Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Introducing the Enchanted Princess

Enchanted Princess℠, the fifth in line of our Royal-class ships, shares all of their spectacular style and luxury, and introduces new attractions all her own. Get ready for exquisite, one-of-a-kind dining experiences. The most pools and whirlpool hot tubs ever.

The Princess Theater, our largest theater yet, will showcases our headline shows. In this ultramodern theater, relax in a plush seat with unobstructed sight lines as the velvet curtain goes up, a state-of-the-art lighting system illuminates the stage, and it’s on with the show!
 
Take 5 - Debuting first onboard Sky Princess and Enchanted Princess. I love this intimate setting, and what I really love on this ship is the stage for live entertainment.  A great place to come listen to Jackson Haney or dance the night away with our all request dance party with Jim and Steve!  

The newly re-designed Vista Lounge at the aft of the ship will feature JR & The Stingrays, our 50's and 60's Sock Hop, First Time Concerts At Sea Cruisers Champagne Toast, VIP Private Party, plus the always popular Jam Night.  For those that cruised with us in 2020 on the Regal Princess, you'll notice a nice addition to this ship that was missing in the Vista Lounge, but has been added to the Enchanted Princess!  So grab an expertly crafted cocktail and enjoy nightly Concerts At Sea entertainment and dancing!

Crown Grill with a rich wood d├ęcor and a theater-style kitchen, it’s no wonder Crown Grill was named among the “Best Cruise Ship Steakhouses” by USA TODAY. Featuring premium aged beef and fresh seafood items, this specialty restaurant offers an intimate dining experience in a classically elegant setting and an open kitchen where chefs prepare and cook to order top-quality cuts of beef, chops and seafood.  This reservation only restaurant is my favorite and has a small upcharge of $29.00 per person.  An incredible value for this amazing dining option.

The Salty Dog Gastropub is a warm, inviting gastropub experience developed with Ernesto Uchimura, a founding chef of the original Umami Burger. Try one of our innovative gourmet creations inspired by pub favorites or devour the "Ernesto”, a savory rib eye burger named “Best Burger at Sea” by Cruise Critic. Offering a unique variety of beer, whiskey and cocktail selections, plus live music, there’s something for everyone at this hip, friendly twist on traditional pub fare

 Sabatini's Italian Trattoria! Unique, handmade pasta courses, prepared fresh daily and treasured family recipes curated by our Italian chefs across the fleet inspire the menu at our acclaimed Italian specialty restaurant. Appetizers and rustic pastas invite you to experience the magic of Chef Angelo Auriana – executive chef of renowned Los Angeles restaurants The Factory Kitchen and BRERA Ristorante. This is a reservation only restaurant with a small surcharge of $29.00 per person.

These are some of the wonderful public spaces that will be utilized by Concerts At Sea during our 28th Annual Where The Action Is Cruise.  The Enchanted Princess will debut later this summer and we will be sailing on her inaugural year sailing to the Caribbean islands.

We look forward to inviting you onboard the #1 Music Theme Cruise rated by Caribbean Magazine and a Top 10 Music Theme Cruise rated by USA Today.

Keep Rockin'
Tammy Selee
Producer
Concerts At Sea
866 3OLDIES (365-3437)
www.concertsatsea.com

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Door Signs, Poodle Skirts and Hula Hoops

I love our door sign contest!  Everyone's creativity knows no boundaries.  I don't care if your door decorating skills is nothing more than a few cut outs, or elaborate as someone who not only decorates their door, but also the wall between two cabins and adds Christmas lights.  It's all about the fun and participation, plus the bragging rights of owning the coveted trophy.  First place receives $100.00 shipboard credit, Second Place receives $50.00 onboard credit and Third place receives $25.00 onboard credit.  The dimensions of the doors are 2 ft x 6 ft. You've also got your cabin door handle to cut around, and some cabin stewards like your peep hole to be uncovered.  Here are just a few of my favorites.



Our most recent 1st place winner



A beautiful tribute to Aretha Franklin


Two sisters connected their cabins with not only their doors decorated, but the wall between their cabins!


1st place winner on the 2018 Caribbean Cruise








2nd place winner on the most recent cruise.  These two have been sailing on this theme cruise for over 20 years!






50's and 60's night!
Dust off your saddle shoes and get ready to have some fun!
This night is all about having fun and dressing up.  You can decide that you'd like to go way back to the days of poodle skirts and letterman sweaters, or maybe you're inner flower child is waiting to come out.  It's all fun, so even if you don't dress up, no one is turned away for the sock hop!  You can enjoy the party upstairs in Skywalkers Lounge, or in Club Fusion on deck 6 aft.  Jimmy Jay, Jim and Steve will be spinning tunes to bring back those days in the "old gym" with your date dancing in your stocking feet.  There are prizes for best dressed 



Joni will always surprise us!  Love this look!


Our parade of poodle skirts!


Sonny and Cher even made an appearance!

It's not a party until Elvis shows up!

You may wish to brush up on your hula hoop skills, never know when it might come in handy.  
It's a week of fun, 60's music, and becoming teenagers again!

