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Cruise To The Edge Part 1 - Rockin' the Caribbean

Normally when a cruise ship is rocking it's because the ocean has gotten a little bit unruly. When the Cozumel, Mexico bound MSC Divina sailed out of Miami recently the ship was rocking hard but it had nothing to do with the weather. The ship was embarking on the 2nd annual Cruise to the Edge, a floating prog rock festival starring the legendary English band Yes and featuring an incredible line-up of bands like Marillion, UK, Steve Hackett's Genesis Revisited, Renaissance, Strawbs and Tony Levin's Stickmen in addition to Queensryche, Lifesigns, the Pineapple Thief and many others.

The Pineapple Thief

The five-day Cruise to the Edge got underway in earnest as the Divina set sail during a show by Canadian rockers Saga. Playing an outdoor show on the "pool stage" as the Miami skyline slipped away in the distance, Saga played a set of deep album cuts and hits like "On the Loose," an especially appropriate selection since music would be running wild almost non-stop during the voyage. It would take the Divina the rest of the evening and the entire next day to get to Cozumel and the thousands of prog fans aboard had unbelievable opportunities to hear music and interact with band members during that time.


A full schedule of shows was on tap, including performances by Steve Hackett, the Pineapple Thief, Italian band PFM, Stickmen, Sound of Contact (with Simon Collins, son of Phil Collins), Renaissance, Scale the Summit, Pamela Moore, the Prog Rock Orchestra, Queensryche and Three Friends (ex Gentle Giant members.)

Pamela Moore

Yes biographer Jon Kirkman, the "host" of the whole shebang, held a show and tell session to tout his Yes book Time and a Word, Annie Haslam of Renaissance met fans and showed a selection of her small paintings which were for sale and Strawbs, Lifesigns, Patrick Moraz, Soft Machine Legacy, Moon Safari, Presto Ballet and IO Earth were among the bands meeting their fans during "storyteller" sessions.

Marillion storyteller session

Chuck Campbell of Presto Ballet

And a really big treat for fans was the meet-and-greet opportunity where the members of Saga, Queensryche, PFM, Soft Machine Legacy and others patiently posed for photographs with all comers

The Divina is only about a year old so passengers had a pretty spiffy ride for the Cruise to the Edge, enjoying shows in the grand theater and various bars when poolside shows were not occurring. A favorite activity, of course, was putting on the feed bag; the Divina has an Italian theme so along with the American-style food served in the various restaurants and buffets there was always tasty Italian food on hand, ranging from thin crust pizza to a wide array of specialty pasta dishes.

Rock stars have to eat too so it was not unusual to run into band members in the restaurants, and since it is the idea behind the cruise that the artists be accessible, most of them were amenable to having a chat or a photo taken.

Annie Haslam art for sale

Treats for the eyes were not neglected either; renowned artist Roger Dean, the designer of many Yes album covers, was on board and showing some of his magnificent paintings and prints (more about Roger in part 3 of our Cruise to the Edge coverage) and fans also drooled over the "Starship Cooper" (get it, Yes fans?), an Austin Mini Cooper adorned with colorful custom-designed Cruise to the Edge artwork that was being raffled off.

Starship Cooper

Up next in part 2 of our coverage, fun in Cozumel and a fantastic performance from Yes.

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