Day 4 ~ Saturday
The final day of the Groove Cruise Miami brought about uncharted territory and open seas. As veterans of the Groove Cruise LA, we were prepared for the 72 hours of euphoria at sea, but the additional 24 hours proved to be more daunting than we expected. Rough seas and a steady wind made the planned expedition to the private island at Great Stirrup Cay impossible. We have to admit, we were looking forward to another journey to our private oasis where Groove Cruisers could get a massage on the beach, lay out in white sand, and take a dip in warm blue water, but the weather just wouldn’t allow for it. But hey, we were still on the beautiful Norwegian Pearl under the sun in the Bahamas – life could be a lot worse. The programming that was scheduled for the beach shifted to the Main Pool and once again we got a huge dose of pool partying on the deck. Thomas Gold adjusted perfectly from private beach set to raging pool party for Saturday. Scooter & Lavelle and Will Sparks kept the party going as the sun set on the final day of the Groove Cruise to usher in the night. While another day at the Main Pool was a worthy replacement to Great Stirrup Cay, it was the night that brought about the day’s best sets and more than a couple of surprises.
Favorite Set: Markus Schulz Special Guest Set in the Theatre
It’s hard to call Markus Schulz’s only true solo set (we are not going to count the hour that Markus played on Friday as a true Unicorn Slayer performance) a secret when he announced it the day before at the Main Pool, but we still played along. But for the most part, if you were hanging around after Arty’s high energy set in the Theatre at 3am, you most likely knew that you were about to witness the most pure trance set of the Groove Cruise Miami Xi. Taking the stage for over two hours and performing solo, this was Markus Schulz doing what he is known best for – progressive trance music that takes you on a journey and tells a story. This story put the Groove Cruise Miami into focus and brought it to the brink of closing. In many ways, this was the Sunrise Set that always closes the Groove Cruise as it pulls back into it’s original dock. We got the call back to the Groove Cruise anthem “Memories” and we got the rabbit-hole close that only Markus can provide. It wouldn’t be right if Markus didn’t get the chance to bring us on one of his musical journeys. If every other Markus appearance on this cruise was a party, than this was the painting of our journey orchestrated beautifully in front of us by one of the Groove Cruise’s flag-bearers.
Favorite Party: Classics Party with Sydney Blu and Roger Sanchez
We enjoyed the hip hop party in the Bliss Ultra Lounge the night before, but it left us feeling like the room was still underutilized on the cruise. Sydney Blu took care of that problem on the final night during the Classics Party at Bliss. Sydney Blu has always been a master of atmosphere, able to transform a room with her sound and style and her radiant personality. For an hour the Bliss Lounge was all hers as she mixed classic house and techno songs into a pattern that painted the Bliss lounge her own. There was a distinctly feminine touch to her set that accentuated the dark colors of the room and bathed the walls with sexy tunes and deep house. Followed by the surprise appearance of Roger Sanchez, this party was everything we always hoped Bliss would be like. If only we had more time to spend here, we could have gotten lost in Bliss for hours.
That Didn’t Just Happen: Markus Schulz birthday song and cake
If we had to pick one artist who had the best Groove Cruise Miami Xi, it would be without a doubt Markus Schulz. The trance legend has made it clear in interviews with us that he loves the Groove Cruise and has a special place in his heart for this experience.
“The Groove Cruise is a special gig. Some of these clubs that are special to me, I’m not there to put on a show, I’m there to party with everybody. I want to be part of the party and I think that the Groove Cruise is exactly that.”
– Markus Schulz
The Unicorn Slayer got to bring along his good friend Ferry Corsten for this cruise and they were having as much fun as anyone else on board. It all came together during Markus’ final set when the Groove Cruise family presented Markus with a custom birthday cake to celebrate his 21st birthday (for the 19th time). This was the first time we have ever been to a show and also received birthday cake during the peak of a trance set! It was a special moment for Markus and everyone in attendance, and it was the perfect way to celebrate the final few hours of this remarkable Groove Cruise Miami experience.