Keep Rockin'
Tammy Selee
Producer
Concerts At Sea
866 3OLDIES (365-3437)
www.concertsatsea.com

Tuesday, January 24, 2017



Don't forget your passport!
 Concerts At Sea strongly recommends that you travel with a passport.  Particularly if you had an emergency that would require you to leave your cruise.  The statement regarding cruise passengers is as follows on the State Departments Official Web site:  "Closed Loop" Cruises: U.S. citizens who board a cruise ship at a port within the United States, travel only within the Western Hemisphere, and return to the same U.S. port on the same ship may present a government issued photo identification, along with proof of citizenship (an original or copy of his or her birth certificate, a Consular report of Birth Abroad, or a Certificate of Naturalization).  For more information regarding travel outside the United States please go to: http://www.getyouhome.gov/html/lang_eng/eng_sa.html Vaccination Requirements: It is not required that you get any shots for traveling to the Caribbean.  You may wish to check with your local health department for recommended vaccinations, but none are required.

Don't Forget Your Camera!
You may not chose the camera at the right, but make sure you pack your camera.  If you have video built in to your camera or you have a separate video camera you may wish to use this as well. For the enjoyment of your fellow passengers, we ask that you not video any headliner concerts.  But there are plenty of opportunities to take pictures and video. Princess Cruises has many photographers on-board and they will be at every Princess function taking photo's.  These photo's are posted in the Photo Shop and ready for your purchase.  This is certainly an optional expense.  It is a nice time to perhaps have a photo taken on one of the formal nights, or if you bring a special outfit for our sock hop, you may wish to commemorate it with a professional photo.  I'd also like to post some of your photo's on our web site! This year you'll find a photo booth opportunity on the night of the sock hop, and pictures will be available on our web site.
All-Inclusive Photo Package
Take home all the prints and digital files of your cruise for one low price. Plus, purchase pre-cruise and save $50.00. Item #5415/#5417 - $249 Onboard for cruises 7 to 24 days ($199 Pre-Cruise)

Don't forget some cash!
 The ship operates on a cashless system, and all on-board purchases will be charged to your on-board account.  You will receive a receipt for all your purchases and on the last night of the cruise you will receive an itemized bill.  Please double check this and take care of any discrepancies  before you disembark, it's not common for there to be charges on your bill that aren't yours, but it does happen.  Just take the issue up with the great staff at the pursers desk. Your credit card is accepted at  most stores in the Caribbean, except maybe not at a few of the street vendors.  I strongly recommend that you advise your credit card company that you are traveling, so that you don't have an issue while trying to make a purchase and your credit card company puts a stop on your card for unusual activity.  I also recommend that you leave all credit cards at home that you don't plan on using.  You will want some cash for cab rides, tour guide tips, and small purchases.  When getting cash from your bank, ask for some of your cash in $1's, it will make it easier when trying to find a small note for a tip. There is an ATM on-board the Caribbean Princess and in the ports of call, but you will find fees attached to these transactions. Safes are provided in your cabin on-board the Caribbean Princess and your room card is used as access, so leave your valuables, and extra cash here.

Don't Pack Your Medications in checked luggage!
Do Not Pack your medications in your checked luggage, it is important that you pack this in your carry on luggage! If you are traveling with needles and need a disposal place, please advise your cabin steward and he will provide you with one.  If you have medications that needs to be refrigerated, you do have a refrigerator in your cabin.  If you have medications that needs to be administered by a nurse or doctor, there is a medical facility on-board that will secure your medications and will make arrangements for your needs. If you are traveling with a cpap for sleep apnea, you will need to contact your booking agent.  Distilled water for this devise comes from the medical department and Princess wants to insure that they have enough distilled water on-board   Princess should be advised of most medical issues, so please contact your booking agent.   We've all heard of the Norwalk virus and to avoid this be sure to use the Purell dispensers located around the ship and wash your hands frequently.   Princess and all the cruise lines take all necessary precautions to avoid any illness outbreak during your cruise. 

Should I pack a hair-dryer, curling iron or travel iron?
Hair dryers are provided in your cabin, and if you're staying at the Concerts At Sea's pre-cruise hotels hair dryers are provided.  The hair dryers in the cabin are just fine if you have short to medium length hair, but if you are someone with long and or thick hair, you may wish to pack your own for a more timely process.  The hair dryer is located in a draw in the vanity area of your cabin. There are plug ins for your electrical devices. Curling irons are tolerated, but travel irons and steamers are not.  Fire is the most dangerous situation that can happen on a ship, so you will be asked to remove your travel irons and store them for the duration of your cruise.  There is a dry cleaning service on-board the ship if you wish to send something out for pressing, and their is a small laundry facility on-board with washer, dryer and irons.  A little tip; to avoid winkles: take your items that are likely to wrinkle  leave them on the hangers and cover them with plastic bags that you receive from the dry cleaners.  This will practically eliminate wrinkles in dress shirts and dresses.

Formal Night and other attire?
Princess offers two formal nights.  You will probably see some men passengers in tuxedo's, but they are most likely not in our group. A suit for men would be acceptable. For the ladies, you'll see everything from gowns, sequins, simple black dress or nice pant suit.  If you would prefer not to do formal night, then you'll find dinner served upstairs in the Horizon Court. Just a suggestion: pack a wrap, shawl or light weight sweater.  The public rooms are air conditioned and if you have tendency to get a chill, you'll be glad you have it.  Other nights in the dining room are considered casual. Men are asked to wear a collared shirt and slacks. Ladies will be most comfortable in a dress, skirt or pants and blouse.  Your first night in the dining room is casual, as some passengers may still awaiting the arrival of their luggage.  Please don't panic if your luggage isn't immediately delivered to your cabin.  The ships personnel have over 2,000 pieces to deliver on embarkation day.



