Throughout the past week, tons of KISS related news has surfaced. From the return of Vinnie Vincent to the first KISS Kruise announcement that many are very unhappy about. I wanted to get opinions from those that have been on all of them and also opinions from those that were planning on coming this year for the first time. As most know, the KISS Kruise has offered since the first year in 2011 a group photo with KISS. Although the first-year photo was taken with yourself and a group of random people, at least there was still a photo. From the second kruise until the seventh Kruise, there has been a group photo offered with KISS for those in your cabin. You are given a time and a date that you take your photo and you show up to do so. The photo has been sort of messy in the fact that some years the band themselves have been late to arrive, the photos aren't done smoothly and it takes much longer than expected and therefore delays the concerts. But nobody I know has ever complained that they got a photo with KISS to show off. I know that when I get off of the KISS Kruise, the first thing that I check is to see if the group photos have uploaded, and although I now have 5 separate KISS Kruise photos, I do feel bad for those that were planning on attending the kruise this year and will not get that experience, even if the whole process takes no more than 45 seconds to a minute. You still are less than a foot away from the guys that you are on that kruise for. I truly hope that KISS reconsiders the choice they made to take away the photo and rather fix the problems that were made due to many people trying to get their photo and how many days they span the pictures days too.
A first-time krusier sounded very optimistic and had said regarding the photo opportunity "Of course the situation with the photo together with the band was a bit of a disappointment. Since I haven't been a KISS fan for more than a couple of years now I haven't really had the opportunity to meet them elsewhere and have any photo taken with them as of now, so that's definitely a bummer. Us first timers - not all of us, but some - have never had those few seconds of standing there right in front of them, without the rest of the thousands of people in the crowd on a regular KISS show, so that's a bit sad that we won't get that magic moment for sure." (Sofie Gustafsson) Sofie also stated "Luckily for me, my partner is also crazy about KISS and have been on all cruises but two. He went last year again, and we're going together this year, so as soon as it's his booking time we will be ready!" (Sofie Gustafsson) It seems to me that this first timer is just very thankful to be able to experience the KISS Kruise and is happy to have the opportunity and is viewing the bright side. I have another first timer that said "When I first heard the news the initial feeling was of course overwhelmingly disappointment; a little jealousy and I think it’s fair to admit frustration. Not only did I think it was financially unfair given the cost of the cruise this year didn’t represent the change in experience, but also, I thought it’s a bit of a kick in the guts being a new cruiser." (Matt Dicinoski) Matt seemed to be feeling a little more disappointed, and I don’t blame him. He says for the reason he hasn't gone on a KISS Kruise before "Being a fan I’ve known about the cruises since their inception. It’s something we have always wanted to be part of but due to a combination of timing, having our baby Gavin and of course the mighty dollar it’s prevented us from doing it before. I now live in the USA, I’m an Aussie so adding that extra travel cost on prior I guess really was too big an ask. I admire the commitment and sacrifice from other Aussie, in fact, international cruisers." (Matt Dicinoski) Cost certainly has a role in going on the Kruises, and I understand that a ton of people have been saving for years, or the timing is simply not right for them. So, I definitely feel for those that finally say "It’s the right time" financially or not and they get the news that they won't even get the one thing every past kruiser has been given.
Now speaking with some seven-time kruisers who have experienced every activity, different cruise ships, different ports and more importantly all seven photo opportunities. "I will return to the kruise no matter what, but I think it weakens the kruise. People come from all over the world to see their favorite band - it’s a once a year event. The photo is the main personalized keepsake that each kruiser has as their memory for life." (Mechel Pava) Another kruiser has the same thoughts about it. He says "I will be in the Kruises and running [one of] the pre-parties as long as they have Kruises...If the photos are that much work for them, maybe they can do them with just the first timers so they can experience what us repeat Kruisers take for granted." (Joe D'Angelo) With having the ability of taking seven photos, it may not have a huge impact on those that may be returning for their eighth year in a row, but for other kruisers it’s a huge factor. "We may not return because of it... A price discount [would make not having a group photo okay]." (Liz Bucci) It's unfortunate to see so many people that won't be attending this year because of this choice the band has made. With the idea of letting the first timers only get a photo with KISS wouldn't be logical considering everyone is paying close to the same amount to be on the boat, and I personally don’t believe it would be fair to let some people have the luxury of getting a photo just because they haven't been on this kruise before. While that is my opinion, as I have said above, I also don't believe it is fair to those that have not had the opportunity to attend the kruise prior to this year. Whether it was due to finances or simply the timing in their life. Now they finally decided it was a good time, and suddenly they do not get what every other person that has paid to be on the KISS Kruise in prior years has received. Especially because it has been included in the price of the entire Kruise, and this year the prices still were raised more then what they were last year. As a kruiser of more than one year, you know and expect the prices to go up. You don't expect the prices to go up when a huge part of the past kruises has been taken away, even if a past member of KISS is announced to be on the boat. You just don't think that would happen, but it did, and most are just angry about that more than not getting the photo.
Some of the past kruisers told me what their favorite past activities were with the band members and their favorite bands that have been on the boat. "Repeat band: the Dead Daisies hands down. New band: Stryper... I miss the pick throwing with Gene. They barely throw picks any longer so this is a way to maybe get one." (Joe D'Angelo) "I enjoyed Extreme, I hope they return... I loved the almost famous, it gave kruisers a chance to show their skills as musicians." (Liz Bucci) "Diemonds!!!... Honestly, I don’t really participate in the interactive activities they have now. So nothing can ever replace our photo with KISS." (Mechel Pava) I know that a ton of people showcase their ideas through "The KISS Kruisers" official facebook group, in hopes that their opinions and ideas will be heard. I had a feeling some (past and future) kruisers would be willing to express their opinions to me so that I could show how the photo is affecting the choice of attending, and also that some don't find it a huge deal.
Being that I have made so many friends over the last 5 kruises that I have attended, it truly is sad to see that some of my friends will not be returning because of a photo, even though this would not be their first time getting a chance to take a photo with the band. I do believe that the photo is a huge factor for me, personally, because on my first KISS Kruise I was newly 12 years old. I have had the opportunity to get a photo with KISS and each year you can physically watch me grow up with them. Although I will miss the chance to take a photo with the band, (and hope before booking times they will bring it back) I have "great expectations" for something huge to replace that very personal, memorable experience. I am not sure many things could top the photo, but If something does, I will be sure to apologize for the uproar and be very thankful that I could be on a vacation with my favorite band in the world. I write this with hopes of KISS bringing back some past activities and bands and also show us some really awesome new activities and bands that will make me forget there was ever a photo offered in the first place!
For more information on The KISS Kruise, what is offered, cabin prices and dates, click HERE.
Click the link HERE to sign up for the KISS Kruise "Pre-Sale".
If you attended the kruise last year (KK7), you should have received a booking time already in your email. If you haven't, click the link above and sign up for a pre-sale booking time or contact sixthman. If you haven't kruised since KK1-6, you must also sign up for a pre-sale code.