Thursday, March 21, 2013

Monster's of Rock Cruise 2013

Oh - boy! My brain is crammed full of cruise info and I don't know where to start. Well, I guess I'll start at the beginning. But first let me say this is going to be a looooonnnngggg post so get comfortable!
Day 1 - We left our house at midnight Thursday night, or Friday morning, whatever you’d consider Midnight to be. We drove to Brainerd and caught a shuttle to take us to the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport. Our shuttle driver had been on cruises himself and we talked the entire way to the much for sleeping! But he gave us a lot of great info that proved to be helpful! We tried to sleep at the airport and on the plane...not so easy...Grant had been up 24 hours by this point. (There’s a picture of him on Instagram trying to sleep at the airport…on the floor) We got to our hotel, the Hilton, Beach Resort, around 11:30 AM Eastern time. It is a beautiful hotel! We agreed it is the nicest one either of us had stayed in. We got in a nap and a shower and went to the pre-launch party being held at Exit 66 (a bar). Finally!!!! Our cruise was starting!!!!!! They started with Enuff Znuff and they were awesome. Got my feet moving and my head bopping. We each got a tall mixed drink and found our way to the upper deck level and boogied away. Well, I boogied...Grant doesn't boogie much...neither does anyone else...which I think is WEIRD! How anyone can stay still when rock and roll is playing LIVE is beyond me! Then JSRJ (Vixen) played. We had seen Vixen play at a concert here in Minnesota a couple years ago and they were "ok" - at the pre-party and on the cruise they ROCKED! More dancing for me. lol
Day 2 - We woke up feeling excited cause we were finally getting on the ship. You think about a cruise like this for so long and finally get there it all seemed a bit surreal to me. We made it through some long lines and waited with a thousand other people and finally got to our cabin. Our cabin was ok. We went to different parts of the ship to get our drink tickets and check in as VIP's and then they had a VIP "party". (Snacks and drinks with other VIP's) We met a nice couple (Hi Frank and Mrs Frank! I have no clue how to spell your name! Alky??? Elchi???? lol) I was at the bar at one point getting a drink and struck up a conversation with a cool guy...the drummer from Enuff Znuff!!! I dragged him back to our table to meet Grant and he stayed to chat with us for awhile. Too COOL!!! I gave him a copper/leather bracelet I had made and when we saw him the next evening he was wearing it!!!! What a great "regular" guy. Could have talked for a lot longer but a person doesn't want to monopolize the band members or make them uncomfortable... Tesla rocked the ship as we pulled out of port. Geez I love that band...It was so - sorry to use this word again - SURREAL to be on a cruise rocking to our favorite band LIVE! And you know how you'd go to a concert back when you were a "kid" and you'd get the nose-bleed seats and feel all awesome cause you were seeing your favorite band...well multiply that by a thousand... After Tesla we went to see KIX and again...awesome!!! feet didn't stop moving!
They also had a safety drill we had to participate in – standard procedure. I wondered what they would do if you didn’t participate and the next day I found out…cause the people who didn’t do it when they were supposed to had to do a “walk of shame” and have the drill in front of all of us, lol! Glad I did it when I was supposed to!
OK - now things get a little foggy for me. I'd have a hard time telling you who I saw what day. I can tell you I had blisters on my feet. I ignored them on Sunday. I ignored them on Monday. I switched to sneakers on Tuesday and Wednesday lol! Aside from the bands we went to a private island called Coco Cay that is owned by the cruise line.
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(Our first view of the island)
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We took a ferry from the ship to the island and wandered around. The beaches were beautiful and I found some great rocks and shells to bring back. We ate lunch next to Loudness. Again - Nice people!
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We lounged in a hammock for awhile (which I fell out of at one point - didn't get hurt thank goodness!) People watching is a good pastime when you're lounging around - I saw big tough looking guys with full sleeve tattoos mincing across the sand in there bare feet. ha ha! Big gals in tiny bikini's and little gals in tiny bikini's.
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(On the ferry looking ahead to our ship)
The next day we went to Nassau in the Bahamas. I can't say I have a burning desire to go there again. It was raining when we got there and that turned out to be a good thing because it wasn't so crowded. Once the rain stopped people were pouring out of the ships and the town got crowded VERY fast. We picked up some souvenirs...shot glasses and key chains. We stopped in one nice store - a linen store where you could buy $300.00 table cloths. However, in that store I got this!
(It’s made out of metal)
Perfect souvenir for me!!!! Personally I just wanted one nice thing to bring back - not a lot - too much clutter around here is making me crazy! We could each bring back two bottles of liquor and Grant picked two of what he wanted. Then got a bottle of rum for me. The woman running the store was a riot, she said the rum could "bring the dead back to life or cure any ailment you might have mon". I asked her what her other favorite was and bought a bottle of that too. Can't wait to try them. (Edit: I tried them last night and they are VERY GOOD!!! – Will get the brands on here later)