Is their a gym or work out area on-board?
Yes, The Caribbean Princess has a beautiful gym and spa area.  There is no fee for use of the equipment in the gym. The Gym is open from 7:00 am until 10:00 pm and the Lotus Spa is open from 8:00 am until 11:00 pm. You'll find treadmills, weights, spinning bikes, row machines,  and other state of the art equipment.  If you're interested in yoga or zumba or other classes, please refer to your Princess Patter that is delivered to your cabin each night for the schedule of each days activities. The use of the stairs and the gym will keep off the cruise vacation pounds.  The on-board spa facility is a wonderful way to treat yourself on your cruise.  On embarkation you'll find the spa open for tours and a list of their services.  Be sure and ask about specials that may be offered while the Caribbean Princess is in port.  The Caribbean Princess also has a full service hair salon, and appointments are required, the most popular days for hair appointments are on both formal nights, so you will want to make this appointment on the day of embarkation.

Can I bring liquor on-board the                Caribbean Princess?
As provided in the Passage Contract, passengers agree not to bring alcoholic beverages of any kind on-board for consumption, except one bottle of wine or champagne per adult of drinking age (no larger than 750 ml), per voyage.* Princess Cruises reserves the right to remove any alcoholic beverage in excess of the above stated policy thresholds from both passenger suitcases and hand-luggage. Alcohol will be stored for safe-keeping during the course of the voyage and will be delivered to the passenger's stateroom on the final day of the cruise.
Consumption of personal wine or champagne is limited to your stateroom. A $15.00 per bottle corkage fee (which is subject to change without notice) will be applied to your shipboard account for any personal wine or champagne consumed in any public area of the ship. Any wines or champagnes supplied from the ship's stock to passengers would not be subject to a corkage fee.
Alcoholic beverages that are purchased duty free from the ship's gift shop, or at ports of call, will be collected for safekeeping and delivered to the passenger's stateroom on the last day of the cruise. A member of the ship's staff will be at the gangway to assist passengers with the storage of their shoreside alcoholic purchases while our Boutiques staff will assist passengers with shipboard alcoholic purchases.

Ultimate Drink Package


An alcohol drink package ($68.99 per person, per day, including gratuity).   The alcohol package includes drinks-beer, wine, liquor, and mixed drinks-that are up to $12.  Non-alcoholic drinks like sodas and shakes are also included as are coffee, tea, and espresso.  wine aficionados are eligible for 25 percent off bottles priced under $100.00
One nice additional perk: the package throws in some goodies like gelato that are normally included with the purchase of the Princess' specialty coffee package. There is a limit: Alcoholic drinks are limited to 15 beverages per 24-hour period (6 a.m. to 6 a.m.). Alcoholic drinks requested above the daily limits are at the discretion of the shipboard management and crew and charged at regular menu prices. Non-alcoholic drinks do not have this limitation, nor do they count towards this maximum.
  

Does the Ruby Princess offer an unlimited soda card?
Yes, The Unlimited Soda Package includes:
  • Fountain dispensed Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Toinc Water and Soda Water
  • Souvenir tumbler (Please note, you do not need to carry the tumbler with you to receive soda)
  • Unlimited Malt Shakes/Thick Shakes (only in Sundaes & Scoops respectively)
  • Free Root Beer*
  • Free Hot Chocolate (with marshmallows in La Patisserie)
  • Free Juice
  • Complimentary Mocktails
  • Whirly Straw
*Root Beer is served in cans and is available at all bar locations (excluding Room Service and Princess Cays). 

Package Prices
  • $56.35 per person
This package is available to all passengers regardless of age. The package must be purchased for the full duration of the cruise, partial packages are not available. We carry Diet Sprite, Orange Soda and Ginger Ale, however, these are served in cans and are not included in the Unlimited Soda and More Package and will incur a separate charge. You may purchase this package once onboard at any bar location. This package may be used in all bars and dining rooms that have a fountain dispenser; this package is not available when ordering room service. A small sticker will be placed on your cruise card to indicate you have purchased the Unlimited Soda and More Package. The package is only valid for the passenger with the cruise card and only one soda may be purchased at a time.

Need Coffee?
Coffee Card Promotion
  • The Coffee Card Promotion retails at $35.65 plus 15% gratuity and allows passengers to redeem 15 specialty coffees throughout your voyage, in any location, where espresso/cappuccino service is offered.
  • This represents anything up to a 20% saving compared to purchasing these beverages individually.
  • Every time a guest requests a coffee a hole-punch is made in the coffee card until all 15 slots have been used.
  • The coffee card promotion includes all hot and cold beverages featured in the Cafe Selects Menu (see below) apart from the Green Tea Fusion Smoothies.
Princess Cafe Selects
Espresso & Coffee

Freshly Brewed Coffee* 12oz, 16oz - regular & decaffeinated
Espresso
Macchiato
Cappuccino 12oz, 16oz
Cafe Latte 12oz, 16oz
White Chocolate Latte 12oz, 16oz
White & Milk Chocolate Mocha 12oz, 16oz
Vanilla Bean Latte 12oz, 16oz
Hot Chocolate* 12oz, 16oz
Revolution Tea* 12oz, 16oz

