A term that I had heard of for many years since the inception of their sea escapades, but couldn’t quite understand because I had yet to open my mind to what it could really represent.
And I have to say that as far as extreme festivals around the world, Whet Travel’s “The Groove Cruise” is an event you have to live, feel, and experience. Embarking on a 5 day cruise filled with like minded individuals ready to enjoy the endeavors of life that manifest themselves in many ways throughout the voyage.
Once we made it past the excruciating customs load in process, it was time to go out into the wild. The Groove Cruise team makes it a point to help you release from all your inhibitions and take in the experience of joining the #GCFam. From the get go, all new attendees are welcomed in with the group cherry popping featuring a welcome kit with some basic boat party needs, a group shot and a group picture. As I walked up to the large group of over 300 newbies (myself included) you could feel a distinct energy of anticipation and excitement, the infectious smiles and a group subconscious understanding that we were all about to endure something new and life changing.
For a while the boat seemed empty, but as we prepared to depart, very remarkably outfitted creatures began to emerge from down under up to the main deck with the sun beaming down right on us. Glistening exotic outfits, entertainingly funny onesie outfits, couples with matching and extravagant costumes – and this was 3 days before Halloween! Needless to say the #GCFam energy was bubbling, the drinks were flowing, and the party was just taking off in sync with the ship, en route to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Being an event that began as a group party with just 100 people 13 years ago, the evolution has been real. Comparing it to a traditional cruise, there is no comparison.
The Groove Cruise team has gone above & beyond everyone’s expectations, tackling every small detail (as well as the big ones) to ensure that every attendee’s experience is astounding. The #GCFam vibe is elevated through the understanding that everyone on board is on the same playing field – we are all equals, seeking to enjoy ourselves listening to some of the best dance music artists in the world while being disconnected from the everyday lives and concerns that we all live with. Taking into account that the final vote came down to not including “VIP” areas or tables, the unity and connection ability between all Groove Cruisers added to the ability of being able to mingle and interact with new and old friends alike, while at the same time being able to have a plate of bacon at 5am and having one of the party’s headliner DJs grubbing away just seats away from you too. All without having super fan boys/girls hovering the artists, because we are all one, no matter whom you are.
As far as the talent goes, we were treated to a range of settings for the music consumption ranging from pool side main stage vibes, to silent discos, intimate sets in the casino to more intimate settings in the Great Outdoors deck where we saw the sun go down, and up. For the nightlife feel we had the theatre and Dazzles room as well as the observation deck that was setup with multiple projection screens and visually stimulating art along with the music.
The very well curated lineup included everything from the more commercial sounds of artists like Fedde Le Grand, Gareth Emery, EDX, SNBRN, Kryder, Dannic and the Dancetronauts with a well balanced underground feel featuring Toolroom Knights’ Mark Knight, Anthony Attalla with Incorrect Music, house legends like Dj Dan and Sydney Blu plus over seas sensations like Chocolate Puma, Mendo and Dosem – all of which were part of my favorite sets. Also on the list of favorite sets are the live musical act of Goldfish, whom incorporated everything from live electric bass, saxophone, multiple keyboards, flutes and more – truly a set that took you on a ‘voyage’. Some unexpected sets included the tag team set between Arty & Audien, Fritz Carlton and Sex Panther rockin the super intimate silent disco, Dj Scooter’s throw back hiphop set along with some expected sets like Groove Cruise’s long time resident Scotty Boy & for those that made it through the end, DSK CHK with his legendary closing classics sunrise set.
Robin Schulz at Me! Cabo kept the party rocking at the stop in Cabo with Dubfire, Sian and Shaded handling the evening duties. For the adventurous, “Breathless” also hosted Lost Kings, Shaun Frank, Lavelle Dupree and Dean Mason at the very luxurious venue and one of a kind pool party.
In addition to the music and party, The Groove Cruise team incorporated plenty of interactive activities giving the attendees a chance to see a different side of the party such as daily deep house yoga, a chance to see some of their favorite Groove Cruise headliners going hard in the paint for the DJ’s volleyball competition or for the lucky few, a chance to work out with Fedde Le Grand!
For those that slept, we were awaked by a ‘Good Morning Groove Cruise’ announcement, what entertainingly seemed to come on every 6-12 hours. A balanced meal etiquette and evenly paired sleeping schedule is highly recommended on this trip, as I made sure to do so especially the night before one of my favorite events of the cruise. Through out the whole trip there were many magical moments mixed with goose bump feeling conversations and astounding, visually appealing sceneries that will last a lifetime.
On day 4 of the cruise we woke up nice and early and joined up with the Whet Travel’s Whet Foundation charity group where we had the chance to give back to an orphanage with whom Whet Travel has worked with for many years. On top of creating the fabulous experience, donations provided by Groove Cruise attendees and artists were delivered in person, we fed them, played around with the kids and mothers to also give them a non-traditional experience and extreme joy in their life, if only for a few hours.
The explosion of love could be felt by all whom attended with big bright smiles and some tears of joy too as we reflected on how thankful we are to be alive, to experience such a weekend and motivating to continue to share the love no matter where we went.
By sunrise on Wednesday morning, many had built what will be life long friendships and their standard for any traditional party or cruise will have been destroyed. With over 15 years of attending festivals and raves alike, a few months back I experienced Shambhala Music Festival powered by PK Sound in the middle of the woods in BC Canada and had had my standards completely flipped upside down for festivals on land.
A full on electronic music festival playing non stop music for over 120 hours ON WATER – sets its own standard for itself. Which is probably the reason that it tends to sell out %75-100 of ticket sales before even announcing the lineup! If you plan on coming, be warned, it is not for the weak. A “work hard, play hard” mentality is the common ground with most every cruiser you will meet, which makes the appreciation for it all the much more worthwhile. With plenty of other Whet Travel events on deck like their biggest Groove Cruise of all out of Miami or their Salsa Cruises, I can’t wait to get back on the boat with the fellow #GCFam and continue to experience marvelous random moments that will become forever memories.
More Groove Cruise photos: