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70s Rock and Romance Cruise - discussion and questions


Honolulu Blue
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With restrictions in my state due to be lifted starting July 1, I looked for venues for some "vital" concert training for my experiences.  And I think I found a good one - ZZ Top, John Fogerty, and George Thorogood will be performing next month not too far from home.  It should be a good time as I wait for my other trips.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A couple of minor news items on my musical journey:

 

  • 80s in the Sands is replacing Belinda Carlisle with Loverboy.  While I like Belinda and the chance for a double is now gone (she'll also be on The 80s Cruise), I like Loverboy's music just as much.
  • The 80s Cruise is replacing The Alarm with another band TBD.  Considering The Alarm is one of the few bands on the cruise that I didn't care about at all, almost any replacement would be good, and a few I can think of would be outstanding.
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  • 3 weeks later...

I successfully completed phase 2 of my hot vax summer this weekend with my attendance at the ZZ Top/John Fogerty/GTD concert.  Barely a mask was seen and there was very little social distancing.  I expected this.  It was a good time, though all the driving and running around made for a very long day. I'll try to adjust to this for my future experiences.

 

Looking forward to my next adventures.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A couple of small items:

 

  1. The 80s Cruise has replaced The Alarm with Gene Loves Jezebel and Dramarama.  They're vaguely familiar to me, but neither of them I'm looking forward to seeing.  Oh well, they can't all be winners.  And I will probably need the rest anyway.
  2. Dusty Hill of ZZ Top passed away a couple of days ago.  That means I was at one of his very last concerts.  Sad news, and I expect to hear more of it in the coming months and years.
Edited by Honolulu Blue
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  • 2 months later...
39 minutes ago, George C said:

Worried about this cruise if it can sail with 100 percent occupancy, or will it be canceled or postponed again . That goes for all music charters.

 

I think a lot more about this than I ought to.  One of the music charters I follow has voluntarily reduced capacity to 80% for their sailing in November, but that seems to be the exception to the rule.  The Sixthman cruises for November seem to have availability after at least some of them were sold out earlier this year.  Many of the charters that are scheduled to run in early 2022 are sold out.

 

I think the CDC will pitch the capacity limits when the CSO is due to expire at the end of October, which would seem to eliminate the issue.  But individuals have to decide whether it's wise to be on cruise ships with lots of interior space with iffy ventilation.  And those decisions are likely to be influenced by the virus spread in the weeks and months to come.  It's worth keeping an eye on.

 

A couple of things that might happen to these charters is (1) they'll be split into two cruises on similar ships either leaving at the same time or similar times, and/or (2) they'll move them to bigger ships.  Why run a ship at 30% of capacity when there's this charter over here that's sold out and could possibly sell more cabins if they were available?  Anyway, it's something that might happen and is worth keeping an eye on.

 

This is a very interesting time to be in the music charter businesss.

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I'm mostly posting this for me, but one of my upcoming adventures is 80s in the Sand, a group that has rented much of an AI in Cancun.  They will have musicians from the era along with some 80s-themed events.  Anyway, they sent me what I think will be their last full newsletter before the event.  Here's what I found most interesting:

  • There will be about 1400 people enjoying this event
  • No vaccine requirements for guests.  My opinion is that you'd have to be out of your mind to attend an event like this without being vaccinated, but it's just an opinion that doesn't have any weight with anyone.
  • Hotel employees and performers are required to be vaccinated
  • All guests need a negative test 48 hours before arrival, and they're fairly strict on the 48 hour thing
  • Non-proctored home self test results aren't accepted, but most of the other available testing options are accepted
  • On-site testing is available on arrival for a fee
  • On-site antigen testing is available before leaving for free (PCR tests available for a fee)
  • We lost Howard Jones and Wang Chung due to UK entry and exit requirements.  Wang Chung is all right, but Mr. Jones is a real loss; I was really looking forward to hearing him.
  • Howard Jones and Wang Chung are moving to the 2022 edition, which has suites already being sold (it's in a different hotel but still in Cancun)
  • TPTB are committed to getting replacements.  We'll see what they come up with.

