Shiprocked set sail from Port Canaveral, Florida, on January 22nd-28th with more than 4,000 excited fans on board. Visiting Half Moon Cay, Bahamas, Grand Turk, TCI, and Amber Cove, Dominican Republic, throughout the six-day adventure. Co-headlining the 13th sailing were Falling In Reverse and Parkway Drive, Nothing More, Skillet, Suicidal Tendencies, Motionless In White, and more; there was never a dull moment aboard the Carnival Magic.
Pulling up to the cruise terminal is like driving into a monstrous family reunion for anyone who hasn’t been on before. People drop everything to embrace, crying, and hours of catching up while we sit around waiting for the doors to open. After boarding, we all continued to roam and seek out missed friends while in the buffet, waiting for our staterooms to be ready. Once muster had been completed, and everyone checked into their rooms, drinks were had, and we made our way to the main stage over the middle deck pool for the yearly family photo.
Immediately following the photo is a preview of where our adventures take us next year (check out the event’s video update about that here). Once everyone is hyped and ready to go, one band, specifically chosen to start our week, hits the stage, and instead of waving at passing ships leaving port, the chaos of Shiprocked begins. This year, Nothing More was chosen, and they came out hard, starting with “Let ‘Em Burn,” followed by 14 more songs, which included two live debuts with “Don’t Look Back” and “Best Times” off their newest album, SPIRITS.
From this moment on, the fun doesn’t stop. With multiple stages and areas hosting events, one could go days without sleep. Between Nonpoint, Grandson, Motionless In White, and Wage War, there was enough music to go around. When it all settled down in the middle of the night, Karaoke picked up just outside the Casino in the Ocean Plaza and went until the wee hours of the morning every night.
The first full day at sea was Monday, and the first-ever “Swag Swap” occurred. Essentially somewhere along the way, it became a tradition to create and bring trade items, like bracelets, guitar picks, or anything you’d be willing to part with. So this year, rather than everyone trading in passing, they held an event where we could get together at once.
Meet & Greets with the bands went most of the day in different areas of the ship, with Islander kicking off the music around 1 pm on the deck stage. Trivia, Beers & Bingo, Deck Wars, and even the Band Feud were sights to see throughout the day. This evening saw Fame On Fire, Bad Omens, Skillet, and Ayron Jones all play before headliner Parkway Drive took to the stage at 11 pm and killed their set for over an hour. This is the first time I’ve seen people have to restrain themselves from moshing or anything during a performance. (A side note: Moshing and crowd surfing are not allowed on Shiprocked for more than obvious reasons, and although I’ve been on five years running, it still blows my mind that people listen, even while heavily intoxicated)
Our first stop… Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. Known primarily for being Carnival’s private island destination, plenty of bars and food were available, and a marooned pirate ship doubled as a stage for Dropout Kings and Jeris Johnson. Back on the ship for dinner, British electronic rock duo Wargasm hit the deck stage as we got underway into the night. Grandson, Nonpoint, Suicidal Tendencies, and Memphis May Fire all played throughout the ship over five hours before the first of 2 Stowaway performances happened.
Originally an idea for an all-star jam band, The Stowaways have been a sight since the idea came to fruition. A group of people from different genres and bands are brought on to jam out to some of our favorite songs while band members who are already on board jump in. This is one of the only times you might see Atilla’s Fronz sing “Bawitdaba” from Kid Rock in a white fur coat or Hyro The Hero and Jason Hook (ex-Five Finger Death Punch) cover Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing In The Name Of.”
Saw our second stop at the beautiful island of Grand Turk, TCI. This was more of a vacation destination, which saw fans and bands alike take off on excursions and adventures. Back on the ship, Nova Twins opened the music on the deck stage, followed by Zero 9:36, Lacey Sturm, Skillet, and D.R.U.G.S. before Parkway Drive played their second set on the Deck Stage to end the night once again.
Our last stop, Amber Cove, Dominican Republic, was another tourist stop, and we took off into the local town for some true jerk chicken and snacks made by locals. While walking back to the ship, Falling In Reverse could be heard doing a sound check on the deck. The second Stowaways performance took us into the deep blue sea again, with hits like “Spoonman” by Soundgarden sung by Living Colour’s Corey Glover, or Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe, and Ra’s Sahaj Ticotin doing “Dragula” by Rob Zombie.
A belly flop competition rivaled attention from another trivia session, followed by Giovanni and The Hired Guns playing their second set on the Deck Stage. The music rolled heavily tonight, with bands playing in 5 venues all at the same time. Nothing More, Davey Suicide, Afterlife, BRKN Love, and comedian Shayne Smith were all options over the next 5 hours before Ronnie Radke, and Falling In Reverse played their first set. Ronnie interacted with the crowd and joked about the ship rocking and how the air can affect vocals.
For the last day of our cruise, a full day at sea while we headed back to Port Canaveral, it seemed only fitting to start with Bloodies & Bingo, followed by Meet & Greets. Red Jumpsuit Apparatus began to the music on the deck stage at noon, while the Newlyband Game starring Afterlife vs. Dropout Kings and Beer Pong were all viable options for the afternoon. All week long, in the merchandise area, Cancer Sucks is on board with many items to be auctioned off in a silent auction and a live auction hosted this year by Matty Mullins of Memphis May Fire. All proceeds go to cancer-related endeavors, and this year, over $125,000 was raised in 6 days onboard the Carnival Magic.
Lacey Sturm, Fame On Fire, Memphis May Fire, Motionless In White, and Aranda played before Falling In Reverse ended the evening on the deck stage. From that point, some people went to pack, while others migrated to the Casino and plaza area for Karaoke to say goodbyes and drink the night away, assuming sleep could wait until after deboarding at 8 am the next day.
Shiprocked is a strange beast; only people who take the chance and spend the money will ever really understand the family feeling and experience that a cruise of this magnitude can give. With over a dozen Shiprocker pages on Facebook, people were already online planning to take over Disney and Universal or meet at the next concert in their respective areas. With next year’s announcement being a February 4th – 10th sailing from Miami, Florida, to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Bimini, The Bahamas, and Grand Cayman, plans are already being made to start booking when our emails arrive in the coming weeks. The lineup announcement will come soon enough in the months to follow, with general sales following that. To keep up to date or get more information, head to the official site here.
Tags: Ayron Jones, Bad Omens, Falling In Reverse, Fame on Fire, Grandson, Hyro The Hero, Lacey Strum, Memphis May Fire, Motionless In White, Nonpoint, Nothing More, Parkway Drive, ShipRocked, Shiprocked 2023, Skillet, Suicidal Tendencies, Wage War