Flower Power Cruise
The Good Lovin’ was GREAT on the first annual Flower Power Cruise! As the host of Joe Johnson’s Beatle Brunch, I’ve emcee’d dozens of Beatle-themed cruises over the past 20 years. We’ve had some fab times at sea, Mr. Captain, with Beatle celebrities, authors, artists and some of the best musicians in the world, but having just returned from The Flower Power Cruise, let me tell you, this was NOT your father’s cruise (though he may have been on board, so check for him in the photos!)
A few years back, Star Vista Live created a niche with The Malt Shop Memories Cruise, featuring mainly vocal groups from the 50’s and early 60’s, but the new Flower Power Cruise rocked the Celebrity Constellation like a festival tidal wave. The entire ship was a floating party at sea, a wandering Woodstock if you will. The lineup of artists on board was almost too much to take in, but since we’re not one to miss a party, we found it just right.
On board to entertain and mingle was lead singer of The Monkees, Micky Dolenz; the hilarious and energetic Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits; Peter Asher, famed producer and half of Peter and Gordon; Gary Puckett & The Union Gap; The Buckinghams; Blood, Sweat & Tears featuring Bo Bice; The Grass Roots; The Guess Who; Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere and The Raiders; Jefferson Starship; The Family Stone; and the legendary Felix Cavaliere, whose band The Rascals, wrote and sang some of the most important music of the flower power generation: “People Got to Be Free”, “Good Lovin'”, and “Groovin'” to name just a few.
Invited along as The Music Host, I had the great fortune to kick off the cruise with a sail away party at the pool deck filled with Flower Power music! Good Golly Miss Molly, Deejay Prince and I had that deck rockin’.
There were stages set throughout the ship. Deck 10’s pool stage was a sun-soaked favorite of the afternoons, yet by sundown, was transformed into a near all-night festival with performances that would definitely keep the peeps on decks 9, 8 & 7 from catching any zzz’s. But not to worry, all clapping hands were on-deck when Gary Puckett, The Grass Roots, The Buckinghams, Mark Linsday and The Family Stone rocked the stage. Dance to the Music my friends, and boy did we ever!
I was privileged to host three fact and fun-filled artist panels that had the packed audience in Reflections Lounge experiencing every emotion: from listening intently to the stories of how the songs were written, to roaring with laughter when Felix relagated the tale of how The Rascals were told to “keep it down because the elephants were getting mad”. We learned from The Guess Who’s Gary Peterson that the woman in “American Woman” is The Statue of Liberty. Micky told us that he watched The Beatles first Ed Sullivan Show on a small black and white TV balanced on the roof of his van, and The Family Stone shared what it was like to play at Woodstock with a 12 hour delay.
There was so much more to do and see on board, like sing-a-longs with two Beatle bands Britbeat and The Jukebox, plus guitarist Hal Bruce courtesy of Abbey Road on the River, tributes to Joe Cocker, The Blues Brothers, Mick Jagger, Cher and Janis Joplin, a Woodstock presentation, a celebrity wine tasting with Micky and Gary, a psychedelic 60’s dance party, even a renewal of vows ceremony with “Reverend?” Mark Lindsay presiding. Even the TV in your cabin glowed with classic 60’s flicks like “Easy Rider”.
But perhaps the most rewarding part of The Flower Power Cruise for me was meeting up with hundreds of Beatle Brunch listeners like Jill, Jennifer, The Mayrsohns, Cincinnati Steve Z and getting to meet our very excited winners of the cruise for two, BBC Members, Olivia Pilgrim-Angeloro and her husband John who brought a guitar to be signed.
We can’t wait to be back on board The Flower Power Cruise 2017 sailing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida - February 27 to March 4, 2017. A partial list of stars has already been posted. Check em out and get early booking savings at FPC and watch my interview here with Alan Rubens VP and Executive Producer of the FPC. All photos in the story by Rafael Murciano.