Welcome back to reality Groove Cruise Captains- only 5 days after we all got back to Los Angeles from the 72 hours of nonstop partying aboard the 2014 Groove Cruise LA! Ya, it took that long. For those of you who just experienced the Groove Cruise, what can we say? You lived it, you danced it, you survived it, and you did it right. For those of you who didn’t sail with us, we’ll do our best, but this is truly an experience that you have to partake in to understand. We were so thoroughly impressed with the Groove Cruise LA last year that we selected it as the “Best Festival of 2013” in our yearly awards. With only a few months left to go in the year, it’s tough to see how this Groove Cruise won’t be getting the same honors.
Once again Whet Travel outdid themselves. The travel & experience company behind the Groove Cruise created an alternate universe for 3,000 Groove Cruise Captains where the music never stopped, sleep (and clothing) were optional, new friendships were created, and the beat seemed always ready to drop.
“I’ve been spoiled and will never book a normal cruise! One of the best and most fun experiences ever!”–Davis T., Seattle WA, 1st Groove Cruise
Did we say alternate universe? Because we meant alternate galaxy. At least that’s what happened when the ship was overrun by aliens and spacemen during the first night’s “Out of this World” theme party. Every day, and every night, went through its own magical transformation: Represent, Out of this World, White Out, Pajama Jam, Luau, and Cartoons Gone Wild. Where else can a thousand people in their most comfortable pajamas dance to deep house music at 7am on a cruise ship while watching the sunrise over the Pacific? Seriously. Let us know because we will be there too.
The following review will take you through the #GCLAX experience – the good, the beautiful, and the outrageous. This wasn’t our first Groove Cruise, and definitely won’t be our last. We Rabbits are hooked. Life is beautiful. Let the countdown until next year begin! … or maybe just until Groove Cruise Miami in January.
Best of Groove Cruise Los Angeles 2014
Rabbits Black editors and correspondents put their minds together and submitted their votes for the Best of Groove Cruise LA 2014. Trust us, this wasn’t easy. From the classic sets of Funkagenda to a killer night swim set from DJ VICE, everyone performing on the Groove Cruise impressed. RJ Pickens, 2014 Groove Cruise & Rabbits Black DJ contest winner, put on an amazing 2 hour silent disco party that was unlike any progressive set we heard all weekend. The first night included Morgan Page followed by the EC Twins on a floating dance floor above a pool on a cruise ship! That doesn’t happen anywhere else but the Groove Cruise. Here are the sets and DJs who took us beyond the cruise and into the stratosphere.
Best Set: Anthony Attalla ~ Oasis Back Deck, Saturday Morning
Our New Favorite Artist: Moguai
The Groove Cruise packs a lineup of talent that is very different from your normal big budget festivals. The goal with the Groove Cruise lineup is to give you something different than the same cycle of DJs that make an appearance at almost every festival. Because of that, if you didn’t leave the Groove Cruise with a new favorite artist then you did something wrong! We wandered down to the Vista Lounge a few times to check out new artists throughout the weekend. We loved the vibe in there as you were able to walk right up to the DJ booth and watch the performance. The intimate feeling, the row of lights overhead that completely enveloped the dance floor, the ample seating allowing you to soak in the music in comfort- amazing work again by the Whet Travel production team. It was the Vista Lounge performance by Moguai that we walked away from shaking our heads and simply saying “Wow”. For all of the electro house that the main pool stages had, Moguai was a refreshing change in tempo. In fact, we didn’t know what the hell we were hearing for a good portion of it, but we knew we were enjoying it. Beyond the music, Moguai’s onstage persona had us sucked in. Looking out at the crowd and making eye contact with individuals for a good ten seconds at a time, you felt like songs became personal experiences and dedications. Add to that some truly insane dance moves, a set that defied genre classifications, and the intimate feeling of the Vista Lounge, and Moguai’s set was one of our favorites and the feel good surprise of the Groove Cruise this year!
Best Daytime Stage: Neptune Pool
For the daytime on-board parties, the Neptune Pool was definitely the place to be. It had a little bit of everything: an awesome stage for the DJs to overlook the entire pool area and audience while performing, cabanas all around for people to get bottles or just a quick place to rest, plenty of tables to sit and eat, two bars that were always very accessible, and last but most certainly not least, the pool! Not the biggest in the world (we were on a boat after all) but an awesome way for people to cool off and hang out and enjoy the tunes, and there was even a hot tub on each side! The biggest names on the lineup all spun there, from Michael Woods and MAKJ B2B sets to Sidney Samson and DJ Vice. MAKJ was an awesome addition to the cruise this year, with his banging electro and mashups mixed in with some classics that no one would dare claim they saw coming (Papa Roach’s The Last Resort and Tupac’s Changes were massive hits with the crowd). Watching MAKJ do a front flip into the pool was definitely a memorable moment from the trip that cruisers are still talking about!
Best Nighttime Stage: Vista Lounge
We loved everything about the Vista Lounge. There is no denying that the pool stages had some of the most impressive production setups we have ever seen on the Groove Cruise. Whet Travel and the production team stepped up their game big time, and the result was mesmerizing. Did you see the lights and lasers over the water at the Oasis Backdeck? We had never seen anything like that before! We selected the Vista Lounge as our favorite nighttime stage because it reminded us of all the things we loved on last year’s Groove Cruise coupled with the amazing improvements in production for this year. The Vista Lounge had that nightclub rave feel that the main stage on the Carnival ship had last year, but with a much better set up for seating with a dance floor in front of the stage. During the trance stage performances, we were able to easily switch between dancing next to the stage with Cosmic Gate and Darude, and then chilling out on some lounges and catching the light show. Vista Lounge was the place to be for that unique nightclub feel on the Groove Cruise.
