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Everything posted by NinS

  1. Thanks for keeping us updated, HB! Great to hear that Sheena Easton delivered live. Who is that singing next to her? Regarding the '25 80s Cruise, if anyone wants to see the lineup HB is referring to it is here: https://the80scruise.com/lineup/ I've only seen three of the artists: Squeeze, Sheila E, and Kurtis Blow. Sheila is a great entertainer. Squeeze do what they do -- I happen to like their music but of course everyone has their own taste. I saw Kurtis so long ago I don't remember anything about his live show. (It was probably a hip-hop package show where everyone got short sets.)
  2. PS -- Here's the 2024 Flower Power schedule. https://2024flowerpowercruise.sched.com John Lodge of the Moody Blues cancelled his land tour and isn't on the final schedule but is said to be recovering nicely so I don't see any changes to the status of his appearance on the 2025 R&R cruise. Tommy James, an oft-requested artist who won't sail OR do two shows in one night, is going to do one big show on the pool and then get off before the ship actually leaves Miami at 7pm. Last time he was booked he did one single show near the port in San Juan and the venue got pretty mixed reviews, so I think most cruisers will be happy to just have him by the pool even if it'll be a crowded affair. And John Kay of Steppenwolf will be the "on and off" guest doing two shows in port.
  3. Thanks HB! So when the announcement happens I'll be on another Sixthman cruise, Cayamo, which leaves on Friday. The nice thing about the timing is that if I love the OCC lineup I can go right to the NextCruise desk and buy a certificate to use on my OCC reservation. And if I don't, perhaps you'll see me on UDC, although I might wait it out a bit more to see who gets added to either cruise.
  4. HB, that webinar will get archived on YouTube. And based on prior webinars the vast majority of the information is geared towards people who have either never cruised or have never been on a music charter. That makes sense, but it also means that what you'd learn would be pretty limited. I watched the archives of TJC webinars with my finger on the fast forward button as I didn't have to hear about luggage tags and specialty dining options.
  5. Today the 2025 Flower Power Cruise was announced. It's a very good lineup that includes Mark Lindsay's first live appearance anywhere in a number of years -- he had retired due an injury and had cancelled on a prior FPC. Rare Earth (with no originals), The Guess Who and ex-Hollies member Terry Sylvester are also doing Rock and Romance in 2025. Alas the dates probably won't work for me (and I won't know for sure until after the April pre-sale) so it's not likely that I'll be booking a cabin.
  6. I might be misreading things but I actually think the performance will be the Hall of Fame Band (Peter Asher's backing group) doing a tribute to Badfinger, rather than a Joey Molland set. When Peter Asher does StarVista cruises he does a matinee show with a full band (including Cara Lee singing "You're No Good" which Asher produced) and then the late night acoustic shows which have lots of special guests. I wonder if he's the only artist who has been on Malt Shop, Flower Power and Rock and Romance.
  7. Looks like you've got a great and very full week of music, HB. When Peter Asher did his late night acoustic show on Flower Power he brought out some special guests (including the Cowsills) and I loved it, but different strokes for different cruisers!
  8. As expected today the Soul Train Cruise pre-sale had only Oceanview and veranda cabins, which are out of my budget. It looks like the 30 or so cabins that were available sold out in 30 minutes. The good news is that Jeffrey Osborne is part of this land-based event I'll probably go to (as are multiple UDC 2025 artists) and I can just catch up with the other artists I wanted to see on land at some point. I am waiting on the Outlaw Country lineup before I pull the trigger for UDC. https://classicrandbevents.com
  9. While our Botti At Sea friends are enjoying their cruise I noticed that Boz Scaggs was removed from the 2025 lineup, while David Foster with Katherine McPhee were added for a return engagement.
  10. As of now the Nieuw Amsterdam is selling cabins for a non-charter cruise leaving the day Soul Train Cruise '25 gets back, so perhaps we'll have to wait until '26 to see two sailings. (Although I am very aware from other parts of this board that sometimes people buy cabins only for the ship to be chartered later on.) A friend is on the Outlaw Country Cruise and quite sadly host and entertainer Mojo Nixon passed away from a cardiac event while the ship was docked in San Juan. Besides his own string of 80s novelty songs (more underground cult classics than hits) he was a Sirius/XM radio host and did a lot of the interviews on the OCC as well as a few sets with his band the Toad Liquors which had performed the night before he died. I'm pretty sure he'd been on every sailing. Today there will be a "Mojo Remembrance & Pontifications" in his honor. His family issued a touching statement saying in essence that he passed doing what he loved in a setting that he loved.
