Cruising on the water along the east side of Manhattan island while rocking out to good music and seeing some terrific sights on a beautiful night is always a plus. Doing this for free is even better!
Not too long ago I received an email from Goldstar with a free offer for tickets to attend a Rocks Off Concert Cruise. I figured it would be cheesy good fun for me and my girl to enjoy a night out, especially when she is a Journey and Bon Jovi fan, and a cover band called “BonJourney” was performing on the boat. Yes, I am serious. This was just too funny!
The weather was absolutely perfect for this that night. The crowd was certainly mixed and was almost cartoonish. Younger rockers, older women in outfits they have no business to be wearing, middle aged people pounding down overpriced drinks, a group of older Asian ladies hanging out and eating food they snuck in, a group of loud drunk Russians dancing horribly, cougars on the prowl and mauling some of the younger guys the drunker they got, older married women acting like groupies as if this was the real band, etc. It was a sight to behold, and made you chuckle as if you were observing a really bad reality show competition. This was people watching perfection! Almost like a train-wreck people of Wal-Mart television show.
The boat itself, the Jewel, is set up as two floors with the band playing on the lower deck below, and the upper deck with seating and a small dance floor. Bars are on both levels, while food is served on the lower deck. Men’s and woman’s bathrooms are also down there. This is one of their smaller boats and fits around 300 people, but last night there was nowhere near that many and was nice and open without too much of a crowd problem. We stayed on the upper deck all night enjoying the sights and listening to the band over the loudspeakers. We had our own table and secured our spot for the evening when we got on board. It was just too nice out to go on the lower deck to watch a cover band play, plus it seemed really warm down there when I hit the bathroom.
Overall, the crowd was in good spirits, the band put on a decent enough show (even though the singer flubbed a few verses now and then), people were considerate when they bumped into you, and we had a great time. Between sets they pumped out tracks ranging from AC/DC, Michael Jackson, Prince, Van Halen, etc. As expected, the mixed drinks were a bit overpriced at $8 for a sea breeze in a small plastic cup, but at least the bartender did a heavy pour of vodka which helped ease the sticker shock. We didn’t bother with the food but I did see some wings, Ceasar salad, and pasta for purchase by the food station. Boat is clean and well maintained.
The sights as you pass under multiple lit-up bridges at night, the glimmering lights of the city, and the majestic Statue of Liberty just make for a dramatic visual along the whole evening. It’s a terrific thing to experience at least once, and totally worth it if you can score free or highly discounted tickets to this three hour tour. Best to go with a group of friends to have fun with. Normally, tickets are in the $25-$30 range, and is actually a cheap night out, especially for a cruise around Manhattan, but look on sites like Goldstar for the free or super cheap offers.