I’ve been on a cruise before, but never a cruise dedicated to music!  It ROCKED!!! First off, the guest bands – I’ll be honest to you big Kiss fans and admit, I wouldn’t have gone on this cruise if it wasn’t for a band from Athens, GA called Radiolucent – this was their 2nd year on this four day/four night cruise –Their performances were amazing, selling out of their CD’s and making new fans from around the world!  Everyone loved their Southern charm and heartfelt music – Lead singer, Michael Mann and Drummer, Andy Appling have pulled from their strong southern, rock, Christian backgrounds to come up with some impressive lyrics (“Fighting Man” had the crowd on their feet feeling this bands magic). 

They weren’t the only band from Georgia, (and I’m a Georgia girl so this is like rooting for your home team) Ledfoot Messiah and Yacht Rock Review also helped make Georgia look and sound great over international waters.  Ledfoot Messiah rocked the ship hard with their over the top three Les Pauls and 3 Marshall stacks (Nigel would be very impressed).  They had a rare opportunity (not all the bands did) to perform on the same stage as Kiss in the Stardust Theatre on the last night.  LFM is currently working on their 2nd album – no glitz and glamour here – just good old hard rock and roll!   Another 2nd year performer was Yacht Rock Review – I was excited to hear they were going to be on the cruise as I have also covered them for TBB and have seen them a couple of times so I knew how good they really are!   Their alter-egos showed up the 1st night performing their Please PleaseRock Me set (Beatles).  On the second night they had the crowd rocking on the deck, the atmosphere was a perfect set up and sound for this fun 70’s/80’s cover band–The only time on the cruise when I saw everyone really dancing, was during their Danced and Confused set they performed at the last show of the cruise.  Their range of music is amazing, add a little humor and it’s a great show!  There were several “1st time ” bands on this ship; one that seemed to gain momentum with each performance was Leogun.  This 3 man band from London caught everyone’s attention – Lead singer, Tommy Smith, was first noticed for his swinging locks of curly hair and his dashing accent – but you realized pretty quickly that this band was more than just hair and a British accent….. Matt Johnson on bass and Michael Lloyd on drums helped round this band out to be a strong choice to listen to. Drummer Steven Adler (formerly Guns and Roses and Celebrity Rehab) has formed his own band simply called, Adler.  I don’t know if they brought some of their fans on the ship or if they met a lot of new fans while on board, (probably a little of both), but after their “on-deck” set they asked people to stay to meet them and that line of fans went on for well over an hour!  Adler and his band hugged each and every fan that wanted to meet them.  With his contagious smile, Adler seemed thrilled to reach out and touch his fans.    Other performing bands were Skid Row, Big Rock Show, A Thousand Horses, and From South Florida, The No. 13’s.  All of these bands have their own websites and/or can be found on Facebook – check out their music.

And then of course, what most of the (sold out) 2500 shipmates came to see…… KISS.  (I believe I heard there were guests representing  49 states and 17 countries!!!)  The first night they played a long set out on the deck – their unmasked performance was impressive and got the cruise started off to a great start! 

  Kiss took the time to have their picture taken with each of the guests on the ship and performed two additional shows to insure each person could watch them rock in their full Kiss makeup.  Gene (The Demon) Simmons and Paul (Starchild) Stanley are impressive to have the energy they still have considering they have been performing since 1973!!!  They weren’t as “free” to hang out on the ship as I was hoping for and expecting  – can’t really blame them though, because every time they did come out, they were rushed by fans and could hardly get thru the crowd – what surprised me the most about this, is these were mostly grown men in their 40’s and 50’s that were in the middle of the action –  If Kiss had gotten on their costumes each night they could have easily moved around the ship looking like hundreds of the other people that were in full costume (impeccably dressed like Kiss). Some of the passengers costumes were AMAZING – its funny to see men’s platform boots kicked to the side because their feet hurt.  It wasn’t just Halloween that people dressed up, it was the WHOLE cruise!

Other activities on the cruise involved costume contest (hosted by Tommy Thayer), Comedian, Graham Elwood, Bingo (hosted by Yacht Rock in their Kiss pajamas) Blackjack tournaments, Belly Flop contest (hosted by Paul Stanley) and Guitar pick throwing contest (hosted by Gene Simmons).  It was definitely packed with activities and music!  Oh…..and did I mention we went to Cozumel for a day??  Turning off Facebook, twitter, phones, and texts, and listening to music for four days, was just what the Dr. ordered!

I can’t write about the Kiss Cruise without throwing a ton of Kudos to Sixthman – They have hosted over 85,000 guests “creating festivals at sea” since 2001!  They have worked with big name musicians such as Kid Rock, John Mayer, Lynyrd Skynyrd,  Zac Brown Band, Blackberry Smoke and Barenaked Ladies just to name a few. The schedule was amazing and every event started on time.   If you see their name connected to a cruise, you can rest assured it will be a vacation of a lifetime!

photos ©2012 Kerri McDaniel