Last year’s inaugural Soca On The Seas delivered on its promise to be the cruise event of the year. The sold-out voyage provided three nights and four days of pulsating rhythms on a journey from Miami to The Bahamas, with Caribbean music from top DJs, rhythm sections, steel-pan and tassa drums and the visuals of Trinidad & Tobago traditional and fancy Carnival costumes. All this, together with daily events featuring Caribbean fashion designers, comedians and top-tiered soca and calypso artists, captivated partygoers on board the Royal Caribbean International’s ‘Enchantment of the Seas’.
Soca On The Seas merges the experience of being on a luxury, all-inclusive cruise with the energy, fun and creativity of participating in Trinidad & Tobago Carnival, celebrating with Trinbago arts and culture. The idea was the brainchild of Trinidad-born Juliana Fermin, the co-owner of Houston-based HJ Travels. It was the first of its kind, with its own niche in the tourism sector.
In 2016, the non-stop itinerary featured a pool deck J’Ouvert celebration, nightly carnival-themed fetes, costume parties, a signature cultural theatre production entitled It’s Carnival, gala dinners with some of the finest in Caribbean cuisine, and a fashion show featuring some of the best Trinidadian designers.
Some of the biggest names in the soca arena wowed guests with dynamic performances, including soca royalty, Ian ‘Bunji Garlin’ Alvarez and wife Fay-Ann Lyons-Alvarez, Dexter ‘Blaxx’ Stewart, Alison Hinds, 5Star Akil, three-time Chutney Monarch KI Persad, Neval Chatelal, Yankeyboy and several other soca artists from across the Caribbean diaspora.
The cruise also featured Trinidad-based comedian Nikki Crosby, well known for her depiction of ‘Granny’, together with comedian and multimedia entertainer, Rodell ‘Ro’dey’ Cumberbatch, a huge sensation on YouTube and Instagram, who treated guests to a hilarious stand-up comedic production. The Lexo puppets, including Santana, Narine and Pastor Stewart presented their Maxi Taxi Confessions comedy routine.
The Fashion Fusion fashion show featured designers Heather Jones, Ecliff Elie, Marilyn Walker and Rhian Ramkissoon, who presented their latest resort collections. The Trinidadian mas band Yuma, in a first for an international cruise line, launched their 2017 presentation, ‘Origins’. This combination of events provided immense brand exposure for participating sponsors such as White Oak, Blue Waters (Trinidad) and the Government of Trinidad & Tobago, who were highlighting the twin islands as a preferred tourist destination.
In 2017, Soca On The Seas will be held from 9 to 13 October, leaving the Port of Miami the day after Miami carnival and heading to three destinations. They travel to Nassau, Cococay and Key West (Florida), before ending the four night, five day cruise at the Port of Miami. The signature event, ‘Ganges Meets The Nile’, will create a tapestry of the creativity and dynamism of Trinidad & Tobago’s East Indian and African heritage and will again headline some of the biggest names in soca and calypso. Guests can look out for new themed fetes, including the ‘Sunrise and Shades’ breakfast party, a beach J’Ouvert and a celebrity cricket match. The Fashion Fusion show will again showcase top Caribbean fashion houses and designers, and there will feature a full-length theatrical comedy production, which promises to be entertaining as it illustrates the funny side of life in the Caribbean. To keep energy and stamina levels pumping, Soca On The Seas guests can work out to daily soca zumba sessions, led by E-Fit4Life’s Erica Dixon.
2017 Soca on the Seas guests will again enjoy an exclusive and diverse vacation like no other, combining new destinations and cultural experiences to create an experience that they’ll remember for a lifetime.