At the sail away party, Neal McCoy declared “I’m going to run around this deck nekked…like Randy Travis nekked.” And so it began. Our seven day adventure on the high seas with McCoy (who is pushing for the “Neal McCoy and Friends cruise” next year), Blake Shelton, Trace Adkins, Jerrod Niemann, Easton Corbin, Lee Brice, Randy Houser, McKenna Faith, Frankie Ballard, Brett Eldredge, Jana Kramer, Tyler Farr, Brinley Addington, Chris Cavanaugh, Chuck Wicks, JJ Lawhorn, Logan Mize, HER and Kings County, Joanna Smith, Maggie Rose, Clayton Anderson, Brandon and Leah, RaeLynn, and Nik and Sam.
Throughout the week we made stops in San Juan (where we spotted Neal McCoy and Lee Brice at Señor Frogs), St. Thomas (where we saw Brett Eldredge and McCoy enjoying the beach and Frankie Ballard chatting with fans and posing for pics in town), Tortola, and Nassau (where we’ve been told Trace Adkins spent about two hours hanging out with fans at Atlantis).
Before we left, Blake deemed this the “booze cruise” and he was right. It was announced that by day three, for the first time in the history of the ship, we ran out of beer and the ship had to re-stock in St. Thomas. In addition to the alcohol, the music also flowed. At any given time you could catch a show in the ship’s atrium, poolside, Spinnaker Lounge, or the Stardust Theater, which featured two headlining performances each night.
Other highlights from the trip included Q&A’s with all of the headliners. The Q&A’s gave the fans an opportunity to ask the artists questions directly. One of the questions that was asked was what was your first job when you moved to Nashville. This prompted Jerrod Niemann to tell a hilarious story about his first job, where he worked for a place called El Rancho Exotica, which was owned by a Gynecologist. “It was not a strip club” he insisted. “It was that weekend” added Randy Houser with his trademark laugh.
Lee Brice said his first job in Nashville was working at the Rain Forest Café, where he was on duty when he got the call about his song writing deal, Easton Corbin’s first job in Nashville was working for Ace Hardware. Randy Houser recorded demos for songwriters. Houser also told the story about how he was inspired to write “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” after watching a girl “with a big ole ass” dancing at the Wildhorse Saloon. A special treat for us was when Trace invited Randy to sing the song with him during one of Trace’s shows at the Stardust Theater.
In addition to the artist Q&As, fans also had a chance to participate in a meet and greet with each of the headliners, where you posed for photos with professional photographers. But you didn’t have to wait for your meet and greet for a chance to chat with the artists. Most of the artists spent a lot of time hanging out with the fans during the cruise. Neal McCoy, Easton Corbin, Lee Brice, Jerrod Niemann, Randy Houser, and Tyler Farr could be seen almost every night in the audience at the Stardust Theater alongside fans watching the shows.
The cruise was such a success that before we disembarked, a sign up list for next year’s cruise was started and at last count contained over 500 names of people who are ready to do it all again. CMIL had a blast and we promise, if you sign up, you will too! If you are interested in reserving your spot on next year’s cruise, contact The Flying Dutchman Travel Agency HERE or call 1-800-248-7471. You can also check out all of the cruise updates on the Country Cruising Facebook, the official country music cruise page. Tell ‘em CountryMusicIsLove sent you!
What artist would you love to see on the next cruise?