THE BACCHANAL BEGINS
I stroll into the Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados, a little after 6am on Wednesday November 15th, 2017. It has been years since I’ve been this excited for a trip. After checking in, I ran into Hypasounds, Mario Turton (promoter and Fadda Fox’s manager), Regina Ramjit (Miss Barbados World 2013 and socialite) and hear an announcement for Edwin Yearwood to immediately report to his departure gate.
The next afternoon is a sunny day in Downtown Miami and I’m ready to start the bacchanal aboard the Carnival Sensation. From arrival at Terminal D I can feel the energy in the atmosphere, as hundreds of soca lovers assemble for what promises to be a few days of pure bliss.
The boarding process is seamless. Moreover, live steel pan music welcomes patrons as they enter the terminal and a DJ is playing music in the waiting area. The short wait for my group to board the ship was quite enjoyable and one would be forgiven for thinking the terminal was a fete, with the mix of lively music and some patrons clearly tipsy.
J’ouvert Performance highlights:
Lil Rick: He gave one of the most entertaining and raw performances I’ve seen in quite a while. Rick even issued a warning that the Uber Soca Cruise promoters probably weren’t going to book him for next year’s event after the performance he had planned.
“The Ugly Dawg” had to meet us in Mexico on account of not currently having a US visa and promptly told the crowd: “Tell Donald Trump-o, give Lil Rick back his r***hole visa!”
#3: Lil Rick just might be the most entertaining performer from the Caribbean!
The Bajan artiste doesn’t currently have a US visa so he met patrons in Mexico to perform at the J’ouvert.
He kindly asked “Donald Trump-o” to give him back his RH visa in his best Mexican accent. pic.twitter.com/9YdSJU4pt3
— Ringtone (@RingtoneMusic) December 14, 2017
Lava Man: The Grenadian artiste whipped the crowd into a frenzy; barricades to the stage were broken down and I’m pretty sure a Mexican security guard quit his job and became a “bumper inspector.”
Iwer George turned the beach into a water park and it was quite amusing to see Mexican sound men scrambling to unplug the monitors on stage to prevent any damage to their equipment.
Midnight Mas Performance Highlights:
Lyrikal ran out on a wet stage (it had been raining) dressed in a red shirt, red bandana and red shoes. He gave a rapid delivery of the hits in his ever-growing catalogue. His performance of new track “Criminal” with Patrice Roberts was well received.
Thankfully a crew took more than five minutes diligently wiping the stage before Destra Garcia performed. I was expecting Destra to perform in a wheelchair, as she has done for recent shows (she is recovering from a foot injury) but the Queen of Bacchanal didn’t come to play. Her injured foot was blinged out in a black cast with silver jewels that perfectly matched her black and silver swimsuit.
There was a wide variety of themed parties, including a J’ouvert in MEXICO, a pajama party, midnight mas (revelers dressed in carnival costumes), a white fete and pool party.
Outside of all the feting there was also “Socacize” (fitness event), rum tasting, natural hair care and “Talking Soca” (a panel discussion with numerous soca stars).
There was a wide variety of drinks at the bars and specialty cocktails. The prices weren’t bad and the wait time wasn’t too long.
Food was a hit or miss on some days but there was always plenty of food. Next year we’d recommend the Uber Soca Cruise team use chefs from the Caribbean to prevent rookie mistakes in some Caribbean dishes such as the salt-fish being too salty.
Funny story: The soursop juice was labelled “Sore Soft Juice.” The first lady to try it had no idea what she was about to drink but immediately realized it was soursop juice after one taste; then informed the rest of us.
The tropical juices such as ginger beer, carrot juice and sorrel were very well made.
CUSTOMER SERVICE (9/10)
The service by crew members was impeccable. The staff went out of their way to be friendly and extremely helpful whenever I had a problem or question.
You should come to this cruise well rested. You’ll need all the energy you can muster to keep up with the non-stop parties and after-parties. Book your cabin early for 2018!