What started out as a major rock concert decade ago would give us the fist voyage of the Monsters of Rock cruise. And Nick and I got to be a part of it.
In 1980 the first Monsters of Rock cruise was organized at Castle Donnington in Leicestershire England. That concert would have 7 major heavy metal rock bands and perform before thousand of metal fans. This past February would be the first Monsters of Rock cruise with 21 heavy metal/hair bands from the 80’s. There are several other rock and roll cruises (Legends of Rock, ShipRocked, Barge from Hell, and 70,000 tons of metal). And there are even rock bands out there with their own cruise (Bret Michaels, Kiss, and Kid Rock). But this was the first one I found with all 80’s hair bands on it. This years voyage included Cinderella, Tesla, DC, Odin, Black and Blue, Eric Martin, Ted Poly, Kix, Keel, Helix, Faster Pussycat, Stryper, Lynch Mob, UFO, Y&T, Firehouse, Bang Tango, XYZ, Rhino Bucket, John Coribi, and Night Ranger. It also featured Eddie Trunk of that Metal Show. It would also feature a pre concert the night before at Exit 66 in Ft. Lauderdale with Van Halen tribute band, Atomic Punks and Kix.
This was a chartered cruise meaning that it was only booked for Monsters of Rock. This gave hair band fans a way to connect with their favorite bands and other fans and get totally emerged into the whole rock and roll experience. For me it was a chance to hang out with some of my favorite bands.
Concerts were going on from generally mid day (after all rockers need their sleep from late night partying the night before) until about midnight. The headlining acts were Cinderella and Tesla. They both performed for over an hour. While neither band is playing at major concert venues like bands like Kiss, they do play moderate sized venues. While the remaining acts averaged about 45 minutes and most of these bands play the club circuit now or rock festivals like Rocklahoma and M3. And it is kinds like one of the major rock festivals with rock concerts going all day. But then you can be sitting pool side when your favorite singer walks past and comes and sits down with you for a few minutes. Or sit down in the dining room and the table next to you had your favorite singer sitting there. That is why I was here!
Concerts were held both outside mid deck and inside the clubs. I liked the outdoor concerts since it gave more fans a chance to see the concert. Guests could see from all over the side of the ship and you could even sink in the hot tub while watching your favorite band perform. The only problem was it could be quite cool deck side in the evening and it could also get quite windy. One show had to be moved inside due to high winds and reduced the audience size. When your favorite band wasn’t performing, they could often be seen attending a concert giving you a chance to see them as fans themselves. Despite the fact the organizers promised no over lapping concerts (more than one band playing at a time) you would have up to 4 bands playing at one time forcing you to chose what you wanted to see. The headlining bands played 3 shows while some of the other bands only played 1-2 shows giving you less of a change to see them. And both Cinderella and Tesla are known for not starting on time and they kept up their reputation here as well. One night Cinderella was over an hour late. That meant that if you stayed for them, you missed another band.
In addition to concerts they had an art auction, late night DJ parties, 80s prom, a naughty nighty party hosted by Tamie Down of Faster Pussycat, band meet and greets, and of course time in Key West and Nassau. Despite the fact we were in Key West until 3 pm, the organizers had the first meet and greet at 1 pm meaning we had to cut our time in Key West short. It didn’t set well with fans and band members alike who also wanted to enjoy the islands.
When you have a chartered cruise like this it will mean all the guests have a common interest. In this case we all love 80’s metal. There was a Facebook group I joined which had me fearful that this cruise would be filled with mainly single female (and here I would be bringing my long haired fiancé). Turns out there were plenty of others couples and even families on the ship. Everybody was here to have a great time and hang out with their favorite bands. We met some great people on the ship and are still friends and we are looking to next year’s voyage so we can hang out again. We even had some friends from Charlotte on the cruise and it gave us a chance to meet people we had been friends with for a while from Facebook like my friend David from London. We did have a few problems on the final party of the cruise with overly zealous females who seemed to ignore the fact that I was right beside of Nick and still tried to hit up on him!!!!!
One of the worst things about this whole thing was the company that organized it. I could not find even the name of the actual company. On my paperwork they were just referred to as Monsters of Rock. Unfortunately they are the most unorganized, unprofessional company I have ever dealt with. And I was a travel professional for 11 years and know how things should be organized. When I contacted my former MSC rep to inquire abut the company I was told this company had been in business for several years and they organized about 30 chartered or theme cruises a year with everything from big band to Donny and Marie. So this wasn’t their first time at the dance and they should have known how to handle such a big group.
When we first booked (and even now while pre booking is going on) there is no phone number. You have to email them and then they call you which means you are often playing phone tag. Even after they got a number when you call all you get is voice mail and you have to leave a message and they call you back when ever they have time. I made my initial deposit in May and finally got a receipt from them mid October! We filled out our paperwork for next years cruise and that was a month ago and we have yet to get any confirmation or even know anything other than the dates for next year. But they can gladly post on Facebook all the clubs they are going too!! Maybe they should do less of that and spend time getting things going for next years cruise.
They promised to have our edocs to us 3 weeks prior to the cruise and itineraries 2 weeks before the cruise. A week before the cruise there were still no docs or itins and no word on the Facebook page as to why. Now I know it is not necessary to have them in advanced. I have had many clients over the years to loose them or leave them elsewhere rather than on them when they arrive at the port. I know they can be printed there, but many people on Facebook were afraid they would be denied boarding. I finally made a statement on the page to ease any fears. That should have been the job of the booking company. Edocs were issued the week of the cruise and the itin only a few days before the ship was to sail.
Several days before the cruise there was a statement on Facebook basically to the effect of we're busy don’t bother us!!! As a travel professional I can’t imagine telling my clients that. And they sailed on the cruise but were not available for any problems. And they offered a drinks package. I ordered one and was never charged or received a confirmation. When I called I was told they forgot to charge me and it was too late to get another one.
Next years cruise is March 16-20, 2013 and that is about all I know at this point. But if you are a hair metal band fan then you have to do this cruise. Just know there is a bunk of junk to put up with, but it is all worth it.
For more info you can go to www.monstersofrockcruise.com or they have a page on Facebook as well.