It takes a lot of intestinal fortitude to completely book out Rhapsody of the Seas, collect 14 Elvis tribute artists and without being in the travel industry, market ‘The King’ Tribute Cruise. This is what Johnny Welsh did. It is said he mortgaged his house and sold his campervan manufacturing business to raise the $1 million-plus fee to secure all the cabins for Elvis fans.
Marketed through Cruiseco, the ship was a sell-out when it sailed last Thursday, with prices starting at $750 per person for the three-night cruise. I was at Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay to see for myself and meet some of the Elvis tribute artists and their fans.
Many of the passengers were dressed in outfits befitting the occasion. There was a real buzz as people boarded Rhapsody. One woman sported an Elvis tattoo on her shoulder, which could be viewed through the large hole in her shirt.