* Note: Freshly brewed coffee and Revolution Tea refills are complimentary when seated in the lounge. Hot chocolate is complimentary in the dining room, in Deck/Buffet areas on Alaskan itineraries and in conjunction with the Coffee Card Promotion. However, hot chocolate continues to carry a charge when offered at the bars and buffets.
Lobby Bar
Iced coffee and Blends
Your choice of the following flavors frozen or served over ice
White Chocolate 12oz, 16oz
Vanilla Bean 12oz, 16oz
Caramel Mocha 12oz, 16oz
Green tea fruit smoothies - non-fat fruit smoothies fusing together green tea and fresh fruit
Peach Pizzazz 12oz, 16oz
Pomegranate & Blueberry 12oz, 16oz
Mango Madness 12oz, 16oz





Princess Smoking Policy

For the enjoyment of the passengers; lounges, Princess Theater and  indoor areas on-board the Caribbean Princess are non-smoking. Smoking is only permitted in designated sections of the Casino and Nightclub. For those passengers who would like to enjoy a cigar or pipe, the Speakeasy cigar lounge is located on deck 6. Smoking cigars or pipes outside of this lounge is not permitted. Outdoor smoking areas are clearly posted throughout the vessel. Smoking is not permitted in staterooms and balconies. Violations to this non-smoking policy will result in a $250 fine for each occurrence, which will be charged to the passengers stateroom account.


Can I mail from the ship?

. The Pursers desk has stamps or you may wish to bring your own from home. The mailbox is also located at the Pursers desk. Stamps may be charged to the passenger's shipboard account.
Upon arrival into each port of call, the ship will empty the contents of the mail box and deliver them to the local post office. Please note that shipping packages or having mail delivered to the ship is prohibited due to security restrictions

A message from Jim and Steve
Jim and Steve will be spinning the tunes at the All Request Dance Party, taking place in the Skywalker Nightclub.  Concerts At Sea would like to make sure that we have your favorite song on-board  so feel free to e-mail Steve at stevew@piace.com

If you have any questions, please drop me a line and we'll get it answered.
I look forward to welcoming you onboard!
Keep Rockin'
Tammy Selee
Producer

Monday, January 16, 2017

EZ Check in for your return trip home

I think that an educated traveler is a prepared traveler.
So with that said, Princess offers a wonderful service for travelers that are departing home from the Fort Lauderdale airport on a flight departing on or after 11:30am.
It's called EZ check service and is offered on most major airlines. 
   
*Check your luggage and receive your boarding pass on board the ship.
*Enjoy hassle free disembark in Fort Lauderdale.
*Enjoy Fort Lauderdale and travel luggage free
all the way to your destination airport!
*Your luggage is sent from the pier to Fort Lauderdale
Airport via secure truck and delivered to your
airline. 
*No need to check your bags at the airport.

When you arrive at Fort Lauderdale proceed to security.
This is especially nice in Fort Lauderadale, because your airline will not take your luggage until 4 hours prior to flight time.

 You will receive a form to fill out to return 
to the pursers office.

Requirements to participate in this service:

  • Flights must be with a participating Airline. The connection flight can be operated with a different airline as long as the reservation is on the same record locator number.
  • All flights must depart after 11:30am from Fort Lauderdale airport

  • The list of airlines varies from port to port and is frequently subject to change throughout the season. Guests are advised to check the latest offerings when on board as we cannot guarantee an airline will operate due to airline operational reasons and local government conditions.
I encourage guests to take advantage of this service offered by Princess Cruise Lines for a nominal fee.  It will save you time and stress.  And who needs stress at the end of a wonderful vacation! This service can only be reserved onboard your cruise, not in advance.

Also if you have a flight that departs late in the afternoon.  I highly recommend that you take a post cruise shore excursion.  You'll be whisked off the ship early and taken on a wonderful excursion to be returned to the airport in time for your flight.  You can book this excursion once onboard or now on your Princess personalizer.  Princess offers several post-cruise excursions that last 4 hours and take in the most popular sights.  You can still take advantage of the luggage service or your luggage will travel with you on the coach.

Please feel free to talk to your booking agent about any of these service offered by Princess Cruise Lines!


Tammy Selee
Producer
Concerts At Sea
866 3OLDIES (365-3437)



  • -

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Military Benefit for Veterans and Active/Retired Personnel

Military Cruse Benefit Program

To thank the brave men and women of the American and Canadian militaries for their service, Princess Cruises offers up to $250 free onboard spending money* for veterans as well as active, retired or disabled military personnel. This special military benefit is eligible on any cruise, any time of the year and can be used to purchase a wide variety of amenities and experiences including Lotus Spa treatments; dining in our specialty restaurants; gifts, jewelry and clothing in our onboard boutiques; and Princess Cruises shore excursions.

Military Benefits: Up to $250 Free Onboard Spending Money*
Cruise Length                                       Amount
14 Days of Longer                                   $250.00 per person
7 - 13 days                                                $100.00 per person
6 days or less                                            $50.00 per person
*Free onbaord money is in the form of an onboard credit.  The onboard credit is converted to the operational currency onboard and is applied to the folio of the veteran or active duty personnel's stateroom.


