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Thread: Cruise to the Edge - advice/tips/tricks

  1. #1
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    Cruise to the Edge - advice/tips/tricks

    Will be going on my first CTTE this year with old high school prog pal (class of '71). We have never been on a cruise of any kind. So I'm looking for things I should know before going. On any subject. What to be sure to pack. Are there multiple acts performing simultaneously? How is info disseminated to cruisers (schedules, etc.). Best times/places to eat. Seriously would be grateful for insights on any subject to make the trip easier and/or more fulfilling. Yes I've read the FAQs, etc. on the website.

    Thanks in advance.

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    My wife and I will be going for the first time this year too. We have been on quite a few regular cruises, but never a concert cruise so I have a lot of the same questions. I don't know if you are on Facebook or not, but if so, there is a "friends of cruise to the edge" Facebook page that has some information.

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    Outraged bystander markwoll's Avatar
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    I think if you search CTTE here you will find lots of threads from past years.
    There have been some extensive reviews.
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    Member wiz_d_kidd's Avatar
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    My wife and I did CTTE in 2014. We both had a wonderful time. Here's some pointers...

    Music will be playing continuously, in several venues, from about 11am to the wee hours of the morning. Decide ahead of time what you'd like to see, and get to the venue early, if possible. The main acts (i.e. Yes) will provide tickets to the main theater, so you don't have to worry about them. Everything else is first-come, first-served. Many bands will do multiple performances, while others only do one. You should sit down with the schedule and plan out the entire cruise -- otherwise, you'll be running from venue to venue, getting there late, and not finding seating.

    Food was OK. They herd you into the main dining room, fill up a table, take your orders, and feed you. Service was horrible. Don't expect the fine dining experiences of a "regular" cruise. Feed yourself when you get a break from the music. We did the main dining room only once, choosing instead to grab "fast food" at the various buffets or other food stations.

    Drinks. Think about purchasing a drinks package ahead of time. On our cruise, we bought a booklet of "tickets" which we could redeem for average (not top-shelf) drinks. It simplified getting service without having to mess around with your onboard credit card, signatures, and receipts.

    Ports-of-call were boring. We never got off the ship -- deciding instead to stay aboard and not miss any bands we wanted to see. The music doesn't stop just because you're in port. CTTE 2020 stops at a "Cay" -- a small island usually owned by the cruise line, and "Roatan". Decide for yourselves whether you went on CTTE for the music or the shore excursions.

    Musicians will be everywhere -- the pool, the breakfast buffet, the midnight jams, etc. Don't be shy about talking to them. We had breakfast with several band members. Amateur musicians often get together after midnight in some of the clubs and jam their favorite prog tunes. Some of the original musicians attend.

    Meet and greet. Our cruise (and I assume all CTTE cruises) have a designated time to line up, meet the musicians, and get your pictures taken. I did. It was fun, and now I get to circulate a photo of me with John Wetton and Eddie Jobson, as well as many others.

    Remember, this is a floating music festival. You're there primarily for the music -- not the food, ports, games, and other attractions of a regular cruise. If you've cruised before, manage your expectations. It won't be the fine service and high cuisine you're used to. What you WILL get is enough music to make your ears bleed, access to the musicians, and loads of fun talking about prog with the other prog fans aboard.

    Have fun, and post something when it's all over!

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    Member doh's Avatar
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    This is a pretty good summary (above). The best part is that everyone is there for the same reason. It's a boat full of 2000 friends.

    Pack like you would for an outdoor music festival, not a cruise.

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    Join the Facebook page ďthe official cruise to the edge community ď. Whether or not you like Facebook, it is the main source of information for the trip.

    This is my fifth - first one was 2014. The reminder that it is a floating music festival is a good one. Forget most cruise related things. That said, a lot of people enjoy the ports. It isnít why we go, but a lot of people do enjoy the different activities and if thatís something you want, go for it.

    Drink packages are not nearly as beneficial as they were in 2014, and there may not even be one. But, if they are do look into them.

    Enjoy hanging with prog fans for five nights, and that includes hanging with the artists. Also, donít expect much sleep.

