Late last year, HEAVY had the honour of being invited on board the Royal Caribbean to join Rock The Boat 2023 and moonlight as journalists by interviewing bands on board.
Admittedly, it was a little outside of our comfort zone with a more rock and blues-orientated line-up, but you know what they say? You talk to one musician, you talk to them all.
Actually, I have never said that myself or heard anyone else say it, but you get my drift.
With artists and bands like Jimmy Barnes, Jon Stevens, Chocolate Starfish, Sarah McLeod, Bob Spencer and Daryl Braithwaite among our intended victims (sorry, I mean interviews) HEAVY knew we were going to have to stay on the ball – and possibly not dive too deep into our drinks packages too early in the day.
The HEAVY team included myself and Jimmy Glinster as interviewers/shit talkers and Squirty behind the camera, and to say we had fun and many unexpected adventures is not even close to covering it.
Lucky for you (but maybe not us), Jimmy kept a tour diary, of which we will be publishing daily entries over the coming week. Kick back and enjoy our tales of life on the open seas.
Rocking the boat!
Day 1: No Need To Gloat, But We’re On a Boat!
by Jimmy Glinster
Well, not quite yet cause Krispy and Squirty didn’t get to my place until about 1:30am last night after some studio duties, so we all only got about 3 hrs sleep getting up to head to the Gold Coast airport just after 5am. The whole airport adventure was uneventful apart from that one bloke that decided he didn’t want to fly last minute, which held the plane up on the tarmac while they got his bag back out. I’d have let the bastard get it himself from Sydney, but I’m a prick like that.
Anyway, no one’s cavities got searched, so I guess we can’t complain … or can we? We were met at the airport in Sydney by a few of the guys from Engraved who just happened to be doing a show that weekend and were gracious enough to get our asses to the harbour.
We then all had a quick brunch at some swanky café where everyone ordered bacon and egg rolls, apart from Krispy the weird bastard who ordered an egg and bacon roll which confused the shit out of the young waiter. I had eggs benny just to be the odd one out, cause let’s be honest, I’m generally the odd / sour grape in the bunch. Tim from Better Noise Music picked up the bill, which was pretty nice for a bloke we’d only met an hour ago.
Ok, time for the boat, and time to use my new selfie stick after Krispy and Squirty explained to me that I should turn the camera around and flip the camera, so I can see what I’m trying to shoot. Good idea, peanut gallery, but I didn’t ask for your help. Many thanks though.
After that little millennial moment, Squirty has a boomer moment and decides to send his backpack through checked luggage … with his passport in it. He quickly figured it out and rushed over to retrieve it as the trolley disappeared behind the doors. Then he gets told we won’t be able to get it back for 2 hrs unless we can show them a photo of the bag to identify it.
Lucky this little princess took a moment to use his selfie stick, aye. Now that little drama is sorted, off we go through customs, and at some point, I lose both Krispy and Squirty for a considerable amount of time. I’m pretty sure this time around that someone is getting cavity searched, or at least I’m hoping they are, but unfortunately it was just Squirty getting pulled up for having power boards in his carry-on. Yeah, that’s a thing, no power boards allowed on board.
Anyway, we make it onto the boat and do our quick safety briefing at the evac point as instructed on the very bloody helpful Royal Caribbean app. The briefing was literally, “hi, you made it to the evac point, have a good cruise”. Then we went through the doors and walked about 5 meters to the first bar to pick up our first round of JD’s. It won’t be long before we all forget that the evac point is at E16 … wherever that was.
We then went and checked out our room and hung out waiting for our bags, which took ages, but at least I got time to christen the shitter.
After about two hours we got sick of waiting for Squirty’s suitcase to finally show up, so we decided to head to the casino and get some drinks, and this is where my relationship with Long Island Iced Tea’s was reignited. Now, we are talking about the real deal here, full shots of the 5 whites, so do bear with me because this could get real loose, real quick. I’m pretty sure at some point after this we ended up on the upper pool deck for another drink, but that may have happened earlier, or it may have happened later.