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(From our balcony on the ship looking out at Nassau)
I loved this cruise for many reasons - you were with a bunch of other people who loved the same music. Loved it enough to shell out some serious cash and go on a cruise to listen to it! The fellow cruisers came in all shapes and sizes. Some were in full-on rock-gear ( hair) and others were dressed "normally".  Most were just a bunch of mom and dad's like us. I also loved how accessible most of the bands were. Grant and I went to prom and while riding in the elevator a couple guys chatted with us...after they got off Grant said "don't you know who that was" and a light bulb went off in my brain - NELSON! This happened a lot! As you're eating or walking around or going to concerts other band members were doing the same! I have zero facial recognition skills so I couldn't tell who was a band member and who was a fellow cruiser but Grant would tell me - lol. We met people from all over the world. One couple came from Germany, went on the cruise, then were going to Las Vegas to get married! I met several people from England, one guy from Australia, and another from Holland. People came from all over the world to go on this cruise!!!
We were running from one end of that ship to the other day and night. It was exhausting and really a pain getting lost over and over again. But it was wonderful to start in one bar - listen to that band - go down the hall to the next bar - listen to that band - go to the theater - listen to that band. Go to bed - sleep deeply for a couple hours and start all over again the next day.
The food...I loved the food. Grant...not so much. I even heard other cruisers say they were losing weight on this cruise instead of gaining. I think what I loved the most about this food is that it was plentiful and I didn't have to cook it or think about "what am I going to make for dinner". I ate a lot of grilled tomatoes and pasta. Loooove grilled tomatoes and pasta!
The service...I'd say it was hit and miss. Most times wonderful. Our cabin boy didn't stock our mini-fridge very well and when you've been dancing all day something cold at night is essential! The towels were replaced daily though. Also the ship was very clean. I came across people polishing the baseboards and handrails all the time. I mean ALL THE TIME - and the bathrooms were cleaner than I expected...that was nice.
The schedule...I found it confusing!!! Bands playing times would overlap all the time so it was hard to stay for an entire concert. We didn't get the schedules until the wee hours each night. Hard to make a game plan. I haven't decided if I'd rather have seen fewer bands on the ship or better scheduling. Probably better can never have too many bands! I'm sure I drove Grant nuts asking so what's next and what time? Over and over again...just couldn't get it to sink into my brain...grrrr.
VIP status. I can't say I felt very special. Not VIP special. I bet they change that for future cruises because I heard other VIP's saying the same thing. We paid quite a bit of money to be VIP and aside from getting in line first for a meet-and-greet with 200 other VIP's I don't know where the advantage was to pay so much more. We got to get on the ship faster I guess? We got a t-shirt, a sticker, a glass and a plaque...? Maybe less VIP's would have been better, it seemed as if half the ship was VIP even though they told us it was limited to two hundred cabins.
Rock Bingo...we attended and didn't win anything. (no big deal :)) However, right after that was an auction to raise money in Ronnie Dio's name for cancer research. They told us 100% of  the money raised went to cancer research. No overhead. I bid on, and won, a stack of blue ray/DVD's (about ten) featuring bands and a couple movies. Grant bid on, and won, a vintage t-shirt that was owned by Ronnie Dio. I bought a "coffee table"  book about Ronnie Dio and had it signed by the photographer and Wendy Dio (Ronnie's wife). I gave that to Grant for his was his birthday on Sunday :). We spoke with Wendy Dio a couple days later and she said the auction did very well. Nice!
The bands we saw -
Enuff Z'nuff - Awesome! See above.
JSRG - Awesome! See above.
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(Pic of Grant and I with Troy Lucketta – drummer from Tesla!)
Tesla - Awesome! See above. (The video I’m linking to is actual footage from the cruise…almost like I was there again…but the audio was waaaayyyy better on the ship lol!
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(Grant with Loudness – first day! – And Frank is on the far right)
Loudness - Awesome! Some of the best guitar work we've ever seen. Engaging with the crowd. (again, cruise footage, you should listen to their album for true sound!)
Queensryche - Lead singer didn't disappoint! He was spot-on.
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(Pic of Grant with Russ Dwarf!)
Russ Dwarf - Totally engaging, played an acoustic set we bought his new CD and can't wait to hear more. We met his guitarist the second morning (didn't know who he was) and Grant asked him where he got his shirt, he said he was the guitarist for Russ Dwarf and didn't know...maybe at the shop? lol!
