Norwegian Pearl in Ocho Rios

Humor: COVID-19 Says It’s all Groove, No Cruise

The Monthly Mantra

Ship out of luck … Ship out of luck … Ship out of luck …

I’d like to drink a toast to the organizers of Cruise to the Edge and the On the Blue Cruise, two of the most spectacular music theme cruises you’ll ever sail.

Of course, I’d really like to drink that toast at the pool bar aboard Norwegian Pearl on March 27 but that’s not happening since both cruises were postponed thanks to the pandemic known as Covid-19 (which we rock fans can’t help but put to the tune of “Come On, Eileen”). Imagine: More than a year’s tireless planning, bringing rock acts from all over the world to two massive floating music festivals and then, splash, it’s all overboard a couple of weeks before sailing. No doubt it was devastating to the organizers.

And to the fans.

Cruise to the Edge and On the Blue

While I’m sure not alone in the paralyzing disappointment of having the gangway pulled out from under me at nearly the last moment, Cruise to the Edge and On the Blue were to mark my retirement after more than 40 years in the 9-5 corporate world. I got a haircut and highlights in preparation. I bought a terrific new Jam’s World dress. I’d booked my leg wax appointment. And I was all ready to kick off my retirement against a soundtrack of music by bands like Yes, the headliners of prog rock’s 5-day Cruise to the Edge — and then — without missing a beat, or changing cabins — I’d swing right into the 7-day On the Blue Cruise with Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues, the Orchestra, Art Garfunkel, The Zombies, Al Stewart, and more.

READ: Rock the Ship: Theme cruises keep the good times rolling

Ironically, it was Yes that was the first to say “no.” Others followed, either out of health concerns or because the travel ban took their trans-Atlantic flights to Miami off the table. Soon, even the acts that were ready and willing to appear (special shout out to the fearless ex-Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett who planned to attend with his 90-year-old mom), found themselves ship out of luck when the world of cruising came to a screeching halt.

We were baffled. We were enraged. And we were really ticked that damning fingers were pointing squarely at cruise ships though it was smooth sailing for over 99 percent of them. (I’m still really ticked about that, to be honest.)

But as the news coverage intensified, something was becoming clear: The “elderly” with underlying health issues were most at risk from this pandemic. I suddenly realized that while, in our mind’s eye, we’re all still be back in the 1970s, wearing fringe vests and Earth shoes, smoking cigarettes, and drinking a bottle of Boone’s Farm, let’s face it: For many of us veteran rockers, “elderly with underlying health issues” is a pretty accurate description.

I want all of us — both passengers and artists — to be around when Cruise to the Edge and On the Blue finally set sail. So until then, let’s stay at home and play the music we expected to hear live at sea, bump fists, hoard toilet paper, self-quarantine, and await word of our newly-scheduled sailings — an announcement that will be music to our ears.

— Judi Cuervo


Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line

Judi Cuervo is a New York City native who fell in love with cruising in 1976 during her first sailing aboard Carnival Cruises’ Mardi Gras. Twenty years later, she began her freelance cruise writing gig and, since that time, has covered mass market, ultra-premium, riverboat and expedition ships for regional, national and international publications as well as cruise websites.