Cruises can be boring. Not long ago, bingo, trivia games, and cooking demonstrations were actually listed as "fun activities" by some ships. But these days, there's a new kind of cruise in town: the music cruise.
Take, for example, Jason Beukema's Groove Cruise, essentially a floating rave.
The 11th-annual Groove Cruise, departing from PortMiami January 22, will have more than 50 DJs from every style of dance music. The Norwegian Pearl sets sail for an all-inclusive private beach party in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Bingo Players, Dada Life, Dash Berlin, Markus Schulz, DaRude, Sander van Doorn, Roger Sanchez, Chus & Ceballos, and Chocolate Puma are on the schedule once the ship reaches dry land. Another 40 DJs will help push sound from the bow to the stern along the way.
New Times spoke with a few Groove Cruise alumni who will be returning this year.
Sydney Blu will play her tenth Groove Cruise and will also lead a yoga class onboard. She's the Groove Cruise marathon-set record-holder too, once playing for 17 hours in the ship's penthouse.
"On the ship, it's like one big family," she says. "It's kinda like a dorm room. My friends filled my bed with potato chips once. Who does that?"
The Russian-born Boris will make his "eighth or ninth" appearance. At this point, details have grown foggy. "I'm scheduled to play one set this year, but you never know what afterparty or room I might end up at." An impromptu set, he says, is never out of the question.
"I am closing out the party we're doing, so I plan on playing until we physically have to stop or someone cuts my power," he says. "What can you really do in a two-hour set? These EDM guys play the same records as the guy before them for an hour. That's a rip-off to the fans — not much fun, in my opinion. But, hey, that's their thing."
Valid point, Boris.
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"I love the atmosphere," he adds. "There's so much energy and so many people ready to let loose and have a great time. The boat is nonstop action, and I definitely recommend it to anyone looking to get away, enjoy a great cruise, and party nonstop."
Groove Cruise legend Sander Van Doorn, the man behind "This," "Riff," "Gold Skies," and "Guitar Track," will be one of the most versatile artists on the cruise. He says there won't be a lot of planning for his set. "For me, it always depends on where I'm playing. I never prepare in advance." The man from Eindhoven, Netherlands, will be joined by fellow Dutchman Jeffrey Sutorius, the frontman for Dash Berlin. He'll play the Theater Stage this Friday. Van Doorn will play Monday, the cruise's final evening.
There's no shortage of EDM cruises. Mad Decent Boat Party and Holy Ship! both sailed recently, but the Groove Cruise endures despite the rising competition, and cruisers are already packing the obligatory captain hats, floaties, and unicorn masks. Google searches for "how to sneak alcohol on a cruise ship" are surely exploding.
The Groove Cruise with Sydney Blu, Boris, Sander Van Doorn, and others. Friday, January 22, through Tuesday, January 26, departing from PortMiami, 1435 N. Cruise Blvd., Miami. Tickets cost $1,199 to $1,819 plus fees via thegroovecruise.com.