One of Australia’s biggest rock n roll festivals Rock The Boat once again hits the high seas in 2018, with an incredible local and international line-up. With a theme focused on embracing the best rock music from the 1970s and 1980s, the eighth annual cruise features headliners Foreigner, best known for their #1 international hit I Want To Know What Love Is. The line-up is rounded out with iconic rock acts such as The Romantics, Ross Wilson, Russell Morris, Shannon Noll, Eurogliders and Chocolate Starfish. Showcasing some of the best vocals, musicians Mark Gable, Jason Singh, Reece Mastin and Dale Ryder will join 2018’s line-up as supergroup The Voices. A total of 40 incredible artists will be part of the seven-night event. can
Travelling onboard the luxurious Radiance Of The Seas, music-goers will also get to experience the sights of Isle Of Pines and Noumea in New Caledonia, departing from Sydney this October. There are a massive seven venues on Rock The Boat with artists performing day and night, so there is always a musical extravangza happening for rock fans. Rock The Boat is part of the respected Choose Your Cruise brand, and is one of the flagship cruises that have been a stalwart on their cruising program. Caitlin Manov from Choose Your Cruise says one of the things that sets Rock The Boat apart is the fact that audiences can experience their favourite bands in a plethora of different atmospheres – from an arena style event to intimate showcases.
“Depending on what you want out of your day, there is a different experience waiting for you in each venue,” she says. “From the authentic English atmosphere in the intimate setting of the Quill and Compass, to the relaxing sounds poolside at the pool deck, a comfortable and elegant cabaret theatre overlooking the wake of water the ship leaves in its path in the Colony Club, you will find different artists performing day and night to keep you captivated throughout the whole cruise. The beautiful Aurora Theatre spans three levels, which provides a great seat for anyone in the venue to enjoy the incredible shows our headliners provide. Incredible acoustics and lighting gives our passengers the full experience of an arena show in a smaller setting in comparison to some of the venues you would see these artists back home. You can get up front and personal with them at the front of the stage which is always encouraged and gives passengers special memories they won’t soon forget.”
Since its inception, Rock The Boat has been bringing some of the biggest names in rock n roll to audiences. For organisers, it is a big job from planning to fruition. Caitlin says the utmost importance is ensuring the theme of the cruise fits together organically for audiences to enjoy. “The planning process for any of our cruises takes approximately 16 months from the initial stages to sailing,” she says. “Booking the artists to perform before we release the cruise is one of the most exciting parts, as we carefully sit down and make a wish list of acts depending on the general theme of the cruise we are putting together. 2018’s cruise has a focus on rock acts from the 70s and 80s so it was without question we would love to have Foreigner on board. Luckily the artists we were hoping to have on the cruise were available and it fell into place nicely. This will be the first time all of these artists have performed on the same bill, let alone on board a cruise so we are very excited for what magic will happen on board in October.”
The cruise sees a lot of return guests, making Rock The Boat their annual holiday experience. Likewise, there are a host of artists who come back year after year and plan their touring around the cruise. For Caitlin and her team, return visits mean they have got the chemistry right. “It is an honour to have passengers and artists alike come on board year after year,” she says. “It truly is like catching up for a family reunion every year when you get on board in Sydney and run into friends you haven’t seen all year but know you will be spending a week together on board the ship. The sense of camaraderie and artistic energy on board is incomparable to anywhere else on land. Punters and artists leave their worries at the pier in Sydney and are all engaged for a week of music and great food in a luxury setting, how could you not want to come back.”
The cruise isn’t just about experiencing great live music – there are also a host of onboard passenger experiences to enjoy. From the Mr Belly Flop competition, to The Ship’s Biggest Conga Line and Air Guitar Wars, there is something to delight all ages. Other events include Lip-Sync Battle and Island & Nautical Back to the 80s dress-up theme parties. Plus, the chance to meet your favourite artist at intimate artist signing sessions.
The week of music is certainly going to be first class if the 2018 line-up is anything to go by. Foreigner barely need an introduction to rock loving audiences. With an extensive back catalogue the features the likes of Cold As Ice, Hot Blooded and Waiting For A Girl Like You, they have been delighting music fans for four decades. Its founder Mick Jones was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall Of Fame for his stylistic songwriting and indelible guitar hooks. When the band reformed after a hiatus in 2002, they re-cemented themselves in the local scene, taking the band’s music to a new generation of fans. With lead singer Kelly Hansen reputed as one of rock’s greatest showmen, time spent in the company of Foreigner is always unforgettable.
Detroit’s The Romantics help round out the stellar line-up in 2018. From the release of their debut LP in 1980, their hits include What I Like About You, When I Look In Your Eyes and their acclaimed cover of The Kinks hit She’s Got Everything. Fast forward four decades, and they are still revered for creating some of the most influential and beloved rock songs of all time. When it comes to Australian artists joining Rock The Boat, it doesn’t get much bigger than the likes of ‘The Real Thing’ Russell Morris and ‘Mr Eagle Rock’ himself Ross Wilson. They return for their second and third performances repectively and are back by popular demand.
Just some of the other artists who join the 40-plus live acts include Stylus, Kevin Borich, Phil Emmanuel, Tim Gaze Band, The Lisa Edwards Band, Harrisongs (A Tribute To George) and Machine Head (Deep Purple Experience) to name a few. Bringing together the proverbial who’s who of rock music in Australia, Rock The Boat is shaping up to be the event of a lifetime for holiday-makers looking for a rock music festival at sea. Rock on!
Tickets for the 2018 Rock Your Boat music festival at sea [21st-28th October 2018] are on sale now, departing from Sydney. Pricing starts at $2,615 per person, twin share (interior stateroom).