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Friday, Aug 01, 2014
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Tampa dinner cruise lets you rock around the yacht


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You can dance your way through Tampa Bay on a new three-hour live music cruise that launches out of Channelside.

Sway to the beat of local bands on the “Rock the Yacht” cruises on Fridays in October and November.

Each cruise is themed around a different genre, from blues and Latin salsa and from reggae to rock. And passengers are encouraged to dress according to the theme.

Look for swing dancers in zoot suits and flapper attire to turn out for the Prohibition-themed cruise on Nov. 8. And the martinis will be flowing on Nov. 22 when The Vodkanauts play at an Ultra Lounge Party.

The maiden voyage last week, an R&B Dance Party with the Bus Stop Band, was sold-out.

Tonight, a Mardi Gras Party with Gumbo Boogie is on pace to sell out as well.

“We’re excited about the response so far, and we’re already planning more live music cruises for the spring,” says Troy Manthey, owner of Yacht StarShip Dining Cruises. “We probably will do 12 cruises then,” he says.

Manthey says the dinner cruise line has partnered with Tom White, owner of Skipper’s Smokehouse, to book talent for the music parties. “Skipper’s has its hand on the pulse of music in the area,” he added.

“We’re always looking for creative ways to draw people out for the cruise,” Manthey says. “And if this succeeds we’ll be offering music cruises in spring and fall when the weather is better for outdoor dancing.”

The Yacht Starship Dining Cruises, based at Channelside, will be celebrating its 13th year in November. It is the largest dining yacht in Florida.

In addition to the main act on these new rock cruises, there will be multiple decks of entertainment featuring other local bands.

“We could have a 100 or more people on the main dance floor on the promenade deck,” Manthey says.

Passengers get a complimentary beer. Food and drink specials themed to each cruise will be available for purchase.

The remaining cruise schedule is:

♦ Gumbo Boogie, playing Friday, has been performing for 20 years, fusing rock, blues, country and soul with New Orleans jazz.

♦ The Prohibition Party cruise on Nov. 8 features the Mud Flappers, a seven-piece musical group from Orlando with eclectic tastes. They mix bluegrass, gypsy swing, folk and Prohibition-era jazz to make what they call “Floridana.”

♦ Impulse, a reggae band that plays at Skipper’s Smokehouse each Wednesday night, is featured on the Island Fever cruise on Nov. 15.

♦ The Ultra Lounge Party on Nov. 22 features the five-piece Vodkanauts, a popular Tampa area group that performs surf/lounge/rock ‘n’ roll music.

♦ A special pre-Thanksgiving cruise on Nov. 27 features the Roberto Debourg Band (also known as The Flats). which performs genres such as reggae, pop, rock, Latin and more.

♦ The final cruise of this season on Nov. 29 will be a Latin Nights Salsa Party, featuring Orquesta Infindad from the heart of Tampa’s historic Ybor City.

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