My head is still spinning from the ultimate rockstar parties, top-notch hard rock performances, as well as the unlimited supply of food, booze, and fun on the Norwegian Pearl Cruise ship Feb 1-6 2015. ShipRocked 2015, just finishing its 6th year, has become an annual staple for hard rock and metal fans around the world. ShipRocked guests enjoy multiple performances from every band on six different stages throughout the ship, artist meet and greets, Q&A sessions, along with artist-hosted activities including contests, game shows, insane parties, theme nights and more.
How is a music festival cruise different from a music festival on land?
Whether you are a fan of Rock, Pop, Jazz, Electronic or a combination, you are sure to have the time of your life on ShipRocked. Music festival cruises offer more than just numerous performances from both recognizable and emerging artists, they offer activities, contests, and shows on the various stages throughout the ship. They provide an ambiance unlike any other, and best of all, your shipmates become like family. There is such a welcoming vibe toward first timers, and returning guests get to rekindle with old friendships each year they set sail. Everyone is vacationing while discovering new music and jamming out to the classics. Everyone really seemed to really love one another on ShipRocked.
If you’ve ever been to a typical music festival, one that is on land like Coachella or Bonnaroo, you know that they have many unavoidable annoyances. Aboard a music festival cruise, on the other hand, it is absolutely smooth sailing from the minute you step on the ship to the minute you step off. There are never lines to get into venues, you can’t really lose your friends (they can’t go too far on a ship). Guests don’t need to carry much of anything (no need for cash or credit cards, you charge everything to your room), you don’t need to worry about drinking and driving, the bathrooms are clean (no port-o-potties), you can shower whenever you feel like since your cabin is always close by, and there so much you can do no matter what your mood! You can participate in games and events, or relax in the spa, pool, or beach. You can go to big shows or smaller venues, or choose to wine and dine yourself, or eat a more casual meal at the buffet. The food is delicious no matter where you eat, and you can eat to your hearts content (for free with the exception of a couple restaurants) at any of their 16 dining options.
Will I have cell phone service?
While there is no cell phone service at sea, there is an Internet cafe that guests are welcome to use to keep in touch with those off the ship, and Norwegian has a downloadable app that allows users to keep in touch with shipmates.
What if I get seasick?
If you’re hesitant because you’re sensitive to motion sickness (like I was), don’t be. First off, the shifting of the boat is not bad at all, and if you do get sick, the front desk has you covered. They offer a remedy that you can keep in your pocket just in case. Honestly though, the only time I felt any motion the entire time was on the tender that transports guests from the ship onto the beach.
Do the artists stay in separate quarters?
No. This reason alone is what makes a music festival cruise so much different than a typical “on land” festival. The bands are fans just like the guests, so they watch performances in the same place as the rest of us. There’s really no separation. They stay in the same sized rooms, on the same floors. They party at the same bars, play the same games, go to the same beaches, dine in the same places, etc. Artists not only didn’t seem to mind being approached by fans, they liked it. They felt just as much a part of the ship’s family vibe as the fans.
How are the food and drinks?
The food selection was amazing, from Italian, Asian, Brazilian, salads of all kinds, sandwiches, pizza, pasta, desserts, fresh fruit, and much more (including vegetarian and vegan options). What was really cool about dining in the Summer Cafe was the fact that guests can seat themselves anywhere and eat alongside their favorite stars. I ran into Cameron Stucky and Clayton Wages of Letters from the Fire (the nicest dudes EVER), a couple of the guys from Wilson, and Will Calhoun of Living Color eating at the next table with Morgan Rose of Sevendust!
While I could have chose to dine at any of the 16 dining options onboard, I opted for a quieter dining experience 3 of the nights. My meals and wine were excellent, and served by extremely tentative waiters. Best of all they were included in the price of the ticket!
Day 1: Sailgate Pre-Party (Sunday Feb 1, 2015)
The ShipRocked cruise kicked off with the Sailgate Pre-Party on Superbowl Sunday. This year was the first year guests were able to board a day in advance, which was a great idea because guests like myself were able to fly through security, and get ready to rock out before the majority of guests check in. My bags were waiting for me outside of my room upon boarding, and best of all I got to sleep in while everyone else was boarding for less than a hotel room would have cost.
The pre-party Superbowl Sailgate performances were outside on the beautiful, spacious deck. There were various levels, so there wasn’t a bad seat in the house. The weather was a perfect at 70-75 degrees and sunny. Chevelle performed just before the game started, Wilson during halftime, and Sevendust post-game. Chevelle’s performance was awesome and drew a huge crowd. Wilson rocked especially hard — they know how to get the crowd pumped up. And Sevendust… well Sevendust never disappoints. They played their first album during their second set, which included beautiful acoustics and heartfelt words to show their love for their longtime fans.