Thanks For The Memories
As the 11th edition of the Groove Cruise Miami pulled into port, the party was still going strong on the Main Pool deck. Chus + Ceballos were putting the final touches on what would be the last set of the voyage, but the party kept on going strong. The daybeds and cabanas of the newly instituted VIP Admirals Club along the outside of the Main Pool were still packed with revelers decked out in their best circus attire and costumes. Dancing continued in the halls, up the stairs, and in the elevators of the Norweigan Pearl right until that final moment where Whet Travel founder Jason Beukema gave his final address over the PA system of the ship. In many ways, it was the perfect end to the Groove Cruise Miami Xi – a voyage that seemed more like 96 hours of non-stop partying than 4 distinctly different days aboard the ship. Some of that feeling can be attributed to the fact that we literally only had a handful of hours off the ship on this journey – something that wasn’t planned for but ended up being our fate. And guess what, there was nothing wrong with that. The Norwegian Pearl and staff were welcoming hosts for the Groove Cruise Miami and we felt right at home in this beautiful world that Whet Travel so intricately created. This was a testament to the DJs of this cruise, who partied and played their hearts out with their fans and the masses. They made themselves available and became one of the many Groove Cruise captains just like us. This was a resounding acclamation that the Groove Cruise Miami has found more than a suitable partner with the Norwegian Pearl – a cruise line and staff that truly gets what this experience is all about and provides the perfect atmosphere for 3,000 lucky souls to get away from it all, even if just for a few days.
Thanks for the memories Groove Cruise Miami Xi.
Groove Cruise LA or Groove Cruise Miami?
It’s a question that we were asked over and over again on the boat and continue to receive now. What Groove Cruise do we like more? LA or Miami? We understand why inquiring minds want to ask that question, but it’s best asked a different way – how are the two experiences different? There are various aspects of the two cruises that make them inherently unique: The Los Angeles voyage is only three days in length compared to the four days of the Groove Cruise Miami. The extra 24 hours can be a daunting task for the Groove Cruiser who never misses an Incorrect Music afterhours party, but it was one of the big differences that we enjoyed compared to the LA cruise. 96 hours was the perfect amount of time to feel fully disconnected from the world while not having to worry about your job status back at home. While we love the party at Descanso Beach Club in Catalina, it’s hard to compare that to the feeling you get from being on a private island in Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas. You want to talk about getting away from it all? There are barely any signs of civilization around you!
The two cruises have a slightly different feel and vibe to them as well, which is something that can be attributed to both the attendees and setting. The Groove Cruise Miami just wrapped up it’s 11th cruise, while the Groove Cruise LA has only embarked on 2 full charters at this point. There are some true Groove Cruise veterans in Miami who have been doing this for a while, and they have their crews and they know how they want to party. In LA we noticed more open doors and room parties occurring throughout the ship, as people seemed more open to making new friends and welcoming the party into their rooms. That could easily be a result of the fact that the Groove Cruise is still relatively new to Los Angeles, and the sense of exploration is still fresh with the West Coast attendees. The Groove Cruise Miami is the more complete cruise experience with an extra day, beautiful private island, and enough variety in music to appease almost any fan of dance music. The Groove Cruise Los Angeles has more of a nightclub and rave feel – 72 hours to party until your feet won’t let you any more, but also over too soon for our liking. Our suggestion is to experience both for yourself. Regardless of whether you are cruising off the coast of California and Mexico or Florida the Bahamas, there is nothing in this world quite like the alternate universe of the Groove Cruise.
Stay tuned to Rabbits Black next week as we will release our Groove Cruise Miami photos! Did you get a chance to meet our photographers on the ship? If so, then we have a picture of you ready to go! As a thank you to our Groove Cruise family, we will be sending you the highest quality print of your photo at no charge- we’ll even send the print to your home if you like! It’s our way of thanking you for being a part of the Groove Cruise and Rabbits Black experience throughout the year.
The Groove Cruise LA sets sail from October 23-26, 2015 on the Carnival Inspiration. You can book you room starting on February 11th here. Use the discount code: rabbitsblack when booking your cabin to receive the best discounted rate!
Check out all of our Groove Cruise coverage and interviews at the Groove Cruise Festival Guide here.
Photographs used in this piece were provided courtesy of Whet Travel and their photographers.