Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, the Mavericks and Band of Heathens are among the headliners.
By Lee Zimmerman
As the number of music cruise choices increase, naturally so does the diversity. No longer the novelty they were as little as ten years ago, these excursions are now becoming as diverse and plentiful as the number of genres represented. There’s so much competition, in fact, that we’re now seeing some musical overlaps as cruise promoters attempt to dissect the broader base of specific styles and narrow them down to even more finite realms.
Among the latest cruises set to launch with a more defined purpose is the Outlaw Country Cruise, sailing from the port of Miami on the Norwegian Pearl, next February 7 – 11, with a stopover in Grand Cayman. It’s the latest offerings from Sixthman, the Atlanta-based cruise promoter which for years has successfully offered excursions headlined by Kiss, Kid Rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Train and dozens of other A-list headliners. The Outlaw Cruise is in itself a spin-off of sorts from Sixthman’s ever-popular Cayamo Cruise, an outing designed to appeal to generally the same Americana crowd as that flagship cruise, with many of the artists that have appeared on Cayamo cruises in the past — Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, the Mavericks and Band of Heathens — as well as better known renegade rockers like Bobby Bare Junior and senior; Willie Nelson’s son Lukas Nelson and his band POTR; Shooter Jennings, son of the late Waylon Jennings; Mojo Nixon; Dale Watson; and Blackberry Smoke, among the dozen and a half artists already announced. Special theme nights, contests, exclusive artist events, one of a kind collaborations and late night jams are also some of the events promised in the way of entertainment.
While the Outlaw Cruise is clearly targeted at a core country crossover audience, the response is likely to be enthusiastic from the get-go. After all, in their fourteen years of operation, Sixthman have helped pioneer the entire idea taking the festival experience to the high seas. And while the costs may be higher than that involved with simply pitching a tent in the middle of a field surrounded by several thousand of closest — and slightly inebriated — friends, the opportunity to indulge in around-the-clock buffet lines as well as to nurse your hangover in a tidy stateroom, be catered to by an unceasingly cheery cabin crew and marvel at a nightly array of intriguing little towel creations makes cruising an attractive option. It’s an appeal that Sixthman has clearly capitalized on, resulting in a total of 81 full ship charters and 170,000 delighted guests.
Costs for booking a stateroom on the Outlaw Cruise range from $775 per person for double occupancy in a lower deck interior cabin to $15,000 per person for the ship’s most exclusive and luxurious suite. Yes, it’s big bucks, but in terms of the entertainment, these outlaws provide a pretty good ransom in return.