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WTJRC Sailing Kickoff Party aboard the Norwegian Pearl
Miami, Florida…The inaugural debut of The Welcome To Jamrock Reggae Cruise (WTJRC) set sail aboard the Norwegian Pearl on Monday October 20, 2014 filled to the brim with Reggae music lovers representing 42 countries from as far as New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii, Japan, South America, Europe, various Caribbean islands and of course the USA. Setting a record as one of the fastest ticket sales of cruise ship passage the much anticipated event that SOLD OUT in within weeks of its announcement was the brainchild of Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley who produced the event and co-hosted it with his brothers Julian ‘JuJu Royal’ Marley and Stephen ‘Ragga’ Marley. The 5-day excursion bound for Jamaica W.I. from Miami, Florida stopped in two of the island’s breathtaking destinations, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. As we sailed the high seas, Reggae music featured prominently from morning to sunrise with very short breaks in-between; people could be found rocking and jamming, smiling and vibing at any given time of the day or night on several decks which hosted a multitude of specialty nightclub type venues. Everyone we encountered, passengers, artists and crew members shared friendly exchanges and many new friendships were forged crowning this trip the ultimate “One Love Boat!”
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Fan from Hawaii
Fans from Sweden
Fans from the US
Enjoying the music and vibes
Colleagues Maliika and Grace enjoying a moment at the Press Conference
Black Am I, Julian and Damian Marley kicked off the first evening concert series with earth shaking performances that set the tone and pulse for performances to come.
Black Am I
It was no surprise though that Wailing Souls, Tarrus Riley, and Shaggy alongside Rayvon brought their A game performances on Day 2. Shaggy celebrated a birthday during the cruise and received a special surprise as the fabulous radio show host Diva Nikki Z of WZMX Hot97 greeted him with a birthday cake as the thunderous crowd of attendees sang happy birthday.
The Wailing Souls
A packed crowd for the evening’s entertainment
Diva Nikki Z presents a cake in celebration of Shaggy’s birthday
Shaggy closes out his set on Day 2
Day 3 docked in Montego Bay leaving us to explore colorful island shops, local restaurants with enough time for a visit to the pristine beaches; reboarding the ship towards evening the cruise picked up Jamaican songbird, Etana “The StrongOne,” singjay Busy Signal, dancehall deejay Bounty Killer and Reggae crooner Jah Cure whose set was simply spectacular leaving the frenzied crowd begging for more even after a generous encore.
In Port at Ocho Rios
Day 4 docked in Ocho Rios offering yet another well organized fun filled day gathering with fantastic Reggae music at the Margaritaville Bar & Grill followed by more time for exploring the island; after returning to the ship the scheduled show gave us more blazing performances this time by dancehall artists Wayne Marshall, Cham (formerly Baby Cham) and Sean Paul.
Damian Marley joins Wayne Marshall on Stage “Go Hard”
Sean Paul & Badda Banz
Sean Paul and a Badda Gyalz dancer
Damian Marley joins Sean Paul on Stage “Riot”
An impromptu Free Style Session for the Final Performance.
The final show on Day 5 was marred by some rain but proceeded with stellar performances by Christopher Ellis, Jo Mersa, Morgan Heritage and a brief set by Stephen Marley that brought out the huge crowd before the show was suddenly aborted from the top deck main stage and moved inside ship because of the weather. Nonetheless, the performances and party vibes continued undaunted as every artist on board took to the stage free-styling until the wee hours of the morning. The free style nature of their performances created a great deal of excitement and was absolutely priceless!
Gramps Morgan of Morgan Heritage
Peetah Morgan of Morgan Heritage
In-between the high powered lineup of artists, music was spun each night at the various nightclubs by popular sound systems and DJ’s like David Rodigan, Stone Love, Bobby Kondors and Jabba, Diva Nikki Z, Renaissance Disco, Liquid, DJ Norie, Notorious VOG & JKool, Mighty Crown, Kingston 12 Shinehead & Papaloti keeping party goers up all night. This was a sleepless cruise because nobody wanted to miss a single moment! The hard to get next to Marley clan, participating artists and musicians could be spotted nightly at the various nightclubs mingling with the crowd and taking one-on-one pictures alongside their fans.
Jabba and ZJ Liquid
Members of the Irie Jam Radio Family
Ana (ReggaeLives.com) interviews Renaissance Sound
Rori of Stone Love, Notorious VOG, Renaissance Sound, and Jkool
Mighty Crown DJ
Diva Nikki Z
The WTJRC can rightfully be hailed an unforgettable experience as evidenced by the fact that applications with deposits for rebooking from this trip’s attendance roster reportedly ran at 95% for the year 2015 “despite” the fact that the dates nor concert lineups have not yet been determined. As reports further go, there is an active waiting list into the thousands and if those numbers are completely accurate then one thing is certain, the Marley’s will have to secure a much larger vessel in 2015 to accommodate everyone interested in booking passage. Yeahman, the WTJRC was that good!!!
Marjorie Flash is the founder & CEO of MyFlash Photography traveling the world as a photo-journalist capturing hard to get photos and providing cutting-edge entertainment coverage; she is a contributing writer and staff photographer for WhereItzAtMagazine, the official photographer for the Reggaeholics Movement, contributing photographer for ReggaeReflection.com and CitiLyfe Magazine.