To apply for this benefit please fax or mail a copy of your DD-214 or active military papers to your booking agent, along with a copy of your passport.  If you social security number is on either of these forms, please black out before you send.  If you are already booked and have previously done this, it should be reflected on your confirmation.  If this does not appear on your confirmation, please drop an e-mail or call you booking agent.
Requests for this benefit must be made no later than 14 days prior to your sailing.
Terms & Conditions
Offer is valid for eligible military personnel in the U.S. and Canada only. Maximum of two onboard credit offers per stateroom. This offer cannot be used for casino credits/charges and gratuities, discretionary hotel and dining charges. Onboard spending money is applied to the folio of the veteran or active duty personnel's stateroom. Offer excludes Travel Agent and Interline fares. Offer is combinable with other Onboard Credit offers. Other restrictions may apply.
Eligibility includes active military, retired military and disable military veterans with proper verification as outlined below.
Please ensure that documentation provided has the Social Security Number crossed out.
  • Active personnel currently serving in the following service divisions:
    i - United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard or Reserves with a copy of a military verification certificate confirming active duty status available for free online at http://www.defense.gov/faq.
    ii - Canadian National Defense -- NDI 20 -- Canadian Forces Identification Card
  • Retired Personnel defined as A) enlisted personnel or officers with a minimum of 20 years of service, B) medically retired, or C) 100% disabled. Proper identification for United States is a BLUE or TAN Uniformed Identification Card. For Canadians, NDI 75 - Record of Service Identification Card or CF 75 or cert ificate of discharge; is used.
  • Veterans with an Honorable Discharge serving a minimum of 2 years or 6 months in an active war zone in any of the United States service divisions listed above or in the Canadian National Defense. Proper identification in the form of a DD 214, plus a current photo ID is required. For Canadians, Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) Health Identification Card is used.
   
If you have any quesitons about this wonderful program....I mean who doesn't like Free Money, please call or e-mail your booking agent.

Thank you for your service!
I look forward to welcoming you onboard!
Keep Rockin'
Tammy Selee
Producer
Concerts At Sea
866 8OLDIES (865-3437)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Meet Concerts At Sea house band J.R. and the Stingrays


J.R. and the Stingrays stay true to the music of the late 50's through the 60's.  It's like dropping a quarter in the jukebox and punching in the number to hear your favorite tune. Before you know it, you gotta get up and dance.  Originally established in 1985. The Stingrays perform a Sha-Na-Na style oldies show complete with costumes, choreography, and a vintage flair reminiscent of the American Graffiti vibe, covering tunes from Bill Haley & the Comets, The Drifters, Beatles, Elvis, all the way up to BTO and ZZ Top. The Stingrays are best known for their oldies Rock-n-Roll and Doo-Wop show emulating the great harmony bands of the sock-hop era. Our retro music style crosses over virtually every age group and our loyal following includes rock fans and country fans alike, this is not your average cookie cutter bar band.

Meet the Stingrays....


J.R. Hansard - Lead Vocals / Guitar / Miter Saw
(AKA "Jonny Ringo")
Raised in the small mountain town of Lake Isabella California, J.R. taught himself to play the guitar at age 14, playing along with Elvis and the Beatles records; it's pretty obvious that they were heavy influences on his retro musical style. J.R. was kicked out of the high school choir because music teacher said he couldn't sing a lick, but one year later J.R. was asked to sing AND play guitar for the high school recording club by that same music teacher. In 1980 J.R. moved to Boise and started a trio called "Bandit" playing a variety of oldies rock and classic country music, J.R. has been the lead singer and front man of J.R. and the Stingrays since its inception in the early 80's. Today J.R.'s road-worn Les Paul "Maude" continues to write checks that his showmanship can easily cash.

Fun Factoid: He has a medium size dent in his head from an incident with 10 foot pole.




Jim with Davy Jones at the Concerts At Sea 2012 Jam Night

Jim Wells - Lead Guitar / Vocals / Bacon
(AKA "Styles Bitchley")
Also originally from Lake Isabella California, Jim has been rippin' it up with J.R. on various musical projects ever since high school, Jim also moved to Idaho in 1980 and immediately jumped into the local music scene playing rhythm guitar and singing with several not-so-popular top 40 cover bands around the Boise Valley during the infamous "hair band" era. On the weekends Jim could be seen hanging out at the local clubs and jam-nights watching and studying his local guitar heroes like Richard Soliz and Dave Robinette and many other "top shelf" players, hoping to pick up some cool riffs and learn how to advance his lead guitar aspirations. Once again Jim teamed up with J.R. in the band that would eventually become J.R. and the Stingrays. Jim is also a huge fan of traditional rockabilly, Swing, and big-band era music.

Fun Factoid: He once punched a cat in the face because it just felt right.


Mike onstage backing Charlie Thomas and Drifters
on the 2012 Concerts At Sea Cruise

Mike Chenoweth - Bass Guitar / Vocals / Glide Slope
(AKA "The Singe")
Raised in Orofino Idaho you may have spotted Mike playing a trombone in the high school band or zipping around the hills of northern Idaho catching some "sweet air" on his dirt bike, Mike also joined the band in the early 80's, His straight forward bass style was a perfect fit with the Stingrays vintage sound and his musical background helped propel the group into the local spotlight. One of Mike's musical highlights was his gig as the bass player for Charlie Thomas' Drifters on the 2011 Concerts at Sea Cruise on the Grand Princess, Mike jumped in like a pro with the rest of the Stingrays in the audience cheering him on like proud parents. Mike's personal musical taste includes The Eagles, Steely Dan, and Crosby Stills & Nash.

