Metal, Moodies, and Yes: Music-Themed Cruises Set to Depart South Florida in April

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The music cruise industry has really taken flight -- or, shall we say, set sail -- in recent years, spawned by a desire by fans and musicians alike to take the fun of a festival to sea. After all, music cruises offer certain advantages, specifically a variety of bands all playing in the same setting, but without forcing their fans to rough the rigors of camping or trek from one distant stage to another. You can see see artists in both very intimate and theater-like venues, and then get up-close and personal with the performers via various shipboard encounters. Then too, there's the sightseeing and free food.

The trend has been successfully nurtured over the years through music-themed cruises like Cayamo and Rock the Boat, but lately the concept has expanded to voyages hosted by specific bands and artists.

Beginning in late March 2014, three specialty cruises, courtesy of the luxurious MSC Divina, will cast off from the port of Miami. The first of these,"The Monsters of Rock Cruise," takes its name and its theme from the legendary hard-rock festivals held at Castle Donigan in the U.K. Sailing from March 29 to April 2, to Nassau, Bahamas, and its own private Monster Island, this celebration of heavy-metal mayhem features a no-nonsense cast of fearsome rockers, lots of spandex and extreme hairdos, the likes of which haven't been seen Ronald Reagan was in office.

Clearly not for the faint of heart -- or for those who don't own an adequate set of earplugs -- the lineup features Tesla, Ratt, Cinderella, Firehouse, Slaughter, Winger, Great White, Quiet Riot, Faster Pussycat, and Moby Dicks (featuring members of Whitesnake, Foreigner, Vince Neil and Lynch Mob), among others.

Current rates start at $999 per person (double occupancy) and are sold a first-come, first-served basis exclusively through the Monsters of Rock Cruise website at MonstersOfRockCruise.com.

No sooner do the headbangers depart than the MSC Divina makes a quick turnaround -- both logistically and stylistically -- in preparation for the "Moody Blues Cruise II," departing April 2 and returning April 5, for Grand Turk Island, Turks & Caicos, and Nassau, Bahamas. Here's a hint for any crew involved in the transition -- the odor of perspiration is easily masked by the smell of patchouli, and with the transition from extreme metal to the mellow Moodies, one might expect plenty of lofty fragrances to go 'round regardless. Sadly, the departure date isn't scheduled for a "Tuesday Afternoon" (it falls on a Wednesday, actually), but there will be no shortage of Moody Blues classics. As a special bonus -- and well worth the price of admission alone -- Roger Daltrey and his band will also perform, marking the first time the two icons have shared a bill since the legendary Isle of Wight Festival in 1970.

The other musical guests announced so far aren't too shabby either. The roll call of legendary artists includes Carl Palmer, the Zombies, Strawbs, Lighthouse, Shawn Phillips, the Orchestra (featuring former members of ELO), Strawbs, Starship, Little River Band, Sound of Contact (starring Simon Collins, son of Phil), Joe Williams of Toto, and Glass Hammer, along with tributes to Jimi Hendrix and the Eagles to keep that vintage vibe alive.


Several cabins are already sold out. Prices for those remaining start at $1,099. Visit Moodycruises.com.

Prog gets its day -- or rather, its five days, from April 7 to 12, when the MSC Divina departs for Isla de Roatan, Honduras, and Cozumel, Mexico. Billed as the "Cruise to the Edge," it gives an affirmative nod to Yes and its classic album of practically the same name. Expect an ample ingestion of mellotrons, synths, and complex motifs as the Yes men host fellow travelers Steve Hackett (with Genesis Revisited), Marillion, UK, Patrick Moraz, Three Friends (former members of Gentle Giant), Tangerine Dream, PFM, Saga, Queensryche, Renaissance, Strawbs, Stick Men (featuring Tony Levin), and Soft Machine (Legacy), among others. We'd expect each outfit will do its best to re-create those dazzlingly complex symphonic suites known to be lengthy enough to allow many an FM DJ a well-deserved bathroom break back in the day.

Famed album artist Roger Dean's work will also be well-represented, so allocate some funds for a poster or two as either a keepsake or gift for those unfortunates left back on shore.

Several categories of accommodations have already sold out, so current cruise rates now start at $999, per person (double occupancy) and will be sold a first-come, first-served basis exclusively through the cruisetotheedge.com.

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