So, Parahoy 2 has now been and gone, and I for one can’t get over it. We collectively have so many memories, and we’ve made so many new friends. Yet again, Parahoy was something incredibly special. Alumni like myself will relate; Parahoy as an experience is how I imagine motherhood. You love both of your children equally, despite the fact that they are both so, so different. I’d found myself worrying that this time wouldn’t live up to the last, but Parahoy 1 and Parahoy 2 are two totally different things, and each was special in their own unique way. Before I get on with my list, I wanted to direct everyone to my coverage printed in Rock Sound. As a writer, it was awesome to get officially accredited with a media pass to integrate further into this cruise. But anyway. I wrote about the things we were dying to do this time around, so here’s the round up of the things we miss now that it’s all over – ugh!
No, really. Where am I going with this one…? Go on, I dare you to lie to me and say you didn’t cry even once on the cruise. If you got to the ‘it’s just a spark…’ part of Last Hope without welling up, or to the end of My Heart without your voice cracking, you’ve quite possibly got your shit together more than most. Plus, watching a sea of lighters in an even bigger sea during The Only Exception was absolutely heart wrenching. Disagree? Fine. But you’ve probably got no soul.
If I put ‘crying’ as the first point in this list, to an outsider, it probably wouldn’t seem like the most appealing trip in the world. However, this stuff was all perfectly balanced on board, with the laughter and the fun times drawing parallel to the tears and misty eyes. Obviously, happiness far outweighed every other emotion, whether we were cheering at one of the bands, giggling away at Eli Olsberg and Chris Garcia, or just chilling out with our pals. I’m aware we can laugh outside of Parahoy, but it’s just not the same!
Musical Gems From Paramore
The setlists on Parahoy could never, ever disappoint. I loved how they played so many killer songs from their debut, All We Know Is Falling, and blended this in so seamlessly with both their big hits and their almost forgotten little gems. I personally can’t choose which set I preferred, but highlights included that cover of Hallelujah into their own song of the same name (obviously), Daydreaming, for the lyrical content, and of course, the aforementioned Last Hope. But that’s just naming a few. ‘O Star’ as written by a teenage Paramore and performed on the cruise somehow still sounded better than a whole lot of songs written by bands with years of experience behind them. The potential has always been there!
Hayley and Taylor being strong as hell
It’s been a long road to this point, what with well-documented band lineup changes at every turn. However, Paramore’s remaining duo – Hayley Williams and Taylor York – seem to share a bond quite unlike any others who’ve gone before. There’s a sincerity to their relationship which you can physically hear in their voices whilst they’re addressing the crowd about it. And when they hug? All of the feels!
Paramore’s awesome stage line up
Of course, Hay-Hay and Tay-Tay can’t do it alone (nope, nobody calls them that. Just me, at this moment, apparently)! Paramore were joined by amazing musicians on stage throughout the weekend; namely Aaron Gillespie, Justin York, and the Howard brothers, Jon and Joey. Fun fact, I was grabbing drinks with Aaron, playing it chill and pretending not to know who he was. Until RainbowBeard outed me, the scoundrel!
Regardless; this is a band who aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Those inspiring speeches
Hayley Williams is a woman who I’ve essentially grown up with, as have many of you reading this. Despite the fact that her life differs greatly from our own, one of the reasons we love her is because she’s so easy to relate to. The speeches she made in between songs during the two Paramore sets will be sure to stick in my mind. I may not have faith, and I may be a person who refuses to take bad stuff lying down, but Hayley has an eloquence about her when addressing the crowd that perfectly speaks directly to you at any given moment. I think we needed that; it brought us all a lot closer together.
Just hanging out with our buddies, Hayley and Taylor
The whole thing was an emotional rollercoaster, and it’s hard to pin down a best bit. However, for a lot of fans, finally getting to meet their idols in person and thank them was the icing on the cake. Personally, this wasn’t my favorite part or anything, but it was still really awesome. Total respect to the two of them for posing for hours with every cruiser on board!
That one time Hayley high fived me because of my blogs about #Parahoy and we took pictures with her and Taylor in our #Prom dresses and I actually didn’t look like a troll like I thought I would & My friends are looking hottttt #Girls #Paramore #Sixthman #HayleyWilliams #TaylorYork @willbyington @firewater_ @olgabichel @paramore A photo posted by Claire Louise (@xo_clairelouise) on
Chvrches and their voodoo magic
This lot knew how to get the party started, huh?! If you’ve not heard much from this Glaswegian bunch before, no worries – you don’t need to in order to enjoy their set. Looking past the fact that frontwoman Lauren is cute as a button and the fact that her style is on point; Chvrches’ brand of electrifying electronic is bouncy, energetic, and a whole lot of fun. I can’t get their stuff out of my head now, and I can’t help but smile when I hear it. These guys are going to be HUGE. Brits represent!
