Rocking the Caribbean since 2006, the Decades of Rock and Roll Oldies Cruise set sail on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas, presenting yet another successful event from February 1-9. Kicking off in Fort Lauderdale, the cruise included 200 avid music fans, many of them return attendees.
Organized by founder Penny Greene of Ohio, the event drew many Ohioans, most of them fans of headliner bands Phil Dirt and the Dozers, McGuffey Lane, Hadden Sayers, and Mad, Mad Men.
“We just love the bands,” said newlyweds Erica and Bill, whose last name is – ironically – Music. “You couldn’t ask for a better line-up of talented musicians.”
Talented is an understatement. Wowing the crowd with vintage covers from the ‘50s on up, plus some originals, the roster of musicians aimed to please.
Attendees, most of whom were over the age of 40, be-bopped and danced, laughed and cheered, and generally let loose on the ship. Poodle skirts and prom gowns were all the rage, as the schedule included both a sock hop and a senior prom.
Founder Penny Greene, 46, seemed to flawlessly manage the event and it went off without a hitch. A few last-minute issues such as a performer’s necessary cancellation were handled quickly and efficiently, and the attendees were happy and satisfied.
From the “Time to Rock and Roll” Dance Party to the “Surf’s Up” Pool Party to the “Rock and Roll Extreme” Beach Party, the music rolled on like the waves, and relaxation was the theme of each day and night on sea and land.
“We come on the ship as strangers and when we leave, we feel like family,” said Penny Greene, who plans to continue Decades of Rock and Roll as long as she has cruisers to twist the night away.
The ship’s Eastern Caribbean island destinations included St. Maartens, St. Kitts, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Royal Caribbean’s private island of Labadee, Haiti.
“We loved each stop,” said Jane and Tom Lake of Ohio. “This was so much fun.”
The Independence of the Seas was in ship-shape form, with service and cleanliness being top-notch. Lots of activities were offered in addition to the private events held by Decades of Rock and Roll, and cruisers enjoyed game shows and lectures, art shows and parades.
“There’s so much to do that we’ll need to rest after we get home,” said friends Colleen Roundhouse and Laura Crosby, who made a Girl Getaway of the trip. Many of the 2014 cruisers are already making plans to return in 2015, when the roster once again offers sets from Phil Dirt & The Dozers, McGuffey Lane, Hadden Sayers Band, and a mystery guest to be announced. Next year’s cruise will take place on March 8-15, on Royal Caribbean’s Adventures of the Seas ship, setting sail from San Juan, Puerto Rico.
“Believe it or not, it actually costs less to fly into San Juan than into Fort Lauderdale,” said Penny Greene.
2015’s ports of call include Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten, and St. Croix. Cruisers and music lovers are marking their calendars and reserving spots by calling Penny Greene at 740-438-0382. Save your spot and pack your poodle skirts: Rock and Roll is here to stay.

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