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UDC 23, 80s Cruise, and beyond - my musical journey continues


Honolulu Blue
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I recently returned from a side-to-side musical adventure on two musical themed cruises - the Ultimate Disco Cruise on the Celebrity Summit, and The 80s Cruise on the Mariner of the Seas.  For the long version of that adventure, head to this thread:

(head to page 7 for my reports on these cruises)

 

TL,DR:  I had a wonderful time and wanted to repeat as much of it as I could.  So I booked both cruises again for 2023.  I started a thread in for the UDC '23 in the roll call section here:

I'll eventually do the same for TEC '23 if someone else doesn't do it for me.

 

I put relatively small deposits on both cruises and put them on separate payment plans.  So essentially I have car payments for the next few months.

 

There's not a lot for me to say for now on either of these cruises, but I'll keep an eye on future developments and put posts here about them.  I'm also eyeing concerts on land that interest me and might attend; I'll let you know what I do with those.

 

Thank you for stopping by.  Feel free to ask questions or comment.  I hope I can keep your interest.

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Let's start this thread with a bit of musical news... I finally broke down and bought a couple of tickets to concerts on land.  I really haven't seen a lot of concerts on land; in fact, the 17 concerts I saw in two weeks on my charter cruises more than doubles the total I've seen in my lifetime.

 

Anyway, in May I will be going to see Sting.  He's one of my favorite singers, ever.  He also fronted one of my favorite groups, ever.  He's getting up there, so this might be my last chance to see him in concert.  Looking forward to it.

 

In June I'll be experiencing the Mixtape Tour fronted by NKOTB.  On the undercard are Salt-N-Pepa, Rick Astley, and En Vogue.  Quite the mix, but I like them all to some degree.  It should be quite the show lasting long into the night.

 

I got good seats (for a price), but not as good as the seats as I got for any of the concerts on my charter cruises.  Yes, I'm completely spoiled. 😁

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  • 4 weeks later...

On the drive home from work, my favorite radio station that I've listened to for many years, played KC & the Sunshine Band's "Get Down Tonight".  I don't recall them ever playing this song and this artist; indeed, they rarely play any disco songs.  Is this a sign?  😀  Probably not, but I did find interesting.

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I saw an article on Cruisehive that Navigator OTS was reserved for a full charter on October 21, 2022.  The full article is at https://www.cruisehive.com/royal-caribbean-cruise-canceled-for-charter-sailing/69716# .  Why am I mentioning this?  Because one of the alternate dates offered passengers who were on this cruise is March 3, 2023.  The 80s Cruise is still scheduled for March 3, so I'm wondering if there's something I don't know about.  Let's see what I can find out.

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In the funny coincidence department, the radio station I usually listen to on the way to work played consecutively, Bon Jovi's "Livin' On A Prayer" and Daryl Hall & John Oates' "Kiss On My List".  We had cover bands play those songs on my Princess 80s-themed cruise back in December.  It was nice to hear a throwback to that, since I have a non-themed Princess cruise coming up at the end of this week.

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The lineup at The Sands for this October continues to get more insane with the addition of Culture Club.  They were one of my favorites back in the day, I'm not ashamed to admit (mostly because only a few people are reading this 😀).  I still think it's very unlikely I'll go back there (I went to last year's show) because 1) I booked a bad room and missed all the concerts and 2) I still have PTSD from my bad experience at Cancun's airport.  Let's have some fun and go over that current lineup with snarky comments just because:

  • Culture Club (yea baby)
  • The Cult (no thanks; too many bad memories between People's Temple and Heaven's Gate)
  • Loverboy (smooches, were supposed to be at the Sands last year)
  • Lou Gramm (the better half of Foreigner, IMHO)
  • Vanilla Ice (even Babe Ruth struck out occasionally)
  • Belinda Carlisle (missed the Sands last year, saw her last month at TEC, I wouldn't mind seeing her again)
  • Living Colour (another TEC vet, I'll continue to live in black & white)
  • Morris Day (canceled out on last month's TEC, scheduled for this year's, should be hot wherever he plays)
  • Firehouse (not half bad)
  • Wang Chung (OK filler, were supposed to be at the Sands last year)
  • Cutting Crew (scheduled for this year's TEC, doesn't stand out as much here as there)
  • Aldo Nova (who?)
  • Samantha Fox (prefer others, but I like her a lot - she's a naughty girl!)
  • Sheena Easton (one of my favorites, still waiting for her call on the telefone)
  • Donnie Iris (who?)
  • Klymaxx (the OTHER all-girl group, decent way to while away an hour)
  • Snap! (band from the 90s with some catchy dance tunes, should be fun to see)
  • Tag Team (subbing for the Quad City DJ's 😁)
  • Spoons (say what?)

Upon scanning through this lineup again and sweating over how hot it made me, I took another look at the prices and other amenities.  Nope... don't want to go through that again... but maybe...

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I found the listing below in the themed cruises section of the Princess site. I actually wrote a letter to Princess saying how much I enjoyed the 80s themed cruise I had with them a few months ago and wished they would have more of them. Well, it seems they are trying again - at least once. But this one is very short, goes to places I will have already been to, and is a long way away. I don't think I'm interested, but maybe they'll announce an outstanding performer or two and I'll change my mind.

