A few days after Thanksgiving, hard rock hits the high seas.
On November 27, the fourth ShipRocked voyage sets sail aboard luxury cruise ship the MSC Poesia, advertising itself as the "ultimate rock and roll vacation" and featuring more than 15 of today's biggest rock bands. This is much more than just another music festival, it's sailing from Florida to the Bahamas and back with the likes of KoRn, Godsmack, Five Finger Death Punch, P.O.D., 10 Years, Filter and In This Moment.
Then throw in a few newer artists like Pop Evil, The Letter Black, and Pianotarium, and add a few old-school rockers like Sevendust, Lit, Helmet, Geoff Tate of Queensryche, and that's not even all the entertainment. This would already be enough to make many fans dizzy with pure excitement.
Shiprocked departs from Fort Lauderdale, heads to the Florida Keys and the Bahamas, and returns to port December 1. Along the way, its all-access experience includes not only concerts (more than 30 in all), but regular meet-and-greets and Q&A sessions as guests mingle with all of the above artists.
Lajon Witherspoon, front man of the band Sevendust, is an old Shiprock hand -- this year's cruise will be his third in a row. He couldn't be more excited.
"I've got my sea legs on me," he crows. "I can't wait to get out there and rock out with all my friends and all the other bands that will be there with us."
Witherspoon says Sevendust will play one set on the Monster Energy stage on the pool deck overlooking the ocean, and another in the Poecia's main theater, which he describes as "absolutely beautiful." Each band performs at two different times, with possibly two different sets, during the cruise, so fans who miss one have a chance to catch the other.
Sevendust has just finished recording its next album, so could the Shiprocked passengers hear some new material before the rest of the world has a chance?
"We haven't gone over our set list yet, but there is a chance we may pull out something you haven't heard," Witherspoon hints, adding that on the new one "we go outside the box and even go heavier than the normal Sevendust."
Fans can also take part in different excursions alongside some of the rockers on board. Witherspoon himself will be leading a Bahamas trip where Sevendust fans can jet-ski around the island with him for a few hours, and will even be doing some vocal coaching for a few lucky fans.
Another musician who is stoked about performing this year is Five Finger Death Punch drummer Jeremy Spencer. This will be the L.A. thrash band's maiden ShipRocked voyage, and Spencer says they are looking forward to seeing what happens once they board the ship.
"It wouldn't make much sense to do the same exact set twice, but I'm sure we will have something different in store for our fans who have seen us before," he says. "It will be unique and special."
Spencer adds that he's excited about being on the ship with KoRn, with whom 5FDP has toured in the past.
"As a drummer, I love watching Ray Luzier behind the kit," he says. "He is such a technical drummer, he's just an amazing musician."
As with Spencer, many Shiprocked musicians are no doubt looking forward to seeing certain other bands and musicians on the cruise. For them, the best part of the deal is that they're not just on the boat to perform, but also on vacation just like the rest of us. Some will bring their families, while others will arrive with other celeb friends they know, such as MTV's Matt Pinfield, Sirius/XM's Kayla Riley and major league ballplayer Johnny Damon.
Cabins are still available (starting at $799), but going fast. Go to www.getshiprocked.com to find out more information.