The nice thing about attending a music festival or convention is that for a reasonable ticket price you can roll in at the last minute, listen to some of your favorite bands, maybe hit up a few booths selling overpriced merchandise, and go home whenever you want. Usually there’s only a few bands you want to see anyway, so you can pick and choose to your liking. Sounds like a pretty fun, stress-free time, yes?
Now imagine that instead of that traditional, land-based festival experience you could instead spend hundreds of dollars to be trapped on a boat with acts of varying relevance and quality, not to mention hundreds of their glassy eyed devotees. Sounds awesome, right?
No? Oh well. That’s too bad, because this week I’m going to be your travel agent as we look at just a handful of the seemingly endless variety of musical cruise packages available this year. I’m not going to pretend I’d last more then six hours on any of these trips before throwing myself overboard and longing for the cold, watery embrace of death, but that’s just me. You might see something you like here and find that your musical ship has in fact come in at last.
And don’t worry, just about all of these package cruises take place every year so if you missed the boat (nautical humor) in 2013 there’s always 2014. But be warned: Should you decide that you really can’t think of a better way to spend $800, don’t even think about leaving once you head out of port unless you’re a really good swimmer.
#1. Cruise to the Edge
When: March 25-30, 2013
Ports of call: Grand Cayman and Jamaica
For fans of: Progressive rock/hard rock, not hanging out with women.
Roster of artists (2013, partial): Yes, Steve Hackett, UK, Tangerine Dream, Saga, and Zebra
Set sail on a magical voyage aboard the SS Shining Flying Purple Wolfhound! The best thing about this lineup is that the numerous and lengthy keyboard solos will leave fans with plenty of time to hit the head, stop by the casino, or pick up a fashionable Rick Wakeman Collection cape from the gift shop. Just don’t overdo it on the memorabilia — your bag of holding (aka fanny pack) can only take so much.
#2. Mark McGrath & Friends Cruise
When: October 18-21, 2013
Ports of call: Miami and Nassau, Bahamas
For fans of: ’90s alternative rock, soul patches, secondhand pot smoke.
Roster of artists (2013, partial): Mark McGrath & Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth, Cracker, Vertical Horizon, and Ed Kowalczyk of Live
I don’t know how much more there is to say about this floating despair barge that I and the rest of the Popdose staff didn’t already say when we found out about this abomination last month. I guess I’ll just add that whatever the risk of getting botulism from the food on this cruise is, I’d much rather deal with that than deal with being stuck in a confined space with Smash Mouth, aka the Guy Fieri of ’90s alterna-rock. Hey now, you’re a has been!
#3. 70000TONS OF METAL
When: January 28-February 1, 2013
Where: Miami and Turks & Caicos Islands
For fans of: Classic heavy metal, death metal, tinnitus.
Roster of artists (2013, partial): Helloween, Kreator, Lizzy Borden, Helstar, Flotsam and Jetsam, Metal Church, and Doro Pesch
You read that name right, maggots. This cruise is so metal they don’t even need proper spacing or punctuation marks in the name. Because good grammar is for DWEEBS. So if the prospect of hanging out with a bunch of B and C-list metal bands whose faces are more leathery than their jackets doesn’t scare you off, climb aboard worm! Mention the phrase HAIR EXTENSIONS when booking and receive $20 in casino chips!
#4. The Kiss Kruise
When: October 28-November 1, 2013
Ports of call: Key West and Great Stirrup Cay
For fans of: Kiss, Gene Simmons’s ego, hearing “Rock and Roll All Nite” for the 7,389th goddamn time.
Roster of artists (2013, partial): As of post time, Kiss is the only announced band.
It took almost 40 years but the Kiss Navy is finally here, so book now to reserve your very own Kiss Kabin! See Gene, Paul, and the scab Ace and Peter in koncert, and then be sure to head over to midnight buffet for some delicious kracked krab. And the fun doesn’t stop when the show’s over, because you can win door prizes galore for guessing which members of the on-board wait staff are really Vinnie Vincent and Peter Criss!
#5. Kid Rock’s Chillin’ the Most Cruise
When: March 6-10, 2013
Ports of call: Miami and Great Stirrup Cay
For fans of: Redneck party rock, pool water composed of one part chlorine and three parts Bud Light-tinged urine.
Roster of artists (2013, partial): Kid Rock, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Shooter Jennings, and Blackberry Smoke
Until Insane Clown Posse figures out how to make money from a Juggalo Cruise (“fuckin’ boats… how do they work?”), this will have to be the next best thing. I’m actually kind of conflicted about this one. On the one hand, I really like Trombone Shorty. On the other hand, the prospect of hanging out with Kid Rock fans at a poolside Kid Rock concert makes me question the existence of a loving God. On top of that, this whole thing will be a sea of gross, sagging, exposed breasts — every one of them belonging to a dude.
#6. NKOTB Cruise
When: May 18-22, 2013
Ports of call: Miami, Half Moon Cay, and Nassau, Bahamas
For fans of: Z. Cavaricci jeans, pretending the last two decades never happened.
Roster of artists (partial): As of post time, New Kids on the Block is the only announced band.
It’s hard for me to muster any feelings about New Kids on the Block other than casual indifference at this point, but boy did I hate their squeaky clean asses in the ’80s. I remember that just about every girl in my eighth-grade class was obsessed with them, and they all took part in some local radio promotion to get them to play at our school. They filled out at least several hundred index cards saying something like “I love New Kids on the Block” or “Menudo is the devil,” I don’t remember which.
So a bunch of my dirtbag friends and I conspired to steal a bunch of these cards and sabotage the girls’ chance of winning. In this way we defended our middle school’s honor and kept its sacred auditorium/all-purpose room free from the grinning, ape-like visage of Danny Wood. Our proudest moment? No. But don’t you dare pass judgment until you know what it was like in the trenches, man.
What was I talking about? Oh yeah, the NKOTB Cruise. I recommend going. This thing will be a high seas cougar den for sure. Just bring your thickest earplugs and never take them out.