Re: Keeping the Blues Alive at Sea cruise V Feb 25 - March 1, 2019

Jane H. wrote:

well back to reality and am sick at home today so I will try to recap some more. this is just blahblah not much music detail but here it is
was a great great time...just as good as the last one for me and better in some ways
heard many and I think even Joe said it was the best one yet...a great group of bands and I didnt even catch them all

traveled with best friend of 42 years so that made it great too although she couldnt hang late night most nights so i still managed to have fun and met so many fun and nice people.....

there was a blues fest before the cruise but we opted to just hang at Clearwater beach...flew in Saturday to make sure weather didnt prevent us from getting on boat
and i wore my cruise shirt from last year so we met a few people at our beach hotel that were going on the cruise including a couple from Germany on their fifth cruise. and other folks just wanting to talk about the cruise or music so that was fun and fun to cross paths with some of them on the cruise

a close friend of mine not active on forum but i met via forum 15 years back recently passed away but he was from Clearwater so it was sentimental being there and fun to get a feel for his area etc

a lot of lessons learned...i dont travel much etc but we hadnt planned for beach weekend traffic and Tampa rush hour traffic so getting to and fro took a bit longer than expected but not bad. friend this year is good at early where friend last year does everything last minute. both fun friends but i did enjoy being first on ship and off ship and getting up for island excursion etc with help from my friend big_smile

i did learn some on last years cruise about where everything is, this was different but sister ship so very similar...and how you literally are so busy and if you arent you are missing out....so am planning on next year and will be a real pro then. there are times when elevators most busy etc. where things are etc. which venues i like better , where to get an espresso martini....important stuff

i have to go back to the schedule to try to piece together my memories....i had a sort of plan of which shows i wanted to see but its hard to stick to that...its like snowball effect if you make a different choice it affects much of the rest to fit in as many bands as possible but when you walk past Eric Gales playing (and most the others) its hard to keep walking. you just cant walk away from that stuff big_smile

the main goal was to see certain acts, as many as possible, and to get to the beach at port and the goals were met big_smile
I didnt wait at the rail to be right up front for any show so i did miss that but the time not waiting was well spent elsewhere.

I met so many fun people and hoped to run tino more again but didnt always happen...didnt even get to hang with long time friends there much...you can download an app and get friends number to text on ship but honest not much time for any of that...got internet so i could check in with work and family but not much time for that either...it did work better this year than last though, not sure if cause got the premium or not prob....but yeah was a lot of money for little use but did give me peace of mind

the weather was great and not rough seas...i did feel the boat moving a bit first couple days but nothing bad. i took Bonine tablet each morning and it worked for me as i get queasy easy...

the included food buffet and one other place i tried was ok...not great all in all but ok for sure and some very very good...a wide variety of items to pick from...we did the steak restaurant one night, it costs extra but was very good but that made us miss the one Samantha Fish show but did catch her act later on. wanted to try the italian restaurant but only open when the hottest acts are playing so...but those were only places to get good glass of wine....wish there was a better way around that...can bring some on board and pay corkage fee but cant bring enough to last 4 days big_smile
they switched up the bubbly that was included in the beer/wine package time to time and that peeved me off but a friend gave me a nice bottle which was some great help from great friend big_smile . i did manage to have a nice drink on most of the time. a little too much Tuesday so went to bed earlier and i was whooped by thursday so was more low key..one more lesson learned...get so excited being away and on the ship, over do it too early and can ruin some of the rest blahblah

OK there was music too big_smile
i like the pool deck venue the best....my one suggestion was if anyway to have a big screen or two, even not real big...would enhance that so much imo. the wind is an issue for sure, i noticed they even had a weather station on top of the stage rig...but many people like to sit in the seats below but some of the best spots to see are standing and once folks stand one spot people crowd around...not much to do about that. i enjoyed from the top most of the time but i like the wind in my hair etc. again if not n the rail, hard to see all but you can see and folks let you slide in for photo and for instance in the one inside venue tall guy kindly let me get in front of him, i mean i didnt ask he offered which was nice then we both could see but you can definitely hear it everywhere

there were some sit down interview things i never did see. was interested but when live music playing or only time to grab something to eat before next show etc
apparently Joe and KS did an interview that was great and i think will be on Sirius XM? not sure...

