Last weekend, a couple of thousand people gathered in Tampa, Florida to embark on VH1 Best Cruise Ever, a musical journey to the Grand Cayman featuring 3 Doors Down, Lifehouse, Shinedown, Carolina Liar, Parachute, Secondhand Serenade, Angel Taylor, and plenty of other bands for 4-days of non-stop concerts. The Best Cruise Ever was just that, and I’m not just saying that because I edit a website that shares both name and brand. But rather than launch into a lengthy college thesis of what made it the best cruise, instead I’ve decided to relay to you the 20 things I learned while on the high seas.
Here are the 20 Things I Learned on VH1 Best Cruise Ever:
20. Wait, You Guys: I Really Like Lifehouse.
[Credit Will Byington]
I’ll admit, I approached the cruise having never seen a single band participant live. I had no idea what to expect. What I found out was pleasantly surprising! Every show I went to was a lot of fun, and sometimes the music surpassed even my greatest of expectations.
Such was the case with Lifehouse. I had interviewed Lifehouse a few weeks before the cruise and found them to be just about the friendliest people I had ever encountered. So you better believe I was OVERJOYED to learn that they were one of those bands that sounded better live than on their recording. Lead singer Jason Wade, along with drummer Rick Woolstenhulme, Jr., bassist Bryce Soderberg and guitarist Ben Carey brought their songs to life on stage in a way that few bands know how to do.
I know. Lifehouse! Amazing. If you never get to see them live, put your hipster bullsh*t aside and get married to “You & Me.” Trust me, it’s worth it.
19. The Above Bulletpoint On This List Has Nothing To Do With Jason Wade’s Shoulders. Wait, sorry, it’s got like 20% to do with his shoulders. I want to make a Lifehouse in this man’s shoulders, if that is possible. Sorry, but it’s just a fact:
18. People Do Not F*ck Around About Flip Cup. There were costumes. There were intense rivalries. There was indie band Parachute presiding over the competitors. Watch as we all try to out-dude each other:
17. Even Jack Kevorkian Himself Couldn’t Bring The Mood Down.
We snapped this pic during an outdoor performance on the Lido Deck. And trust us, you haven’t lived until you’ve sipped Mai Tais to 3 Doors Down while staring into the gaunt face of the afterlife.
16. I Paid $21.99 For This Photo. So, by default, I have to post it. Here is my reliving my Homecoming days along with very photogenic musicians Nic Cowan and Jason Coffey:
Photos of a man with a 12-inch long penis, cannonballers, and me completely and totally sober, as well as 15 more things I came away with from the cruise… ahead!
15. This Man Claims to Have a Foot Long Penis, and He Will Sell It To You For $5.
14. Folks Who Go On VH1 Music Cruises Are Secretly The Best Folks. No, I’m not just kissing ass here because we all shared the experience of getting rained on in Grand Cayman together. Every single person I met on this cruise was incredibly fun and nice. They were good people who were just there for the music, to meet other fans, and, of course, drink. I would tell these people to move to New York so we could hang, but frankly, New York would ruin the goodness in all of you. So stay put. Especially the lovely family I met from England. Hope the volcano eruption made your vacation a special and extremely long one.
Especially you guys. You and your… (gulp) so not-at-all-terrifying doll thing:
[Credit: Jeff O'Kelley]
13. The Male Wet T-Shirt Contest Exposed More Abs Than Expected! Seriously, there were actually some guys who worked out on the regular that entered. But who would walk away with the Sexiest Male Wet T-Shirt prize (my undying devotion)? See here:
12. You Say 80s Night, Best Cruise Ever Attendees Say “How High (Do You Want My Mullet To Go)?” These people were NOT KIDDING AROUND. There were mullet wigs, fishnets, crimpers, and overall just SUPER INTENSE FANS OF THE 80s. This photo was taken 7 days ago on the Lido deck, and not 27 years ago in Steve Rubell’s apartment:
11. People Will Do Pretty Much Anything To Get The Attention of Shinedown. One of my duties on board, other than sampling every offering in the buffet, was to host a Cannonball Competition with guest judges Shinedown. And you can believe some of their most devoted fans knew this was their chance to grab the attention of said band. Like this girl, who ruined what seems to be a fairly new pleather jacket and skull-painted jeans combo:
[Credit Will Byington]
Shinedown gave her straight 6′s out of 10′s. As became my line throughout the cruise, they were being a little too “Russian Judgey” for my liking, especially when Shinedown themselves weren’t even that great at Cannonballing, as seen in the following animated GIF:
[Credit Will Byington]
They seemed to be pretty OK dudes, so I will give them a pass until the next time they are judging a Cannonball competition that I also happen to be hosting.
