Photos by Casey McCune
After processing the ridiculously great time we had on Groove Cruise Cabo last October, my bf Casey and I agreed that we just couldn't miss out on Groove Cruise Miami 2017 shenanigans. We decided to head to Miami a few days early to escape the rainy Southern California weather(at the time) and soak up the palm trees, warm weather, and delicious Cuban food. We opted for the South Beach experience for the weekend, checking out The Gale on Saturday and the luxurious W South Beach for Sunday Funday. Once Monday morning arrived, we anxiously anticipated boarding Groove Cruise Miami.
For the thirteenth year in a row, Groove Cruise set sail out of the Miami port from January 23rd-27th, this time to the Caribbean island of Grand Turk on their biggest ship yet, the Carnival Victory. GC Miami held it’s own as a non-stop party compared to previous years, if not more. Now that Groove Cruisers have cured their hangovers and are slowly adjusting back to “normal” life, let’s relive a few highlights of Groove Cruise Miami 2017.
The music never stops on Groove Cruise, imagine that! Stand out sets included a George Acosta b2b Kristina Sky classic trance set, Lee Foss at sunrise followed by b2b’s with Detlef & Nathan Barato, nightly after hours hosted by Incorrect including Anthony Attalla & Cocodrills, and a five hour open to close set by Markus Schulz who also hosted a Q&A listening party.
After an almost intolerable set by Borgeous at the beach party on Grand Turk, Groove Cruisers were welcomed back to the Carnival Victory with the chill vibes of Nora En Pure at the open pool deck just as the sun was beginning to set and the ship sailed away from the tropical island. Her soulful and rhythmic sounds created an idyllic atmosphere at sunset and lasted well into the night sailing through the pitch black sea. Nora’s set was easily my favorite of the weekend, although I heard Roger Sanchez played an unforgettable sunrise set in the very last hours of the final morning.
The Mysterious World Of Oz
On the last Groove Cruise, the chill out space “OZ” made its debut on the ship as a nightly escape from the madness. For Miami, OZ returned with a full schedule of programming throughout the day and night. The Burner style inspired space hosted a Mad Hatter Tea party, aromatherapy, meditation, massages, sound healing, light therapy, tarot card readings and eclectic music each night. It was the ideal place to take a break and get grounded again as OZ beamed with good vibes and love from everyone involved.
Adding to the fun, each Groove Cruise hosts day and night costume themes which attendees take VERY seriously. This time around, themes included “Greek Odyssey”, “Old School Raver”, “Flower Power” and “Carnaval v.s. Mardi Gras.” All are welcome and encouraged to dress up as the costumes play a role in the overall GC experience. You can still have an incredible time without dressing up, but participating definitely enhances the experience. Somehow, someway, Groove Cruisers always find a way to make everything as ridiculously fun as possible!
Nom, Nom, Nom
With multiple complementary food options on the ship, it was easy to stay nourished while partying and feed those alcohol induced cravings after days and night of drinking. Buffet style food and pizza were available 24/7 as well as three-course fine dining restaurants open for breakfast and dinner. For those who wanted even more choices, nightly themed dinners and seafood bar items were available for purchase.
Deep House Yoga
One of my personal favorite moments included Deep House Yoga with Valerie Rutka and Alissa Jo on the 11th deck of the ship overlooking the deep blue Atlantic ocean. For two afternoon sessions, Valerie led a beautiful Vinyasa flow practice as Alissa set the tone with dreamy beats. Euphoria set in towards the end as we laid still in savasana for a few moments with the bright sun shining down on us hearing only waves crashing, melodic sounds and the rhythm of our own heartbeats pulsating.
Whet Foundation Trip
Upon arrival back to Miami after four nights at sea, Groove Cruise parent company, Whet Travel invited Groove Cruisers to attend the Whet Foundation trip hosted on every Groove Cruise. Although the foundation trips usually take place at the cruise destination, it wasn’t feasible while in Grand Turk. Therefore, this time around we had the opportunity to visit with participants of the Whet Foundation “Community Captains” program.
A small group of us were taken to Jungle Island, a Miami Zoo where we met with kids from an inner city middle school who had been specifically chosen for the program based on multiple criteria. We divided into groups and spent the morning exploring Jungle Island with the kids discussing their lives, goals and career paths. After a few hours, we regrouped to meet with Whet Travel Founder, Jason Beukema who spoke with the children about Groove Cruise, entrepreneurship, and why he created Whet Travel and Whet Foundation. It was incredibly inspiring to hear a first-hand account of the challenges and setbacks he’s faced, and to witness how Groove Cruise benefits local communities in so many ways.
You may have caught on by now that Groove Cruise is much more than just a festival cruise, it’s a dynamic experience and a lifestyle for many. Attendees return year after year because of the friendships and memories created on the ship, and even relationships in some cases. On this year's GC Miami there was both a proposal and wedding on board with many of each couple's friends in attendance. I foresee many proposals, weddings, new friendships and lasting memories on board in the near future. Hope to see you on the dance floor!
Groove Cruise West Coast returns October 2017, with Miami in January 2018.
For more info visit: www.groovecruise.com
(If you’re interested in traveling to dance music festivals and events, join our new Facebook group page HERE)