Cruise to the Edge Part 2 -Yes and Cozumel
Our fun aboard the MSC Divina continues as the Cruise to the Edge sails into sunny Cozumel, Mexico. The event's name is actually a play on the title of the epic prog rock album Close to the Edge by Yes, the stars of the massive floating music festival. And while the potent talent line-up for Cruise to the Edge featured prog era big shots like Tangerine Dream, Patrick Moraz, PFM, Steve Hackett and Soft Machine Legacy, the most anticipated show was that of Yes, the English band whose music is the very definition of progressive rock and that remains today, nearly 50-years on, the standard by which all others working in the genre are judged. And their performance on the ship showed exactly why they get the accolades.
Yes has a reputation for line-up changes but it was a variation on the "classic" Yes line-up that rocked the Divina: Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Alan White, Geoff Downes and singer Jon Davison, who vocally sounds just like the band's ex-lead singer, Jon Anderson.
The set list was strictly '70s, beginning with a cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "America," a tune Yes released as a single in 1972 that later claimed a spot on the Yesterdays compilation. But the bulk of the set list came from Close to the Edge and The Yes Album, both of which the band played in their entirety.
Yes storyteller session
The ship's theater has great acoustics and the performance was flawless and fans and fellow musicians left the show in a state of awe. And because the Cruise to the Edge is also all about giving fans a chance to interact with the bands, Yes also appeared on the intimate "pool stage" to take questions from the crowd. As much as the Divina was rockin' almost every minute of the cruise, there was also fun to be had ashore when the ship called at Cozumel, Mexico for two days.
The island of Cozumel is pretty much one big playground for visitors and Cruise to the Edge passengers could book all sorts of organized shore excursions like ATV or Jeep adventures, diving and snorkeling excursions, horseback riding, fishing trips and much more. Trips over to the Yucatan Peninsula were also available and many took the ferry over to shop in Cancun or explore the Riviera Maya where attractions like the ancient Mayan ruins at Tulum and the cultural park at Xcaret called out to prog rockers.
MSC Divina in Cozumel
Lots of cruisers though took the opportunity to really get a "taste" of Mexico while in Cozumel by booking an excursion to the Jose Cuervo Tequila Facility to take part in a tequila seminar. The facility is actually located at the Discover Mexico cultural park and a tour of the museum is included in the cost of the seminar.
Tequila tasting at Jose Cuervo
So before the booze started to flow, participants saw lots of Mexican art, learned a little about the country's heritage and witnessed an amazing show by the Papantla Flyers, an acrobatic group that performs a ceremony that begins high atop a pole and ends as the men spin and "fly" to the ground, attached to the pole only by ever-lengthening straps.
The Papantla Flyers
Then out comes the tequila, and did you know there's a "right" way to drink it that doesn't involve biting a lime, licking salt off your wrist and slamming a shot? The seminar leader demonstrates how to swirl, sniff and sip tequila as if it were wine, and perhaps most importantly, teaches everyone how to drink the stuff in a way that minimizes the burn.
Cruisers Tatsuroh and Yoko meet the Papantla Flyers at Discover Mexico Park
After the tasting and teaching everyone toasts with a (perfect!) margarita that's been dusted with chili-infused salt before heading off to the excursion's grand finale, an all-you-care-to-eat taco buffet with all the trimmings.
Arriba! Ready for more prog rocking, and back to the ship to see shows by Moon Safari, UK, Lifesigns, Scale the Summit, Electric Asturias, Saga and Presto Ballet. Needless to say, the Cruise to the Edge passengers had a good time in Mexico.
Up next, the third and final part of our Cruise to the Edge coverage: Roger Dean and homeward bound.
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