10. Rick Jackett From Finger 11 Is Really Good at Trivia, and Is Not Hiding a Cheat Sheet In His Beard. Rick, if you’re reading this, you really did deserve to win. I’m sorry I was unfair, please may you and your facial hair one day forgive me.
9. Never Subject a Heartbroken Girl to the Plain White Ts. This is my friend and co-worker Jess, who recently broke-up with her boyfriend. And who would want to break up with this?
An *sshole, that’s who. Jess was having an absolutely fantastic time on the cruise, as we all were, until, by some stroke of bad luck, we all happen to be in our suite when the music video for the Plain White Ts’ “1 2 3 4″ came on. Then, this happened:
Arms were flailed, screams from the depths of ones soul were released as the captions of various love stories flew across the screen. It was performance art to the highest degree. Lesson here? Keep girls who have recently broken up with someone away from all televisions.
8. Paintings on Cruise Ships Are Not Bolted Down.
See, also, #7, ahead.
7. Cruise Ships Are Like Totally Cool With Alcoholism. No, really. They push it on you from the moment Mr. Sun politely taps you on the shoulder to wake up in the morning to the moment Mr. Moon is slapping your raggedy drunk ass all the way back to your cabin in the middle of the night.
For me, the cruise began here: Calm, cool, collected. Here I am drinking a signature drink aboard the “Best Cruise Ever,” called a “Kiss on the Lips.” And you can bet I spent the following four days approaching every hot bartender on board ordering one. Note how fresh and put together I look:
[Credit Will Byington]
Here I am 3.5 days later (alongside sometime event co-host Kappy) after having an Absolut vodka blood transfusion. Someone needs to run these two photos through the Michael Jackson “Black or White” Morphing Machine to show the slow shift from “Ladylikeness” to “Disheveled Prostie”:
The two glasses of champagne or whatever that is is a nice touch.
6. The Best Cruise Ever Will Sell You a Plastic Guitar Full of Liquor for a Real Steal. It was the Bat Mitzvah I had always dreamed of! See also, #7.
5. Safetysuit Knows How To Put On a Good Show. As Does Angel Taylor.
Honestly. Really. Two of my favorite acts on the cruise. The boys in Safetysuit are not only adorable, but also super good at jumping up high and musically gifted. Angel Taylor is the second-coming of Norah Jones, only good on stage. (We went there, sorry Norah.) Get into these guys.
4. Being a Large Person Does Not Necessarily Make You Better at Cannonball. Here is video footage of me hosting the Best Cruise Ever’s Cannonball competition along with special guest judges Shinedown. One would think that being a larger person would make for bigger splashes; what we learned is that the splash is not so much about weight as it was about height of the jump and angle of entry. Hence, many of our larger contestants just sort of… fell… into the pool without causing 80 percent of the water to fly out of it. Things I saw during this competition include, but are not limited to, one dude’s extremely hairy ass crack. Thankfully, that dude’s father ended up winning the whole competition. Check it out:
3. I Ended Up Feeling Like I Was Stalking Lifehouse.
As much as I found myself drawn to Lifehouse, sheer coincidence combined with the size of the ship we were all trapped on meant that I would run into Lifehouse all. the. time. At first, it was awesome. Like “Hey Lifehouse! What are you guys up to? Let’s hang!!” and then it became like “Oh, no, it’s cool Lifehouse. You don’t have to invite me along. I’m not, like, a total Lifehouse stalker or anything. I’m gonna take a buffet in the pasta nap… I mean, nap in the buffet! Ignore me, Lifehouse.” By the time I ran into them at the American Airlines terminal in the Tampa Airport, hungover and dead inside, I could barely muster a round of low-fives before crawling my way through the airplane sleeve and into my emergency exit aisle seat. So Lifehouse, if you’re reading this: I was totally not stalking you on the cruise. Unless you wanted me to be, in which case, look outside of your window right now.
2. The Bands Were All Super Cute and Nice. Look, they made us this thank you video!
1. I HAD THE BEST TIME. I am not just saying this because technically I’m being paid to say this. I really and truly had the best time on the Best Cruise Ever! Even with the torrential downpour of rain we all went through, 4 days of laughing, singing, eating, drinking and dancing made us forget that our tans were perhaps not as “The Situationey” as we all wanted them to be. So thank you to the VH1 crew who tagged along, most of whom can be seen here:
[Credit Will Byington]
As well as the AWESOME people at Sixthman who made this entire thing possible.
And, most of all, thanks to everyone who came along and made the trip so much fun! We hope to see you again.