Monsters of Rock Cruise  - Monsterwood

LA, Catalina, Ensenada, Oct., 1-5, 2016, NCL Pearl

The Monsters of Rock Cruise decided to shake things up and sail from the west coast this time.  Leaving from the Port of LA, the cruise made stops in Catalina Island and Ensenada, Mexico.  With all the rock cruises sailing to pretty much the same eastern Caribbean destinations every time, this was a welcome change and the cruise sold out quickly.  The pre-party took place at the Avalon, with Tyketto and Rough Cutt - both very good.  How do the guys in Tyketto stay looking so young?   The venue was incredibly cold, though.  There was a second show at the Whiskey with Stephen Pearcy of Ratt.  Much as I would have loved to see the venue, I had been traveling since early morning and never liked Pearcy much anyway.  It’s probably good I didn’t go, since I heard it was packed and there were endless opening acts.

The next day at the port seemed to be a bit of confusion and a whole lot of waiting.  You’d think they would have this routine down by now, but I guess the new port and new cruise line threw everything off.  I hadn’t put in for media credentials, since  I didn’t plan to make this a full working trip, but I still planned to get photos where I could and do a write-up.  Photos had never been a problem before, even with a “professional” camera, but this time, they had a notice upon check-in stating that professional cameras would not be allowed.  That threw a wrench in everything!  I figured they wouldn’t be able to enforce it very effectively in all locations, so I planned to “sneak” some photos of bands I hadn’t seen before, but not push my luck with some of the others.  

The sail-away show was a “surprise”, but everyone had figured it out beforehand.  Ratt still kept everyone from getting to the pool stage until they were ready.  That was unnecessary in my opinion, and as the show started late, things got very crowded at all the entrances.  Not much of a Ratt fan, but stayed on deck with my friend for a bit until the show I wanted to see started.  One strange thing about this cruise was that they had removed almost all chairs and tables from the deck.  That made it impossible for people to just hang out between shows unless you wanted to stand up all the time.  Guess they wanted to keep people moving, or maybe they were afraid of vandalism.  I went to see Kix in the theater.  They are always fun to see, but I found that they had started on time, instead of being pushed back like the sail-away show had been.  Back on the pool deck later, I caught Mr. Big, where I snuck a few photos from the upper deck.

Sunday, we landed in Catalina and did a self-guided tour around the island on a golf cart.  Very cool place - very scenic, but dry.  In town, before getting back on board, we hit a couple of bars and shops and had a bite of lunch.  One bar had a shot called a Spicy Mexican Lollipop that was not the typical recipe (no watermelon) and it was so good!  As usual, they had several events on the ship while in port.  I don’t like that, since it forces people to choose whether to enjoy the ports of call or the bands and events.  I would rather have fewer bands on board so that I can enjoy the ports without missing too much.  Back on board in the evening, I caught Slaughter, and they were definitely looking for camera sneaks.  After that, it was time to dress for our special appearance during Britny Fox.  My friends and I had joined a group that were dressing as school girls in honor of the band’s hit “Girlschool”.  It was a big group, and we had to be there early, without knowing just what they were planning to do with us.  After a bunch of pictures, we all waited at the side of the stage.  When the song started, we got to parade across the stage a few times.  I’m not used to being the one on stage, but it was fun.  There are a few blurry videos out there, but I haven’t seen the photos.

Monday, the port of call was Ensenada, Mexico.  We went horseback riding at a ranch that was very scenic and the horses were the most well kept of any I’ve seen at a place like that.  Beautiful creatures!  Since we had time, we ventured to the famous blowhole, which was interesting, but mostly a tourist trap.  It would have been better to see it from a boat.  Back on the ship that night, I caught Loudness and Autograph.    

Tuesday was a day at sea, and a bit dreary, so good for relaxing.  I did catch Pretty Maids and L.A. Guns.  Michael Grant did a beautiful cover of Purple Rain in honor of Prince.  I went to surprisingly few shows during the cruise, choosing to watch people and hang out with friends instead.  Could it be that I’m getting tired of the whole music cruise thing?  Maybe I just need a break for a bit.