  11. That's awesome, HB! Outlaw Country Cruise '25 was announced and conflicts with Ultimate Disco Cruise (as often happens). I'll wait and see what the OCC lineup is like as it doesn't seem like UDC is going to sell out any time soon. Soul Train Cruise '25 is supposedly 96% sold out from on board bookings that took place during the recent cruise. While some of that comes from people just rebooking their cabin, I'm told there was also a lot of cruisers signing up friends on board. So I don't think my odds at scoring a cabin during the pre-sale are very good, especially since I would go only for an inside cabin. But there's also an online rumor that there will be a second sailing -- whether that will be in '25 or '26, and whether or not the lineup will be identical, are things that remain to be seen.
  12. I just noticed that Boz Scaggs has been added to Botti At Sea '25.
  13. We were in Labadee on The Jazz Cruise last week. A beautiful beach and three different traditional Haitian bands. They will absolutely not let you outside of the gated compound (which is in the middle of nowhere) but one of the excursions is a trip to a nearby village (I can't remember if it is via bus or water shuttle) where you see a cultural presentation of drummers and dancers and traditional medicinal practitioners. I did it about six years ago and it was fun once but not something I needed to do again this time. While I certainly hope the currently dire situation in Haiti improves, it's hard to imagine that they'll be letting anyone wonder around the country a year from now, and I'm not sure there'd be much to see even if you did.
  14. HB, it looks like at some point your R&R schedule is going to be here: https://202470srockandromancecruise.sched.com but certainly not while SV is hosting the Soul Train Cruise, and probably not until their staff has recovered from three consecutive cruises. My guess is it'll get released in 2-3 weeks.
  15. Speaking of UDC '25, here are my guesses for who will play where: Kool & The Gang -- definitely an entire theater show The Spinners -- definitely an entire theater show Shalamar featuring Howard Hewett, Carolyn Griffey, and Jeffrey Daniel -- when Shalamar Reloaded featuring Jody Watley were on UDC '20, they did an entire show in the theater, but it's always possible this could end up as a split bill. Tavares -- A theater act. I think the last few times they were on UDC or Soul Train they split a bill with another act. (In one case they were scheduled this way but cancelled at the last minute.) Rose Royce -- They've played many SV cruises and are always at the pool. The Brothers Johnson -- Since this is their first SV cruise there's no precedent to go by. A bit on the funky side so could work in either venue. I'd be a bit surprised if they were given a full 75 minute set. Lisa Lisa -- Another one with no precedent. I would have guessed the pool but fellow freestyle stars Expose played the theater last year. Also, she usually does a short set on freestyle package shows but I found one instance where she did an entire set by her own in a casino theater. (Based on the set list it took a few covers sung by her backup singers to get her through an entire full show.) Since she uses backing tracks she's also a possibility for one of the late night restaurant slots where a full band isn't set up. The Legendary Blue Notes -- Last year they did a split theater bill with Double Exposure but they played one pool set and one lounge set on UDC '20. The Trammps ft. Earl Young -- Always a pool favorite. Original Stone City Band -- Rick James' old band -- seems like a pool act to me. George McCrae -- A one hit wonder (but what a hit!), we'll likely see George as a special guest with UGO or as part of a package set. I can't remember if he's even done one of the short artist spots that happen in the restaurant but that would probably work for him too. Double Exposure -- see Legendary Blue Notes. They're not going to headline a theater show but could open for the Blue Notes or Tavares, especially in a matinee, or could be part of a pool/lounge package set. Bee Gees Gold- -- Pool/lounge Boogie Wonder Band -- Pool/lounge Forever Donna - The Ultimate Donna Summer Tribute by Rainere Martin -- Pool/lounge Based on all of this I think it's possible that another theater headliner will be added -- but not at all guaranteed. The tribute slots seem pretty full. Another one or two hit wonder act that can bounce between the pool, lounge, and late-night restaurant seems likely -- a France Joli, Ritchie Family, or First Choice, for instance.
