If you love cruising and can’t get enough country music, The Carolina Country Music Cruise will hands down be the vacation of your dreams. The very first CCMC is in the books and the 3,000 cruisers enjoyed sun, surf, sand and non-stop country music for five days while sailing through the Atlantic on the Carnival Sunshine.
Carolina Country Music Cruise
I was lucky enough to be able to set sail on the very first Carolina Country Music Cruise and have finally recovered from 5 days of nonstop partying to write about my experience! Let me set the scene for you! Imagine the sun is setting in Nassau, Bahamas after the Carnival Sunshine has been in port all day. You are on the Lido Deck watching a gorgeous sunset and one of your favorite country artists is right in front of you singing live while another is waiting to perform after him. It was a dream really.
This amazing voyage of sea and sand featured some of country music’s most amazing artists on one ship for five days. There were more live shows than you could possibly attend, beer pong, gambling, contests, corn hole, and alcohol. Lots and lots of alcohol! But more than all of that, fun, friends and tons of memories!
The Carnival Sunshine was where it all went down. Leaving from Charleston, SC on a very cold and rainy Saturday didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s excitement for what was to come that’s for sure. The party started as soon as we boarded the ship, country music playing, enjoying the drink of the day “Let’s Get Ship Faced” and mingling with new and old friends! Vacation has officially begun!
Because this was a themed cruise, the pool deck was transformed into the main outdoor stage. There were still two hot tubs on the main deck and another hot tub and pool on the Serenity deck as well. Since this was a Carnival cruise there were some similar activities that you would find on a normal cruise. However, live country music entertainment took over all of the shows and entertainment, which was expected. That’s what we were all there for right?
The ship still offered all of their dining options— like Guy’s Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina, Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse, and JiJi Asian Kitchen. Let’s not forget the many bars on the ship as well: RedFrog Pub, BlueIguana Tequila Bar, SkyBox Sports Bar and Alchemy Bar… plus the Havana Bar! Believe me, there was plenty to eat and drink on this ship that’s for sure!
I loved the intimacy of the concerts. The cruise venues are much smaller than your big stadium shows. I loved that I could watch a concert while relaxing in the hot tub, pool, a cabana on the Serenity deck, or a comfy seat in The Liquid Lounge. It was a total thrill to be so up close and personal to immensely talented artists, who go above and beyond to connect with their fans.
Not only did this cruise have some amazing country music singers but they also had songwriters on as well. Every day from 6-8 pm songwriters took turns explaining the creative process behind creating #1 hits. My only disappointment was that I didn’t make it to see them every night because “Southern Rounds” as they called it, was the highlight of this cruise by far!
It was definitely not uncommon to be riding in the elevator with an artist or sitting by the pool beside a member of a band. The truth is you really never knew who and when you were going to bump into them. They were enjoying their vacation and doing the same things we were when they weren’t performing.
The interaction with the artists was probably my favorite part of the cruise. I ran into Dylan Scott at the Lido deck bar and Colt Ford while walking to dinner. I hated bothering them but they were both so cool and had no problem with me fangirling over them for a minute and then taking a picture with me.
CCMF or CCMC?
Ya’ll know I’m a huge CCMF fan, we love the festival and look forward to it every year. But If you want to relax in a festival environment with all your luxuries— like a hot shower, pool, restrooms, and food at your fingertips this is the perfect vacation for you. Drink as much as you want, 24/7 concerts, nobody has to drive home, and the gorgeous views? It doesn’t get much better in my opinion!
I am so thankful that Jeff and I got to be on this cruise and experience it firsthand.