Excursions with local entertainers to set sail in 2022

Johnny Wild and the Delights will set sail on their next six-night cruise in March 2022.

Above all, Rocky and the Rollers frontman Gerry “Rocky” Seader is looking forward to seeing passengers have a good time on the next Rockin’ the Caribbean cruise.

His vision could be a reality sooner rather than later as the Centers for Disease Control announced a plan for U.S. cruising to return by mid-July following pushback from the industry.

In lieu of “simulated” voyages, ships can instead attest that at least 98% of crew and 95% of passengers are fully vaccinated as laid out by the plan, according to the CDC.

“Florida’s ports, like so many other businesses and families across the state, were hit hard by the pandemic, but this is a resilient state and we will recover,” said Jessie Werner, vice president of public affairs with the Florida Ports Council. “I expect our seaports will play an important role in that recovery.”

Having taken precautions to keep cruise guests safe and healthy, including retrofitting HVAC systems, enhancing sanitation procedures, installing touch-free access points and much more, those ports will be ready to hit the ground running when the time comes, Werner added.

The Allure

After more than a year with limited travel options, Werner expects consumers will want to invest in experiences, like cruises, rather than material things.

“Cruises are a wonderful way to combine entertainment with a relaxing vacation,” she said. “Travelers get to enjoy the journey while also indulging in music concerts, theater or comedy shows.”

If local entertainer cruises are any proof of the draw, 60 to 70 percent of passengers return each year to the Rockin’ the Caribbean cruise, some of whom come from Canada, Europe and South America, Seader said.

After a COVID-19 hiatus, the next Rockin’ the Caribbean cruise will set sail from Feb. 5 to 13, 2022.

Forty years of experience performing on cruises helped Gerry Seader to notice elements those cruises didn’t have, like daily shows and dances, and include them in his own.

The Entertainment

Passengers can take part in a karaoke contest and relive their high school days at a prom-themed dance.

The cruise will include live performances by Jon “Bowzer” Bauman, Johnny Contardo, Peggy March, Rocky and the Rollers and more.

“I’m honestly looking forward to getting back with all the people who come and hanging out with them,” Seader said. “To me that’s the most important thing, seeing people have a good time.”

For more information, visit rockysrockincruises.com.

Passengers also can enjoy basking in the nostalgia with live ‘50s and ‘60s music by Johnny Wild and the Delights on Johnny Wild’s Caribbean Cruise, which also is set for 2022.

The band takes requests they’ve received from fans throughout the year to compile a list of 20 to 30 new songs for the cruise.

“When you have 300 people on a cruise, you can really sit down and enjoy everyone’s company and get to be on a first-name basis,” Andy Matchett said. “For me, that’s why we’re in The Villages, as opposed to touring. We just want to build a relationship with people.”

The cruise will set sail from March 27 to April 2, 2022. For more information, visit johnnywild.com/cruise.

Staff Writer Liz Coughlin can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5304, or liz.coughlin@thevillagesmedia.com.