Over the past 10 years, music-themed cruises have become big business raking in millions of dollars each year, beckoning a whole generation to come sail away.
All genres of music are duly presented on these monstrous oceanic vessels of rock servicing the divergent tastes of music fans with cruises showcasing artists like Kid Rock, Weezer, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Heart, John Mayer, the Moody Blues, Yes, The Who’s Roger Daltrey and more.
In many ways, the music cruise is the new frontier for the baby boomer crowd. It’s like summer camp for adults with copious amounts of alcohol flowing 24/7 and the food is much better.
And I’m one of over 2300 passengers from 33 countries spanning the globe setting out from Miami, Florida on KISS Kruise IV, a 4-day excursion to the Bahamas. Yet for most on board, the sunny spoils of paradise are secondary; we could be headed to the outer reaches of frozen Antarctica and the same loyal contingent of KISS krazies would likely attend.
In this case, the destination is unimportant.
The magnet drawing everyone together are the hottest band in the world, KISS and they’re here to celebrate the axiom of the band’s immortal rock anthem; yes, you guessed it, to rock and roll all nite and part every day.
Straddling white and blue collar professions, from plumbers to pit bosses, mechanics to morticians, accountants to attorneys, those who climb aboard the KISS Kruise come from all walks of life. And while there’s a divide due to the social and cultural differences, the universal language they all speak is KISS music; it’s the rock and roll glue that binds them all together.
Now in its 13th year, Sixthman, the premiere travel cruise company, is hosting this bash. Over the years, they’ve fine-tuned their music theme cruise brand to sleek perfection, entertaining over 130,000 passengers and tallying over 600,000 fun-filled days on the high seas.
According to Alaidriale Derway, PR & Communications Manager for Sixthman, “we’re all about the guest experience–that comes first in every way. Our goal is to break down the barriers between bands and their fans, as well as introduce our guests to emerging artists that often become favorites. We don’t do the whole VIP thing- we feel like everyone should have the same amazing experience and that everyone is entitled to the best. We encourage our artists to interact with the guests as much as possible, from hosting events, to late night DJ sessions, to just walking around the ship and enjoying the event.”
“We set the expectation that guests and artists are one big family and should treat each other as such. We try to shy away from the standard format of autograph signing and meet and greets as much as possible, in favor of more organic and intimate experiences between artists and fans. Another thing that I think really sets Sixthman apart is that our events are built by the community for the community. When our artists have a vision they want brought to life, we will do anything we can to make that happen. We build upon surveys and guest feedback to really shape what our guests are looking for.”
As for the allure of a music cruise for those who have not taken the plunge, Derway further explains: “I always ask: Have you ever been to a big music festival? Standing in line for bathrooms, huge crowds, mud, overpriced beer, and trying to get anywhere near the stage to see your favorite artist… it’s a huge test of patience! On a cruise, you have everything you need right there. You have your favorite band playing in an elevator–true story!–or standing next to you at breakfast, you have shows going on all the time, just like a big festival, but you can actually see the band, sometimes so close you need to back up!”
“Plus, you’re on a ship with just a little over 2000 people who are into what you’re into- it’s an experience that can create friends for life. There’s luxury accommodations, food as far as the eye can see, and music almost 24/7. Plus, you’re sailing through the Caribbean. Really, what more could you want? As for the KISS Kruise, it’s a one-of–a-kind, once in a lifetime experience – even for the fan that has everything! And each year is new and different theme wise, so it’s always fresh. This year’s “Dressed to Kill” theme is pretty spectacular.”