Up on Saturday for another bright and sunny mid 80s March day in Florida and boarding the Celebrity Summit cruise ship for five days of 1970s era live music. Dropped the Mazda off and taxi'd a couple miles from the airport ... Read More
Up on Saturday for another bright and sunny mid 80s March day in Florida and boarding the Celebrity Summit cruise ship for five days of 1970s era live music. Dropped the Mazda off and taxi'd a couple miles from the airport to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. Along with a few other ships, we pulled out at 5pm with a DJ playing hits from the 70s by the pool. DJ? When he finished and Barry Williams welcomed us, Hal Bruce played some covers solo with an acoustic guitar. When he finished I was expecting a featured originals performer or band to take the stage. Nope.
As it turned out, the only originals band to play during the day for the entire cruise was Orleans on Sunday afternoon for an hour. There was just one or two one hour performances by a cover act per day by the pool. I had pictured the originals musicians to play some during the day, either on stage or informally in various configurations. There were daytime interviews in lounges with some of them that you could watch on your stateroom TV. Didn't go to any of those so the only place I saw the originals musicians was onstage except for Jock Bartley of Firefall. Had an interesting talk with him in the spa area on Sunday.
Each originals band did two shows. The featured ones played the theater, one night early and the next night late, and vice versa. The color of our card got us into the late shows. The theater acts were America, Little River Band, The Orchestra, Christopher Cross and Peter Frampton. Frampton got on and off in Cozumel and did both his shows on one night, Monday. Most of the other acts, including cover bands, were on board for half the trip, departing or arriving in Cozumel.
The other originals bands' two appearances were in the biggest lounge, Revelations, starting at 7:30pm, and the pool stage, one act at 11pm. Revelations had limited unobstructed views. Those bands were Player, Ambrosia, Firefall, Stephen Bishop and Chuck Negron. Saw all but Negron as one show conflicted and we didn't feel like hanging around for his 11pm show on the last night. We were sufficiently burnt out. We were rousted up at 7:30am for disembarking on Thursday. We didn't go to the gong show or two late night theme parties: disco and 70s movie and TV characters.
The cover acts were mostly very good: For the whole cruise there was Hal Bruce solo, a young solo guy at the lobby, Joel Mason, George Trullinger and band, All You Need Is Love band, and Cara Lee's karaoke acts. Hotel California and Bee Gees Gold only played the last couple days.
The PA system played 70s hits by B list bands all around the boat. I don't know the source but there were no songs by A listers like Wings, Dylan, Bee Gees, Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young, CSN, Steve Miller, Beach Boys, etc.
Despite the boat being docked until 2am at Cozumel, we didn't go past the bars and shops at Port Cozumel. Been there. Mexican Dayquil is putrid. In Orlando, we got news that our ship with the Soul Train crowd was broke down in Cozumel for two extra days. Yikes. No problem for us though. We took a trolley tour of Key West ($28/ea) and walked Duval Street. Left there at 5pm on Wednesday, about the same time the only bad weather greeted us for the outdoor sail away party with Bruce and Hotel California. Hadn't been to that party town in many years.
We had a blast on the cruise, met a lot of nice people, mostly aged 50 to mid 70, talked a lot of music. Good to see bands I've never seen and probably wouldn't plan to: Player, Ambrosia, The Orchestra and Stephen Bishop. Don't know if I'd go again, at least not coach on the airplanes. My aching butt. How about one out of LA? Uber to and from Seatac was cheaper than Ajax P&R.
First Celebrity cruise. We had Room 6033. Nice extra big deck. No complaint. Median priced room: $2,200/ea including port charges, taxes, gratuities. The food was nothing to write home about, especially the selections in the dining room. The buffet was better. Not as good as the other three cruises we've taken.
"Classic" (Bud, Coors) 12 ounce bottles of beer were $5.50/ea plus an obligatory 18% tip = $6.49. Premium beers $6 to $7.50 plus tip. Mixed drinks $8 plus tip. I discovered the five beer buckets of "Classics" for the price of four at the aft Sunset Bar. On Monday, on TV, the booze leader announced that all Classics and cocktails would be $5 plus tip for the rest of the trip. Some bartenders had to be reminded of that and some said a vodka tonic is not a "cocktail", it's a mixed drink.
