I took a sail on Jam Cruise this past week, and I am still floating from it. Besides it being a cruise, on the water, to Jamaica and Haiti, being able to lay in the sun, play in the water, get sand on my feet and enjoy the relaxing surroundings, there were also hundreds of musicians, playing from dawn to dusk every night. A literal music festival on the high seas, and what a sail it was.
We road tripped from seeing friends in Orlando down four hours to Ft. Lauderdale, dropped the rental car off and got in a cab towards the boat, the MSC Poesia. She’s a large thing, and as an overall cruise newbie, I had never seen one of these tall humongeous boats in person before. I was excited, to say the least. We spent 2.5 hours on line going through customs and being shuffled from room to room, going through the maze of lines, sitting and standing in holding rooms and yet, more lines. But I was still excited. I told my boyfriend and he laughed at me. I was just all over excited, grinning from ear to ear.
We met up with two other friends in line, (I knew of about a dozen people on the boat,) and we walked onto the boat together. My head was spinning and I lost my sense of direction immediately. We were led into The Zebra Bar for our first drink of the cruise and cheered “to Jam Cruise!” as we made our way to our rooms. One of our two bags were waiting for us, and that one was not mine. I didn’t get to wear my outfit for the Bon Voyage Yacht Club theme night party.
We had a small room with a balcony. Small but cozy and we loved it. We loved our room. We jumped up and down, squealing “We’re on the boat!” as the door knocked. We had 8 or 9 of us in that room, as my friends had the other three rooms next to us, and we had a party in room 10208. Jam Cruise…we’re jamming before we even left the port.
As everyone settled into their rooms throughout the boat, we unpacked and got ready to go up to the pool deck. As virgins, we didn’t know where the pool deck was, so we wandered the floors until we found it. (My boyfriend called these “wanderings” the Magical Meredith Tour.) On our way, we found the cafeteria, with food ready to be eaten. We found the pool deck and then we found the bar. We were told that they didn’t take cash and we had to use our room keys. Well, that was easy! Well, not so easy actually. The bartenders seemed very discombobulated, not organized at all and the wait for a drink was, well, extensive. But, we got our drinks and headed off to where the Dirty Dozen had already taken stage. The energy was amped, I was amped, everyone was amped as we danced to New Orleans horns and waited to leave the dock.
And then we left….
Off for one day at sea, then to Labadee Haiti, then to Falmouth Jamaica… ahhhh.
The scene was not your typical festival scene. Everyone had costumes on, matching sailors outfits, men wearing dresses, women wearing nets, brightly colored wigs and the sparkle on clothing were eyeblinding. Masks, feathers, fishnets, neon colors all swirled into a huge crowd dancing, smiling, laughing, hugging each other as we sailed away. I felt the boat move, I looked at my guy wide-eyed and felt it in..my..bones that we were off the grid, unfindable, and on the spectacular Jam Cruise.
We hit the following Monday night shows:
Lettuce (took over Schpongle’s set)
Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe
We never did find the Jam Room that night.
I will enjoy recounting this – perhaps my Jam Cruise glow will stay alight a little longer….
Stay tuned.. And I’ll find some pictures too. :)