We had one of the funnest vacations ever on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise. The entire ship is chartered for blues music fans and musicians. We’re talking live music day and night all week long!
The Holland America Koningsdam is a brand new ship and it’s beautiful. We were very comfortable leaving Ft. Lauderdale in high seas and lots of wind. The cruise had a rocky start when the power went out to the entire Port Everglades. Luckily, we arrived early and were already checked in through security and allowed to board. Everyone else had to wait in long lines outside until power was restored.
The ship made 3 stops and we had 3 days at sea. We’ve taken cruises before but they were nothing like this one. First of all, all of the old people were really cool and there were NO kids! The entertainment was all music with 6 venues and musicians performing multiple times all week. By the end of the week, they were joining each others performances and jamming together all night long.
There were theme nights where people got all decked out in costumes. No formal night – it was pajamas! We enjoyed the casual atmosphere and people-watching. It looked like the crew was really having fun along with everyone else.
It was blowing a hoolie the first day! The ship glided along with a slight roll. It was too windy to go outside on deck.
The Delgado Brothers played at the Virgin party where we were initiated to blues cruising. Some of the people we met have been on more than 20 cruises. The Delgado brothers are one of our new favorite bands. They’re from east LA and have been playing for years but recently won a blues award.
Walter Trout playing on the aft pool deck. He originally played for Canned Heat. He told stories about his near death experience and liver transplant. He was a bit loud for me. Interesting guy!
Our first port of call was Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic. It’s a place built just for cruise ships to dock. Not much there except shops. We didn’t do any excursions. I hate to say it but the Bahamas has spoiled us for beaches.
I met Biscuit Miller on the tender trip to St. John. What a nice guy!
Cruise ships don’t normally stop in St. John. The locals were wary of us but we assured them that the blues cruisers would be fun. There were several performances on the island, at the central pavilion, a beach bar, a restaurant and a school.
We enjoyed lunch at the beach listening to the music. We were sailing in St. John 2 years ago so didn’t bother touring or visiting the beaches.
We were racing against Canada and there was plenty of wind!
We won the race. It was a blast! Skip and I were the only sailors on the team besides the crew.
We had lunch at the beach and Skip returned to the ship while I walked around. I was unimpressed with Philipsburg, Sint Maarten. We were there years ago and I remember a nice shopping district. Now it’s just like St. Thomas – nothing but jewelry and watch stores. Everything the same. Meh!
I attended a songwriter’s session where musicians described their creative process and told some of the stories behind their songs. As an artist I could relate to some of the things they said like “how do you know when you’re done?”
Skip is decked out for Mardi Gras night
The LowRider band was really fun to watch. They played ‘Why Can’t We Be Friends’ and ‘Cisco Kid was a Friend of Mind’. Yes, they’re the original members from the band War who lost a law suit and can no longer use that name. They can’t even say that they were formally War without lawyers descending on them.
Must have a Hurricane on Mardi Gras night
A calm day at sea
The California Honeydrops are another new favorite. These young guys took over one of the bars after midnight and jammed all night long. They’re now opening for Bonnie Raitt on her tour. Look them up, they’re great!
We already signed up for next year!