Two 'Welcome to Jamrock' cruises this year; lineup announced

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Due to popular demand, two Welcome to Jamrock cruises will sail from the Port of Miami to Jamaica this year -- Nov. 30 through Dec. 5, and Dec. 5 through Dec. 10. "We were almost sold out for 2015 without doing anything, so we made the decision to put on two cruises,"? says Dan Dalton. "As of mid-March, both ships are 85% sold out, and we will be entirely sold out months in front of the cruise. Our only advertising is the few thousand dollars spent on boosting Facebook posts."?

Both cruises will offer identical entertainment rosters featuring some of the greatest acts Jamaica has produced. Joining Damian and his older brothers Julian, Ky-Mani and Stephen Marley are the world-renowned, prolific drum and bass duo Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, backing Mykal Rose, former lead singer of harmony trio Black Uhuru. (Sly and Robbie produced four Black Uhuru albums with Rose for Island Records including Anthem,? winner of the inaugural Best Reggae Album Grammy in 1985.) Also making their cruise debut are venerable band Third World, UK-born Maxi Priest, who topped the Hot 100 in 1990 with "Close To You"?, vocal powerhouse Barrington Levy, rapidly ascending Rastafarian sing-jay Protoje, (who debuted atop the Reggae Albums chart this week with "Ancient Future"?), fiery chanter Capleton, dancehall's energy god Elephant Man, singing and deejaying harmony quartet TOK and the sole female act, mold-shattering singer/songwriter Tanya Stephens.

Returning this year are sibling roots band Morgan Heritage, thunderous deejay Cham, silky crooner Christopher Ellis (from the Marley family's Ghetto Youths camp) and contemporary roots singer/songwriter Tarrus Riley and his Blak Soil Band, led by the revered saxophonist Dean Fraser.

At the midpoint of each cruise, December 3 and 8, respectively, as the ships navigate Jamaica's waters, the lineup will be comprised of artists, who, for assorted reasons, do not have US visas/work permits: the emotive singer Jah Cure, versatile sing-jay Busy Signal and his mentor the iconic deejay Bounty Killer are all returning this year and will be joined by former Vybz Kartel protege deejay Popcaan.

Dalton admits that organizing two back-to-back cruises isn't the ideal solution for accommodating the thousands of reggae lovers who want to set sail this year, and he is currently in discussions to secure a vessel with nearly 4,000 available cabins for Jamrock's (single) 2016 voyage. "Although the Pearl has functioned beautifully for us, we will be announcing the details of the larger ship and 2016's specific dates and artist lineup from this year's cruises. Passengers will have first dibs."

Working alongside Marley and Dalton on the presentation of the cruise are Brian Edelman of William Morris Endeavor, longstanding booking agent for Damian and Stephen Marley, WME's Cruise Division head Mike Rosenfeld and California-based Flying Dutchmen Travel, who specialize in music-themed cruises and handle the Jamrock cruise's ticketing. Tiered pricing for the 2015 cruises begins at $724.00 for an interior cabin and increases to $2,774.00 for an ocean view owners suite. Meals and entertainment (not including alcohol, of course) are included.