Partying all night
Whether we were at the amazing Headphone Disco, Nashville Is The Reason, the pool deck bars, the atrium, the outside areas or even our staterooms; being around other people ALL THE TIME with the same interests was seriously the best. Staying up late and being like “oh shit, the sun is coming up” was a serious highlight. Special shout out to the casino, Chad, Stevie and the ‘slidey quarter game’ especially in helping me find some really awesome people to hang out with. One person in particular.
Plus, let’s talk about those bearable ways to deal with hangovers. Firstly, Parahoy alcohol is magical or something, because I barely felt anything the next day at all. Regardless, after a heavy night of partying and watching a breathtaking sunrise over the ocean with fellow misfits, the last thing anyone wants to do is get up before noon. Playing bingo might seem like something your grandma suggests, but with Chvrches it’s right good crack and solved the problem instantly.
If you had asked me just a month ago whether I’d seriously consider going up on stage in front of thousands of people dressed as bacon, I’d want to know how drunk you were planning to get me, and how much you were paying me. However, theme nights on Parahoy allowed us to get creative, and Sarah and I dressed as an English breakfast for the ‘Rep Your Roots’ theme night, which lead to us being picked out to go on stage with New Found Glory. AMAZING. Other highlights in the costume department included 90′s night and the Masquerade ParaProm. I did bring a Superheroes & Villains outfit, but honestly? I couldn’t bring myself to have the energy to wear it. I was just SUPER busy. But I loved seeing what everyone else wore!
Looking like we are the stars of a #90s #Goth movie! #CostumeParty #ThemeNight #Parahoy #Emos #AltGirls #Girls A photo posted by Claire Louise (@xo_clairelouise) on
A full schedule
Is anyone else insanely bored since coming back from the cruise? I don’t know how exciting your lives are, but mine just doesn’t typically live up to Parahoy. I literally loved the idea that there was always something going on, whether it was a show, an activity like the Q&A or a trivia quiz, or just a chance to play in the pool or hot tub. Being on that boat could never be boring; in fact it was non-stop.
Lights. Everything about Lights.
Lights – with her adorable persona and enviable aura – is one of those singers who can quite happily pull off electro or acoustic. What you might not be aware of is how absolutely incredible her vocals actually are, and it’s something that was evident on board the boat. She’s just one of those artists who sounds even better live than on record. She’s also a little trooper for putting up with the temperamental elements! I was lucky enough to run into her (seriously, how beaut?), but whoever saw her beautiful child Rocket? I envy you!
I have about 5000 pics I want to upload from #Parahoy, but I’m pretty excited about this one. #Lights #Girls #Cruise #Music A photo posted by Claire Louise (@xo_clairelouise) on
Every band on that damn boat
We went to a music festival on a boat. ON A BOAT. No big deal.
If you refuse to acknowledge that Paramore, New Found Glory, Lights, Chvrches, MeWithoutYou, Vacationer and X Ambassadors make one hell of a line up, then you probably weren’t there to experience it. In my eyes, New Found Glory will never get old, and I hope they come back if and when there’s a third cruise. MeWithoutYou are a band I feel like I’d need to know more about on a lyrical level to truly appreciate, because I feel they’d be more accessible (a little like La Dispute) if I did. Regardless, they more than earned their place. As for all the bands, whether they were on stage or just hanging out, it all felt like family.
People who can SING everywhere you turn
I absolutely love the community vibe on Parahoy, but the key common thread is music. Therefore, it makes sense that so many people on board are musically inclined, and I loved hearing everyone sing, whether it was acoustically, at Paraoke, or just for fun.
Of course, the queen of the Pearl in this respect was one Ms. Keli Thomson, winner of Paraoke. Her cover of Ain’t It Fun absolutely blew me away, and you can check out her band Painting Rockets on Facebook.
Alternative kids enjoying cultural activities in Mexico
…But equally, those same kids enjoying the “cultural” experience of getting blind drunk on tequila and spending the next few hours desperately trying to sober up for the Paramore show! Yep, I saw you! The cruise made a stop on Mexico’s coast, giving a true ‘holiday’ feel to the occasion. Seeing Mayan ruins on the same day as a Paramore extravaganza was an extremely surreal concept, but it’s a really special one, too. I’m so glad I got the chance to experience it, even though I was a bit of a nightmare getting up that morning after two hours’ sleep. I’m so sorry!
