Paradise. It’s a hard concept to explain. What exactly is paradise? Well, in my opinion, this whole last weekend was paradise. As I boarded the 311 Cruise Ship with Taylor and Erica, it still had not kicked in what was going on.
3 weeks ago, Sixthman, a company that puts on musical concert cruises, contacted COED about covering the 311 Cruise. After emailing back and forth about ten times a day, it became evident that this was actually going to happen.
See, before actually stepping on the ship, I had to travel exactly 2000 miles. A train, a car, a plane, and a cab to be exact. I hate traveling by the way.
We got a pretty sweet room, but I really wanted to see the kick off show 311 was putting on as we sailed out of Miami, so I didn’t really stay in the room for long. Before you know it, I was joined by 3000 other cruisers on the main deck of the ship. All of us eagerly awaiting our favorite band to come out and kick off vacation.
Just like that, Nick Hexum, P-Nut, SA Martinez, Chad Sexton, and Tim Mahoney were on stage doing what they do best. Play amazing music for groups of amazing fans. The energy was unlike any show I had ever been to, but when you think about it, this was a show unlike any other. Not only do we get to see 311 once, but 4 times. Once on the main deck of the ship, two shows in the auditorium, and one on the beach.
But then, lightning struck the skies, and the first show had to be canceled. As Nick confirmed via twitter, “Tim said he looked down and saw an electrical arc from his hand to his guitar. A two inch span. Freaky. Glad everyone’s okay!”
So, with that being said, it was time to enjoy some food, some gambling, and some parties. Let me paint a picture for you real quick. You walk into the buffet room, and everyone is in bikinis and board shorts. You walk down the food line, and instead of regular salad, there is a choice of 6 different tropical delicacies. You pass the salad, and get to main courses. Lobster tail and shrimp awaits you. Veal parmesan and tropical baked potatoes. Fresh cut honey ham. The cornucopia of food is unreal. Then, after you pass all that, you get to the dessert table. The amount of EPIC that was contained on this table can only be described by this picture.
After eating about 5 times more than we should have, it was crashin’ time. I fell asleep ready to start the next day’s activities.
You would think on a cruise, that people would let you sleep. NO FUCKING WAY. Not this one. 8am came around and the announcement was made to rise and shine. Breakfast was waiting and then it was time to hit the island. Oh yeah, forgot to mention that. The 311 cruise ship was headed to Half Moon Cay. For those of you that don’t know, Half Moon Cay is a private island in the Bahamas, which the cruise exclusively stopped at to let the cruisers party.
As we stepped off the shuttle boat onto the island, it was clear that this was shaping up to be the best vacation/concert ever. We strolled down the beach looking for our crew (Being from Chicago, we always roll deep). Once we were all united, the partying began. Not just normal partying, but party on a private with your best friends, hot girls, and amazing bands partying. I gave myself the liberty of photographing some ASSets for all you readers.
Cisco Adler opened up the beach set with a mix of reggae, and feel good island rock. We here at COED got to sit down with him, and grab an interview. But, you will you have to wait for that one.
Everyone was downing the liquor, listening to tunes, basking in the glorious bright blue ocean, and having the time of their lives. Friends being friends. People meeting new people. It was a private party that COED got an inside look on. But, with every beer downed, every new song, and every cool-off dip in the ocean, there were more and more pictures taken. Girls being ridiculous, guys been happy go lucky, people rocking out on the beach.
Once we were back on the ship, it was clear what was going down that night. The 311 indoor show, and the Day-Glow Party with DJ SOULMAN. No DJ could have done it better. The crowd was ready for a rave, and he threw down like he was spinning the hottest club in LA. Glow sticks, black lights and bass filled the room. Ravers in white moved to the sounds of the beat as DJ SOULMAN mixed the night away. 2 and a half hours later, everyone was so spun out, there was only two things left to do on the ship. Sleep. Or Gamble. COED parties hard, and after our mandatory afternoon power nap, the crew was ready to rock.
