Ed Note: Okay, so perhaps I got a little carried away with the title. Chrissie has graciously volunteered her services as a special contributor on board the 5th Annual 80’s Cruise. Today brings her first installment. Enjoy! -R
By Chrissie Peters
Dig, If You Will, A Picture…
For the next seven days, I have the unique opportunity to have a vacation on a cruise ship in the Caribbean Sea, as well as seeing more than a dozen 80’s musical artists and acts. My husband Russ and I are sailing aboard Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas with approximately 3,000 other avid 80’s fans on the 5th Annual 80’s Cruise, hosted by three of the original MTV VJ’s (Alan Hunter, Mark Goodman, and Nina Blackwood).
This trip was not my idea, although I am the big 80’s fan in our household. The week after last year’s cruise ended, with just a few artists announced for the 2020 cruise, my husband proposed that we go ahead and do it, as I had really wanted to go a couple of previous year. Admittedly, I was most excited about the prospect of seeing Bananarama. Less than two weeks after we made our down-payment, guess who canceled their contract with the company for the 2020 cruise? That’s right — Bananarama, for reasons that were never disclosed to us. We, of course, had the option to cancel, but decided that we would wait to see who would be selected to replace the group. By then, we were also excited about some of the other acts, too, especially The B-52’s, The Motels, and Patty Smythe & Scandal. Then we found out that two acts would replace Bananarama — Bret Michaels and Loverboy. So we happily continued to make our monthly payments on what has easily been the most expensive cruise (or vacation at all, for that matter), that we have ever taken. Of course, we have never had a vacation cruising the tropics while it’s snowing back home, complete with more than a dozen concerts, interviews, celebrity-led excursions, etc., either. In the end, I feel like the value far outweighs what we have paid (and I am saying that after being aboard the ship for less than twelve hours)!
If I Could Turn Back Time…
Everything here is retro. The hairstyles. The clothes. Men and women, alike. My favorite bar, Music Video Tavern (MVT), features video screens playing real videos, just like the old days. There are tables with board games like Trivial Pursuit, Life, and more. There’s a life-sized Operation game. And several arcade games that you can just walk up to and start playing, no quarters required. (Nick Rhodes of yesteryear would be in heaven, as Galaga is among them — think the Sing Blue Silver documentary). The drinks have throwback names, and I have become quite fond of Welcome to the Jungle at MVT (drinks are included with the price of the trip, so I figure I might as well take advantage of what we paid for).
There are different themes nightly. Tonight, we partied like it was 1979, and ushered in 1980 with no fewer than four separate New Year’s Eve parties. Well, that’s a general “we,” since I stayed in the stateroom to start this post, and to indulge in watching more videos. (Honestly, I could just sit and do this for hours. I mean, didn’t all of us used to???) and I’m glad that I did. “Hungry Like the Wolf” came on back-to-back with “Take On Me,” by Aha; I was in 1980’s heaven!
There Are No Mistakes…
In the past few weeks, the landscape of health and travel have taken on new concerns with the rise and spread of the coronavirus. Many of our friends and family members have tried to talk out of coming on the cruise completely. My husband is a Registered Nurse, so he has kept on top of the situation for work purposes, as well as for our vacation. While we realize that there is some risk involved, we both agreed that we felt that there was a greater risk of catching something during our flight than on the actual cruise.
To keep in order with CDC guidelines, one of the acts for the cruise, Dire Straits Legacy Band, were restricted from the trip due to the fact that they had been in Rome within the past few weeks. Just two days later, and three days before leaving port, it was announced that Loverboy had also pulled out, no reasons given to us. Remember when Bananarama canceled, right? And Loverboy was named as one of two replacement acts? The next day, it was announced that we would have two more acts to replace the two acts that had had to cancel in the final week leading up to the trip. Kool & The Gang, and Taylor Dayne.
When we made that deposit a year ago, we never imagined something like the coronavirus. I never imagined not seeing Bananarama. But things happen the way they do for specific reasons. My cousins and I used to sing “Celebration” at family reunions and force family members a quarter each to see us perform the song. That was back in 1980. Forty years later, I will get to hear the real deal in person and have new memories to add to those from my childhood. Like Patty Smyth & Scandal sang in their amazing show tonight, “There are no mistakes.”