Salty Dog Cruise 2016: my dream vacation come true

Wow! How to summarize three days of concerts, beer, and a lot of fun (and sun)? My vacation aboard the Salty Dog cruise was amazing! 
 
Starting out from Miami on Friday, March 18, the first day was useful to settle in and get to know my surroundings. I arrived in my cabin a bit confused, but my roommate was there to greet me; we made friends and had a few beers together. (If you go on Salty Dog cruise alone, the staff will assign you a cabin with another single traveler.)
 
After just enough time to settle down and take a walk around the ship, we received a proper welcome, complete with whiskey and lots of giveaways (buttons, stickers, bags, and many other odds and ends).
 
After seeing the violinist of Mickey Rickshaw (a band I’ll talk about later) drop his pants while playing  some popular folk songs, and a couple of glasses of whiskey, I realized where I had ended up – on board the Flogging Molly Cruise!!
 
 
With music from Flogging Molly & Friends, Skinny Lister, Frank Turner, and Street Dogs, the afternoon flew by. In the evening, there was a concert by Rancid. I’d already seen Rancid the night before in Fort Lauderdale, where they played with Street Dogs, but in Fort Lauderdale there were so many people (sold out!) that it was difficult to enjoy the concert. When you’ve grown up with Rancid’s music, you need to appreciate every single second of the concert. I was very lucky – I don't know why, but when I came on board I received two wristbands, which allowed me to attend both Rancid concerts. (Rancid played two gigs on board in order to split the audience.)
 
 
It was such good luck! Because Sunday proved in the end to be one of the best days of my life.
In both concerts, Rancid’s Lars Frederiksen encouraged everyone to go see The Faction, the legendary skate-punk band, with the skater Steve Caballero on guitar. Unfortunately, there weren’t so many people in front of the stage where The Faction were playing.
An historic band like The Faction, active since 1982, is a must-see!!!
 
On the second day, Saturday, March 19, we woke up in Nassau, Bahamas. I didn’t like the place much, but I had the opportunity to visit a small but impressive museum about pirates.
In the evening, I was able to appreciate Skinny Lister and Street Dogs again, as well as The Faction’s first concert (with Tim Armstrong and Lars Frederiksen were also under the stage) which was great, and also The Slackers.
Disappointed a bit by Nassau, I didn’t enjoy the day very much on Saturday.
 
However, I was very surprised by the last band of the evening, whom I hadn’t heard of before: they were Mickey Rickshaw, a fantastic folk-punk band, who reminded me a lot of The Dreadnoughts and Neck (two great folk-punk bands).
(https://mickeyrickshaw.bandcamp.com/)
 
 
If Saturday didn’t completely convince me, I can safely say that Sunday was one of the best days of my life.
 
We arrived in the morning at a private island called Great Stirrup Cay. It was really an earthly paradise: several beautiful beaches, sun, clear water, tropical fish, free food and beer, Flogging Molly and Fishbone playing on the beach. What more could you want?
To tell the truth, I missed a large part of the Fishbone concert, because I got lost walking six miles across the island to see a lighthouse. 
On the way, I was able to admire the natural landscape, and even photograph an iguana.
 
 
After some Guinness during the concert on the beach, I went back onto the ship, where I saw The Slackers for the second time, as well as my third Rancid concert. It was great!!! It was Sunday evening at 7 p.m., and there weren’t many people in the venue, which meant I was able to watch the concert near the stage, singing and drinking beers throughout the show. 
 
 
Then came the last concert of the cruise (for me): The Faction with a small audience for the second time...why???.  After their show, I also took the opportunity to get a vinyl by The Faction signed by the entire band and take a picture with Steve Caballero, Lars Frederiksen and Matt Hensley.
 
 
The night ended with punk-rock karaoke and DJ sets for a few hours.
I must admit, Sunday alone was worth the whole holiday! Unforgettable!
 
The cruise might not suit every budget, especially if you’re from Europe – but this is the best holiday that a punk rocker could dream of.
Huge thanks to Matt Hensley, Flogging Molly, and all the staff members for the incredible vacation they made possible!
 
I don’t know if I’ll be able to go again next year. But I hope so!
 
Dexter
 
The end of the last night with punk rock karaoke:
 
 
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