Fun Factoid: Mike is an honorary lifelong member of the Bad Sam club.


 
Todd Sprague, drums/vocals (AKA Oddly Toddly)
Todd got a “Mickey Mouse” drum set at the age of nine.  It was broken within two weeks.  Started playing percussion for the school choir at 10. (Chicks dig drummers…)  He loved playing the drums, was raised on the public school system band program.  By the time Todd was 16 he was, laying down drums for 20 bucks a track at the home town recording studio.  Todd went to college on a full-ride music scholarship to play in the University of Nevada-Reno Marching band. (and jazz:o) Went one year, and never went back... Well, not never.  On the road, Todd saw this glorious country from the windows of his Ford  van, and made a few bucks along the way.  He’s the quintessential seasoned road dog who’s played drums and sang lead for you in some of the Northwest’s most popular bands:  Stretch Wabash, Black Rose, The Secret Agents, Hoolybob (GO VANDALS!), Eazy Loader, and Spindlebomb (BSU).  Somewhere in the middle of all that giggage, Todd was able to go back to college (U of I) and grind out a Bachelors degree in Music Composition, and Music Education (BSU).  Now, teaching Jr High and elementary band to crazy kids in the public school system, Todd has eagerly jumped onto the drum throne for “JR and the STINGRAYS”.  And loving it!

Fun Factiod:  Todd’s Jr high band teacher, after hearing that Todd is now a Jr High band teacher, laughed all day.



Sandon Mayhew - Saxophone / Tambourine / Egg Shaker
(AKA "Mr. Sandman")
Sandon is the newest Stingray and has been practicing safe sax in the Boise valley since his days at Meridian High School, as a performer, Sandon has played in literally every conceivable format, style, and group size, but most frequently playing tenor sax in jazz trios and quartets. Sandon is a member of the jazz saxophone quartet called "FOUR" as well as his working jazz group "THE NEW TRIO PLUS"; they have been together for over 16 years and are frequently commissioned to perform in special projects. As a recording artist, Sandon's smooth and tasty sax solos have been featured on over 50 albums not to mention earning horn arranging credits on a dozen of those recordings. One of Sandon's most significant accomplishments to date is the fact that over the years he has cultivated his unique signature sound and style that sets him apart as one of the most sought after musicians in the Treasure Valley. The Stingrays are extremely proud to have such an accomplished seasoned musician in the band.

Fun Factoid: He doesn't break into cars; he wears that ski mask because it's cold outside.



Brian Bittick - Keyboards / Vocals / Baked Goods
(AKA "Mix Master B")
Brian was playing piano by ear at the tender age of 5. His life was changed forever when at age 9 he took lessons piano from Bob Jetter, a touring keyboard player for the iconic 60's group "The Kingsmen". Just one year later, Brian recorded a solo piano album and was invited to perform on the Lawrence Welk show. As a pre-teen, he studied classical piano, violin, and music theory at the College of Idaho. When he was about 16, Brian's dad would sneak him into local honkytonks to jam with musicians. Throughout high school, Brian participated in every band and choir class offered, playing any musical instrument that you didn't have to blow into (sorry Sandon, spit grosses him out). After high school, Brian attended college on a full-ride music scholarship until he mortified his parents by dropping out and touring the U.S. with a pop-country band. It turned out to be a smart move. Over the years he's had the opportunity to share the stage with or open for nearly 100 national acts including Waylon Jennings, Garth Brooks, Billy Ray Cyrus, Big & Rich, and Toby Keith. Brian has also played in many popular local bands including Cimarron, Redstone, The Saloonatics, and Silverado. Some of Brian's musical influences include Nick Rhodes, Howard Jones, Jonathan Cain, Bruce Hornsby, and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Fun Factoid: His participation in the band is court-ordered as part of a plea deal.


J.R. and the Stingrays didn't perform for almost 5 years starting in about 2002 because J.R. and Mike were serving in Irag and combined have done multiple tours of duty.  They made a pact that if we can't be together, than the band doesn't play.  They came home safe and glad to be back in the music saddle again.


Go ahead and load up at the buffet while onboard the 26th Annual Concerts At Sea cruise, because the band is going to give you a chance to dance the week away and help you not put on the "cruise 7!"

Limited number of cabins are available,so tell your friends to call today! 
 To Reserve Call 866 3OLDIES (365-3437) ! 
Keep Rockin'
Tammy Selee
Producer
Concerts At Sea

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I've Seen The Future of Cruising, and It Rocks

Picture this. It's Thursday morning and the Caribbean sun beats down on the sun deck of the 86,000 ton Costa Mediterranea as she sails toward Grand Turk. Across the deck, Righteous Brother Bill Medley is having a late breakfast with his son Darren, lead singer of Paul Revere and the Raiders. Joe Butler of the Lovin' Spoonful is filling a cup at the outdoor coffee station while Davy Jones of the Monkees can be seen strolling across the deck above, possibly en route to an appointment at the Ischia Spa
2008 Concerts At Sea
Top from left to right, Big Jack, Tamy Selee, Davy Jones, Bill Medley, Darren Medley, Bob Harmon
bottom row, Jerry Yester, Joe Butler, Paul Revere and Steve Boone

A rock & roll fantasy? No. Just down time aboard Concerts At Sea's 15th Annual Rock & Roll Cruise.

