One Final Cruise for Lynyrd Skynyrd

| Thursday, 10 Apr. 2014

The eighth Simple Man cruise sailing in November will be the last one for the band

 

The great American southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd has already sold out seven “Simple Man” cruises. The cruises were produced by Atlanta-based Sixthman Productions and featured the current lineup of Lynyrd Skynyrd as the headliners for a talented roster of southern rock bands.  Over the years the Simple Man cruise has been one of the most successful and popular music cruise charters ever. But now Sixthman has  announced that the upcoming eighth Simple Man cruise, to set sail November 16, 2014, will be the last one. No reasons for ending the streak were mentioned.

Lynyrd Skynyrd is one of the most iconic southern rock bands America ever produced. They are responsible for the song "Free Bird" that has become a bigger rock cliche to shout out at concerts than "more cowbell".  "Simple Man" is another one of the bands hit songs

The first Simple Man cruise (Simple Man is the name of one of the band’s biggest hit songs) was a full ship charter of the Carnival Imagination, and over the years as the cruise has become more and more popular (most music-themed cruise charters are attended by a vast majority of repeat customers) while the additional guest artists have included incredible bands like the Doobie Brothers, Marshall Tucker, Foghat, The Outlaws, Molly Hatchet, ’38 Special and more.

This final eighth Simple Man cruise will have Lynyrd Skynyrd along with Blackberry Smoke, Devon Allman, Foghat, Starship featuring Mickey Thomas, The Band of Heathens, Lukas Nelson & P.O.T.R., Preacher Stone and many more. This final cruise will sail aboard Norwegian Pearl, as a full-ship charter  and it is billed as a “four-day music festival at sea with stops in the sun-soaked ports of Key West and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.”
 
According to Sixthman, “to commemorate this very successful run for a rock cruise, this final sailing will focus on recollecting and celebrating the Simple Man Cruise legacy.”  A Simple Man Yearbook, complete with pictures of the past seven Simple Man Cruise events, will be given to each of the cruisers to customize and fill with signatures from friends and bands onboard.

Musically-inclined cruisers will have an opportunity to play in the “Almost Famous Competition,” where they can audition for a spot in one of three adult bands and one junior band that will each be mentored by one of the Simple Man Cruise artists during the festival. Each of the cruiser-formed bands will perform Lynyrd Skynyrd songs on stage during the last day of the event.
 
When Norwegian Pearl reaches great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island, Lynyrd Skynyrd will perform a show on the beach, a first for the festival.
 
Staterooms for the Simple Man Cruise Finale are on sale now to the public. Pricing for a double occupancy stateroom starts at $800.00 per person. Book your cabin online at www.simplemancruise.com or by calling 877-379-9174.
 
The Other Rock Cruise

Although it is not a competition – since both cruises are composed of truly good and dedicated artists, organizers and fans, the decision to make this the final Simple Man cruise is a positive development for a another “newcomer” rock music charter that largely appeals to the same audience; The Rock Legends Cruise, in the final booking days for its third charter cruise to sail February 19, 2015. The cruise is already 90% sold out. And will feature many of the same bands as the Simple Man cruise; but also has many additional bands of renown, 24 in all. RLC3 will be held on a much larger ship (the 155,000-ton Liberty of the Seas), as it has been since the first RLC cruise, because a larger ship is required to accommodate and pay all of the additional bands.

Rock Legends was only started back in 2011 when Sixthman announced it would not hold a Simple Man cruise that season. The RLC (Rock Legends Cruise) lead organizer, Pam Myers, had only been on one cruise before – a Simple Man cruise, and she took a complete leap of faith and decided to do her own rock cruise in the name of her charity, NAHA (the Native American Heritage Assn) – “only because they canceled the Simple Man cruise,” she told me.

With the very capable guidance of Landry and Kling, a company that specializes in organizing special event cruises, Pam put together what would become the biggest rock (or any kind of music) charter cruise in history.  She soon had commitments from many of the bands that had sailed on previous Simple Man cruises. One of her lead acts was Artimus Pyle, drummer for the original Lynyrd Skynyrd band, now with his own band (Three other members of the original lineup died in a plane crash in 1977).

But things got a bit tense before Rock Legends 1 set sail when Sixthman announced plans to reschedule the Simple Man cruise they had previously canceled for that year. When the Rock Legends cruise set sail many of the artists were aware of the conflict of interest, but they were very careful not to ruin the event by mentioning it at all. They knew a lot of the fans on this cruise had also been loyal to many previous Simple Man cruises, and had probably chosen this cruise over Simple Man that year solely because the Simple Man cruise had been canceled. Even Pam felt bad that she found herself in competition with her own favorite music cruise – but by then she was already in with both feet.

Once the Rock Legend cruise set sail there was a palpable feeling of uncertainty as the first night began tenuously, with shows opening late and some tempers flaring. But in the end the music and the spirit of the fans won out. By day two everything was smooth sailing.  The shows were all on time, the bands rocked and the fans responded.

Throughout the entire cruise no one ever mentioned the Simple Man cruise, or the possibility of holding another Rock Legends Cruise, until the final night when guitarist Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top said, “I’m not sure what happened on this cruise, because it all just seems like kind of a blur now, so I think we should just tell the captain to turn the boat around so we can do the whole thing again.” The crowd roared its approval. Although very few people had even mentioned it during the cruise, the Rock Legends truly “rocked” and the fans loved every minute of it and wanted to do it again.

With a few weeks the second Rock Legends Cruise was announced – once again a full charter of the same ship and with a different but equally great lineup of bands. Many of the first cruise bands were back for RLC2, and there were also a few new bands on the second RLC cruise that had missed the first one due to their allegiance to the Simple Man cruise. Rock Legends Cruise 2 was an even bigger success then the first one.

Now Rock Legends Cruise 3 is already 90% sold out and will feature Alice Cooper, The Doobie Brothers, Paul Rodgers (of Bad Company and Free), Don Felder (of the Eagles), Dave Mason, The Outlaws, Blue Oyster Cult, Molly Hatchet, Edgar Winter and many more. 

So, while it is definitely sad to hear that the Simple Man cruise number eight will be the final one, Lynyrd Skynyrd fans (and there are millions for one of the most iconic Southern Rock bands ever) can still take heart that many of their favorite bands will still be playing on the Rock Legends Cruise, and it is even possible that a future RLC will feature Lynyrd Skynyrd.

But the most obvious winners here are music cruise charters and their fans, where an entire ship is taken over completely and dedicated to any style of music. Simple Man is a true success story, but the Rock Legends Cruise concept is even bigger and better – and that is what the future holds for music cruises.

And by the way – if you are a music fan and you have not yet tried one of these cruises – what are you waiting for? These are the best music experiences in the world. They are intimate and big at the same time. You are not just exposed to the music, you are immersed in it non-stop for four full days. I can’t say enough to convey the experience – you just have to try one.

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