Package A Special Event At Sea

Monaco’s Grand Prix has brought out the best of Formula One auto racing each year, and to race fans waiting for that starting flag to drop, there’s nothing better. In 1929, the first winner was a sleek Bugatti, completing the difficult course in just under four hours. Last year, racing legend Mark Weber crossed the finish line in less than two.

Want to know what next year will bring? Add the Grand Prix with Windstar package to a Yachting the Riviera yacht vacation.

Sail into the glamorous port of Monaco, on Windstar Cruises elegant sailing yacht Wind Surf, to experience the world’s most legendary auto racing event. With Windstar’s exclusive Grand Prix package added on to Wind Surf’s Yachting the Rivera voyage, race fans get preferred seating for the preliminaries on Saturday.

They’ll also get a glimpse at all the preparation that goes into the famous race, then the race itself on Sunday where they can cheer on their favorite driver with select seats.

Other highlights of the package include a night out in Monaco with dinner at the Café De Paris, followed by a night of gambling at Monte Carlo’s Grand Casino. Also included is an exclusive cocktail reception and Grand Prix dinner on board the yacht in Cannes as well as a special Sunday brunch the day of the race.

Rubbing elbows with the rich and famous has its cost though. The optional Grand Prix Package starts at $2,299 per person (in addition to cruise fare starting at $2999).

[Flickr photo by fusky]

Beatles cruise promoter asks: “What if Paul or Ringo came along?”

Lately, the focus of themed cruises has been on popular musicians like rock star musician and reality TV star Bret Michaels, Taylor Swift and Kid Rock among others. Themed cruises appeal to groups of people varying from broad interests like “motorcycles” and “rock music” in general to smaller, more specific interests like Harley-Davidson motorcycles or a specific band like KISS. Gaining in popularity, promoters book huge blocks of cabins on existing sailings or charter entire ships to meet the demand and cruise lines are paying attention.

Beatles Tribute Cruise (BTC) 2012
is on sale now and filling up fast. That’s prompting offers from other cruise lines looking to woo the annual event away from Royal Caribbean and a call to invite one of the remaining Beatles along for the ride.

“It’s a bold move….what’s happened is that the cruise’s popularity has initiated some amazing–and I mean AMAZING—offers from other cruise lines to “jump ship” and sign on with them, and they are asking if we could get Ringo or Paul to join us!” BTC promoter Woody Lifton told Examiner.com.

What would cruise lines offer to get the Beatles cruise and Paul McCartney or Ringo Starr on board?”Basically anything they wanted, I suspect” said Lifton adding “With a private ship and (the) high quality cruisers we get on BTC, they would have a really nice time with the ability to interact with fans to the extent they wanted, in a safe atmosphere with whatever security they would need.”

An annual event, the 2011 Beatles cruise was a fundraiser for Thrive/Survive Los Angeles to support young adult cancer survivors. On-board, a raffle was held with close to 100 Beatles-related item given away during the sailing. Beatles Cruise 2012 sails from Ft Lauderdale on 2/4/12 aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas and set to coincide with the 48th Anniversary of The Beatles first U.S. Television appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964.

Will Beatles Tribute Cruise 2013 or 2014 be able to land the biggest fish of all, Paul McCartney or Ringo Starr?

“Yes we feel we could make this happen” concluded Lifton “and as with all of our past cruises I’m sure we’ll exceed everyone’s expectations”

Flickr photo by bluecherry74

Related Stories

Kid Rock cruises to a different theme

In the travel business we say “there is a cruise for everyone” and I really do think that’s true. Each cruise line promotes what they do to a different demographic. Some passengers like an old-fashioned lazy Caribbean cruise while others may enjoy an active, healthy lifestyle sailing using the ship as simply a method of transportation. In many ways the experience is quite similar though, regardless of the cruise line. If the difference between cruise lines seems a bit blurry you might want to consider a theme cruise.

On a theme cruise like-minded individuals gather to totally immerse themselves in a seagoing event that can last from a few days to a week or longer. Often, a lot of how it goes, how deep that immersion is, depends on who organizes and promotes the event.

