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BEST CRUISE? NOT CLOSE

VH1's Best Week Ever is one of our all-time favorite blogs, so we're familiar with the concept of the Best Cruise Ever, which in 2008 featured John Mayer, Colbie Caillat, Brett Dennen and Brandi Carlisle.

Then we heard about this year's Best Cruise Ever, departing from Tampa next April on the Carnival Inspiration and starring, among other bands, 3 Doors Down, Lifehouse, Shinedown, Carolina Liar, Parachute ... and Finger Eleven.

No, VH1! No!

We'll give you Parachute and Lifehouse, and, on a good day, Carolina Liar. And while we're not exactly fans, we'll admit, 3 Doors Down has one or two catchy songs.

But we challenge your assertion that any cruise featuring the band Finger Eleven can bear the crown of Best Cruise Ever. And we should know, because Tampa seems to be the trashy rock 'n' roll cruise capital of the world.

In 2010, we've got the Lynyrd Skynyrd cruise, the Kid Rock cruise, the Sister Hazel cruise and even an Elvis cruise. We KNOW what it takes to rock a boat. So when we say Finger Eleven is the breaking point, we mean it. One Thing, that snippet of half-croaked acoustic balladry that was all over the radio a couple of years ago, is bad enough, but the rest of the band's catalog is mediocre even by the standards of mediocre grunge. David Cook would not join this band for all the stubble conditioner in the world.

If you're still interested in going, reserve a cabin for as low as $799.

Another crazy cruise

Here's another option: a Genitorturers cruise! Yes, it's true.

The five-night cruise leaves from Miami in May on the Carnival Destiny and visits Jamaica and Grand Cayman.

"We're calling it the Devils and Dolls Hard Rockin' Cruise," said Gen, the frontwoman of the Tampa shock-rock troupe. "We figure, you get on a boat with a couple hundred of your fans and friends, and you have all sorts of interesting parties, and we're playing a live show in the ballroom, so it's going to be pretty special for our fans."

Soundbytes

- This might not be news to the barflies of mid-Pinellas County, but Carlie's Lounge, a classic rock bar on 49th Street, has closed. Carlie's wasn't for everyone - one of our reviewers called it one of Tampa Bay's scariest bars before admitting it was a pretty good place to "wear your torn-up Skynyrd shirt and listen to some high-quality dirt rock."

- Buju Banton couldn't get a gig at the Ritz Ybor. He couldn't even get a gig at Jannus Landing. Now he's apparently heading back to another well-known Ybor City venue. The controversial reggae singer is now booked to perform at the Cuban Club at 9 p.m. Friday, according to Ticketmaster. Tickets are still $30; existing tickets will still be honored.

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