Sat | Jan 19, 2019

Family atmosphere on Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise

Published:Friday | November 17, 2017 | 12:00 AMShereita Grizzle
Dionne Gabbidon from New Jersey, USA.
Ralph Reynolds, who is from Kingston but lives in Delaware, USA.
Sashad Williams from Florida aboard the Independence of the Seas cruise ship during this year's Welcoime to Jamrock Reggae Cruise.

It was all about the vibe. That's the consensus among guests on board the 2017 Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise which journeyed into Jamaican waters on Wednesday having departed Fort Lauderdale, United States on Monday, for its fourth annual voyage.

Sashad Williams, a Florida native, told The Gleaner that as a second-time guest, he has become hooked on the intoxicating atmosphere.

"It's just the energy. You come on, you're excited, and that level of excitement just keeps growing," he said. "There's a positive vibe here that's not just coming from the ocean or the music, but the whole experience. It's the people, the culture."

Sharing similar sentiments was Ralph Reynolds. Reynolds who is Jamaica-born, but now resides in Delaware, USA, told The Gleaner that he's enjoying the experience so much that he has put sleeping on hold for fear of missing out on any of the action.

"At 5 a.m. the first night, when they had an impromptu clash between the deejays and the artistes - oh my goodness! That was something!" he said. "If I wasn't sold on the experience, I was definitely sold after that. That little show was unplanned and it showed me that it's not just about the schedule, but about the things that just happen that aren't part of the schedule."

Dionne Gabbidon from New Jersey told The Gleaner that, so far, she has felt more like family on the ship than a guest. She was practically at a loss for words.

"I love reggae music and the Jamaica culture, so getting to experience the music and sharing it with people from across the world is an awesome feeling. But more than that is the love you feel just walking around and relaxing. You get to mingle with the artistes, take pictures, chat - it's just love everywhere and that makes you feel like more than just a participant," she said.

At that point in the cruise, those who had already performed included Tarrus Riley, Luciano, Pressure Buss Pipe, Cocoa Tea, Spice, Popcaan, Bounty Killer, Luciano, Jah Cure, and Richie Spice.

Dre Island, who was called on stage by Popcaan on Wednesday night, said that the cruise has been a joyful experience.

"It is the first time for me being out at sea and it's something different, but a good different. I'm not a fan of boats, but a Rasta boat dis and it full a positive energy so everything cool. The people love the energy and that's the most important (thing) so from the people give it a thumbs up, what more can you ask for?" he said.

Luciano, who was well received, spoke glowingly about the Damian Marley-produced experience.

"What I love about performing on a cruise is that there's no one rushing say they wanna go home, 'cause there's no home to go. People are out here to have fun, to listen good music, and so, you know you have their full attention, especially because they're not going anywhere," Luciano said.

Cham, Busy Signal, and Sizzla were among the performers slated for last night's stop in Montego Bay, St James, with Raging Fyah, Inner Circle, and Stephen 'Ragga' Marley performing tonight before the cruise docks in the USA tomorrow.