The Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise, founded by Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley and his manager Dan Dalton, recently wrapped up its 8th successful voyage, entertaining 4,375 Reggae and Dancehall enthusiasts from 47 countries on a musical odyssey aboard the Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas.
Departing Miami on December 4, the sold-out cruise journeyed to Jamaica, with stops in Falmouth and Ocho Rios, before returning on December 9. It featured musical performances from Sean Paul, Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley, Capleton, Wayne Wonder, Beenie Man, Max Romeo, Anthony B, Kabaka Pyramid, Ding Dong, and more.
Here are highlights from the 2023 Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise. (Photos by Tizzy Tokyo)
Performing on Mainstage Deck II, Anthony B whipped the crowd into a frenzy with his signature running dance, then segued neatly into Freedom Fighter. He then energised the crowd with an emphatic rendition of Fire Pon Rome, which got a huge roar from the crowd.
He reeled off a series of hits such as Hurt the Heart, Damage and My Yes and My No, Tease Her, and closed his set with Raid the Barn and a cover of Wanna Know What Love Is.
Reggae songbird Nadine Sutherland started off her set with a rendition of I’ll Do Anything for You and surprised the crowd with a series of high-energy knee lifts as she deejayed parts of the song. She followed up that with songs like Wicked N Wild, Babyface and I’m in Love where she showcased her sparkling vocals and impressive range.
Then she delivered the boom with a cleverly constructed Bam Bam medley with songs such as Murda She Wrote, Toots’ original festival slow-burner Bam Bam, and Sister Nancy’s internationally known version of Bam Bam.
Ms Sutherland pulled off a surprise with a cover of General Degree’s dancehall anthem, Traffic Blocking. She closed her set strongly with Wicked Fe Please Me and her biggest hit, Action.
For his fifth appearance on the cruise, Capleton performed hits such as Hunt Yuh, Bad Mind, Slew Dem, and Consuming.
“The highlight of the performance was when I was doing the oldest set of songs… it was definitely the retro segment,” Capleton told the Observer. “People were definitely into it, and you know they go wild singing the songs. It was epic, it was energetic, it was a frenzy, it was pandemonium, and I enjoyed myself. It was a great performance.”
“The last time I performed, it was raining. So, I had to perform in a theatre. Now I got to perform on the deck, so it was a totally different atmosphere and it was a bigger audience,” he added.
Looking ahead, the 9th annual “Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise” is scheduled from December 9-14, 2024. It promises another unforgettable journey from Miami to Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, aboard the same majestic ship. With its reputation for selling out, cabins for the 2024 cruise are available for booking, according to a release.