Evenings for Traci and me on the Capital Jazz Super Cruise generally happened in 4 stages: Dinner, Evening Concerts, Late Night Snack, Late Night Performances/Parties.
Sometime around 5:30 or 6 PM, Traci and I would meet back in our cabin to get changed into our evening attire. Capital Jazz does not have Formal Night; therefore, we did not have to worry about packing really dressy clothing. Slacks and a short-sleeve shirt was my attire on most nights. I tried to bring clothes I would not have to iron but inevitably I needed to call housekeeping about mid-week to bring me an iron. I kind of wish I had brought more long-sleeve shirts because the ship really had the air conditioning cranked up. I was sure to bring my jacket with me everywhere I went on the ship. Traci and I did get dressy for the Red, Haute, and Cool theme night. It occurred on Day 5 of the cruise. I joked with Traci that I wish Capital Jazz had scheduled that theme night earlier in the week before I started gaining cruise weight.
Since the buffet is not Traci's favorite dining venue, we normally ate in the dining room where food is served by waiters. We did not dine in any of the specialty restaurants on the ship where you need to pay a cover to eat there. The complimentary dining rooms, Savor and Taste, had a good selection of appetizers, entrees, and desserts. It was not uncommon for us to order several of the menu offerings when we were having trouble making a decision. Sometimes we ordered dishes out of curiosity. I tried escargot (snails) for the first time. They were not as bad as I imagined they would be. They tasted like smoky fat.
Red, Haute, and Cool Night
Some nights, Traci and I caught a dinner show in the Manhattan Room instead of eating in the dining room. The menu in the Manhattan Room was similar to the menu in the dining room. The hosts and hostess will seat you with other guests for the dinner show. I enjoyed this because it was a chance to meet and converse with our fellow cruisers - even when taking some friendly abuse on Football Jersey Night. I kind of saw that one coming. Traci and I, who were wearing Philadelphia Eagles jerseys, were seated at a table with a couple wearing rival Dallas Cowboy jerseys. It was all in good fun. They were a cool couple. We ran into them a few times during the week.
Jazz Guitarist Earl Klugh
We dined in the Manhattan Room on Day 1 of the cruise to see Michael Colyar's comedy show. Traci managed to make it into one of Michael Colyar's jokes. He was walking around greeting guests before his show began. Traci asked if she could take a picture with him. He said no because he was working. Of course when he started his set, he mentioned the exchange and added "I don't come to your job and ask if I can take a picture of you!" However, like all of the celebrities we met on the cruise, he is cordial and good-natured. We ran into him the next day and he invited us to take pictures with him.
Traci finally got her picture with Michael Colyar after being joked in his comedy set.
The evening concerts took place in the Manhattan Room (dinner shows), the large Main Theater, the more intimate Headliners, or Shakers Comedy Club. In each of these venues, the artist(s) would do an early show and a late show. With the exception of the Main Theater, the venues were first-come first-served but there was no need to stand in line for hours like we saw many people do. Most of the performers did at least 4 shows during the week. Traci and I would usually attend the artists' third or fourth show. This allowed us to show up 20 to 30 minutes before show time, walk right in, and find a decent seat.
For the Main Theater concerts, Capital Jazz pre-assigned everyone an early show (6 PM) or late show (9:30 PM) on odd or even days. Doing so guaranteed everyone was able to see the headline acts performing there during the week. We were emailed our show assignment before the cruise. Traci and I were initially assigned the early shows on days 3, 5, and 7 but I was able to visit the Capital Jazz help desk on the ship to get us switched to the late shows on those days. This allowed Traci and me to eat dinner before the concerts.
Shakers was the venue for the evening comedy shows. It was here that we took in performances from famous comedians such as Tommy Davidson, Mark Curry, and others. These were not rated-PG shows. There was a lot of foul language.
Traci and I were able to attend two evening concerts each day. I was glad that Capital Jazz scheduled the artists to perform four shows during the week. This allowed us to see almost every show we wanted to see. However, I had to do my homework before the cruise to come up with a strategy for seeing all the artists I wanted to see. Capital Jazz had emailed everyone the concert schedules before the cruise thus allowing us to plan which nights and times we would attend the various shows. I enjoyed preparing a schedule for Traci and me. I checked out live YouTube performances of some of the artists who were unfamiliar to me. Doing so built excitement before the cruise.
Whether a Grammy-winning artist or an artist who hasn't yet had mainstream success, every concert I saw on the cruise was amazing! I have to mention the show we saw in the Main Theater on Day 1 because it was different than past Capital Jazz cruises. The show was advertised as the Luther Re-Lives Tribute Show. The show began with an instrumental medley of Luther Vandross songs. The band was very talented but then we began to hear a voice coming through the speakers that kind of sounded like Luther Vandross. Finally, on to the stage walks a man who looks like the late Luther Vandross and sounds like him too! He even had Luther's mannerisms down. We all did a double-take. William "Smooth" Wardlaw put on an outstanding Luther Vandross tribute show. We had fun singing along as he and his band performed Luther's hit songs. The Capital Jazz cruise had begun on a high note and continued to impress for the rest of the week.
Although Traci and I mainly spent our evenings going to concerts, there were other activities happening at the same time: karaoke, movies, casino, night club, and more. It was really a party atmosphere. We did manage to stop in the night club when Traci happened to hear "The Wobble" as we were walking by. She cannot resist the opportunity to do a line dance.
The evening concerts normally lasted between one and two hours. The last round of these concerts would finish between 11:30 PM and midnight. From there, many of us would head up to the buffet on Deck 15. I usually went for the chicken wings and fries. Traci would get a slice or two of pizza. There were several other fast food items and desserts available at the late night buffet until 4 AM. We would often see some of the performers at the late night buffet. We occasionally used the opportunity to say a brief hello and let them know how much we enjoyed their show.
Around midight or 12:30 AM, the next set of performances get started. I was normally on my own by this time since Traci would usually head back to the cabin to turn in for the night. The ship Atrium was standing room only as a different act performed there each night. Saxophonist, Mike Phillips performed there the first night - what an incredible musician and performer! There were other great performances in the Atrium.
At the same time, there was normally a jam session happening in the Main Theater where various artists and/or their band members would improvise on tunes. It was a lot of fun to witness because you get a chance to hear how talented the artists really are beyond just their music you hear on the radio.
Not only were the Atrium and the Main Theater jumpin' but a dance party was normally taking place in the Manhattan Room with performance from artists like Slick Rick and the go-go band Rare Essence. The late night costume party also took place there on Day 6. There were hundreds of people wearing some really creative costumes. I wore my astronaut costume this year.
ready for Costume Night
With so much happening around the ship, I would catch bits and pieces of performances as I went from venue to venue. I would not return to our cabin before 2 AM. Here is a list of this year's performers.
[B] = Both of us attended; [M] = Mike attended; [-] Neither of us attended
Main Theater Shows:
Shows at Headliners:
Late Night Atrium Shows:
Late Night Party:
Late Night Underground Lounge Shows:
[M] Late Night Jam Session hosted by Robert Glasper