The Most Ironic Cruise Ever

Friday, March 25, 2011

Anyone who reads this site is probably aware that I’m not the biggest fan of cruises, and whenever I write about my loathing for them I invariably receive a good helping of emails from disgruntled cruisers who inexplicably extol the virtues of a vacation consisting of dining hall-level food, uninspired port calls, and regimented travel schedules. And my guess is the younger travelers of today are less likely going to be the cruise-going folk of tomorrow for these very reasons — or we should hope so.

All of which were reasons why my ears perked up — figuratively, I was reading in the subway — when I came across news in NY Mag of the recent “Bruise Cruise,” the world’s first-ever indie-rock cruise, featuring live music from such indie rock darlings as the Black Lips, Vivian Girls, and Surfer Blood. And what does one expect from such a cruise?

Only 375 of the 2,000 passengers onboard the Imagination — a sort of floating Atlantic City decked in neon — are Bruisers. Everyone gets the same food (college-cafeteria quality), but entertainment for the majority of the passengers is traditional cruise fare, like hip-hop dance classes and hairy-chest contests. For the Bruisers, each of whom paid $615, the draw was nine indie bands . . .

And no conga lines and shuffleboards on this cruise (well, not if you don’t want to). For this crowd expect DIY tattooing, late-night alcohol-fueled pool parties (featuring games of Marco Polo), and live sets at the very Spring Break-ish Señor Frog’s (get it, that’s where the Greeks go during spring break to Cancun?).

So what’s the appeal? One passenger offered up this theory to the cruise’s appeal.

“Counterintuitively, it’s a hipster’s wet dream,” she says. “Hipsters live a self-conscious life. Going on a fucking embarrassing indie-rock cruise? It’s like being perpetually aroused. It’s like walking down Bedford Avenue, strutting, for three days straight. In the Caribbean.”

I do like catching live music, no matter where I go, but I’m still not sold. Black Lips, Vivian Girls: I’ll see you at your next show; here, safely on land.

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