I'm very much looking forward to this - so much so that I booked a faux-charter cruise experience on Princess for next month.  That's a cruise with an 80s theme with some 80s cover bands, 80s trivia, 80s TV shows and movies, and more.  You can read more about it at https://www.princess.com/ships-and-experience/special-events/  .  My expectations for this are much lower than for the 80s in the Sand and The 80s Cruise, but I paid much less for this than I did for either of those.  Besides, it's a cruise, so how bad could it really be?

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  • 3 weeks later...

80s in the Sand news, now just two days away from starting:

 

  • We lost Loverboy, Sheena Easton, and Firehouse for various reasons.  We got four replacements.  Naked Eyes was a favorite back in the day; the others don't hold much interest.
  • I tested at the nearest CVS that had a rapid test - an hour away.  The procedure was relatively painless; I was competently walked through all the steps; and despite a warning that previous results had been coming back later than expected all day, mine were relayed in less than an hour.  NEGATIVE.  Yeah!
  • There's going to be rain here from Sunday afternoon until the flight takes off.  It'll be great to get away from this mess, but...
  • The weather in Cancun will be much hotter, but most days also have rain chances.

I'm still very much looking forward to this.  When I booked this way back in February, I was hopeful that things would turn our way in the pandemic.  There were some tense moments in there, but it looks like it's going to come off.  Sure some acts that I really wanted to see can't make it, but I doubt that's going to stop me from having a good time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

MY REVIEW OF 80s IN THE SAND - OCTOBER 25-NOVEMBER 1

 

This is going to run long and be rambling, so here's a TL,DR:  I had a good time, the resort was nice, the people were nicer, probably won't repeat.

 

And now the start of my ramble:

 