  16. Note from the Soul Train Cruise FB page. The cruise starts today and this was posted yesterday. I'd say the replacement act is just as wonderful and famous as the one who couldn't make it. "We wanted to share with you that last night, we were informed by Gerald Alston of The Manhattans that he will not be able to join us on our upcoming cruise. His doctor recommends that he does not travel at this time, but should be fully recovered shortly. We are looking forward to hopefully having him back on a future Soul Train Cruise. Luckily, we were able to get the incredible Russell Thompkins, Jr., lead singer of The Sytlistics, to perform onboard this week. We’re excited to have him join us again, and can’t wait to see you all tomorrow!"
  17. Speaking of the demographic, there were at least two major medical emergencies. The first night I noticed that many hours after departure the lights of Miami could be seen and my phone was working. I assumed it was just a matter of whatever route we were taking and didn't think much of it, but a passenger I spoke with claimed that we had to go back due to a medical issue. (Perhaps a smaller boat came out and met our ship to transport the passenger?) When we were nearing the end of our time in Labadee I was watching Emmet Cohen's B3 set (which was jam packed because so few people had gotten off the ship) and I noticed from the window of the Sky Lounge that there was a helicopter parked on the dock and that no one could go to or from the ship. Eventually a passenger was wheeled out and put into the copter which took off. Only a handful of the audience seemed to notice.
  18. You captured the vibe very well, Jojo. I'm also in my 40s. I've been on a bunch of music charters and they do tend to skew older regardless of genre in part because you need both the cash and at least 8 days off to go -- plus there's the aging audience for jazz, particularly of the straight ahead variety (which may explain why the more modern Artemis and Latin jazz star Chucho Valdes often played to modest audiences despite being major theater attractions on land). But the year I went on Blue Note at Sea the audience wasn't considerably younger despite the likes of Robert Glasper being on the ship. And yes, I met a woman on an excursion who was there with her 93 year-old mother. The mom skipped the excursion but when I saw her back on the ship she was having a blast. There was one elderly gentleman who was there with what appeared to be his adult grandchildren. The kids were always quite drunk and grandpa would talk loudly through the music, much to the annoyance of those around him. I saw him get into four verbal altercations and Jeff Hamilton refused to start a song until he was quiet! Luckily he didn't swat anyone with his cane. Considering that there were 2000 people on board it's not surprising that there was one outlier, and I certainly wasn't going to let him ruin my vacation -- but I did try to avoid sitting anywhere near him. After doing two TJCs in a row I'm also not booked for next year. Chucho and Paquito, Artemis (especially Allison Miller), Kenny Barron, Eliane Elias and Anat Cohen were all really big draws for me. I also love Charles McPherson and Bill Charlap but they're not quite enough to make me pull the trigger yet (and I've seen both in past few months on land). Plus I'm going to try for a Soul Train Cruise cabin (which is far from a sure thing) and I wouldn't have the time or money to do both. But regardless I wouldn't hesitate to sail on TJC again in the future.
  19. Likewise, HB, the Outlaw Country Cruise, which sells out every year, tried a West Coast version in 2022. It made perfect sense since many of the most popular bands on the cruise are CA-based. For whatever reason (and Covid certainly didn't help) it was not a success and I've heard nothing about any future editions. A European cruise is probably out of my budget for the foreseeable future (although ironically I've taken land trips to Europe from here on the East Coast that were far less expensive than flying domestically). It might be a great way to get a taste of the continent while seeing some of your favorite artists, although I'd also worry that I'd have to choose between the music and seeing some sights that are more unique than just another Caribbean beach (not that I didn't enjoy the warm weather last week). On The Jazz Cruise so few of the passengers got off at the first port that the few shows programmed during the day were overflowing. In the middle of Emmet Cohen's B-3 organ set when the ship was in Labadee Michael Lazaroff handed Emmet a note saying there would be a repeat performance while the ship was in Puerto Plata the next day, and by the time the set was over the app had been updated with the added set. Another show slated for a smaller venue while the ship was at the second port was moved to the theater due to expected demand. TJC probably has the oldest demographic of any music cruise I've been on except for Malt Shop Memories, and in talking to them I've found that many are very experienced cruisers and have a "been there, bought the t-shirt, don't need to get off again" attitude about the ports. I got out to Labadee early to make sure I could get a chair and umbrella at the beach and discovered there were hundreds and hundreds if not thousands of unused chairs and umbrellas in prime spots, with crew members and musicians vastly outnumbering paying passengers on the beach. One thing I forgot to mention from Lazaroff's Q&A is that he said that new environmental regulations mean ships can't go as fast, diminishing the ports available for a 7-day cruise, so if you think the music charter itineraries have been repetitive in the past, they're going to get even more limited. This was also the explanation for why we were somewhat oddly (for a music charter with lots of afternoon programming) in St. Thomas between 1pm and 7:30 pm. I imagine this has been widely discussed elsewhere on CC.
