What Goes On The Boat…by Paul Smenis / 03.01.2012
What do you get when you put a few thousand (mostly) wealthy, (mostly) very attractive revellers onto a floating hotel packed with booze, DJs, bands, more booze, comedians and vibes of tropical debauchery for three days? According to our man, Paul Smenis, the answer is straight out of Rome in its glorious, debaucherous heyday…
Okay, well there aren’t any sex slaves. Or gladiators murdering each other. But that aside, it’s pretty damn close. The MSC Sinfonia is a hell of a thing. Imagine a floating skyscraper. Only, sideways, pretty much. Half of the boat is made up of cabins of varying levels of comfort (and cost). The other half is swimming pools, bars, casinos, restaurants, nightclubs, shops, cinemas and a shitload of house music.
Amongst it all, a few thousand people wearing very little, riding a wave of anonymity caused by the lack of any discernable area code. The boat buggers off at lunchtime on Friday, missions off to the Portuguese Islands in Mozambique, spends a day docked there (with rubber ducks ferrying passengers to and from a secluded beach manned by locals selling dirt-cheap souvenirs and booze out of cooler-boxes) and then another day shunting its way back to Durban.
I won’t lie. I was expecting a massive douchefest. Especially with the likes of Locnville, DJ Milkshake, Fresh and Hedkandi on the bill. And, with, Zebra & Giraffe headlining the live bands, I wasn’t expecting much that would appeal to my punk-rock origins. And I was right. But only kind of.
See it’s weird… you just get swept up in it. The tribal-tattoo-sporting USN-protein-abusers are, bizarrely, friendly. I know, right? And the ladies are forthcoming to say the least! Shit, after a few hours (and about 11 tequila sunrises) I don’t even mind the repetitive oets-oets of the house tunes. Or the inclement weather, which is shifting from overcast and grey to blazing sunshine and back with scarcely any warning. This thing is fun. Good, dirty fun!
With Miller having pulled out after being last year’s headline sponsor, and replaced by the City of Durban (not exactly a “party brand”) there was much talk about an imminent flop. I say, with the thing sold out (again) and the band and comedy line-up arguably better than last year’s, being able to choose the type of beer you wanna drink is hardly something I’d file under “negative attributes”.
The weather could have been better for some of the three days and nights of ruckus. And I might well have contracted HIV (I’ll just leave it at that,) but this was a seriously good party. Aside from one little secluded balcony, there’s very little that differentiated “VIPs” from “paying customers”. And it turns out Locnville are actually very pleasant young dudes. Trailed conveniently by a wake of gobsmacking hotties. All of whom are guaranteed to be at least eighteen, thanks to the magic of passport control.
I wanted to be cynical and hate this party. I truly did. But I couldn’t. Judge me if you like, but this was awesome. And I’ll happily go again next year. Presuming someone else pays for it, that is. “Cheap” is something Rock The Boat is not. Some of the attendees, though? Well, that’s another story…
*All images courtesy © Rock the Boat.