This morning we got up and wandered down to the Lido deck for breakfast. It was seriously quiet, perhaps due to the fact that there was a huge Elvis tribute artist’s show last night that ended after midnight. There were about 13 different Elvis representations, taking the performer from his early, rockabilly Sun Records years, through his Las Vegas shows. *I am not sure if I can show you photos and video from this show, since there are contractual issues with some of the performers, but I WILL check with Sixthman once I get home, and add those if they approve it.
The all around award winning Elvis Tribute Artist, Bill Cherry, closed the show, singing ” American Trilogy” and dedicating his performance to American servicemen and women. His performance was amazingly convincing, down to his last gesture, arms outstretched, showcasing his “Elvis cape,” complete with studded eagle design.
Looking at the video I shot last night of the various Elvis Tribute Artists, I’m reminded that many can offer a good representation of the King of Rock and Roll, but only one man can really be Elvis…and that would be Elvis, himself. A comment was made in the “Elvis Musicality” panel (I think by Elvis’s drummer Ronnie Tutt (from Elvis’s Las Vegas days) that Elvis would NOT have liked people to try and copy him, but he would have approved of performers who sang his songs their own way. Many of the ETAs on this ship did just that, singing Elvis, but adding their own, unique interpretations to the songs.
I am amazed, also, at the willingness of Elvis fans to hang on to his memory, not just by wearing shirts and other memorabilia, but interacting with Elvis performers “as if” they were Elvis, himself. For example, one of the tribute artists I saw yesterday posed for fans after his set on the Lido deck. They not only asked for photos and autographs, but woman after woman hugged and kissed him, as well. Last night at the Elvis tribute show, women were running up to the stage and flinging Hawaiian leis, and kissing the various Elvis performers — some of whom gifted the “faithful” with Elvis scarves, and a hug. You couldn’t help but wonder if these “enthusiastic” women believed each performer was really an incarnation, not an embodiment, of Elvis.
This is the last day of the Elvis Cruise. So I want to put down a few thoughts while they’re still circling in my head. It has been a very unique opportunity and a lot of fun. Being immersed in one performer’s music is novel, and has given me an even better appreciation for Elvis’s range and versatility as a singer. On the other hand, I think I’ ready forgo yet another rendition of Blue Suede Shoes for other songs.
How can I sum up about the cruise so far? For starters, it’s been very well organized by Sixthman Enterprises and very, very well run. The sheer amount of thought effort and expertise that has been put into this cruise is staggering. No expense or effort has been spared to make the Elvis cruise, the best experience of the guest’s lives. Sixthman produces a number of other music cruises for every musical interest. If you are a fan of a particular era or performer, going on a Sixthman-run theme cruise will be a very satisfying and fun experience.
And it’s not just music that the Elvis Cruise provided, it was everything from shopping to wine tasting, games, to gambling, and even an Elvis disco. For an Elvis fan, this cruise has been absolute heaven…a way to meet with other like-minded people who love Elvis, too. if you’re not quite that much of a fan, it was still a beautifully organzied cruise with more, high quality entertainment and activities than an average, nont-themed cruise.
Sixthman and Elvis Presley Enterprises has done an amzing job, but Carnival had to deliver a good experience, as well. The passengers on Carnival tend to be younger, with more children and young adults than on this cruise. However, as someone who has been on dozens and dozens and dozens of cruises, I was still dubious that Carnival, a budget-minded line for the most part, could deliver a quality product. A nice surprise is that the Carnival did a good job to make passengers feel welcome on this charter. The crew has gone out of its way to be attentive and efficient, the food has been as good as on other lines of its type, and although the ship is showing its age at bit, is well maintained. The Carnival Inspiration is also a fairly small ship compared to the more modern mega liners, and is the perfect size for this type of theme cruise. My only criticism is that the Paris lounge, the main show lounge, has terrible sight lines. No matter where you sit. You are likely to have a view that is obstructed by a pole.
And the passengers themselves? Apart from being real Elvis fans, they are for the most part, female and over 60. There are a lot of people (mostly husbands, boyfriends, and significant others) who have gone on the cruise to help make a special person’s dream come true, and everyone is having a good time. In fact, they’re already eager to book next years cruise. That is really the mark of success!
There is still half a day of the Elvis cruise left. I’ll be taking more photos and video and I will post them on my web site and on YOU TUBE, along with interviews, when I get home. For now, I’m signing off to go attend more Elvis activities!