  • The weather in Cancun Monday-Thursday featured highs in the upper 80s and lows in the upper 70s.  With the humidity, the heat index often got to 100+, which made it quite uncomfortable for me. 
  • Thursday night featured the one sustained shower we had the whole time and introduced some cooler weather for the rest of my stay - highs in the low-mid 80s, lows around 70, and reduced humidity.  This was much more comfortable for me across the board.
  • We had a free shuttle to the resort.  Getting to it was a bit of a mess.  We were told who to look for and who to avoid, but it was still a mess.  Go to this guy, who says go to that guy, who says go here and wait. But eventually I got on with a fair number of my new friends for the week.  Social distancing?  What's that? 😁
  • Virtually all the employees I saw or encountered in Mexico and most of the locals were wearing masks
  • Where we stayed was actually a complex of two hotels - Dreams, which hosted most of the events; and Secrets, which was quieter but farther away from the action.  I stayed at Secrets, WHICH WAS A HORRIBLE CHOICE THAT NOBODY HAS ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR BUT ME.  I was just too far away from most events I wanted to go to.  The hotel itself was fine, and I'll get into many details about that.  But my location was problematic from the start.
  • The shuttle (in the style of a big interstate bus, BTW) stopped at Dreams first and about half the crowd got off
  • Dreams was the second stop and the rest of us got off here.  We were herded to a convention center to take care of some paperwork (including an inspection of our negative test results - mine was a rapid antigen test done at CVS two days prior, which was accepted without question). This was a little slow and painful and one of many times I thought of "Mexico!" as a pejorative, though it was probably mostly not the local's fault.
  • There was also a stop at the Sands desk to pick up a silicone(?) wristband that I had to wear for the week.  I had had trouble with plastic watch bands in the past, so I was a little worried about it.  The fit was a bit loose, but I didn't have any breakouts, which was all I could ask for.
  • After this, you'd think I'd have my room key.  Nope, not yet.  We were directed to a nearby area to pick those up - maybe (we were warned that they might not be ready, even though by now it was past 3 local time).  I was in my hottest clothes, and I just wanted to put on something more comfortable, clean up, and get something to eat - in roughly that order.  Fortunately they had my key ready for me.
  • I had a concierge help guide me to my room which was in one of the buildings.  The room itself was very nice.  This was my first stay in an all-inclusive, and I was very impressed.  The room had a whirlpool, which I was too stunned to use.  It also had a corded phone by the toilet (which was in its own separate closet-like area within the bathroom), which sort of points to the general area when this resort was built.  Somehow I think the next major renovation will get rid of this.
  • A couple of not-so-nice things about the room (nitpicking, really).  One is that there were little signs of wear and disrepair here and there.  And the second is that some of the wooden doors were sticky to the point where they had to be pushed in hard to fully close.  But this is really just small stuff and I enjoyed the room a lot.
  • Where was I?  Oh yeah, just arrived.  There was a tablet on the main desk in the room that was linked to the front desk and many of its services.  One of the things you could do with the table was order room service.  And after a few minutes, I did just that.  
  • Room service was a real highlight and I'll spend several bullet points on it.  Being able to order by tablet was nice.  They even gave a guide of how long it would take.  It was always wrong - it always said 60-65 minutes, but the food never took more than 30 minutes to come.
  • Speaking of food, here's the first food review:  the ribs were tasty but gristly and tough.  The meat was appetizing and the honey was a nice highlight, but it was tough to cut through and I didn't want to risk breaking my teeth any more than I had to. So I didn't repeat that.  The fruit place was fairly standard but good.  I had this several times at different meals.  The fruit tart was good, but it had a surprisingly bitter aftertaste to it.  Unfortunate.
  • After a power nap of several hours, I found I missed one of the concerts I really wanted to see - Little River Band.  This was not the first concert I missed.  SPOILER ALERT:  I didn't actually see any concerts here.  WHAT???  Wasn't the whole purpose of coming to go see these concerts and enjoy music?  Yeah, that's what I thought too.
  • Tuesday morning - I had a lovely view of the beach, the Caribbean Sea, and the sunrise beyond.  Mesmerizing.
  • Let me take a moment to discuss the secret box.  I'm sure to lose the only viewer I have at this point, so let's do this.  The secret box, IMHO, is a genius piece of engineering that's designed for hotel stays during a pandemic.  What it was is a box-like area about 2 feet in all directions that's accessible in the room but doesn't take up room space, and it's also accessible by room service or whomever by key.  Its purpose, what I used it for, is to have room service put all the dishes in there instead of coming into the room; and to have room service pick up the dirty dishes from the box instead of having housekeeping deal with it or crudely leaving it out in the hallway.  