L.A. Guns - They sounded really good, and were minus one band member because of passport problems and STILL sounded really good. I was sad I never heard my favorite song from them "Never Enough"...I'm sure they played it and I just missed it...darn scheduling problems again!
London Quireboys - Had never heard them before...until we heard them. We recognized a couple songs and really liked them! We will definitely be checking out their music!!!
Stryper - Great show! (They are a Christian heavy metal band). They always drew and still draw big crowds. Funny story - I was at the bar getting drinks (yes again) and a Brit was going on and on how the guy next to him was Stryper's drummer. So I hustle over to get Grant, told him to come over RIGHT NOW and introduced him to "Stryper's drummer".  Grant said "That's not Stryper's drummer!" turns out it was Chip Z'nuff, I still feel silly about that. Ah well, that's what rum will do to a person lol!!
Great White - They played at the private island...sounded good.
Lita Ford - Didn't see her...scheduling conflicts.
Dio's Disciples - Awesome! They had two lead singers who would trade off singing. Their guitarist was ah-maz-ing! His fingers flew.
Kix - Awesome! See above - also the lead singer is FUNNY and very engaging with the crowd!
Faster Pussycat - Saw for about ten minutes...scheduling...again! I'm not kidding when I said we ran from one end of that ship to the other all the time.
Cinderella - Sounded good. I never saw them but I heard them. Grant saw them as I got to talking with another lady who was reading the book I need to read for book club next week and told her about the book I was reading...Three Junes. She said she'd give me her book, The Storyteller, when she was done and one morning I opened our cabin door and there it was! I read it on the way home. GREAT PEOPLE on the cruise! (I also gave her my book when I was done :))
Dangerous Toys - went to bed listening to them. If we left our balcony door open we could hear the bands playing on the pool deck very well. NICE! Cause I just couldn't stay up as long as I wanted to.
Helix - didn't see.
XYZ - didn't see.
Y&T - went to sleep to them one night :)
Bang Tango - didn't see
Rhino Bucket - didn't see
Ron Keel -didn't see more than 5 minutes as we were hustling from one bar to another.
Alkatraz - didn't see
Black N Blue - didn't see
John Corabi - I thought he was great. His show was acoustic and relaxing.
Frank Hannon - Was kind of an all-star jam session. Grant loved it! (me too)
Femme Fatal - didn't see
Ted Poley - Caught just a bit of his show (lead singer for Danger Danger) and then we had to scoot.
Tony Harnell - didn't see him until meet-and-greet.
Heavy Mellow - didn't see and that bums Grant out as they were on our list! Scheduling!!
Atomic Punks - didn't see
AJ's Bravehearts - didn't see
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(Pic of Grant with Eddie Trunk as he signed Grant’s Dio book…Eddie is a spokesperson for the organization.)
Eddie Trunk - He looked kinda bored, but he had to be exhausted because he was EVERYWHERE on that ship!
We would have loved to have had the time to see all of the bands but it was not to be. Sometimes we were just too tired to move but it was mostly because there was just no way to see everyone. Yeah, if we didn't eat or sleep it MIGHT have been possible...but probably not.
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Here’s what I looked like for most of the cruise…make up sweated off and everything! I have a few more photos at my Instagram account but didn’t take as many as I would have liked. It’s just such a pain to get the camera out and we were always MOVING lol. However, if you want more details and pictures of what the ship looked like go to their website, they have it covered. Also, we should be getting a link from Monster’s of Rock to the pictures they took on the ship with us in them…like at the meet and greets. I’ll add them as I get them, and edit when we think of something new. I’ll put the new info in a different color. I’m tired of getting links from youtube so you can just search the bands for yourself lol – I’d rather get this posted… I’m just starting to come back down to earth and getting everything put away. We missed the kids and they missed us! When Abby heard Linda talking to me I could hear her in the background yelling MOMMA!!!! Gabe gave me a big hug and said “I’m glad you’re home…you’re so much nicer than Devon!” lmao! And, Devon actually gave me a HUG when he saw me – awwwww – it was worth it right there!!!
We had the time of our lives!!!!
Happy Crafting! (Can’t wait to get back to crafting!!)


Julie said...

I am so glad you had the time of your life. Most awesome that you could share and remember and all.
Thank you for sharing. I know I get to see and hear more. :o)
I'll see you about 12:30 on Monday if you have time, I work the midday route. I'll call first to see if you're up to a visit.
Take care Kim. Glad you're back.

Anonymous said...

WOW!! I'm too exhausted after reading all that excitement now to even comment. Glad you are both home safe and sound. Glad yous had such a great time and talk to you soon. Love M&M

Anonymous said...

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Ann Martin said...

Sounds like a wonderful time! I didn't realize you're such a rocker chick. :)

Randi Scott / Enuff Znuff said...

It was awesome meeting you guys! Hope to see you when we pass thru on tour! I'll have my bracelet ;-)