There is nothing quite like sitting down at a blackjack table and coming up on $2200 in 3 hours. It’s more amazing if you are watching this happen to the person next to you while the dealer keeps throwing you 16’s and 15’s, and you keep busting. Sandy was up so much money, she was playing 3 hands at once, all at maximum bets. CRAZY! I realize the motto is go big or go home, but when you are up that much, I would hate to lose it all on a dealer’s blackjack.
It was 5 am, and breakfast was at 8. I needed another power nap before I could hit the island again. So that’s what I did. One 3 hour power nap later and it was time for breakfast again, and then time to hit the island. This time though, the island had a different aura about it. Everyone knew 311 was playing today, for their big island show. EVERYONE was there. The stage was set back about 40 feet from the water, and there were people everywhere. People floating on tubes in the water, hanging out with their friends, just waiting for this crazy show to begin.
As 311 came on, they let us know that this set was going to be the chill/reggae/beach set. Everyone went nuts, knowing that feel good music was coming for a straight two hours. Splash fights, CHECK. Beer vendors walking around in the ocean selling buckets, CHECK. Suit and tie champagne waiter, CHECK. There were no words to describe this. We were in the heart of the crowd, in the water, jamming out, having splash fights, and acting like we were 10 year olds again. Chicken fights with the girls, the whole nine yards.
When the show was over, it was time to head back to the cruise ship, grab some grub, and enjoy the night’s festivities. Those festivities included casino tournaments.
Sitting down at a blackjack table can be intimidating. Sitting down at a blackjack table where 4 other people are professional gamblers and there is a tournament happening is. When we decided to enter the tournament as a crew, 20 deep, I knew that 4 of my buddies were gamblers. Good ones too. First prize gave you the signed 311 custom blackjack table felt. Second was $250, and third was $100. After hitting the leader board in the first round, I was quickly knocked out. My buddies however, advanced to the final round. Jason took first, winning the coveted trophy and the signed felt. Congrats Jason!
I crashed, and woke up the next morning. Just in time for the flip cup tournament with the band Ballyhoo!. We interviewed them before the cruise, (you can check that out HERE) but it was time to see how well they played some drinking games. Flippy cup is a team sport, and you really need a good anchor if you want to do some damage. Some of the teams had it, but Ballyhoo! reigned supreme. Those guys are amazing flip cup players. More amazing was the fact that we were playing flip cup on a cruise ship in the middle of the Bahamas.
It was a pretty relaxed day on the ship, as people were mostly recovering, and hanging out, waiting for the last 311 show of the cruise. There was a poker tournament, but I don’t have a face for bluffing, so that was out. So, I just hung out, walked around, and grabbed some rays. What better way to soak in the surroundings then exploring the ship deck?!
8 o’clock rolled around, and you could just feel it in the air. Everyone was jumpy, excited, and super pumped for the last show. We strolled through the winding corridors of the Carnival Destiny, and made our way to our balcony seats. When the lights went low, everyone let out a scream! 311 came on, and announced that this was the one. This was the show where they were gonna go big on our way home. AND THEY DID. Every amazing song was played, none were left out. Some songs, I hadn’t heard them play in years. Years! Chad Sexton pounded out the drum solo, and then the rest of the guys joined him for one big drum line.
“This one is for every fan out there, old, and new. Thank you for sharing your vacation with us, we will see you next time!” Nick said as he grabbed his guitar and threw down the beginning licks to ‘Down’. The crowd went crazy! Jumping so much I think it may have rocked the ship a little.
As everyone was leaving the auditorium, an announcement came on. “If you wish to party with the rest of everyone else on this cruise, head up to the deck now, DJ SOULMAN is playing the last set of the cruise.” Now, if you were tired, you might go to sleep. But that is NOT how COED rolls. We rolled straight upstairs, and enjoyed DJ SOULMAN with everyone else on the ship! Until 2am! Beach parties are cool, but second to that is an upper deck dance party to close out a cruise. People were having a great time, boozing it up, and having the time of their lives. YOLO BRO!
DJ SOULMAN ended his set with a bang, and everyone just looked at each other and cheered. It was over, and done. Time to sleep, wake up the next morning, and go back to your respective crib. That is exactly what everyone did. The 8 am wake-up call came, we were off the ship, and it was back to Ft. Lauderdale–and back to miserable traveling to catch my flight on Tuesday.