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    Also, be sure to make the pre-cruise party. You’ll get a chance to reserve free tickets and it is a great way to kick things off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mstove View Post
    Also, be sure to make the pre-cruise party. You’ll get a chance to reserve free tickets and it is a great way to kick things off.
    I've never been on the Cruise before, but we live in the area outside Tampa.
    Yes, keep an eye open for the pre-cruise party, there is a club in Tampa where some members of the bands will meet and play. I know Dave Kerzner and friends played there the night before(I think).

    Also, although it's sunny Florida we are having a roller coaster winter. Some days we are in the high 70's and low 60's at night. But other days it's low 60's for a high and low 40's at night. Last night we hit 48 for a low and last week we had a couple of 37 and 38 lows at night.
    So dress for the best and worst, layering is essential, especially since it's been a rather windy winter as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    I've never been on the Cruise before, but we live in the area outside Tampa.
    Yes, keep an eye open for the pre-cruise party, there is a club in Tampa where some members of the bands will meet and play. I know Dave Kerzner and friends played there the night before(I think).

    Also, although it's sunny Florida we are having a roller coaster winter. Some days we are in the high 70's and low 60's at night. But other days it's low 60's for a high and low 40's at night. Last night we hit 48 for a low and last week we had a couple of 37 and 38 lows at night.
    So dress for the best and worst, layering is essential, especially since it's been a rather windy winter as well.
    The cruise is out of Miami this year and the pre cruise party is at the old dog track/park which apparently has been renovated. Brand X is headlining it. Also, the cruise is later this year, leaving on March 27th. Good thing is we shouldn't get stuck waiting for the fog to lift since the bridge isn't an issue out of Miami. You re correct that Kertzner was one of the acts last year - along with Neal Morse and Marbin.

    There will be an event in Tampa the following weekend. Many of the people who are, or have, played the late night jam get together at a rural location for a few days of more playing and I believe they are capping it off with a show at a club in Tampa that includes a couple of bands, as well as music that is similar to the late night event. I believe this is open to anyone (we aren't going as none of us can take that much time off, but a lot of people will be around following the cruise, as well as some others who couldn't get on the boat). There is an FB site called "prog on the ranch" or similar which has more information about this.

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    BTW - if you have any specific questions, jberg, feel free to message me.

    A couple other thoughts:

    Schedules will be mailed out within about a week of the cruise - sometimes very close to the departure date as some moving pieces aren't set until just before we go. Of course, weather and technical delays are more common on a cruise ship than a standard festival, so be aware that changes will happen. Typically, we get updated daily schedules as it goes along and there will be boards with the updates, as well. One thing I highly recommend is just remembering that this is a huge undertaking on a boat - don't let a delay here or there bother you (though the Pearl is better suited for this than the RCL boat the last few years, so hopefully there will be fewer of those).

    As mentioned, outside the 3-4 ticketed events (you have blue or red shows), everything else is GA (though in some venues and for some shows they do let the VIP folks get first crack - this is actually the only change they've made over the years that I dislike). it isn't everywhere or every show, and it isn't a huge deal. Also, there are almost always overlapping acts, as no venue except the pool stage can accommodate everyone. This means you need to sort of figure out your priority list, as you won't catch every single act even though they play twice. Some people complain about too many acts, but I like to think of it as we plan our own itinerary based on our likes. If they randomly took 5-10 artists off, they could easily take some of our favorites. I'd rather choose who I see out of a larger pool of artists. This part is fantastic to me, yet it bothers some (inexplicably, IMO).

    For us, we generally just run through the buffet between gigs, but we are always trying to see as many things as possible (over thirty last year). Others enjoy taking time to have real sit-down meals, but we are there without our spouses and don't bother with that. Also, I forget the name, but the pub by the atrium stage has food 24 hours and their made to order stuff is quite good. The Pearl had better food than the RCL ship the last few years, as well. I'm happy to be back on the Pearl.

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    Great info... thanks everyone especially Mstove and wiz_d_kidd for your thorough responses. I'm not on social media so FB group doesn't help. Starting to get jazzed (or would that be progged?) about the cruise. Any other tips welcome. One more question does come to mind, I am an old man with a bad back. Do the non-seated events have places that you can find to sit (perimeter railings, etc.)? I can't stand for more than 15-20 minutes at a time. Oh and another, if you recommend showing up early for a set..... how early?