The Fort Lauderdale Cruise Ship Terminal was a welcome sight to my husband and me who escaped a brutal New York winter for a 7-day Caribbean sailing to San Juan, St. Thomas, La Romana and Grand Turk. We joined the other 2,098 passengers for check-in procedures and found hundreds of them sporting the blue and white Concerts at Sea t-shirts that identified them as participants in the special 50's and 60's rock & roll celebration that would take place during the sailing. On board, the program's popularity was even more evident as we sought our cabin and noticed a Concerts at Sea flyer affixed to the door of each cabin occupied by a fellow rock & roller.
Once inside our own digs, we found the official Concerts at Sea program, a 40-page booklet containing general information, bios on each star, an ambitious schedule of events, trivia and a listing of our 1,050 fellow Rock & Roll cruise passengers and their home towns. That evening, we weary travelers would get a small preview of the week ahead with a poolside performance by Idaho legends The Fabulous Chancellors and Elvis impersonator Stacey Wayne.
Sunday officially set the stage, so to speak, with a taste of some of the events that would become regular favorites throughout the week. Big Jack Armstrong of Boise, ID's K00L 104.3 and trivia guru Wayne Ridgeway gave early risers a destination with The Morning Show, a hilarious two hours filled with music, good-natured banter and trivia. Like watching a live classic rock radio show, Jack & Wayne would appear most mornings of the cruise, attracting an intimate crowd of bleary-eyed fans who wanted some entertainment with the breakfast they'd toted along from the buffet located on the deck below. Dance lessons with the Concerts at Sea Dancers and Trivia Contests (which quickly convinced me that this was the first cruise I'd ever been on where other people -- lots of other people -- knew more than I did about the British Rock Invasion) were also popular features throughout the sailing.
But it's the concerts at sea that makes Concerts at Sea, and my first taste came later that day in the form of Paul Revere and the Raiders.

First, a bit of a confession. I'm basically a music snob. If it's not the Kinks, Strawbs or Bruce Springsteen (my one nod to the 70s), I tend to wrinkle my nose and slap on headphones through which I can immerse myself in the sounds of one of the aforementioned performers. Though keenly intrigued by Concerts at Sea, I was not looking forward to Paul Revere and the Raiders in concert. Okay, to be honest, I was dreading Paul Revere and the Raiders in concert.
It was with this ambivalence that I took my place on the "preferred seating" line 40 minutes before the 1:30 p.m. show time and marveled at the sight of two rather mature women sporting full "Raider" regalia, complete with fur-trimmed three-pointed hats, knee length boots and military jackets ("All that luggage space!" I asked). Ten minutes later, I was admitted, claiming a front-row orchestra seat in the ship's elaborate two-level Osiris Theater and ordering a glass of wine in an effort to make the show more bearable.

Paul Revere with lead singer Darren Medley

I suppose it's never too late to learn what you've been missing. Part theater, part comedy (even poking fun at the Speedos favored by most of Costa's male Italian guests no matter what their size), and a big part great music, at 70 years old, Paul Revere is living proof that you're never too old to rock & roll. Perched behind keyboards obscured by a Stars & Stripes-emblazoned motorcycle facade, donning the same Raider costumes he made famous in the 60s (albeit a bit larger), surrounded by powerful musicians and featuring Darren Medley, Bill Medley's son, as lead singer, the band entertained -- and I do mean entertained -- for well over an hour, performing "Cherokee People," "Just Like Me," "Kicks" and other Raiders classics before ending with Mitch Ryder's "Devil With a Blue Dress" and the Kinks' "You Really Got Me." (The latter was the equivalent of a personal ejector seat, propelling me on to my feet to dance like a maniac in front of the stage.)
It's really no wonder Paul Revere's performance aboard this sailing was so explosive. Concerts at Sea can trace its roots back to Paul who, 16 years ago, was approached by NCL with the rock & roll theme cruise concept. Paul liked the idea and contacted Bob Harmon of Harmon Travel who was both a Boise neighbor and Paul's travel agent for the previous 30 years. Together they worked on the concept and developed Concerts at Sea which, to this day, is operated by Harmon Travel with a great deal of hands-on assistance from Paul.
The Concerts at Sea schedule of events is exclusive to participants in the program. Available only through Harmon Travel or one of its partnered travel agents, a cruise rate is quoted based on cabin category and includes all taxes and fees, onboard gratuities, and the entertainment package (the concerts and all other activities). Additionally, "preferred seating," an arrangement that offers premium seating through early admittance to concert showrooms, is available for an additional $200. (This "preferred seating" charge is waived for anyone who books the following year's cruise while on board the current sailing.)
The shows may be the big draw, but additional star-studded events are also included in Concerts at Sea's activity line-up. Blow the dust off your old LP covers, tuck them in your suitcase and offer them and a Sharpie to your favorite classic rocker during the outdoor autograph session by the pool. A crowd favorite that attracts a seemingly endless line, on our sailing, each artist patiently signed album covers, t-shirts and more, and often took a few moments to chat. One particularly poignant moment came when a woman presented Davy Jones with a U.S. passport to sign. "Will I be arrested?" he asked, eyes wide. The woman explained that the holder of the passport intended to join her on the cruise and even paid her passage but in September, tragically, he passed away. Davy's autograph, she explained, was to be a bittersweet momento. The ex-Monkee signed the document, took the woman's hand and recited a touching poem in her ear about loved ones living on in our memories.

