ShipRocked celebrated its eighth year with a new ship and new location. A sold out crowd of thousands of rock fans boarded the Carnival Victory to party hard and vacation even harder.

The cruise was off to a rocky start, to no fault of the band. Due to technical and safety issues with the stage, Sevendust's set began late. Two hours late. Day turned to night and when Sevendust finally got the chance to take the stage, it was well worth the wait on the Deck Stage outside under the stars. The band performed heavier tracks like "Face to Face," "Thank You" and "Hero" just to name a few.

Over in the theater, arguably the heaviest band on the boat (Living Sacrifice being stiff competition for that title) Avatar took hold and as always it was glorious chaos. Ring leader and vocalist Johannes Eckerstrom re-named the cruise ShipMetal to complement their heavy set. Headbanging madness ensued during "Hail the Apocalypse," "House of Eternal Hunt" and "For the Swarm." Avatar continue to be one of the most interesting and exciting bands on ShipRocked and fit the carnival/circus theme perfectly this year. We can only hope that a carnivalesque cruise of their own will be in the works for them in the future!

It's been a long time coming for veteran ShipRockers, as fans have wanted Alter Bridge on the cruise for years, and this year they finally got them. The band performed their first show in the main theater offering up a set filled with melodic rock tunes and blistering guitar riffs and solos. "Come to Life" was an appropriate way to start their set as the blood got pumping from the get-go with "Farther Than the Sun" and "White Knuckles."

Papa Roach ended the first night of music performances out on the Deck Stage with a commanding performance. Frontman Jacoby Shaddix worked the stage, climbed scaffolding and made his way through the crowd during the set. Fans yelled out lyrics to well-known P-Roach anthems "Getting Away With Murder" and "Last Resort."

One of the most touching moments of P-Roach's gig was Shaddix dedicating the set to Elizabeth Santana Mercado, who passed away from cancer. This dedication meant the world to Mercado's family, who were in the crowd and longtime Papa Roach fans. ShipRocked and the Cancer Sucks organization have always had a supportive connection over the years; for more info on Cancer Sucks go here.

The whole ShipRocked experience is usually a familial one, a full on meet and greet experience between fans and bands. Art of Dying, Them Guns, 12 Stones and Mothership all held meet and greets later in the evening at the merchandise spot with fans. Them Guns and Mothership also cranked out their first sets in the Adriatic Lounge along with New Orleans band Cane Hill.

With an abundance of music, partying and fun, ShipRockers partied until the wee hours of the morning and it was only the first day! Check out our photo gallery of Day 1 of ShipRocked 2017 above and stay tuned for our coverage of Day 2.

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