Being all cultured and stuff. #Parahoy #Mexico #Tulum #Mayan #Culture #Girls #Travel A photo posted by Claire Louise (@xo_clairelouise) on
A group of overgrown emo kids screaming their hearts out
Nashville Is The Reason are a clubnight specialising in emo/alt tracks from the 00′s, and they more than earned their place on board. If there’s anything closer to perfection over a few drinks, please let me know. It was goosebumps-inducing watching the entire crowd singing as though their lives depended on it, dancing, and including literally everyone who wanted in. I know I get emotional just thinking about everyone looking out for one another; both in the folks like me who were running around, and those who were being wheeled around in their wheelchair. Everyone was respectful, and just out for a good time. This night holds a special place in my heart, and there was nothing better. We never wanted it to end!
Let’s never grow up, okay?
Look, I know it was pretty windy on occasion, and I’m also aware it rained a couple of times, too. However, try touching down in London after a mostly sunny spell in Miami and Mexico and then come and tell me the weather was bad.
Eating for FREE, 24/7
Parahoy was basically my heaven on earth/on sea. (I’m aware that the sea is on the earth). Food is the thing I base large portions of my life around, and so large portions were what I ate every single day. Although I made what felt like hundreds of buffet trips, I feel like I made all the money I paid on the trip back in just one meal. On the final night, I ordered three starters and two entrées… I ate pretty much everything on my plate, as well as bread. I adore food, so this cruise felt like I was living the dream. Much to the amusement of my friends and the waiters at the sit-down place!
That one night on #Parahoy where we ordered so much food that the waiters laughed at us. I ordered literally 3 starters and 2 entrées. Plus there was bread and I had a midnight feast later #Food #InstaFood #LOL A photo posted by Claire Louise (@xo_clairelouise) on
Sixthman and the rest of the Parahoy crew being the absolute best bunch in the industry
I could go on for hours upon hours about how much I love the hosts, Sixthman, and what they’ve done for us. Not only did they create this life-changing concept, they’re also just some of the coolest people. They work super hard, and they play super hard, too. Some of my fondest memories are of getting drunk with these guys after their shift, and the freelancers they bring on board are every bit as amazing as well. It’s a tight operation, without being full of arrogant idiots. You hear that, music industry?!
Didn’t go on Parahoy and Paramore not your cup of tea? No problem! Sixthman put on a ton of cruises and so there’s bound to be something to take your fancy. Between these guys, the crew and the dedicated ship staff, Parahoy runs like some kind of super-fun military expedition. Who else would set up activities ranging from playing ping pong with your favourite band through to theme nights at the concerts nightly?! If this happens again and you can spare the cash, you’d be mad to miss out. Special respect to Sixthman for giving me extra opportunities, too.
It was both an honor and a privilege to gain an insight into working on board the greatest musical experience there is. As I sit writing my first piece about this year’s #Parahoy, I’m reminded of how fortunate I have been to experience this. A true career highlight! #Media #Work #Lucky #Sixthman #Writer #Music #Miami A photo posted by Claire Louise (@xo_clairelouise) on
Last, but certainly not least, I’ll miss my friends. Look guys, this isn’t the end. Those friendships we made on board? They’ll become real friendships. Since Parahoy 2014, I’ve almost been unable to differentiate between the friends I’ve met on the cruise and the ones I already had. Some of you have blended into my life perfectly. Some of you are no longer in my life for personal reasons, too – but that’s how real life friendships work as well. We are all fucking crazy together, but I love how it just works.
One of my favorite moments of our #Miami trip was when we got the entirety of #Hooters up and singing. This was when it was just us lot, #Parahoy people in every corner. Then the barman gave me $5 to crank up to jukebox so it only played #Paramore. And that was it. We were off. Such a good pre #Party #Spirit #Friends #Travel #USA A video posted by Claire Louise (@xo_clairelouise) on
I’ve watched people I met on a boat grow over the last two years, and I’ve seen some of you go through massive changes and achievements. In some cases, I know Parahoy literally changed your life – Adam Reiter, I’m looking at you here, and I am so honored to be a part of that journey.
Some of you will have met people who you’ll go on to hook up with. To be with. To live with. To party with. To travel with. Perhaps even to marry and have kids with?!
To everyone I met on Parahoy 2016, and to those who’ve stuck by me since the first trip, I am so glad I met you. Thank you for being in my life. Thank you for letting me stay in your homes, or for coming to all kinds of different things back on dry land with me. Thank you to anyone who came up to me on board and told me they read my blog and my silly Parahoy articles. I can’t tell you how much that means to me.
You guys; I can’t wait to see where our next adventures take us. I can’t wait to travel across the world to spend time with even more of you as well. It’s a lonely life without you, so stay in touch. Newbies and alumni alike, we’re all one big family now. If you met some people or even just someone on this cruise who you think you’d like to stay friends with, cherish them. Treasure them. Because I promise you. Your Parahoy friends will be some of the best you’ll ever have.
I love you all, and I love Parahoy. It’s so much more than a boat with some bands.