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Reggae hits the high seas for Jamrock cruise

PARTYING: Some 4,000 reggae fans have come aboard the cruise ship for Damian Marley’s celebration of the genre

IT’S NOW become an annual pilgrimage - reggae fans from across the world congregate for five days and nights of non-stop music and culture. It’s time for the Welcome To Jamrock Reggae Cruise.

Such is the prominence of this event that we are going to spread the story over two parts.

Curated, produced and presented by the captain Damian Marley, this is the fifth year of the cruise.

I have been fortunate to be on each of them, and every year you feel it has reached an incredible position and you have to wonder what or how he will do to go up a notch even further.

From starting on the excellent Norwegian Pearl ship it has now upgraded to the super luxurious Independence Of The Seas which is part of the impressive Royal Caribbean fleet.

Kicking off from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, this five-day excursion is perfectly timed for the American participants by being placed soon after their Thanksgiving.

For us Brits the journey starts with the nine-hour flight from home to Florida. It’s hard not to feel the anticipation from the airport as you spot other cruisers who are sporting their merchandise from previous years!

Each cruise kicks off with a farewell club event and this year was undoubtedly the best to date. Revolution Live is one of the top club spots in Fort Lauderdale, and it came alive with the energy of 500 hyped and ready cruisers who couldn’t wait to get the party started. Of course I had to get involved - it was the three way link up with my brothers DJ Madout from New York and Spex Da Boss representing Toronto. We annihilated the party as per usual, which set us up for what we going to embark upon.

Boarding alongside the other 4,000 cruisers was a joy. You could sense the joy and witness the rekindled friendships all through the process. It was a great feeling.

Day one day the Captain himself taking the lead and headlining the night. As usual he delivered a flawless performance on the main deck, which came after stellar performances from Jah 9 (an inspired choice for an opener on the ship) and also a hit-laden got set from the 45 year veterans Third World, who have had their forthcoming album produced by Damian himself.

As with previous years, the after parties create their own stories. This year I staged my own heavyweight title fight alongside Damian as we went toe to toe in a mini clash on the glitzy Promenade - I had the upper hand and thought I had delivered the knockout blow with a crazy crowd reaction with Soca time “Palance” - then came the sucker punch. Damian stopped the music and declared, “This is the Reggae Cruise, not the Soca Cruise”, before shutting me down with his Father’s classic “Crazy Baldhead.”

Fair enough - defeat was inevitable and I took it on the chin - literally.

All fun and games and a great way to start the adventure.

Circle back next week for the rest of the adventures on the high seas.

Time for me to have another glass of wine I think...

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