With summer over – technically, anyway – it’s getting time to book that great vacation in winter or spring. And among the countless cruises spiriting guests to tropical paradises off the Florida coast, we prefer the ones with multiple stages and amplifiers turned up to 11.
Folks in other states have to fly down to our ports to experience rock ‘n’ roll cruises, but we’re blessed to have two top ports within driving distance of Boca Raton. Here’s a preview of nine cruises leaving South Florida from November to March, offering music ranging from metal to bluegrass.
Destinations: Fort Lauderdale to Key West and Nassau Nov. 27-Dec. 1
Talent: This boat is filled with bands that you used to hear on rock radio, back when South Florida had a rock radio station. Angst-riddled nu-metal acts like Godsmack and Korn join heavy metal legends Helmet and modern rockers Fuel, Filter, Lit, P.O.D. and more.
Pricing: $849 to $1,349
Cruise: S.S. Coachella
Destinations: Fort Lauderdale to the Bahamas Dec. 16-19, Fort Lauderdale to Jamaica Dec. 19-23
Talent: The hipster’s cruise of choice, this is the seaborne version of the extraordinary Coachella festival in California. Recently reunited Britpop heroes Pulp headline the festival, joined by Hot Chip, Yeasayer, Girl Talk, Sleigh Bells, Father John Misty and other acts that range from electronic to noise-pop and folk.
Pricing: $500 to $1,500
Cruise: Jam Cruise
Destinations: Fort Lauderdale to Turks & Caicos and Coco Cay Jan. 7-12
Talent: Right now, tickets still remain for the 2013 Jam Cruise, but don’t expect them to be available for long – this festival has sold out every one of its 10-plus years. The always stellar lineup of funk and jam-bands includes moe., Galactic, Steel Pulse, JJ Grey & Mofro and Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk.
Pricing: $999 to $1,749
Cruise: Rock Legends Cruise
Destinations: Fort Lauderdale to Lebadee, Haiti Jan. 10-14
Talent: When touring on land, these classic rock acts are still likely to fill arenas. Here’s a chance to see them in more-intimate settings – let alone to bump elbows with them on the buffet line. Headliners include Foreigner, Creedence Clearwater Revival Revisited, Kansas, Bachman & Turner, Blue Oyster Cult, Molly Hatchet and Foghat.
Pricing: $699 to $3,199
Cruise: Mountain Song at Sea
Destinations: Miami to Great Stirrup Cay Feb. 1-4
Talent: An extension of the annual Mountain Song festival in North Carolina, this event bills itself as the “world’s largest floating bluegrass festival.” Folk, bluegrass and Americana enthusiasts can watch – and compete in a poker tournament with – headliners Steep Canyon Rangers. Other top acts include Punch Brothers, Del McCoury Band, David Grisman Sextet and the Kruger Brothers.
Pricing: $373 to $995
Cruise: The Rock Boat
Destinations: Miami to Great Stirrup Cay, Feb. 24-March 1
Talent: Now in its 13thyear, the Rock Boat showcases acts in the softer spectrum of rock. Upbeat, pleasant and melodic, these acts are destined to offend few and divert many. Hosts Sister Hazel will perform alongside Rusted Root, NEEDTOBREATHE, Will Hoge, Rocket to the Moon, The Dunwells and many others.
Pricing: $850 to $2,500
Cruise: 311 Caribbean Cruise
Destinations: Miami to Great Stirrup Cay March 1-5
Talent: This may be the season’s pre-eminent party ship, as unclassifiable headliners 311 are known to attract an energetic fan base that knows how to let loose. The band will perform three concerts, including a private island show, along with guest artists that have yet to be announced.
Pricing: $999 to $1,049
Cruise: The Cruise for Beatles Fans
Destinations: Fort Lauderdale to Nassau and the Virgin Islands
Talent: At seven days and three ports of call, the Cruise for Beatles Fans is the season’s biggest and priciest sea voyage, and it promises to be a haven for baby boomers, Anglophiles and other Beatlemaniacs. The lineup includes storytelling from Grammy-winning Beatles producer Mark Hudson, fun and games with “Beatle Brunch” radio host Joe Johnson, and music from Badfinger’s Joey Molland, Liverpool singer-songwriter Billy J. Kramer and the Beatles tribute act Revolution.
Pricing: $1,459 to $3,889
Cruise: Monsters of Rock Cruise
Destinations: Fort Lauderdale to Nassau and Coco Cay March 16-20
Talent: Music-cruise season ends with this classic-rock extravaganza. Celebrity bingo, a rock star dating game, tattoo contest, song and dance competitions and music from Cinderella, Tesla, Queensryche, Great White, Stryper and more show today’s young whipper-snappers what metal used to mean.
Pricing: $679 to $5,499