lots of artists walking around ship and folks getting pics with them...and there were autograph sessions but I didnt do those...takes away from other shows etc. but cool to get to say hi to some of the artists if you wanted. Didn't cross paths with Joe but did get to say hi to his parents and Sinead and her parents. Saw KWS when in one restaurant but just a glimpse. i didnt hang in casino much but did meet some guys in Luke Winslow-King band and ran into later on too but i heard many hang in casino late night

so on Monday...we got on ship early and our room was ready fairly early...i forget how we missed the sail away toast big_smile but did catch most of Eric Gales first set there...then we had a really nice dinner in steak restaurant then onto the main event Joe's show
I did write down the setlist but in two different places...another lesson bring pen each time...blahblah...so dont have that but it was same basic set he has been playing. It was a thrill to see and hear Sinead fill in for  Jade who was sick. and Joe looked so happy to have her on stage. I do recall really really enjoying Michael more up front and playing cool stuff during Joe's solos. nothing over powering but definitely enhanced my experience.

throughout the cruise i was really enjoying most of each band's players...when there is smoking guitar its hard to focus on much else but i really liked to one guy's bass solo, and was blown away by one of the drummers energy..have to think back for some of those but tried to make sure to watch everyone. so much talent.
after Joe ran into Lizzee and Maggie and Anne and checked out part of Walter Trout. the whole theater was packed. was my first time seeing Walter live and it did not dissapoint.  Both Eric and Walter and other artists too have much they are grateful for to be living and they talk a little about it and its insirational but also cool as it helps relate to some of the songs.Looking over schedule i still cant remember all i think we ate after Walter and i dont remeber if i waled around or went to bed...i dont remember seeing Brandon Santini, Balck River Delta, Grizlee Train , Nick Moss, King Solomon Rocks or Sarah Rogo so maybe i did miss a bit lol but i did catch some of Southern Exposure and know i walked past a few of the others but didnt have time to stop...didnt catch a Josh Smith or Paulie Cerra show but did see both with other acts at various times

Tuesday after breakfast we went to see Luke Winslow-King band...some younger guys who were great. excellent but not traditional blues so much and that is a huge plus in my book of preferences.
then i think we did see some of Black River Delta...we had purchased the beer tasting which was fun and met some great people and the beer was good but prob wont do that again as it got me pretty buzzed early and missed shows. Cigar City Brewery folks were cool. they brewed one just for the cruise and i saved the can big_smile they had a couple sours that werent too sour very refreshing and some coffee stout and one i couldnt finish and took back to room for later. 13.9%!
before the beer tasting though was this cooool harmonica workshop. we were given harmonicas as gifts in the cabin and they had Honer there with a neat s3election of cool and antique harmonicas...Dennis Greunling teaching us and Nick Moss with him on stage. we could only stay for half of it because of the beer tasting commitment but didnt want to leave. Honer, Sixthman and JnR all were surprised and happy how many came. it was the first time they did it and they had to keep adding chairs as cruisers rolled in. we were all instruceted not to play them while artists were perfoming though and Joe made a few jokes at one of the shows about it...worst idea ever but we all thought it was cool as heck.
there was also guitar workshop things and guest jams we never made it to. now that i 'add' it up, we were busy whole time but really missed a ton...but you dont feel like you are missing if that makes sense

so after beer tasting we caught Ruthie Foster on pool deck, was amazing. she did a show later with Samantha Fish and Larkin Poe that we missed but sounded very cool...looking at schedule i see also missed Monte Montgomery...dang and Tom Hambridge...no regrets its just how the cruise flows for you big_smile but will definitely be checking out more of all the artists

