Fifteen years ago, Atlanta-based Sixthman launched The Rock Boat, the first music festival at sea. The idea took off, and the company has gone on to organize 94 music-themed cruises featuring more than 900 bands. KISS, Kid Rock, and 311 all have their own annual cruises. Headlining next year are Pitbull and Train, and The Rock Boat 2017 hosted by Sister Hazel embarks in February.
Most of these cruises are on Norwegian Cruise Line ships (the cruise line bought into the concert company in 2012) and sail through the Caribbean. But there are competitors also encouraging travelers to combine their love of rock music and cruising. Next year, for instance, Pat Benatar, REO Speedwagon, and the Marshall Tucker Band will perform on a Rock Legends Cruise in January, on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas.
What to expect
Rest beforehand. Rock ‘n’ Roll cruises aren’t about a sedate, relaxing cruise experience. They’re about hearing a bunch of bands — which will perform day and night — partying with fellow passengers who share your musical tastes, meeting up with the artists at Q&A sessions and other events, and generally having a good time. Bragging rights might include a photo with a performer, or at least a selfie with the band nearby in the background.
Book early. Many of the cruises are so popular they sell out. For instance, you need to get on a waiting list if you want to get on this year’s KISS Kruise in November (Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford is among those performing).
Like the idea, but not that into rock music? There are plenty of other music-themed cruise options, including blues, jazz, country, Latin, classical, and even polka. Find listings by category at themecruisefinder.com, and get those toes tapping.