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    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    I’ve been on two of the cruises. There’s a lot covered above - I’d just mention that the schedule isn’t ALWAYS sent out before the cruise. There was at least one where they didn’t give it out until we were aboard.

    RE: the drinks, IMO they’re all overpriced and weak. If I go on another cruise I’ll make it alcohol free.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jberq View Post
    Great info... thanks everyone especially Mstove and wiz_d_kidd for your thorough responses. I'm not on social media so FB group doesn't help. Starting to get jazzed (or would that be progged?) about the cruise. Any other tips welcome. One more question does come to mind, I am an old man with a bad back. Do the non-seated events have places that you can find to sit (perimeter railings, etc.)? I can't stand for more than 15-20 minutes at a time. Oh and another, if you recommend showing up early for a set..... how early?
    I'd just recommend again maybe joining FB (you don't have to get a bunch of "friends" just go on and lurk) and join the official community page as well as follow the cruise page. For better or worse, that is easily the best way to get information.

    It all depends on the venue. Several have seats (really, only the pool stage doesn't). I wouldn't worry too much about a specific amount of time in advance as times do get pushed back sometimes. But, if you want to be in good seats for a popular act, I'd say fairly early (yeah, not helpful). We kind of do it based on the shows we are seeing, when things end and who is playing. Sometimes we get there early enough to get great seats and other times we are just in the venue listening with limited viewing. The Pearl is pretty sitting friendly, though the pool stage could possibly have limited seating as some folks really like having a standing venue and that seems to be the chosen one some years. I'd say you'll get a good hang of how that works within the first day.

    As to getting schedules in advance, I went on 14, 15, 17 and 19 and all had them released different amounts of time before the cruise. I seem to recall that one year it was up on FB and didn't get out on email until either just before or maybe not anywhere but FB (I don't think that is the case), but of the years I've gone there was always a schedule available somewhere before the day of departure. I know in 14 it was the morning we headed to Florida, so only two days early and I think maybe one of the next two came out when we were already down there (it seems like 17 was really late - but could have been 15 - and we didn't get one printed in advance), but on the four I took there was always one available in advance. Maybe it was 13 or 18 when they didn't have one out in time. Last year it was out way in advance - over a week, I believe.

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    Member rickawakeman's Avatar
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    Do people ?

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    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickawakeman View Post
    Do people ?
    That’s not popular with the cruise lines, and also you don’t actually find yourself outside all that much aside from the pool stage. With some kind of one-hitter or vape thingy you might be ok.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    I’ve been on two of the cruises. There’s a lot covered above - I’d just mention that the schedule isn’t ALWAYS sent out before the cruise. There was at least one where they didn’t give it out until we were aboard.

    RE: the drinks, IMO they’re all overpriced and weak. If I go on another cruise I’ll make it alcohol free.
    Again, I have only been on regular cruises, but drink prices are always way high, but........there is no way I am not drinking on a cruise so I look at it as part of the vacation cost.

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    Member doh's Avatar
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    Regarding sitting at venues: Yes, most venues have seats, but they will be in high demand. Most cruisers go breathlessly from concert to concert and they won't have good seats. If sitting is critical for you, you may have to reduce the concerts you see and arrive 30-60 minutes early for each one. There is typically only about a 60-90 minute break between concerts at a particular venue, so if you arrive as the previous one is ending, you should be able to get a good seat. But, then you will be missing music happening somewhere else on the boat.

    Another option is to bring a small pop-up chair. They make some portable ones that are better than nothing.

    I feel your pain. The first year I had a bruised tailbone where sitting was extremely painful, but after a while standing was also. It was still an amazing experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    That’s not popular with the cruise lines, and also you don’t actually find yourself outside all that much aside from the pool stage. With some kind of one-hitter or vape thingy you might be ok.
    Am I correct in deducing the pool stage is the only outdoor setting? Other than the main theater what are the other venues like?

