January 15th our rockin’ vacation officially began at the Shiprocked pre-party in Miami, Florida.  The veterans of Shiprocked and a lot of newbies (myself included) came together to celebrate our impending departure.   A few bands played acoustic sets to prepare our ears for the days of rock ‘n’ roll ahead; the bands Stitched Up Heart, Buckcherry, and Art of Dying were awesome and nice primer. During Stitched Up Heart’s set, there was a proposal, which was awesome to capture on film.  Throughout the night people mingled, drank, enjoyed good music, and a lot of laughs. The pre-party was great because it was an opportunity for the veterans to reunite with their shipmates from prior sailings and for the ‘newbs’ to meet those that they would be sailing with.

Monday, departure day, seemingly arrived quickly.  After grabbing a quick bite to eat and an Uber to the port, we were on our way.   The buzz in the line was how awesome this voyage has been in the past, so the anticipation of setting sail was steadily growing.  After making our way through security, we found our cabin, and made our way to the buffet.  The food was absolutely delicious!  Sevendust took the stage as the Carnival Victory left the port; the perfect band to kick off our vacation! Alter Bridge, 12 Stones, Cane Hill, and Papa Roach performed as well.  The music was so amazing and it did not stop until after midnight.  Of course the party didn’t stop when the live music stopped, there was poker, karaoke, comedy performances, or dancing to be done.  Before we realized it the sun was coming up and we were just making our way back to our room.

Tuesday, was our day at sea.  As we made our way to Grand Turk the music was loud and the energy high.  Letters From the Fire, Art of Dying, Monster Truck, Living Sacrifice, The Dead Deads, Stitched Up Heart, Raveneye, Wilson, The Stowaways,  and Breaking Benjamin were on the roster for the day. And the activities were abundant as well; there was beer pong, meet and greets, a scavenger hunt, swimming in the beautiful pool, and Shiprocker Feud. A friend of mine was lucky enough to get on stage and play Shiprocker Feud (Family Feud) with members of Sevendust and Papa Roach!  She nearly peed her pants with excitement! A little Shiprocked fun fact.. Mark Tremonti, lead guitar player for Alter Bridge, kicks ass at beer pong.  I made sure I was front and center when Breaking Benjamin took the stage.   They killed it, as always.  I couldn’t tell if they were rocking especially hard or if it was the waves rocking the boat, but motion sickness started to set in after they wrapped up their set.  Thank goodness for medication, I wasn’t quite ready to go to bed.

Mark Tremonti (Alter Bridge) dominating beer pong

Wednesday we arrived in Grand Turk.  Since this was my first time here I decided to explore the island while my friends attended the big pool party or did their excursions.  I had never been here before but it sure was amazing! I decided to explore the island a little but everyone either played at the big pool party or did their own little excursion.  By the time it was time to make our way back to the boat, Pop Evil was ready to take the stage.  We also heard from Lacy Sturm, Sevendust, 12 Stones, The Stowaways, Anther Lost Year, Avatar, and Papa Roach!  During the voyage all of the bands play at least twice, some of them more… they wanted to ensure we got to see every band on board. And after the headliners, there was more comedy, karaoke, or dancing the night away until the sun came up.

Thursday was our last full day on the ship and a full day at sea as we made our way back to Miami.  I worked on my tan, went do went down the water slide (twice), hung out in the hot tub, ate (I ate so much), and drank (no judging).   On the music agenda is Raveneye, Cane Hill, The Dead Deads, Wilson, Letters From the Fire, Alter Bridge, Pop Evil, and last but not least… Breaking Benjamin.  There was also a VIP party with Lacy Sturm and Aranda.

Friday, the most disappointing day of the trip, the day we packed our things and had to leave the ship.  After enjoying a delicious breakfast and spending a little bit of time with friends new and old, it was time to get back to reality.  Of course that is after the Shiprocked After Party!  For those not ready to go home quite yet or flat out crazy there was a party in Ft. Lauderdale featuring The Dead Deads and Nonpoint.   The venue was absolutely packed with Shiprockers and the public, so moving was nearly impossible so we found a spot on the outside patio to enjoy the show.

Another fun fact, one of the evenings on the ship I ran into Damon Aranda (Aranda) in the casino.  I immediately recognized him and he recognized me, which is hilarious because it had been at least three years since I saw him last.  He has to meet so many people while traveling, so the fact that he remember my face after all this time was awesome.  He said that Aranda is in the process of writing a new album and then will hit the road again.

Overall Shiprocked was an amazing experience.  So many activities and so much music.  The fact that people can interact with their favorite artists is so awesome.  I cannot wait until 2018!

 

Written by Jennifer Pinckney for Bloodrock Media on February 8, 2017