Screenshot_2022-04-22-19-07-33.png

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Well well... the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its newest inductees this morning.  I really like Duran Duran and am glad they're in.  I like Pat and Lionel too.  Dolly, well, I guess we're gonna get that rock album from her after all.  Should be interesting to hear.

 

The biggest connection to my various cruises comes from Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.  They wrote and produced one of The Human League's biggest hits "Human".  They sung it on TEC 22.  And they're former?  members of The Time.  I'm not sure if they're back working with the band.  If they're there, I'll see them on next year's edition of The 80s Cruise.

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As I continue my musical journey, I went to see Sting in Grand Rapids last night.  That's about an hour from my house and was a bit of an adventure in itself.  It wasn't too bad of an experience.  I got a space in the parking garage nearest the arena.  EZ in EZ out, though I parked near the top of the garage and it was a slow slog to get out and back on the interstate.  

 

Sting is my favorite singer and he was the front man for my favorite band (The Police), so I was very excited to see him.  I never had before for various reasons.  But this was another opportunity to see a favorite live before they retire - though I should note that Sting looked to be in better shape than I have ever been, so he'll probably outlive me. 😮

 

I expected him to play a lot of his hits and he did.  I expected him to play some songs that weren't such big hits and he did.  Sadly, I expected him to not play a lot of songs that I really liked from him (I like a whole bunch of his songs), and he didn't.  He lived up to expectations, which meant he was fantastic.  Opening the show for him was his son Joe, who played some songs for us with just him on guitar.  He also joined his daddy on one of his songs.  We didn't boo Joe off stage and we didn't throw stuff at him, which meant he was all right.  I thought he was a little better than that.

 

But anyway, back to Sting.  It was great to see him last night.  He played my three favorite songs ever, all Police tunes ("King of Pain", "Wrapped Around Your Finger", and "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic"), though not in that order.  He DID NOT play my favorite solo song from him ("Fortress Around Your Heart").  Most surprising inclusion?  I'd pick "I Hung My Head", a non single from one of his lesser albums.  

 

My seat gave me a decent view, though not nearly as good as I had during the music themed cruises I had.  The seats in front would have been great had I wanted to pay for them, but they were mostly taken when I booked. 

 

In the you-know-what department, the two people immediately to my right were wearing masks, but this was rare among guests.  My best guess is that only 2% of them bothered.  Staff mask use was in the 10-15% range.  Obviously this was not a requirement of the arena.  The three seats to my immediate left were empty and there was a lot of empty room in front of me, so I'd give it an A for social distancing.  The crowd was chatty about the usual nonsense.  I heard the occasional cough.  I doubt this is going to seed the next major COVID-19 outbreak, but we'll see.

 

I'll close by attaching a couple of photos I took at the event.  Most of the photos I took were of one of the video boards by the stage (there were two), since the digital zoom on my phone was mostly incapable of getting a close-up at the distance I was from the stage and the musicians Sting used spread across the stage.

 

My next adventure looks to be a musical journey across the late 80s and early 90s at the same arena.  Stay tuned.

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  • 1 month later...

It's been a while since I've checked in.  There's been nothing new to report until now.

 

The Ultimate Disco Cruise (UDC) has added some tribute artists to the lineup - Queen Nation (approved - sounds like fun) and Ashlie Amber (doing Whitney Houston - I definitely approve).

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  • 1 month later...
On 3/19/2022 at 5:30 PM, Honolulu Blue said:

In June I'll be experiencing the Mixtape Tour fronted by NKOTB.  On the undercard are Salt-N-Pepa, Rick Astley, and En Vogue.  Quite the mix, but I like them all to some degree.  It should be quite the show lasting long into the night.

I'd better update you (all one of you) on what happened with this concert.  The concert went as scheduled, but I did not attend.  To make a long story short, I wasn't feeling it and decided to stay home.  Oh well. ☹️  I cried as I watched Billy Joel, Def Leppard, and Elton John all parade through Comerica Park in the past few weeks.  😞  Again, oh well.  Maybe I'll get a chance to see them some other time.

 

While I'm here, I haven't heard of any new artist announcements for either the UDC or TEC lately, but The 80s Cruise did announce their partner hotels for the cruise.  They had a special rate for lodging before the cruise.  Since I had to stay overnight somewhere between my cruises, I chose one of the hotels to crash at overnight.  Maybe some of the acts will have a party there or an impromptu jam session?  Or maybe I can corner one of my favorites from back in the day and get an autograph or a little one-on-one conversation time?  ("Mr. Loc!  Mr. Loc!  Will you pleeeeeze sign my T-shirt?!?!?!")

 

I read a little article on CNN about why I choose to have musical adventures on a ship rather than on land.  Here it is:  Splendour in the Grass: Acts canceled as Australia's largest music festival sinks into mud - CNN

 

Edited by Honolulu Blue
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  • 2 weeks later...