  • And what ended up in the secret box when I ordered breakfast?  A quick review:  the ham was nice, sweet, and tender.  This was not your ordinary $1.99/lb grocery store ham of dubious quality.  The scrambled eggs were really good, but I suspect I mostly have the powdered stuff.  This was, I'm pretty sure, made from real eggs.  I'd eat them a lot more often if I could make them like his.  The orange juice featured a lot of pulp, just was I was in the mood for.  The hot cakes weren't so hot (temperature-wise) but still tasted good - especially with the maple syrup.  The tater tots, pineapple juice, strawberries, and strawberry preserves were also good.  I'd better stop because this is making me hungry. 👩‍🍳
  • One of the things that I had to think about reserving was the test to be allowed back into the U.S.  As is obvious to everyone as of this writing, I needed a test done 3 or fewer days before arrival.  I looked at the hotel's app on my phone and I could, from Tuesday, book any day through Friday.  There were lots of openings.  I was convinced that Saturday was the right day for me to test, and I was willing to wait for that date to open.
  • One not-so-hot thing about my stay was that I could occasionally hear the music by the pool.  Yes, it was all 80s all the time, but it tended to repeat throughout my stay and I enjoy silence much of the time.
  • Trivia was held in a hidden nightclub called the Spin Bar that a level lower than the other buildings.  It was very tough to find unless following someone who happened to know where it was.
  • If there was a place that I caught COVID-19 (at this point I'm pretty sure I didn't), the Spin Bar would be the place.  Low ceilings, iffy ventilation, no social distancing (not jam packed, but definitely not empty), no masks (not required of the guests in most places and mostly not seen), some singing and shouting... this would be a recipe for transmission.  What can I say?  I had faith in my fellow Sanders.
  • I did OK on trivia, but this was more about 80s general entertainment and less about 80s music.  I would have done better with the latter, as I showed later in the week.
  • Naked Eyes were scheduled to play by the pool, but it was so, so hot and they waited so long to get started (they were at least an hour past their scheduled time) that I decided to give them a miss.  Sorry.
  • Later on I missed the Howard Jones concert for the reasons I mentioned earlier.  This was the concert I regret missing the most, but somehow I'm all right with it.
  • In between these missed concerts I had a burger from room service.  I thought it was very good, as was the carrot cake.
  • On Wednesday morning, I finally scheduled my Saturday morning test.  I had the occasional anxious moments about it, but it didn't generally spoil my fun and relaxation.
  • Was that Downtown Julie Brown I passed on the way to music bingo?  Maybe.  Probably.  But so what?
  • My Don't Stand So Close to Me t-shirt got several compliments.  I expected them, but they were nice to hear anyway.
  • Music bingo was fun.  Here's how it was set up - each person/group got a sheet with two bingo cards on it.  Each card had a "free square" in the center and the title of a song in the other squares.  The announcer played a short clip of a song that was on someone's card (mostly not mine ☹️).  Small prizes were given for several combinations - bingo on one card, bingo on both cards, X on one card - with the biggest prize given for coverall on one card.  It was exciting, but I never came very close
  • I hung around with a gentleman and a couple from Southern California.  They were all very nice.  We talked about a lot of things both inside and outside the contest.  I got to see them all again.
  • More room service reviews:  the pork loin was tender and tasted good too.  The chocolate cake was a bit of a disappointment; it felt a bit too plasticky for my tastes.
  • Thursday.  The couple I played with yesterday spotted me and invited me over to stand with them for regular trivia.  We played separately and got similar scores.  Neither of us were close to the winners.
  • This trivia had four groups of 12 music trivia questions - general, American bands, 1985, and one other category that escapes me.  We actually got to choose between 1985 and 1987.  I wanted '85, since that was very special to me for reasons I'd rather not talk about.  I got it, but I didn't do that well in it.  Shockingly, I aced the American bands section.  I guess with any group of questions, if they ask the right questions, anyone can do well - even me.
  • The rain came in the evening, right before another group of concerts.  Easy pass.
  • On Friday morning, I woke up to the news that my 80s-themed trip on the Regal Princess later this month was changing one of its two ports.  Grand Turk decided they weren't ready for us, so we would head to Princess Cays instead. I've never been to PC before, so I'm looking forward to visiting for that reason.  But there doesn't seem to be much for me to do there - it's a small island with mostly beaches and water adventures, neither of which I'm big fans of.  The change also means I will get to Port Everglades an hour later, 7 AM.
  • Much as I liked it, I skipped out on the last session of music bingo.  I just wasn't in the mood.
  • I had something a little different for dinner this evening - the beef ciabatta.  I thought it was just OK.  I could have done without the guacamole spread.