  20. I am just off a spectacular edition of The Jazz Cruise. The amount and quality of music was just unbelievable -- I had an hour of work to do and it took four days before I found that hour in the day! I only had time for a Main Dining Room dinner twice. And I didn't see a bad set all week. Two of the musicians, Houston Person and Lewis Nash, got sick at the last minute and couldn't make it. Houston was replaced by Lew Tabackin who got Covid a few days before the sailing, so Houston's band just played without him. Michael Lazaroff did a Q&A. Many of the questions were centered around the transition of Blue Note at Sea to Botti at Sea. While it wasn't explicitly stated, one came away with the impression that BNAS isn't coming back any time soon. Asked how many years are on Chris Botti's contract Michael smiled and said "a lot." The other big news was that Jazz Cruises is looking to expand with a European and/or West Coast cruise in either 2025 or 2026. The cruise concept was not discussed, although given how popular the Smooth Jazz Cruises are my money would be on that format. There are apparently 2000 people already on the waitlist for the 2025 SJCs. A slide shown in between cruise photos stated that the 2025 TJC cabin availability is: Penthouse 0 Suite 0 Concierge/Aqua 105 Veranda 149 Oceanview 119 Interior 75 With several hundred pre-sale reservations already made this number should shrink considerably once the pre-sale starts, although one images that as usual TJC cabins will remain for several months before eventually selling out as happened this year.
  21. This is great news -- I managed to miss both legs of the Doobie 50th tour with Michael McDonald so I'm looking forward to catching it when it hits my town. I've also never seen Steve Winwood before. I just (an hour ago!) got off The Jazz Cruise which was a great time. We did have very choppy seas one night and one singer tried performing from a chair and then just gave up entirely. Everyone else just soldiered on. A friend is on StarVista's Country Music Cruise and the weather report for their original ports was so dire that they were worried about artists being able to make it onto the ship at the halfway point, so the ports were changed from Grand Turk and Key West to Miami (yes as a port stop!) and Nassau. Everyone had to get off at Miami and then get back on again. There was some online grumbling but I heard the process wasn't too bad.
  22. I emailed the man in charge and he wrote back right away saying he wasn't yet sure how long Kool would be on the cruise, "but a bit for sure." By my count there is room for at least one major headliner to be added to the Botti affair and probably two or maybe even three as this year's schedule shows that they frequently do double bills for the evening theater shows.
  23. Botti At Sea will be in Cozumel until 11:30 pm, which indicates that Kool -- or perhaps another artist (as the Weekender indicated there's at least one or two contracts that haven't yet been signed) will be coming on just for the day or leaving the cruise on the third day. And it does call Kool a "special guest." So that would leave them plenty of time to also make UDC. And speaking of UDC, today its Facebook page promised "big news coming soon." Kool? KC? Or perhaps UDC year 1 headliners Gloria Gaynor and the Village People? I've always been surprised that neither returned since they're such huge disco names, although perhaps Gloria, now 80, was hesitant to book a cruise while Covid was raging. And, finally, speaking of StarVista and big news, such a promise was recently made on the Malt Shop Memories Cruise page. The announcement turned out to be that Priscilla Presley is coming on the ship to do a multimedia and Q&A presentation. That actually sounds pretty interesting to me, but there were a few cruisers who made it abundantly clear that they were not interested. I'm not sailing on Malt Shop this year so I'll be eager to hear from my friends how she goes over.
  24. If someone chooses to fly in the morning of a cruise and they encounter a flight delay that makes them miss the cruise's departure, will most cruise insurance cover the cost of the cruise and/or the cost of getting to the first port stop?
  25. If @SpicyP and anyone else going on Botti At Sea rechecks the app (or bottiatsea.sched.com) they'll see the full schedule now. As usual there is plenty going on. Two or three of the headliners seem like they'll only be on for half of the cruise which is not surprising.
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