Anyway, the next thing I recall is the three of us being in security. And not because we messed up, but thanks for instantly thinking the worst of us. The real story was way less spicy. We were trying to get hold of Squirty’s power boards, and this is also when we happened to stumble across his pink suitcase. Yeah, you heard right, pink. It also has anodised rose gold wheels which are completely next level. You’d think he was actually lugging someone from Chocolate Starfish’s luggage on board.
After all that, though, we still didn’t get the power boards back, but we did make a new friend with a security guard named Matias who literally tried to get Krispy’s shirt off his back. It wasn’t a sexual thing, well at least I don’t think it was, just turns out he’s a Slipknot & heavy music fan.
So, we may or may not have let him know who we were to try and get some extra special treatment, and he said “yeah, I know, you’ve got the hats on”...
I probably should mention here that we unintentionally went full tourist group after I got us all HEAVY boardshorts made, Squirty got us HEAVY Trucker caps and rings, and Krispy supplied extra HEAVY T’s and jumpers. I have no idea what Krispy thinks we’ll need the jumpers for, but maybe he’s expecting us to get lost in Antarctica at some point?
Anyway, we figured out it’s probably about time we tried to find our entertainment contact Tatiana so we could figure out what we were meant to be doing. After asking almost every staff member onboard and managing to catch Lecia Louise’s set in the Centrum Bar we eventually stumbled across Tatiana and we very quickly all realised that we should probably stop drinking and get something to eat.
We headed into Minstrel, which is some flashy restaurant onboard where you get a 3-course meal. All part of the ticket price, by the way. I can’t remember what everyone else got, but Krispy dared me to get the snails, so I did, and I ate ‘em, and it almost made him spew. They were tasty though, and I’ll do that again sometime soon, and hopefully he does spew.
We sat and ate for about an hour and a half once we got through all three courses, and there were many tales of rock and roll debauchery and a shit tonne of laughs. Best of all, though, we made a great new friend in Tatiana, who pretty much gave us free rein to interview and review as we saw fit. And that could be the worst decision she ever made or the best. I guess we’ll see once we get back to the mainland and have internet access to drop all these ramblings on you.
But first, we’ll head to the Schooner Bar to catch the Steve Edmond Band. And all I’ll say about that for now is, what an amazing guitarist, but more about that later.
I finish my 11th drink for the evening, and we all decide it’s time to hit the hay. Now, you may think 11 drinks is a bit soft for the opening night, but in my defense, 8 of them were Long Island Ice Teas. The full-strength ones with the 5 full shots of whites. Just take a second to do some math around that as I lay down for a drunken slumber.
Oh, and we may have seen Black Rose the Thin Lizzy Tribute band at the end of the night, but that’s a little bit blurry, so I may need to catch them again on Sunday.
And yeah, that’s right, all of the support acts do multiple different shows on different stages, so you have plenty of chances to catch them all without worrying about clashes. Just keep an eye on those headline shows in the Pacifica Theatre though, as they only come once for your card type, red or blue.
You can keep track of all playing times by downloading the Choose Your Cruise app, which actually allows you to build your own calendar around the performances. You can also set alarms to notify you when each band is about to perform.
You really can’t go wrong unless you go a little hard on your drinks package. Now, about that, the drinks aren’t included in your ticket price because, well, that would just be a bad business decision. You can purchase a drinks package though which for us worked out to be about $125 a day each or something like that, but that pretty much covers you for every drink you want including cocktails like Long Islands Iced Teas and even coffee, soft drinks, sports drinks, and energy drinks from the ship’s Cafés.
It’s well worth it, and if ya can’t drink the purchase price in the first 3 days, you need to lace-up ya drinkin’ boots a bit tighter!
Come back tomorrow for Day 2: Up Early for a Buffet and a Brew