had dinner and regrouped for Kenny's show on pol deck. epic as always..they played totally different sets for their main shows. so awesome and I really enjoy Scott  Nelson in the band...played In 2 Deep which was surprise for me. great great show of course everyone having a blast

then my friend went to bed and i kept drinking so was fairly buzzed for the Paul Shaffer jam..i had great time but didnt recall much of the specifics afterward, and put myself to bed smile but wished i had paced and stayed up. since it was a jam Joe sometimes faced the back so that was cool cause i was behind and above show...thanks to friends sharing space with smile and putting up with drunk me


wednesday was Grand Cayman day...had breakfast on ship then all we wanted to do was beach although many things you could do. was nervous about not booking excursion but was super simple to get taxi bus to beach area and had great day there and got back to ship in time to shower before sail away show by Allman Betts band...beautiful to hear Blue Sky under the blue sky..beautiful day great set...only of theirs we caught due to how the schedule was.

then Larkin Poe in the theater which was fabulous. i had missed them last year except for a couple songs they did with NMA. my friend liked them so much we saw them again....they did make me tear up when they played Mad as  a Hatter . i like how they talk about the songs and stuff during the set

then grabbed food before Joe show which was different set as i mentioned above i think...was great and Woke up Dreaming and Mountain Time!!! and a good spot to see and met cool people before show and after show just talking Joe. then put friend to bed then saw Chris Cain for first time who had been highly recommended. met up with a young head banger there...loved that guy big_smile didn cross paths again after though.

then caught Davy Knowles show which was fun fun fun with fun fans...then hung out a bit that night which i regretted in morning just cause not much sleep. by Thursday the blues set in and my body not happy from three days of intensity so i was mellow last day when my friend was ready to tak it all in

we caught a bit of AJ Ghent but not enough, before had to go to prearranged wine tasting. its was fun and i learned a bit but again missing shows doing this....then we saw Samantha Fish on the pool deck. so great...i had been wanting to see her as she tours near by but never did. very enjoyable...again in the sun...we scored some lounge chairs to lay in but could just stand up and see a good bit....i'll have to look at some youtubes and stuff , i am not sure if thetook down the big banners every night but i noticed they did for the last night. they were cool with the cruise imagery of cartoon Joe and they covered some of the speakers but it also blocked the view of the stage from up top in one spot on each side. not much but i'd have rather been able to see past them at times. maybe if they were only half as big idk...but i did notice they were gone for Kenny's last show so it was great that a few more folks had a good view from the side

then Walter Trout on pool deck again then Kenny Wayne Shepherd with a fresh set ...perfect....then since friend really liked Larkin Poe we were heading to get good seat for their last show but walked past Eric Gales playing and could not walk away for most of it...insane!!!! and he brought Kirk Fletcher up. i did see one of Kirk's sets too...i forget if mentioned it
great Larkin Poe show then we went to bed as needed to get up early and off ship but next day everyone said Southern Exposure's last show was off the hook.
got kind of rooked by guy selling airport bus tickets in the port building cause it was on a nice bus but one stepped outside could have gotten cheaper and dropped off closer to airline but was fine
i keep going back and forth in head...want to do again but is a lot of money...as sick as i am now, if was sick like this on ship uggh...could do so much more with the bux but couldnt have same exerience/fun....got a litle time to decide and see if friend still in etc. have other friend wanting to go but not as into this kind of music...she loves KWS but blahblah he probs wont be on next years.

they didnt do thing like they did last year where you could reserve same cabin but thy automatically sign you up for presale and anyone can do the same i think so i think its more  first deposit first choice sort of thing

i think they said KTBA made $100K or so

We had a great party

"Joe B saved my soul, forever grateful Ron"
"Some people dream of worthy accomplishments while others stay awake and do them"
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