Beep Beep, Beep Beep, Beep… Get up! Wednesday morning of Groove Cruise Miami is like Christmas morning for adults. You wake up in your favorite onesie (remembering to pack it of course), jump out of bed, and hurry over to the boat to meet up with your Groove Cruise family to celebrate. Of course instead of a new bicycle you get a cruise ship, your favorite DJs, scantily clad sexy partiers, and a chance to leave reality behind for a few days. This particular trip was a little more difficult for some people to attend due to significant weather issues as a major Nor-easter storm (for West Coasters, think “snow hurricane”) blanketed New England in feet of snow and flights were cancelled for everything north of Washington, D.C. Many Groove Cruisers are East Coast residents that booked flights to Miami for Tuesday and Wednesday morning so the panic was definitely on. You may have seen large groups of neon-wearing co-eds running through the airport like the McCallister family in Home Alone trying to catch their plane. Needless to say, the elation experienced by many people upon finally reaching the Miami port and setting their eyes on the beautiful Norwegian Pearl was felt throughout the ship.
The Miami Groove Cruise is the one that started it all, and it’s hard to believe that the 11th voyage has already returned to shore. The innovators at Whet Travel – the production brain trust behind the Groove Cruise – have expanded their roster to include other music-based party cruises for the rockers, salsa dancers, metal heads, yogis, and spring breakers out there. But the Groove Cruise Miami is the flagship enterprise, and with that great distinction comes great party responsibilities. This year’s GC Miami Xi went beyond expectations, adding a bigger lineup, more LED panels, enhanced stage production, a newly instituted Admirals VIP experience, and over 4 days of partying up close and personal with your favorite DJs. And trust us, those on board learned first hand that the talent can party! However, the key to the entire event has very little to do with the size of the stage or names on the marquee. It has everything to do with the people on board. The Groove Cruise brings like-minded people together for an escape from reality that is judgment, violence, and stress free. It is like a sexy adult summer camp you never want to come home from.
That being said, it was a non-stop 96-hour costume-heavy dance marathon with more visual stimuli than a Carl’s Jr. Super Bowl commercial. The names on the Marquee were top end: Darude, Markus Schulz, Ferry Corsten, Thomas Gold, Oliver Heldens, George Acosta, Arty, Scotty Boy, etc. every hour of every day. And they partied side by side with the rest of the Groove Cruisers all weekend long. Grab some floaties and a drink, keep your head above water, and check out our full recap of the most recent installment of the Groove Cruise Miami saga.
Day 1 ~ Wednesday
The opening day party theme is a classic and also the most significant: Represent. People come from all over the world to spend over 4 days together on a cruise ship, so why waste time getting to know each other? The represent theme allows people to show pride in their community and business (Rabbits Black, Team Addicted, Whet Travel, Downbeats etc.), their nationality (American flag tanks, Brazilian flag bikinis, Miami Heat jerseys), or whatever else they choose to identify with. These outfits are conversation starters and friendships start to form immediately. As the weekend goes on these regional affiliations start to fade away and everyone becomes just a veteran of that particular Groove Cruise, ultimately representing each other in this all-encompassing GC family.
The weather in Miami was perfect Wednesday as people lined up in the Port of Miami waiting patiently to get through security and get the party started. Of course, for many cruisers the party started well before they arrived at the port. Even the security line was a celebration as groups of costumed Groove Cruisers popped bottles of champagne and mingled to the beats and breakdowns of dance music on portable speakers. Once onto the ship and checked into the rooms, everyone gravitated naturally towards the Main Pool for the Welcome Pool Party. Oliver Heldens, Ferry Corsten, Markus Schulz, and George Acosta set the tone with massive sets as the ship set sail, the sun set, and the Miami skyline faded into the distance.
Favorite Set: Oliver Heldens at the Main Pool
Infectious. That’s the one word we would use to describe the Dutch DJ’s set at the Main Pool on Wednesday night. Spinning his brand of Future House to a packed audience, Oliver Heldens was one of the premiere acts that we were excited to see Whet Travel book for Miami. His popularity has been steadily rising over the past year and his booking was a reminder that the Groove Cruise can attract today’s hottest talent along with long-time faithfuls and industry pioneers. Heldens did not disappoint for his first ever Groove Cruise performance. Dancing along the stage for a good portion of the night, Heldens won over the crowd with his infectious (there’s that word again) personality and smile. His hit “Gecko” was a highlight and his humorous dance moves made the crowd go wild. Oliver hasn’t even turned 21 yet, which probably explains why he wasn’t around for the whole cruise. Next time Oliver… you are almost there!
Favorite Party: Welcome Pool Party
Goodbye Miami, hello Groove Cruise! Whet Travel definitely had a plan in mind when they put together their talent schedule. As the floating party leviathan navigated its way out of the port of Miami and into open waters we waived goodbye to the Miami coastline and entered a different dimension of judgment-free non-stop dance revelry. The Main Pool was the only stage open from 4pm to 8pm so everyone on the boat was in the same place for maybe the only time all weekend, and the kickoff lineup was perfect. Louis Dee & Bam Bam Buddha, Oliver Heldens, Ferry Corsten (with a brief appearance by Markus Schulz), and George Acosta – that’s a Super Bowl halftime show.
That Didn’t Just Happen: New World Punx premieres “Memories”
Ferry Corsten had himself one hell of a Groove Cruise Miami Xi. His personal party however started with a great one hour surprise set just after sunset on Wednesday. Oliver Heldens had just finished his two-hour set (and dance class) and there was a transitional moment when the entire boat was at the pool deck waiting to see what would happen next. The Theatre and Casino venues had not opened up yet and the Atrium was just getting started, so the whole crowd had their eyes on the Main Pool stage. Heldens got the party started but Ferry definitely kept it going, including bringing out Markus Schulz for a few songs. In retrospect it was even more perfect because their new song “Memories” actually became the Groove Cruise Miami Xi anthem. The song was played for the first time ever live during this set.
Runner-Up: Teenage Mutants.
If we’re being entirely literal with our category heading then Teenage Mutants runs away with this crown. He literally didn’t happen. The German DJ rarely makes US appearances and I guess he didn’t want to shake that reputation. He was featured as one of our Must See Artists of GC Miami Xi. After his 2013 smash hit debut “Hanging On” on Off Recordings reached number 1 on Beatport we were excited to see that he scheduled at least one, and only one, U.S. tour date in 2015. However, Teenage Mutants literally missed the boat on this one. It’s alright, I’m sure the U.S. isn’t that big of a market.
Continue to the next page for our Day 2 and 3 recap…