10:00 a.m. was an early start to Question & Answer Session with the Stars and some of the humor was in watching a panel of rock musicians attempt to be alert enough to field audience questions before noon. Despite the hour, Bill Medley, Davy Jones, The Lovin' Spoonful and Paul Revere responded comically and candidly to questions about their careers and their personal lives as Concerts at Sea staff prowled the audience with wireless mikes for those wishing to question their idols.

Righteous Brother, Bill Medley
On Tuesday evening, Bill Medley took the stage for the second of the week's four signature concerts. In a moving tribute to co-Righteous Brother Bobby Hatfield who died nearly five years ago, the show began with classic footage of the two performing "Unchained Melody." The elegant smiling Medley then appeared, salt and pepper hair flowing, and captured us not only with the expected hits but with personal favorites like a powerful blues number. Later in the show, he summoned members of his talented family to the stage. Darren, who we had been treated to during the Paul Revere & the Raiders concert, joined his father to perform Righteous Brothers' megahit "You've Lost that Lovin' Feeling" and daughter McKenna delivered an electrifying rendition of Etta James' timeless classic, "At Last."

50' and 60's sock hop
I nearly skipped the keynote event of the following day for the same reason I initially dreaded the Paul Revere & the Raiders concert. How could, I, for pete's sake, attend something called Mike Harvey's Super Gold Sock Hop?? "I'm going to stay 15 minutes," I insisted, "A half hour at most." Dress for the occasion suggested 50s or 60s attire and I emerged from my cabin donned in an op art silk mini dress and 60s make up. En route to the Cadmo Pool, I passed a virtual sea of poodle skirts. Fashion faux pas, I feared.
I was at the pool, dressed inappropriately and positioned for a quick exit. when suddenly songs I hadn't heard in 30 years surrounded me. I found myself and my go-go dancer dress dancing on the dancefloor, near the bar and with a group of new-found friends -- and that 15 to 30-minute time limit I imposed was completely shattered. The ship's hotel director approached me and said "Looks like you're having a REALLY good time!" which is probably not a good thing for a travel journalist to be told but when "Born to Be Wild" came on, I simply didn't care.
I never made it to the Jack & Wayne Morning show the day after the Sock Hop but, to be honest, I'm not sure if Jack & Wayne did either. A noon arrival at Grand Turk meant sleeping in a bit before arriving at the island to find the Concerts at Sea takeover of Margaritaville. Located right at the pier, the popular chain's Grand Turk outpost was commandeered by Big Jack Armstrong and his trusty sound system blasting out hits of the 50s and 60s. In no time, music loving passengers from the other visiting cruise ships learned about Concerts at Sea, watched and wished they'd booked the Costa Mediterranea that week.
Thursday night's performance was Rock & Roll Hall of Famers the Lovin' Spoonful who reminded us just how many smash hits they've had: "Do You Believe in Magic," "Daydream," "Nashville Cats," "You Didn't Have to Be So Nice," "Darlin' Come Home Soon," "Jug Band Music" and so much more. Even devoid of original front man, John Sebastian, the distinctive sound of the autoharp and the Spoonful's trademark feel-good lyrics catapulted all of us back to 1966.


Davy Jones
For many, particularly the woman who lined up at 10:00 a.m. for the 4:00 p.m. performance, Davy Jones' show on Friday was the highpoint of the cruise. Exhibiting antics not unlike his character on the phenomenal Monkees TV show of the 60s, the older, but not taller, Jones criss-crossed the stage, dancing, singing and playing the tambourine and guitar while his energetic back-up band brought a decidedly present-day slant to the 90 minute show. The set, which featured Monkees tunes sprinkled with a few standards, often had a Broadway feel, calling to mind Jones' roots on the stage. But it was the hits that drew the greatest reaction, particularly closing number, "Daydream Believer," which brought the crowd to its feet in a deafening, though melodic, sing-along while Davy crossed the stage shaking the hands of those lucky enough to have claimed first row.
The 15th Annual Concerts at Sea sailing may have drawn to a close on Saturday, January 26th but most of its participants can already look forward to next year, having booked on board. And I'm not surprised. The program is run flawlessly with communication and organization given the utmost attention. From a hospitality desk manned twice per day to immediate attention given to those who commit no-nos like attempting to save seats at concerts, the capable on board team tackles everything quickly and completely.
With today's average cruiser of 49 years of age, I say it's about time that 50's and 60's music take center stage aboard ship. Why endure the typical production shows, puppeteers, magicians and tired entertainment so often found on board when Concerts at Sea delivers the music that we grew up loving and still love today.
On my Concerts at Sea cruise this week, I not only saw Paul Revere, Davy Jones, Bill Medley and the Lovin' Spoonful, but I also saw the future of cruising. And let me assure you, folks, it rocks.
Thanks Judy Cuervo for this great article.  Judy is a freelance writer for Porthole Magazine

If you have a picture or story would like to share, please e-mail me at tammy@concertsatsea.com

Keep Rockin'
Tammy
Producer
Concerts At Sea








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