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    NEARfest Officer Emeritus Nearfest2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiz_d_kidd View Post
    CTTE 2020 stops at a "Cay" -- a small island usually owned by the cruise line, and "Roatan".
    Roatan is a great island. It's about 18 miles north of the Honduran mainland. They have great scuba diving and snorkeling. There is also a brewery called Roatan Island Brewing Company that's worth a visit.
    Chad

  20. #20
    Member doh's Avatar
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    I went on Royal Caribbean three times, but have not been on this NCL ship. However, from what I understand, it's similar. There are five venues announced.

    Deck plan: https://cruisetotheedge.com/deck-plan/
    Virtual tour (has pictures of the Atrium, Spinnaker, and Stardust): http://iceportal.com/brochures/ice/b..._popup=700x450

    Spinnaker Lounge (Deck 13): A "club" setting. Appears to be more wide open with better line-of-sight than the RCL club. Late Night Live and a Neal Peart tribute are confirmed to be hosted here and other bands will definitely play as well. This is a good setting to get up and close with some of the non-arena bands.
    Pool stage (Deck 12): The pool stage gets the best and the worst of the weather of course, but also tends to be the "rowdiest" of the venues which can be fun. It is usually the center of the hustle-bustle and the merch table was also nearby on RCL. The pool stage often gets a lot of special guests where artists collaborate together.
    Crystal Atrium (Deck 7-8): If it's like RCL, it's fun to walk through and hear music, but difficult to really enjoy a band due to awkward seating.
    Bliss Ultra Lounge Night Club (Deck 7): I'm only guessing that this is the fifth venue and I can't find any pictures. Maybe it's another club setting.
    Stardust Theater (Deck 6-7): The best sound and comfortable chairs of course. But, it can be strange to sit quietly when a rock band is playing. I couldn't get people to stand very often. It's a good fit for Marillion, Yes, Steve Hackett, etc.

    So, basically, different bands thrive in different settings. Riverside is awesome in a theater, Pain of Salvation is better in a club or the stage. Flying Colors is probably most fun in the sun of the pool deck while Gong is awesome in a club. Moon Safari is a great fit for the Spinnaker and don't miss Late Night Live there also.

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    ALL ACCESS Gruno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveSly View Post
    Again, I have only been on regular cruises, but drink prices are always way high, but........there is no way I am not drinking on a cruise so I look at it as part of the vacation cost.
    What is the average price of:
    -soft drink
    -beer
    -wine
    -mixed drinks

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    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gruno View Post
    What is the average price of:
    -soft drink
    -beer
    -wine
    -mixed drinks
    Whatever it costs, it's a rip off. I paid $3K Canadian ($2K USD) for seven night, plus air, to an amazing hotel in the Dominican Repubic in December with all the free food and booze you could consume.
    What can this strange device be? When I touch it, it brings forth a sound.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nearfest2 View Post
    Roatan is a great island. It's about 18 miles north of the Honduran mainland. They have great scuba diving and snorkeling. There is also a brewery called Roatan Island Brewing Company that's worth a visit.
    Sold!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mozo-pg View Post
    Whatever it costs, it's a rip off. I paid $3K Canadian ($2K USD) for seven night, plus air, to an amazing hotel in the Dominican Repubic in December with all the free food and booze you could consume.
    This is getting slightly off topic, but I have done both all inclusives like you mention above, and cruises. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. The free drinks at an all inclusive is certainly great, but on a ship you wake up in a different place every day which is also cool. Cruise prices can range all over the place. When my parents used to winter in Florida they sometimes got insanely cheap last minute deals on cruises if you could go without a lot of notice.

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    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveSly View Post
    This is getting slightly off topic, but I have done both all inclusives like you mention above, and cruises. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. The free drinks at an all inclusive is certainly great, but on a ship you wake up in a different place every day which is also cool. Cruise prices can range all over the place. When my parents used to winter in Florida they sometimes got insanely cheap last minute deals on cruises if you could go without a lot of notice.
    I totally agree. I thought after my post, I should have only said my point was only about the cost of drinks. There is no comparison to all the great bands you could see and, as you say, the ports.
    What can this strange device be? When I touch it, it brings forth a sound.

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