  • On Saturday morning, most Sanders were preparing to leave.  The concerts and official activities were all done.  I had decided to stay an extra day for reasons that are lost in the mist of history.  This ended up biting me, as I'll discuss a bit later.
  • Much of Saturday was spent waiting for that test.  So I waited, and waited, and waited.
  • In the meantime, I found out the group boarding schedule had opened up on my Regal Princess cruise later this month.  And from there I found out that some of the calendar items were listed.  I now knew when and where those tribute bands would be playing.
  • On my way to the test location, someone asked to photograph my Once in a Lifetime t-shirt.  So now I'm probably on Instagram somewhere.
  • The time had come to take the test.  I went to this place and then was guided to another place, passing along paperwork and filling in things along the way.  This test was something else - the tip was of a similar size to the other antigen tests I've taken, but the assistant's touch was so light I barely felt the swab in my nose.  In five minutes I was verbally given the results - negative. 🤪 I hung around another hour because this was the convention center and it had free use of computers and a printer.  I would need that to print out the actual results that came in a .pdf on company letterhead.  That came an hour later and I had no issues printing it out or using it.
  • After doing this I went back to the room... and the key wouldn't work.  Argh.  It wasn't TOO hot, but the front desk was still a good distance away.  I hated to have to schlep my way there, but it seemed to be the best option at the time.  Have I mentioned yet that I was in Mexico?  🤪Anyway, I got a new key, went back to the room, but had the same results. 🤪  Now what?  I noticed that when I used the key on the adjoining room, an amber light would pop up.  But not on mine.  I suspected either the battery or the lock was the problem and not the key.  So I wrote a note on the hotel's app asking for help.  I had several maintenance employees stop by and help in various ways.  They finally fixed the lock and I was able to get back in and have some peace.
  • With the peace and quiet, I was able to take a power nap.  Before my nap, I noticed that beloved alma mater Michigan State was behind bitter rival Michigan 30-14 in their big football game.  MSU ended up winning 37-33.  So that was a thrill, even though I wasn't there to witness it - or indeed be in the same country.
  • Sunday was the day I was finally going to leave.  Or was it?  After packing, but before going down to the front desk to check out, I was given the news that Delta had canceled my flight.  This would cause a lot of problems that I had to figure out solutions to.  First, I didn't like the flight Delta put me on, so I replaced that and got one of the last seats on another, later flight that I preferred.  Second, I had to go down to the front desk and plead for a room at the inn if they still had one.  The good news is they did.  The bad news is it was very expensive (classy AIs like this one aren't cheap, you know).  Also bad was the fact that I would have to change rooms.  I got some concierge help here, so it wasn't too painful.  I also had to delay my shuttle trip by 24 hours.  That was easiest of all.  I then had to inform work that I would have to take another day off.  They were cool with it.
  • I mostly lounged around and relaxed in both rooms until dinner.  I finally had the ribeye steak that I had been eyeing for several days.  It was good, but had a fair amount of gristle.  Everything else was of its usual quality.
  • The new room had an even better view of the pool, the beach, and the ocean than my old one.  Unfortunately, it was also noisier.  Not a big deal, but worth noting.
  • Would Monday be the day I would finally get away?  I watched it closely and there were no adverse changes.  It looked very much like it was going to take off.  Yay! 
  • I got 7500 miles as an apology for my canceled flight.  That seemed very chintzy to me, especially considering that if the flight had been delayed or I had been bumped, I would have received more compensation than this.  I sent a note to Delta pleading my case.  We'll see how it goes.
  • I checked out and boarded the shuttle with no further issues.  I had good times at the resort, but it was definitely time to go and face the real world again.
  • The rumor on the bus was that there was one false positive among the group that was eventually cleared up.  So there was no known real cases, which I'm sure made a whole bunch of people happy.
  • The airport in Cancun... oh boy.  My experience was so horrific and scarring that I vowed never to come back.  It started out well enough as I snaked my way to and through security.  The gentleman at security couldn't handle the QR code I had as my boarding pass and he made me go back and get a paper boarding pass.  I then went to the small desk Delta had on the outskirts of security.  This guy confirmed that I needed a paper pass.  So I went all the way back to arrivals, printed out one, went back to Delta's desk (where they checked my paper COVID-19 test results), then went back through security.  This time I was waved through.  But I had more troubles going through the scans.  But I was successful at that and made it to the gate.
  • Boarding was slow and I didn't have a great seat.  The flight was eventless.  Customs and immigration in Detroit couldn't have been easier.

