Groove Cruise: The Most Enticing Party on the Open Ocean, Clothing Optional [Photos]

words by Brandon Mauldin
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words by Brandon Mauldin

Start up Google Earth, zoom in on some part of the International waters between Miami and Jamaica then behold the virtually endless dancing city that is Groove Cruise. Okay, you won't actually find the party because the groove cruise is officially over until next year but the sentiment remains the same. Groove Cruise is an eternal, powerful and chaotic, elegant experience which is almost as terrifying and uplifting as the universe itself. 

Groove Cruise 2016 (photo by miguel lizarraga @veranmiky)

Terrifying you say? Yes, 4 days, 50 djs, 6 venues. Need I say more. Once you swallow the fact that you can't rage at every single set (except for those blessed rare souls that don't need sleep, food or downtime) you were able to find your groove (pun intended) and ride the wave (pun also intended). 

Groove Cruise 2016 (photo by miguel lizarraga @veranmiky)

The concept is beautiful. Gather 2000+ of the hardest partiers, club goers and fun lovers, give them a fully functioning floating city and keep them hydrated. The rest will take care of itself. 

Groove Cruise 2016 (photo by miguel lizarraga @veranmiky)

This includes nudity. Not the boring "just walk around with my clothes off’" kind of nudity but the "how long will it take till this flimsy speedo falls off while I jump up and down for 4 days" nudity. Or the type of nudity that requires a Picasso or an Alex Grey level of creativity; I honestly had no idea nipple pasties and electric tape could have so much depth to them. Kudos. 

Groove Cruise 2016 (photo by miguel lizarraga @veranmiky)

On the opposite end of the wardrobe spectrum were the flashiest most thought out costumes, headdresses, masks and onesies (I'm sure that's a word now) on the planet. Some of my favorites included the floating mask guy from the crash bandicoot video games, the hardest most turnt T-Rex I've ever met, Towelie and bananas. There were so many delicious bananas that were in pajamas and also pajama-free. 

Groove Cruise 2016 (photo by miguel lizarraga @veranmiky)

The Whet Travel Team thought of everything. From huge bars and random beds scattered throughout the ship to open DJ decks to put on your own spin session and a celebrity DJ soccer match and even goodwill. In Jamaica, the cruisers had the opportunity to donate time passing out water and food on the island. The Jamaican beach party was a major hit as well, although the sun decided not to stay very long. There was ice water at every turn, a glowing spider web, there was also a warp hole that someone bought for like 200 bucks. That's a steal. 

Groove Cruise 2016 (photo by miguel lizarraga @veranmiky)

My favorite sets included the Roger Sanchez sunrise finale, a Markus Schultz 6 hour set, KSF killing it and the Dada Life ship takeover/pillow fight. Also CocoDrills and Nora En Pure owe me new feet and Darude fuckin killed it BTW. Bingo Players absolutely turned the Ocho Rios beach on its head with some of the only trap music heard at the festival. Anthony Attalla rocked the dim-lit Spinnaker Lounge along with a short but sweet set from Kristina Sky. Dzeko & Torres shook it up hard as well. 

Groove Cruise 2016 (photo by miguel lizarraga @veranmiky)

What stood out to me wasn't just the biggest names spinning onboard the ship. 

Whet Travel grabbed some great up-and-coming as well as local talent to really set the dance floors on fire. Standouts included brilliant sets from Phil Rizzo, #ManPretty aka Keith Christopher, Fancy Cats, Chocolate Puma along with Doc Brown and Damiano. 

Groove Cruise 2016 (photo by miguel lizarraga @veranmiky)

Although the Groove Cruise was primarily a House music boat, there was tons of Techno and Trance represented. With sub genres throughout, including Sub House, Soul music infused House, a sprinkling of Trap, radio hits turned into EDM edits, Hardcore sets and a few Down-tempo areas (here’s looking at you, jellyfish lounge). There was something for everyone, also someone for everyone, but that's a different story. 

Groove Cruise 2016 (photo by miguel lizarraga @veranmiky)

The greatest part of groove cruise remains to be the cruisers themselves. Whether it was 8 am with only a handful of people shuffling and dancing on the pool deck, or getting on an elevator by having to join in on the game of twister inside it, everyone was amazing and interesting and fun. Hats off to Jason the owner/creator of Whet Travel and Groove cruise and his team for putting together a spectacular event. I'll be there next year.