Sixthman specializes in full-ship charters and recently wrapped up the Kid Rock’s Chillin’ The Most Cruise 2011. While some promoters may book blocks of cabins in a group-cruise sort of way, Sixthman does it a bit differently.

“We charter the full cruise ship, so anyone who books on one of our theme cruises will book through Sixthman, not through the cruise line” said Sixthman CEO Andy Levine adding “
The cost of a theme cruise is more than if a guest booked through the cruise line because it includes all entertainment, live shows, onboard activities, and more.”

How involved the promoter is in the onboard experience makes a big difference too. Remember, you get all the activities, entertainment and dining options that a given ship provides. The theme package stacked on top of that cruise line experience is what makes these different.

“Sixthman cruises are different from other theme cruises because we go out of our way to make sure all of the guests are happy. They get a full festival experience and end up building lasting relationships with other guests and artists. Each event builds a community.”said Levine.


Some theme cruises have various levels of immersion that can be booked with more access to performers costing more.

“We also offer proximity to the artists – the performers who sail with us are open with their fans and enjoy hanging out around the ship. We don’t create a “VIP” environment – everyone who books has the same “backstage pass”-like advantages”concluded Levine.

So, interested in a theme cruise? Here is some more information you need to know.

Who might like a theme cruise
Have you ever been to a concert or event that was just so good you wished it would never end? Do you have a favorite author, film star or sports figure you can’t get enough of? Do you struggle to keep you hobby from overtaking your real life? Are you interested in a group of people that share the same lifestyle, focus or desires?

Theme cruises offer up close and personal time with whatever the theme might be. Sometimes called “special interest cruises” or “full ship charters” these sailings bring together people of all ages, sizes, shapes, colors and backgrounds with one thing in common: their interest in whatever it is that sailing is all about.

Who offers theme cruises
Some are organized by non-profit organizations for fund raising, others are simply put together by a small group interested in something cool then marketed to everyone in hopes of bringing together more people interested in that same something cool. The organization defines the idea and a travel agency sells it for them.

There are also travel companies that specialize in full ship charters like Sixthman who creates theme cruises with an emphasis on celebrating music and fan communities or Atlantis Events who organizes gay and lesbian cruises with being gay or lesbian the common denominator. Other travel companies do partial charters or simply book blocks of cabins on a ship as a large group. In most cases, unlike simply picking a ship and sailing date like you might with a cruise line, these have to be booked through whoever is handling them.

ThemeCruiseFinder.com is a good place to start with a wide variety of past and upcoming theme cruises listed.

Photo courtesy Sixthman

Captain Kid Rock sails again

He doesn’t get to marry people at sea, drive the ship or make people walk the plank but Captain Kid Rock’s second-annual Chillin’ the Most Cruise is underway once again. Along with 2,700 of his fans, Kid Rock is on the way to Cozumel from New Orleans aboard the Carnival Triumph.

The five day charter sailing goes to Cozumel, just Cozumel, and no place else. That’s probably just what the doctor ordered for the rabidly fun-loving fans on board.

“For this heavy-drinking, heavy-smoking crowd, it’s an itinerary that includes all-hours bars, pole-dancing classes and performances by 16 acts, including Rev. Run, Gretchen Wilson and two up-close-and-personal concerts by Rock himself.” says Brian McCollum, on board, from the Detroit Free Press
Fans arrived in New Orleans early and by all accounts, the party was well underway before the ship left the dock.

“Fans had begun piling into New Orleans a day early, excited to dive in to what many returning cruise-goers described as a Kid Rock family reunion. These are the hardest of the hard-core — the fans whose Kid Rock concert counts run into the dozens and whose arms are vividly emblazoned with tattoos of the Detroit star” McCollum wrote.

But other than a few drunken domestic arguments, the crowd seems to be as somewhat-under-control as it probably could be with Rock in charge of the festivities.

“The party will be everywhere,” Rock boasted to the Free Press just after boarding yesterday adding “Everywhere you go on this boat, you’ll be walking into it.”

I bet there’s a story or two coming out of this before it’s all over. Actually, let me take that back on the “he doesn’t get to make people walk the plank” thing I mentioned earlier. I wouldn’t put anything past the venerable Mr Rock.

Flickr photo by familymwr