 And that was my adventure.  I can't imagine anyone but me making through it all.  But if by chance someone did, I'm available to answer any questions. 

 

Thanks everyone for reading.  My next adventure is the 80s-themed cruise on the Regal Princess at the end of November.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A couple of quick notes:

  • In another 11 days, I will be on the Princess-sponsored 80s-themed cruise on the Regal Princess.  Expectations are relatively low; the Hall & Oates tribute act looks to be the highlight, but I hope I'm wrong.
  • The 80s Cruise subbed Night Ranger for 38 Special.  I like 38 Special, but I like Night Ranger a little more.  So I'm counting this as a small plus.
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  • 4 weeks later...

Since I'm sure hardly anyone is reading this, I'll post my review of the 80s themed cruise on the Regal Princess here.

 

It was held November 29-December 4, sailing from Port Everglades round trip to Amber Cove and Princess Cays (originally Grand Turk; they're not ready for cruise ship passengers yet).  I originally purchased an interior, but for some reason a few weeks after I booked (but will still a few weeks to go until sailing) Princess upgraded me to a balcony at no charge.  I could have backed out, but I saw no reason to.  This was my first time on Princess.

 

I have a lot I could say, but I'll keep it brief.  The 80s theme was executed decently well, with a fair amount of 80s-related trivia sessions, some 80s band concerts (on which more later), plenty of 80s background music, and the occasional 80s theme dress by the passengers and the entertainment staff.  I think Princess held back a bit because the average age of the passengers was in the 80s and too old to remember the decade 😁.  Just kidding.  The median age was probably somewhere in the 60s.

 

The entertainment staff did well with the trivia, allowing me to win twice at 80s music trivia (one was a tie).  When I strayed outside of 80s music trivia, I didn't do so well.  But it was fun anyway.

 

The concerts figured to be the highlight of the cruise and they did not disappoint.  Rich Girl, the Daryl Hall and John Oates tribute band, were excellent across the board - they had great material and executed it well. 10/10.  Slippery When Wet, the Bon Jovi tribute band, were a bit of a surprise.  They had a really sharp drummer and were able to get me to sing along to their (IMHO) mediocre songs.  I'll give them 8/10 - about as good as they could possibly get belting out Bon Jovi tunes.

 

An another night they had a comedian, Carlos Oscar, in the main theater.  He was good.  There were also a couple of the more traditional cruise ship revue shows.  I skipped them both, though I'm sure they would have been fine entertainment.

 

Let's see... what else was there...

 

PROTOCOLS - I did one of the Abbott at-home proctored tests.  It was easy to perform and gave the result I needed to board.  Princess is one of the stricter cruise lines about masks - they're to be worn in elevators and most indoor venues when not actively eating or drinking.  I managed to survive it, though I'm still not a fan.  There were a lot of signs and hand sanitizer stations around, but COVID-19 was not mentioned on the ship, at all.  That's a good thing, I guess.

 

FOOD - The buffet was a big old mess, IMHO.  Not the food, which was fine.  But making the buffet crew find me, give me utensils, and give me drinks wasn't what I needed and isn't sustainable with real crowds on the ship (the ship held 3600 and sailed with under 1000 passengers).  Room service was great - quality food served quickly and flawlessly.  The only meal I had that took more than 12 minutes to get to me was a steak, which took 20 minutes.  No way would I have trusted a steak cooked medium well in less time than that. 😃  I didn't set foot in the MDR or any specialty restaurants; I didn't have the wardrobe, attitude, or patience for any of them.

 

THE MEDALLION, THE INTERNET, AND THE APP - Despite Princess' reputation as an old folks cruise line, it has one of the most all-encompassing tech systems of any cruise line I've dealt with.  The medallion is used to track you and others, open doors, among other things.  The app... you name it, it probably has that function.  You could even book sports bets on it, like I did (and lost).  The Internet was the speediest I've seen at sea, though I haven't tried any of Royal's newer ships yet.  The app and the medallion generally worked well for me.

 

THE CREW - I wanted to take Yvonne, my cabin steward, home with me to do all my dirty deeds.  She was that good.  The rest of the staff I interacted with was good also.

 

THE PORTS - I liked Amber Cove as a destination and jumping off point, even though I didn't go on any excursions this time around.  Princess Cays met expectations; it's a beach and water sports destination.  Little reason to return.  My one fun story here is I was the only passenger on a tender boat back to the ship.

 

DISEMBARKING - Pretty easy.  I was in a relatively small self-disembarking group, I got the green light from ICE because the computer liked my pretty face 🤣, and I was able to get a relatively cheap shuttle to the airport.

 

Overall I had a great time and wish Princess would do more cruises with this theme.  None are scheduled at this time.

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I said I might do this many, many posts ago, but I actually went and did it - I looped back and rebooked the Ultimate Disco Cruise.  I got a small discount ($100) and a small amount of OBC (also $100) thanks to a rare Black Friday sale.  I'm in another single interior cabin.  I liked the acts that they added in the months that I was away, and that had to be rewarded. 

 

It's going to be a juggling act, because I still have The 80s Cruise booked and no way do I want to jeopardize that.  But this cruise ends two days before The 80s Cruise starts.  I'll either have to make a quick trip home or stay in Florida.  Early March in Michigan can be rough, so the tentative plan is to stick around.  How I'll manage the testing and everything else... that's also part of the juggling act.  I'm sure I'll figure it all out sometime.

