Whet Travel completed its 16th annual Groove Cruise this month with a sold-out journey from Miami to Costa Maya. The Celebrity Infinity once again became the home away from home for the Groove Cruise “captains,” who were able to enjoy nearly 100 hours of nonstop electronic music from multiple stages hosted by industry leaders including Markus Schulz’s Coldharbour Recordings, Nora En Pure’s Purified Radio, Roger Sanchez’s Undr the Radr, Solarstone’s Pure Trance, KSHMR’s Dharma WorldWide, and more. If you weren’t able to make the trip this year, read on to see what you missed.
Departing Miami on January 9th after not one but two free preparties the previous night at the Clevelander with Cocodrills, Drums of the Sun, and more – followed by E11EVEN Miami with headliner Markus Schulz – the #GCFam boarded the ship on Thursday in their “Represent” outfits to show their pride for their countries, favorite artists, sports teams, and more as they gathered on the main pool deck for the traditional attendees group photo. As the sun set, creativity abounded for the “Team Up” theme, including a group of Care Bears led by Groove Cruise resident DJ/producer Lizzie Curious. Fans couldn’t stop buzzing about the set from Nora En Pure on the pool deck as the sun dipped below the horizon and the Groove Cruise compass logo and lasers illuminated the custom stage design Whet Travel brings onboard – one of many reasons the floating festival has been called a logistical marvel. For her first time playing on Groove Cruise, JVNA’s bass-heavy beats had Captains raving for days about her unique musical offerings.
Day two’s “Enchanted Forest” theme saw sprites, elves, flora, and fauna enjoying daytime sets courtesy of Qrion, Offaiah, and Loco Dice, as well as the fan-favorite United We Groove stage complete with a surprise rarities performance from chanteuse Emma Hewitt with DJ/producer Kristina Sky. Friday also saw Team Jetpack doing their final equipment test for their upcoming Guinness World Record attempt for the “World’s Loudest Human-Carried Soundsystem.” As Groove Cruise is more than just music, activities during the day allowed fans to donate-to-enter to the non-profit Whet Foundation for the chance to win a spot to hang with their favorite artists. Highlights included kickboxing with Yaya, Emma Hewitt’s meditation session, Team Markus Schulz vs. Team Cocodrills in a basketball game, and a wine tasting with Factor B. Other onboard activities during the cruise included a dumpling-making class with Qrion, Lessons of KSHMR Live, tequila tasting with Roger Sanchez, artist-hosted dinners, and the return of the #GCFam favorite Crusher Camp – an ’80s-style aerobics workout featuring participants donning totally tubular neon athletic outfits, leg warmers, and radical wigs for a bonus costume theme.
The Celebrity Theater was transformed to rival any land festival stage with a tiered pyramid elevated DJ booth to channel the Costa Maya destination, complete with creative original content on the LED video panels. Unicorn Slayer Markus Schulz played an open-to-close set for the #TranceFamily as an intense laser show wowed the audience. For those needing time to chill from all the heart-pumping excitement, each night the Whet Oasis holistic experience transformed the ship’s Solarium into the ultimate relaxation station with aromatherapy, deep desert house music, tea and fruits bar, yoga, meditation, plenty of comfortable lounging spots, piles of pillows, and more.
The love amongst the #GCFam was on full display as not one, not two, not three, but four weddings occurred during the sailing, including Groove Cruise Founder and Chief Excitement Officer Jason Beukema officiating for one of the happy couples and Trance Jesus presiding over another ceremony. Multiple marriage proposals also took place throughout the cruise.
Saturday morning saw volunteers disembarking for the non-profit Whet Foundation’s annual Destination Donation excursion as a way to give back to communities in the areas Groove Cruise visits. Fans and artists including Mike Hovsepian and Lavelle Dupree descended on the Casa de la Cultura de Mahahua to clean an abandoned construction dump site to help lay the groundwork for a new playground. The team also brought backpacks filled to the brim with school supplies donated by the #GCFam while Team Jetpack provided music on the move for the local children. The Whet Foundation also raised money to install a new air conditioning unit and repaint the buildings and playground.
Afterward, revelers at Blue Kay enjoyed a special beach party with headliners Above & Beyond playing for Groove Cruise “captains” for the first time. With a daytime theme of “Purple Rain,” costume interpretations ranged from honoring the legendary artist Prince with his love symbol adorning shirts, accessories and more, to the infamous Chappelle Show Prince basketball game skit attire. A few lucky fans with the best signs were selected for the infamous “Push the Button” moment during Above & Beyond’s set and even a few brief showers couldn’t dampen the mood with the Anjunabeats legends.
Once back on the ship, a Pajama Party theme ranged from comfortable to coquetry, including many Groove Cruise onesies—a popular merch item with the #GCFam. As a special treat, Roger Sanchez went back to back with Cocodrills for the sunset sail away set on the pool deck for a creative collaboration. Back in the Celebrity Theater, Groove Cruise Miami 2020 DJ Contest winner Brittany Beers astounded with her impressive skills and infectious energy. Beers perfectly set the stage for Troyak, followed by the face-melting BPMs of KSHMR. Mixing things up a bit was the hip-hop party in the Constellation lounge, complete with a special set from Kristen Knight, plus Groove Cruise OG Scooter. PJ-clad cruisers also got down at the Silent Disco, then they joined Anthony Attalla at the Incorrect stage on the Rooftop Terrace for his marathon seven-hour sunrise set.
Making the most of their last day on the Celebrity Infinity and channeling their favorite “Spirit Animals,” Coldharbour Recordings played host to the pool deck stage, complete with label staples Daxson, Grube & Hovespian, and singer Adina Butar joining Markus Schulz for a special live performance. Scotty Boy’s Deep House Brunch also returned, then to celebrate GC resident Bryan “We’re Never Going Home” Lubliner‘s birthday. The birthday party became a celebration for everyone no matter their actual birthdate (as if anyone needed an excuse to pack as much excitement as possible into the remaining hours at sea). The rooftop terrace was rocking as Gene Farris dropped an old-school house set, then a producer set from Solarstone, with Roger Sanchez playing the final set of 2020 as the ship pulled into port and the sun began to rise. For those not quite ready to go back to the real world, Captains could take shuttles right after disembarking to the afterparty at E11EVEN.
For those feeling the FOMO, Groove Cruise Miami 2021 is now on sale and is already over half booked. Tier 1 pricing is almost sold out, so electronic music fans should reserve their staterooms now or risk missing the next adventure: the 17th annual sailing, which takes place January 7th-11th. It will mark the first charter for a completely updated and reimagined Celebrity Infinity to visit the new private, pirate-themed paradise of Taino Bay in the Bahamas. Payment plans are available and all options can be viewed at GrooveCruise.com.
Originally a press release written by Deanna Rilling for Groove Cruise, then published on EDM.com