’70s Rock & Romance Cruise Encourages a Nudge of Nostalgia

By Lee Zimmerman

“When we talk about surviving the ’70s, are we talking about the decade or a certain age?”

That comment from John Hall, the erstwhile leader of the band Orleans, made during a panel discussion about the impact of music from that particular decade drew several chuckles, but it was nevertheless relevant given the very nature of this particular musical venture, broadly entitled the “’70s Rock & Romance Cruise.” Indeed, while it was seeped in nostalgia and enjoyed by mostly now-mature passengers obviously eager to revisit the soundtrack of their youth, there was every indication that like the ’60s, the ’70s still resonated with those who once experienced it firsthand.

Like most musically themed cruises, Rock & Romance had its headline acts, among them such powerful draws as Peter Frampton, America, Little River Band, Christopher Cross, Orleans, Firefall, Ambrosia, Stephen Bishop, Chuck Negron (once of Three Dog Night), and the Orchestra (a band featuring two former members of ELO along with more recent recruits). Inevitably, most of the aforementioned ensembles were missing key original players, but given the fact most of their careers had extended several decades on, that was to be expected. Indeed, it was the music that mattered, and regardless of whether they performed in the host ship’s Celebrity Theater, in the more intimate Revelations Lounge or on the ever-popular pool deck, the crowd seemed to enjoy every minute, frequently rewarding the performers with standing ovations or simply showing their appreciation by taking to the floor to dance.

Produced by StarVista Live, a company that shares the same corporate umbrella as Time Life (with multitudes of collections that have graced TV screens for decades)—and whose diverse array of cruise options include a Southern Rock Cruise, the Country Music Cruise, a Soul Train cruise, and the ’60s-themed Flower Power Cruise—Rock & Romance proved a stunning success its first time out. The ports of call in Cozumel and Key West (not to mention Celebrity Cruises’ ship, the Summit, with its superb service and its always ample buffet) provided added enticement to be sure, but it was also clear that the main draw was an opportunity to see an eclectic collection of ’70s road warriors, all of whom were welcomed as if they were old friends. It was, in a very real sense, a homecoming of sorts.

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