 

The adventures continue and I hope Omicron and its Greek buddies don't slow me down!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I like when they have back to back but wish it was flower power and rock and romance. Last year one of the sing from disco cruise stayed on ship for the rock and romance, forgot her name , but we had a nice conversation and she was very friendly like most of the artist. I think we all need to be vaccinated and adults only should help, hopefully. Merry Christmas to all.

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1 hour ago, George C said:

I like when they have back to back but wish it was flower power and rock and romance. Last year one of the sing from disco cruise stayed on ship for the rock and romance, forgot her name , but we had a nice conversation and she was very friendly like most of the artist. I think we all need to be vaccinated and adults only should help, hopefully. Merry Christmas to all.

 

Thanks.  And Merry Christmas to everyone within reach, especially you.

 

While I'm here, I wanted to put down a few notes about the current situation.  On Royal's regular cruises, they just tightened the mask requirements so that it's required pretty much everywhere inside.  Celebrity is hanging on to their no-mask-required policy, but I don't know how long they can do so.  I haven't heard anything new from StarVista or ECP lately; both are handing onto their all-vaccinated, no-mask cruises.  Of course, music charter cruises won't work very well with tight mask mandates.  The push and pull between what the charter companies want, what the CDC is advising, and what the cruise companies are willing to allow is going to be fascinating.  I kind of wish I weren't in the middle of it, however. 🙁  Stay tuned.

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Well, we just had a Webinar on Friday, about our upcoming (Jan 24-31) Smooth Jazz Cruise, on Celebrity Summit. As of then, at least -- masks onboard are 'optional'. However, that was before RC's new mask policy. And, I agree with the sentiment of: can X be far behind? As we are flying to the cruise port, we'll be taking masks with us anyhow. Will stay tuned.😏

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4 hours ago, wwcruisers said:

Well, we just had a Webinar on Friday, about our upcoming (Jan 24-31) Smooth Jazz Cruise, on Celebrity Summit. As of then, at least -- masks onboard are 'optional'. However, that was before RC's new mask policy. And, I agree with the sentiment of: can X be far behind? As we are flying to the cruise port, we'll be taking masks with us anyhow. Will stay tuned.😏

 

Thanks for letting me know about the webinar.  I'm not on that cruise, but I'll try to find it.

 

Have fun jazzing it up if we don't speak again.

Edited by Honolulu Blue
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4 hours ago, Honolulu Blue said:

Thanks for letting me know about the webinar.  I'm not on that cruise, but I'll try to find it.

 

P.S.  I didn't find the webinar, but I did find the slide set for that cruise and two others from the same company in January.  I decided those will do nicely.

 

Anyway, in between time worrying about my 2022 charters, I got a notice from an interesting charter for 2023 - The Soul Train Cruise.  It's running at the end of January on HAL's Nieuw Amsterdam.  I like the lineup quite a bit - it features Keith Sweat, The Commodores, The Spinners, Deniece Williams, the Al McKay Band doing Earth Wind & Fire songs, and Purple Reign playing some Prince.  The Spinners and Evelyn "Champagne" King will also be on my Ultimate Disco Cruise in two months.  I made my reservation to get access to cabins behind those who are already booked on this year's version, but ahead of the general public.  If the UDC turns out to be a disappointment or I decide I would rather have a month's gap between cruises rather than sailing back-to-back, then this could be an option I take.  I'll let you know what happens.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Jazz Cruises group, part of the ECP charter company, made a VERY interesting statement on their Web site a couple of days ago that I completely missed, probably because I'm not sailing on any of those cruises.  Anyway, I'll quote their statement on the CDC recommendation re: cruise ships:

 

Today, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised people “to avoid cruise travel regardless of their vaccination status.” With this announcement, Jazz Cruises has asked Celebrity Cruises to cancel its January 17 – 24, 2022, January 24 – 31, 2022, January 31 – February 7, 2022 and February 7 – 14, 2022 sailings. We are awaiting their response.

 

Please note that, at this time, those sailings have not been cancelled or rescheduled. As more information becomes available, we will advise you accordingly. We do not anticipate having any further information until after the holiday weekend.

 

(end quote; emphasis in red mine, emphasis in black in original statement)

 

What more can I say than stay tuned?  We're likely to hear more about this early next week, and this could have ramifications on other charter cruises and their cruise lines.