DJ Who Had The Best Groove Cruise: Scotty Boy
Scotty Boy knows how to Groove Cruise. He’s been on the Groove Cruise for 9 full years now, so he should know a thing or two about how to do this thing! Scotty Boy was everywhere this year- playing a set at almost every stage including the Neptune Pool, Vista Lounge and Papas & Beer. We were hanging with Scotty every hour of the day and night as well- on the back deck listening to deep house and in the Vista Lounge checking out Moguai. MAKJ was definitely in the running for this award going into Saturday, but Scotty Boy grabbed the honors during his Papas & Beer set when he got on the mic and said “I don’t know about you, but I haven’t slept yet.” We have a winner.
DJ Whose Fans Represented The Most: Dean Mason and Team Addicted
It’s almost becoming unfair for everyone else on the cruise. No one represents better on the Groove Cruise than Team Addicted. We love Dean, but damn we wouldn’t want to see his marketing and apparel expenses at the end of the year! Dean was the winner of the 2012 Groove Cruise DJ contest and has been snatching up loyal fans ever since. It’s clear Dean Mason has made a connection with his fans, and that’s awesome to see. If you ever get lost on one of the shore excursions, just follow the nearest Officially Addicted hat back to the boat.
Song Of The Cruise: Scotty Boy – Shiny Disco Balls
Scotty Boy gets the nod here again. We’ve been high on his new single since it came out in February of this year. The track has always rocked, but it played so perfectly well on the Groove Cruise that it became the soundtrack to the party. If you heard “Shiny Disco Balls” on repeat coming from a suite on the Emerald Deck, that’s probably our fault. Every time Scotty played it the crowd went nuts. The perfect track for the most insane party around.
Coolest Thing We Found On The Boat: Chill Lounge on the Skywalker Deck
Did you find the Chill Lounge on the Skywalker Deck? Not everyone did, and it definitely wasn’t an experience for everyone. If you walked up to the top of the ship from the Oasis Backdeck you eventually found a nondescript path and entrance to a lounge high in the sky above the ship. A steep walking platform carried you in the air above the sea, and when you finally arrived at the Chill Lounge, you found a small community existing on the Groove Cruise high above the main stages. Lounge chairs, tables, and ample seating and bedding were spread about, allowing you to make your own little safe haven away from the madness below. And if that wasn’t chill enough, there was a Jellyfish that you could enter into and join a community of people relaxing on lounge furniture and letting downtempo beats massage their mind and body. Words were not needed in the Jellyfish to communicate, your presence was enough. There was even a candy delivery service- just place your order and the candy would come. It’s OK if you are confused, this doesn’t sound real, we know. This was a completely unique experience from the stages below and we loved every minute and hour (or was it days?) we spent in it.
The Best Of The Rest
Craziest Thing A DJ Did: MAKJ did a freaking front flip into the pool during his set at the Neptune Pool.
Most Irresponsible Thing A DJ Did: See above.
Most Surprising Set: Sidney Samson played a set that included Bob Marley, Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and apparently some dance music… and it was awesome!
Best Costume: We are biased, since Rabbits Black’s Andrew is the one who thought of this, but the original “I’m Not Carlos” shirt is hard to beat.
Best Headlining Set: Morgan Page and Erick Morillo both brought down the house with two very different types of sets.
Most Talked About Set: Anthony Attalla and Cocodrills. Both sets still have people raving on social media.
More Trance, Less Princess
With all of those amazing highlights, it’s hard for us to say anything actually bummed us out this year that Whet Travel had control of. We weren’t stoked on the Princess Cruise Line. The ship was definitely an upgrade over Carnival in terms of amenities, but we didn’t like the vibe we were getting from the staff. Mysterious room charges plagued a lot of people on check-out and we all know about the unfortunate amount of people who never got to set sail with us. The Groove Cruise needs a cruise line that respects and appreciates it’s well paying passengers- we didn’t get that feeling from Princess. In terms of music, we could have used a few more trance DJs. Many of the artists decided to go with an electro house set on the cruise which limited the musical diversity. That’s why Anthony Attalla, Moguai, Cosmic Gate and Funkagenda’s sets were so well received, they seemed to break the mold of big room electro that many of the DJs went with. A different cruise line and a little more variety in genres are two ways that the 2015 Groove Cruise LA can be even better than this year!
There Is Simply Nothing Else Quite Like It
The Groove Cruise is an institution in Miami, but this was only the second annual fully chartered Groove Cruise out of Los Angeles. It is already abundantly clear that this is just the beginning of something special on the West Coast.
“Best party to be on with thousands of the most amazing weirdos ever! Wouldn’t change a second of my crazy adventure on GCLAX. Definitely the best time of my life!” – Staci W., Huntington Beach, 1st Groove Cruise
This year’s ship was much larger with over 3,000 people onboard and the production value was kicked up several notches. The Groove Cruise will only continue to grow in the years to come as more and more “Captains” return from their voyage at sea with stories of amazing new friends, sexy and amazing costumes, 24-hour dance parties, and enough PLUR to last for a year. The comments you see above are only a tiny fraction of the outpouring of support for this one of a kind experience. It’s clear that once you’ve Groove Cruised you are hooked for life.
Was it real? We hope so. Was it magical? No doubt. Will the people and experiences there make our lives better here? 100% (at least now that we’re recovered). So sprinkle some fairy dust (included below) and think happy thoughts, which shouldn’t be hard because there is always another Groove Cruise around the corner. The good, the beautiful, the outrageous, and the MAKJ backflip. Happy #GCLAX everyone.