Entertainment in chronological order (without accompanying photos):
Hal Bruce and wife do covers at the sail away party. Good guy with several appearances throughout:
Leaving Port Everglades. Fort Lauderdale beach:
Player at Revelations Lounge 7:30pm. Baby Come Back, This Time I'm In It For Love. Not a big fan, but these guys rocked. Led by singer-writer Peter Beckett and singer-bassist Ronn Moss who starred in The Bold And The Beautiful for several years:
America in the theater, 9pm. Excellent show. Way more energized than the last time I saw them, at the Emerald Queen in 2001. Their three backing players are new since then, and really turned up the rock, not just on the hits, but some deep cuts were almost psychedelic. I don't recall Dewey Bunnell playing as much lead electric. Interesting photos and video. They mentioned "old friend, Dan Peek" (RIP) when they introduced his This Is For All The Lonely People. They also did his Don't Cross The River, sung by Gerry Beckley. Covers were Eleanor Rigby and California Dreamin'.:
Took in a couple Ambrosia songs by the pool before retiring. Saw them again on Sunday at Revelations. Good band. No David Pack, but three of the original four members, including singer-bassist, Joe Puerta were there. Ken Stacey is also an fine lead singer. Biggest hit was You're The Biggest Part Of Me:
Day at sea. 3pm. Orleans, the only originals band to play during the day. Good show. They had to be hot. John Hall had been on his own but has been back for awhile. Saw his band open for Bob Seger at the Coliseum in 1985. Orleans songs included You're Still The One, Dancing In The Moonlight, Dance With Me:
Ambrosia at Revelations 7:30pm. Firefall's David Muse guests on sax:
Little River Band in theater 9pm. With a load of superb songs and fine musicians, you can't go wrong, but I kept thinking these guys had nothing to do with writing these hits, and almost nothing to do with the recording of them. Singer-bassist Wayne Nelson (Jim Messina band alumni) did join in 1980 in time for the recording of Time Exposure, on which he sang lead vocals on Night Owls. He had excellent rapport with the crowd and the two lead guitarists whipped some into a frenzy with their more electrified rocking versions of the songs. I saw the original guys open for Jimmy Buffett at the Mt Baker Theater in 1975, their first US tour. I knew they'd be big.
Firefall at Revelations 11:30pm. Well worth the wait. My favorite act of the cruise. Covers included Mark Andes singing Spirit's Nature's Way and I I I Got A Line On You Girl. Ambrosia's guitarist, Doug Jackson, joined for an encore of So You Wanna Be a Rock And Roll Star. Loved it:
Monday at Cozumel:
George Trullinger's cover band by the pool. Very good. People on the taller Celebrity Reflection ship next door enjoyed the music and shipped off mid show. Saw a guy on the Reflection catch a fish. Besides guesting with Joel Mason, Trullinger also did a karaoke tribute to Mick Jagger and Joe Cocker:
Stephen Bishop at Revelations 7:30pm. Mellow act with some funny stories and songs like Avacado to the tune of Desperado. Big hits: On And On and Separate Lives recorded by Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin:
Peter Frampton in the theater 9pm. He had a good time with plenty of joking and extended guitar jams with the other crack guitarist. Covers: Rebel Rebel, Black Hole Sun. Encore was While My Guitar Gently Weeps:
Cara Lee karaoke tribute to Cher. Rendezvous Lounge 9:45pm. Good singer. She also did a Stevie Nicks and a Songbirds Of The 70s tribute:
Tuesday day at sea:
Joel Mason tribute to Elton John 11:30am. Talented singer, pianist and comedian:
All You Need Is Love at Rendezvous 7:15pm. Fun band from Ontario on the ship for the duration. Their leader really knows how to work a crowd:
Christopher Cross in theater 9pm. Too mellow, stiff, cheat sheets, a little boring. Saw him at the Enumclaw fair in 2001 and that show was upbeat and entertaining. On Tuesday he talked too much, and despite being a sharp guitarist, he played lead just a little, leaving more work to the pianist and horn player. The female singers sang lead almost as much as Cross. Good visuals. Imagine was his last song:
Wednesday Key West:
Took the trolley tour and a walk around Duval Street. Nice:
Hotel California 4:30pm. Well done Eagles tribute. Liked it all except the noisey harmonica guitar National Anthem jam. Why that instead of Peaceful Easy Feeling? Their bassist has quite the falsetto.
Bee Gees Gold at Revelations 7:30pm. Well done. Not much of a crowd. I suppose many saw them at the disco party.
The Orchestra in theater 9pm. Seven former members of Electric Light Orchestra. Probably my third favorite show behind America and Firefall. What talent. No Jeff Lynne, his lead vocals replaced by three singers:
Thusday disembark was pretty quick. No doubt a fun trip.
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