Dispatch, Malt Shop Cruise: Singin' and strollin' on the Lido


Gay Nagle Myers is on the Malt Shop Memories Cruise on the Carnival Inspiration. Her first dispatch follows. 

SOMEWHERE AT SEA -- I’m a novice cruiser. Don’t know aft from bow, port from stern. But I doubt that anyone on the planet had more fun than I did on Thursday on a cruise ship sailing somewhere off Florida's West Coast.

The Carnival Inspiration pulled into the port of Tampa early Thursday morning, marking the conclusion of a five-day cruise spent dodging Hurricane Rina’s possible landfall off Mexico’s Yucatan.

It sailed out that same afternoon with 2,000-plus passengers and me, all of us intent on four days of dancing, strolling, stomping and singing nonstop rock ‘n roll.??



The manifest included the legends of the golden era of '50s music. Remember the Drifters, the Planotones, Jimmy Beaumont & the Skyliners, the Fireflies, Chubby Checker, the Beach Boys, Little Anthony and The Imperials???I do.

And in one four-hour fan fest on Lido deck, as the Inspiration slid out of Tampa, Jerry Blavat, a South Philly DJ legend, affectionally known as the Geator with the Heater, warmed up the crowd as a prelude to in-person appearances by these icons the next day. ??

The official name of the voyage is the Malt Shop Memories Cruise, sponsored by Time Life and produced by Entertainment Cruise Productions.??

The first such cruise sailed in 2010 to rave reviews. Hundreds of Malt Shop fans booked again for this cruise. Couples like Joe Tomchick and his wife, Joanne, from King of Prussia, Pa.??

“It’s fun," Tomchick said. "We’re with a bunch of friends and we’re here because it’s the music we know and love."??

Blavin put down his microphone long enough to tell me this: “We can’t live in the past, but isn’t it wonderful that we can go back and remember this music that gives us happiness to face the future?”??

Sing out, Jerry. I’m headed now to catch the late show in the Candlelight Lounge with headliners Kenny Vance & the Planotones.?

?Chubby Checker was scheduled to host a cooking presentation Friday morning. He was making Rice Krispie cakes before belting out the Twist.??Rock’n roll will never die. It is here to stay.

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