So, you must have noticed that we have been gone for a while. There’s a reason for that. I (Dream) have been on vacation. Not just any vacation, the Welcome to JamRock cruise. Before I get into this, I want to thank TIDAL for this trip of a lifetime. If you were trying to buy my loyalty, it worked because I will never pay for any other service ever. Y’all lit.
So the story about how I won the cruise was a bit sorted. While listening to BAM, TIDAL had a pop-up that said those who listened to Bam enough times would be invited to an album listening party for Damian Marley. I was going to listen to Bam anyway. A few days later, while in DC, I got an email I won tickets to the 40/40 club for the party. I tried to rush home from DC to get to the party on time but I only arrived in the city after 9. Despite everyone telling me I was being stubborn, I still made a mad dash to the party and I barely made it. I had pretty much missed Damian Marley and the whole party but I took photos to post under a hashtag because hell, at least I was in the 40/40 club. I wasn’t really thinking about the cruise promotion because who the hell wins a cruise? But a TIDAL rep reached out to me to enter me in the contest and bing bang boom, I won! So now, the story begins.
This cruise was designed for reggae lovers. And basically, I had the time of my life.
We were flown out from our respective cities and placed in a hotel. Although our reservation was lost for an hour and two, we eventually got a room for the two of us. After we met up with my cousin and ate a bit, we shuffled ourselves off to the pre-party, which had two stages, one for reggae, the other for dancehall.
This day was a bit more hectic because the party kinda took us out but after breakfast, we perked right up. We made our way to the ship and to our room, all the while a party blazed on the top deck. Eventually, though, the rain got to us and we had to move to the theater of the ship where we were entertained by the classic Tarrus Riley and Cocoa Tea.
It was only the first full day on the ship and we were exhausted. Like, don’t know if we’re going to make it to breakfast, might sleep until lunch exhausted. But eventually, we left our bed and made it to the first meet and greet of the cruise, where I officially met Tarrus Riley, Big Youth, Stephen and Daniel McGregor, Iba Mahir and Camille McDonald. This was the night of the white party (because no one does white parties like black people). Big Ship Crew, Iba Mahir and Pressure performed this night.
We had docked in Ocho Rios (a clear misnomer because there is not eight rivers in the area) where my uncle– who I haven’t seen in years– picked us up. From the port, we went to Scotchies for their world famous jerk chicken. I’m not going to lie, it was the best jerk chicken I’ve ever had. Jerk chicken isn’t typically super juicy, having been smoked for however long but somehow, I had chicken juice running down my mouth. From there, we tried to visit Blue Hole which had turned brown from rain runoff and ended up at Margaritaville. That night, Spice, Popcaan, Luciano and Bounty Killer performed. I apparently fell asleep for an hour on one of the lawn chairs, I was so tired– I thought I had slept for ten minutes!
The ship docked in Montego Bay early and because of sheer exhaustion, we didn’t make it off the boat until much later. But we visited a very beautiful public beach not far from the town center and we frolicked for much of the afternoon. When we returned to the ship and said goodbye to our beautiful homeland, there was After Sizzla, it was like the entire ship rushed down to the ship’s club, Studio B, for the Soundclash. A soundclash is basically a battle between the DJ’s and their hypeman, trying to outdo each other. It was, in a word, lit. It ended sometime around 3:45 am and basically, the party didn’t stop until 5:30. (Not that I attended, I was in bed.)
One of the best days yet! This day was packed. Even more packed than the day before, which was hard to top. Early afternoon, we checked out the top deck for the classic Tanto Metro and Devonte, followed by a meet and greet with them, Cham, Raging Fiyah and Inner Circle. I retired to my room after the meet and greet for a nap and missed Raging Fiyah and Inner Circle. But I caught Stephen “Ragga” Marley. Then I rushed into the crowd to see the man who I had missed at his album listening party. The incomparable Damian Junior Gong Marley. And it was everything I had hoped for. The power even went out of during his set and for about 15 minutes, the entire audience sang to each other. After the power came back and he finished his set, he announced he was going to take photos with those who remained. Needless to say, I quickly made my way over to the area. I even told him about my dream and he told me, much to my delight, “You had a dream? You must be a prophet then!”
We left the beautiful tropical weather for the rainy New York but I will never forget the cruise. I came back to New York so refreshed and lighter in spirit than when I left. Until next year!