Day 2: Heroes VS Villains Theme (Monday Feb 2, 2015)
While sailing to the Bahamas, I made sure to catch some rays on the pool deck in the morning, just before any bands went on. I also checked out the Ships casino, spa, and fitness center, which were beautiful, with state of the art amenities. The staff on the Norwegian Pearl definitely knows how to pamper their guests. They were friendly and polite. Every day they restocked my fridge, filled the ice bucket, restocked the bathroom with fresh towels, made the beds, etc. They went the extra mile and seemed to really take pride in pleasing each and every guest.
There were so many awesome performances, and we rocked out day and night to bands like Limp Bizkit, P.O.D., Andrew WK, Buckcherry, Sevendust, NonPoint, DJ Lippy Rage, Living Color, Letters From The Fire, Chevelle, and more (http://www.ShipRocked.com/lineup/).
Each band played at least two shows on different stages throughout the ship. Each stage had a different ambiance, from cozy lounges, to intimate theaters, large ballrooms, outdoor pool decks, as well as shows on the stunning private beach at Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.
The midnight shows were the most debaucherous. The party in everyone seemed to come out most at night, Fireball shots were flying, people were yelling, the music was upbeat, energy was high, and the music was loud (tip: bring your ear plugs). Hands and fists were in the air, and it was all around madness– in a good way. When you think of what it means to “party like a rock star,” double that and you will get an idea of what it means to be a part of the ShipRocked experience!
Day 3: Mardi Gras Masquerade Theme (Tues, Feb 3, 2015)
The Ship arrived at the Bahamas in the morning and guests filtered out to the tender (a smaller ship that transports guests to the beach). The ride was maybe 10 minutes. After a quick steam in the steam room at the gym, or beach yoga, guests were ready to go at it again. I made sure to see Letters From the Fire and Thousand Foot Krutch play on the beautiful beach, along with a hilarious game of Beach Wars.
If you needed a break from the shows, there were other options on the beach: volleyball courts, shaded cabanas, lounge chairs, a few pop-up shops, food, and hundreds of servers attending to your every whim. The beer was cold, the mixed drinks were strong, ladies pranced around in bikinis, and the performances were rockin’. Around 3 or 4pm, guests headed back to the ship to get ready for the evening shows and onboard activities, each activity hosted by a different artist or band. Drunk Spelling Bee was hosted by Andrew W.K., and my favorite, Hard Rock Karaoke (in which both artists and fans sang together), hosted by the lead singer of WILSON, Chad Nicefield.
Day 4: People of Walmart Theme (Weds, Feb 3, 2015)
This was another beach day with performances by Nonpoint and P.O.D and another game of Beach Wars hosted by Otherwise. Most of the guests leave the ship to go out to the beach, but you are always welcome to stay on the ship, hang out with friends, and enjoy the amenities if you prefer. There weren’t any live shows onboard until 6pm (on the 2 beach days only), but there is still so much to do. You can play a game of bowling at the chic bowling alley, play basketball on the courts on the deck, eat, gamble at the casino, chill out at any of the 13 bars and lounges, relax with a massage at the spa or go recover in the sauna or steam room– you really can fill up your trip with whatever your heart desires. Many of the bands also stay on the ship to recover and relax.
Day 5: Shiprocky Horror (Thurs, Feb 5, 2015)
On the last day, the energy was still pumping, even though it was raining outside. Some of the scheduled events like the belly flop contest were cancelled, but the staff rearranged the schedule to move performances to indoor stages. Living Colour gave an amazing, heartfelt performance in the afternoon, Crobot rocked out in a chic club, and Limp Bizkit closed out the night with a sick performance that included throwback classics Rollin’ and Faith. There was also a showing of cult favorite Rocky Horror Picture Show in an intimate lounge, as well as a haunted house to fit the theme of the night, Shiprocky Horror.
Not only is there so much to do and see on a music festival cruise, but whether you know one artist, or the whole lineup, you are guaranteed to have a good time. I promise you, this coming from a casual rock fan, ShipRocked did not disappoint! Book your trip now, and prepare for an experience of a lifetime!
Fred Durst said it best “Limp Bizkit? New album? Sunshine? Metal party? Phil Anselmo? Unlimited lobster? Half-naked women? No rules? Loud music? Every day? Every night? Repeat five times in a row? You don’t have to ask me twice. I’M IN!!
Written by FestPop Senior Staff Writer
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