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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.

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Bon Voyage!

Blowing a hoolie out there

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.

Delgado Brothers
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

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!

Muddy on the Waters
The Nighthawks played with Mud Morganfield, son of Muddy Waters.

Arriving in the Dominican Republic

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.

Tab Benoit
Tab Benoit rocked it! He would play all night until he smelled the bacon cooking!

Biscuit Miller

I met Biscuit Miller on the tender trip to St. John.  What a nice guy!

Big ship looming in St. John
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.
Lunch in St. john

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.

Dinner with Ken & Linda
It was a real treat to spend time with my old boss Ken Kisling and his wife, Linda. He always talked about the blues cruise and we finally made it!

12 Meter racing in St. Martin Cross this one off the bucket list: We raced on the 12 meter America’s Cup boat Stars & Stripes in St. Martin.

Grinding the main winch
Skip was assigned to grind the main sheet winch. He really had to work! I was on the jib for a while and then was switched out.

Racing on Stars & Stripes

We were racing against Canada and there was plenty of wind!

Rails in the water
Rails in the water!

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!

20170126bluescruise17-51.jpg There were 6 cruise ships in port. It’s a sea of humanity descending on a tiny island town.

Leaving St. Martin
Leaving Sint Maarten

Leaving St. Martin Happy Hour on our veranda

Songwriter's forum
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?”

20170127bluescruise17-57.jpg Enjoying the music on deck.

What a wake!
That’s a big wake!

Mardi Gras night

Skip is decked out for Mardi Gras night

The LowRider Band
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.

Blues Lovers Everybody is having a good time!

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Mardi Gras night

Must have a Hurricane on Mardi Gras night

Buddy Guy guitar for the auction
Buddy Guy’s guitar was auctioned off on the last night

A day at sea

A calm day at sea

A day at sea
Okay, I had to put on a swimsuit at least once!

California Honeydrops

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!

Audience
The pool deck crowd.

Danielle Nicole Another discovery is Danielle Nicole. Sounds a lot like Susan Tedeschi and can really belt it out.

Ruthie Foster
Ruthie Foster is a joy to listen to.

Sample daily lineup
Here’s a sample of a daily line-up

We already signed up for next year!

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