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Honolulu Blue, thanks for such great, detailed reports! They were most appreciated.

 

I've done both Soul Train and Ultimate Disco as a solo in the past and loved both of them. UDC has more of an international audience, while Soul Train is mostly (but not exclusively) African-American, and, in my opinion, a bit of a friendlier crowd. I'll likely be on the 2023 Soul Train. I'm supposed to be on the (non-Smooth) Jazz Cruise but if after everything is said and done that doesn't sail but Soul Train does I'll try to get a last-minute cabin (assuming the groups I most want to see don't bail). Things sure seem uncertain in the music charter world, at least for cruises departing in the next few weeks. In March 2020 the Smooth Jazz Cruise asked Celebrity to cancel their charter and the cruise line refused, so just because the charter company thinks the cruise should be cancelled doesn't mean it will be. No fewer than SEVEN of the (non-smooth) Jazz Cruise headliners are over 70, and one, Sheila Jordan, is over 90, so convincing them to make the trek may be a challenge right now.

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15 hours ago, NinS said:

Honolulu Blue, thanks for such great, detailed reports! They were most appreciated.

 

I've done both Soul Train and Ultimate Disco as a solo in the past and loved both of them. UDC has more of an international audience, while Soul Train is mostly (but not exclusively) African-American, and, in my opinion, a bit of a friendlier crowd. I'll likely be on the 2023 Soul Train. I'm supposed to be on the (non-Smooth) Jazz Cruise but if after everything is said and done that doesn't sail but Soul Train does I'll try to get a last-minute cabin (assuming the groups I most want to see don't bail). Things sure seem uncertain in the music charter world, at least for cruises departing in the next few weeks. In March 2020 the Smooth Jazz Cruise asked Celebrity to cancel their charter and the cruise line refused, so just because the charter company thinks the cruise should be cancelled doesn't mean it will be. No fewer than SEVEN of the (non-smooth) Jazz Cruise headliners are over 70, and one, Sheila Jordan, is over 90, so convincing them to make the trek may be a challenge right now.

 

First of all, let me add the link to the Jazz Cruises statement on travel requirements:  Travel Requirements – Jazz Cruises (yourjazzcruises.com)

 

Thank you, NinS for your kind words!  And thank you for your perspective.  Maybe we'll find each other on the Soul Train Cruise next year?  A lot would have to fall into place for that to happen, but it's been quite a wild and wacky two years, so maybe maybe...

 

The Jazz Cruise is taking off in two weeks, so Celebrity and ECP/Jazz Cruises will have to figure things out ASAP.  I didn't know they asked to cancel last March, so that's useful perspective.  My view is that whether they'll cancel depends on who's got the money for the charters.  If Celebrity has it, they'll be happy to let them cancel and do circles around the Bahamas instead - but no refunds.  If there are still payments to be made, I think Celebrity will be much more open to canceling and rescheduling.  This is a tough time to cruise, and I hate to say that whether they go or not comes down mostly to $$$, but there you go.

 

Of course, the performers are likely all over the map on their feelings - some would be relieved by a cancellation, some REALLY want to get out in front of their adoring fans, and some would just be happy with a quick answer either way.

 

Wherever your journeys take you, I wish you well.

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Posted (edited)

Complicating the issue with the talent is that the artists for the 2023 cruises have already been announced. Some are duplicates of the 2022 lineups but some are new, meaning it wouldn't be feasible to just run the 2022 lineup in 2023 if the cruise doesn't sail this month. This is the case both with the Jazz Cruises and with the Soul Train and sister Country Music Cruise also run by StarVista on the same ship the week before -- but StarVista has not made any public announcement about asking Holland America to cancel the way that the Jazz Cruises charter company has. Star Vista executives did webinars for all of their cruises in the summer of 2020 and mentioned that they were not given a refund for the postponed charters, which is why they did not offer their passengers a refund, although I think a "future cruise credit" was offered both when the initial postponement happened and then again when the vaccine requirement was put in place.

Edited by NinS
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...And now it's official.  Jazz Cruises canceled all their charters scheduled for 2022 after Celebrity let them.  Now it's time to figure out what this means for my cruises with StarVista and ECP in 7 or 8 weeks.

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