Pauline’s Chronicles: On the Blue Cruise Edition

Waiting to check into our hotel in Miami and with our feet firmly back on terra firma, it’s a good time to reflect back on the last five days adventure On the Blue Cruise.

The band flew in from Frankfurt following another successful tour of Europe and Scandinavia, battling crippling cold temperatures and, in Andy’s case, a bout of bronchitis that had made the latter few shows a challenge. Palm trees, blue skies and the promise of relaxation aboard the Mariner of the Seas was just what the doctor ordered.

Thankfully no further doctors were needed on board for our party, but some poor lady did fall, split her head open and needed to be air lifted to a mainland hospital from our second stop in Labadee, a beautiful private island off the coast of Haiti. The beaches here were pristine and we were able to grab a couple of hours of sun and sea before heading back to the ship for an early afternoon question and answer session. Keeping their own feet, and equipment, on the ground proved very tricky during the first set that the band played on the upper poolside deck. The wind picked up at a rate of knots, making the performance one that both Andy and Bob described as among the most difficult they have ever done. To add to the stress of it all, Andy’s guitar strap broke and he finished the set with his leg on the monitor speaker whilst balancing the V on his knee. The audience loved it!!!!!

Of course, this cruise was all about music, and we all were able to catch other acts of our choosing including Steve Hackett, Procul Harum, the Zombies and Todd Rundgren.

The highlight for Andy and I, however, was catching up with Al Stewart. He started his set with “The Sirens of Titan,” a song about one of our favorite books by Kurt Vonnegut; and we were immediately transported back almost 50 years to a wine bar in Belsize Park, London, where we would meet up occasionally for wine, talk and good times.

The ship itself was set up to allow for everyone’s individual relaxation needs and we all took full advantage, although drummer Joe was the only band member with the energy to go wall climbing. Joe also braved the chilly and choppy waters of Nassau to go snorkeling alongside band agent Steve and his wife Julia looking for sea turtles.

Dark skies and the threat of rain could have been a setback for the second set. Luckily, although breezy and chilly, the rain stayed away and the guys played a great set to another appreciative audience. One man actually watched the performance from the comfort of the stage-side hot tub!

The cruise culminated in a very gracious reception for the artists at the end of the last evening. It took place in the VIP lounge, high up overlooking everything from the 14th deck. These ships are huge! One and all agreed that this was a wonderful experience.

Now, as we head towards our respective homes for a short respite, we are left with some great memories. But, it’s also good to know that all the fans heading home also can add the On the Blue Cruise to their list of more unusual locations they have seen, heard and rocked out with Wishbone Ash.

There’s a very strong chance that Wishbone Ash will again be featured on this cruise in 2020. Mark your calendars and start saving.

Next stop: Japan!! ~ Pauline

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