Yesterday Princess released a list of several 80s themed cruises.  I'm most intrigued by the ones in April 2023 - one on the Ruby Princess from Galveston (5 days), and one on the Discovery Princess from San Pedro (4 days).  I'll keep it top of mind and see which one works best for me, then I might pull the trigger.  Stay tuned.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was tipped off to a very interesting concert that's scheduled for next month near Chicago - not too far from my house.  It features Stephen Pearcy (lead singer for RATT, one of my favorite groups), Quiet Riot, and Autograph.  Autograph will be on The 80s Cruise next year, so I guess this will be a preview.  QR lost its lead singer a while back, but I'm sure what's left will be good enough for me.  

 

Anyway, I decided to pull the trigger and buy a ticket.  It should be a good time. 👍

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I finally picked my 80s cruising adventure from Princess - alas, due to life constraints, I could only choose one.  I chose... the April 9, 2023 sailing round trip from Galveston to Cozumel and Progreso.  Progreso is a new port for me; perhaps I'll find something interesting there.  The tribute bands featured will be Wanted (Bon Jovi), DSB (Journey), and Red Corvette (Prince).  I'm really high on the latter, though I'll probably attend all three shows.  With all the 80s stuff that I expect (hope) Princess to provide on this cruise, it should be an excellent time at a decent price.

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TEC 23 sent us an update by e-mail yesterday.  They've changed the itinerary by switching the ports and sea days around.  Now it's two sea days to Puerto Vallarta, followed by Cabo, then another sea day, then Ensenada, before returning to LA.  The scheduled calls are a little longer (except for Ensenada, which got a few hours cut) and mostly later in the day.  All our port departures will be at night, which could be interesting.

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I got another e-mail from TEC this afternoon. My cruise planner is up and ready at the Royal Caribbean site.  The Surf plan is $17.99/day and the Surf + Stream plan is $21.99/day.  Average prices by cruise ship standards.  There are some dining packages available, but where am I going to find the time for fine dining?  Moving along, some of the excursions look interesting.  But the e-mail introduced a big question mark - are there going to be artist-led excursions this year or not?  I shot them an e-mail, and I hope for a reply... sometime.  

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UPDATE:  No artist-led shore excursions for next year's TEC, but they will have artist-led special events on the ship (for extra $$$).

 

There was an interesting announcement by Royal today - they're going with the satellite-based Starlink for Internet service fleetwide (including Celebrity).  They'll start installing the required equipment soon, with full implementation expected by the end of the first quarter.  This sounds good, but the devil is in the details - when will it get to the ships I care about?  How much will it cost?  How good will the speeds be?  I don't think anyone knows the answers yet, but the journey should be interesting.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 8/13/2022 at 3:13 PM, Honolulu Blue said:

I was tipped off to a very interesting concert that's scheduled for next month near Chicago - not too far from my house.  It features Stephen Pearcy (lead singer for RATT, one of my favorite groups), Quiet Riot, and Autograph.  Autograph will be on The 80s Cruise next year, so I guess this will be a preview.  QR lost its lead singer a while back, but I'm sure what's left will be good enough for me.  

 

Anyway, I decided to pull the trigger and buy a ticket.  It should be a good time. 👍

UPDATE:  I didn't make it. ☹️  It was a combination of bad weather and car trouble.  Oh well.  Life goes on, and so will my musical adventures.

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The UDC sent an e-mail to me with some sweet news - KC and the Sunshine Band will be performing for us again this year!  It can hardly be called a disco cruise without the leaders of the disco movement, IMHO.  They put on a great show last year, and I'm looking forward to doing it all again.

 

There are some twists this time.  They'll be performing on our day 2, while we're in Key West.  It's going to be in an amphitheater on land not too far from the ship.  Obviously, all the guests on the cruise are invited, but will they sell tickets to anyone else?  The e-mail is silent on this.  There's only going to be one performance, at 1 PM.  I know that's going to be early for some of my fellow party animals, but I like it just fine.  I just wonder if there will be separate main theater concerts that day.  It would almost be unfair to, say, Taylor Dayne, to have her follow up just a few hours after what will be a spectacular show.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I received an e-mail with the planned COVID-19 protocols for all of StarVista's cruises through the spring of 2023, of which the UDC is one. They're mostly sticking to what they did last year - vaccine required (but no booster), proctored test required 3 days before sailing. This is quite a contrast to some other music charters I have heard about that are thrilled to get rid of testing and vaccine requirements as fast as the cruise lines would allow them.  Enhanced requirements do make sense for StarVista's cruises because they skew older than many other cruises, both in terms of their passenger and performer ages. It will be interesting to see what TEC does. I don't expect them to do anything, but we'll see.

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I got an email from TEC this afternoon. They announced another theme night - slumber party. Oh boy. 😒 I last wore pajamas when I was a little kid back in the 80s, so I guess the time period fits.

 

Then as an afterthought, they dropped a bomb that was bigger than the Gap Band - Jody Watley is canceling on us. 😭 Nooooooo! Life is so unfair! I was so looking forward to seeing her. Oh well. Maybe they'll find someone decent to replace her.

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