Well. That escalated quickly.

Here at EDM Maniac, we write reviews, recaps, summaries, information articles, gibberish, opinion pieces and everything in between. Trying to write about our experience has truly been a challenge to put into words, but it’s taken at least that long to gather our thoughts, and figure out how some of those things ended up in our suitcases because I don’t remember having any bananas or a huge inflatable kangaroo. The other reason for the writer’s block, is because I, like many, didn’t come back the same. Whet Travel really outdid themselves for this one. The organization and the professional level of just, everything, is hard to surpass. This experience was truly unlike any other, which is why we’ve picked it as the WILDEST PARTY of the year.

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The various media outlets along with us covering the adventure such as Rabbits Black, Eventvibe, Tavits, and ViranMiky snapping pictures seemed to perfectly capture every inch of sentiment candid or not, and I hope they all come back. More than that, you can host the best party in the world, but it’s not a party without the people. There was something really unique this year. I have talked to multiple world travelers and frequent festival goers, promoters in nightlife from New York, Miami, Vegas and LA etc. and keep hearing “there was something special about this one.” I mean it could have been the weather, which was a perfect +/-90 degrees with no overcast. It could have been the amazing lineups featuring Morgan Page, Michael Woods, Eric Morillo… favorites who have reached “Groove Cruise Legend ”status which is the equivalent to an American Express Black card like EC Twins, Dean Mason and Anthony Attalla… it could have been the larger ship than the previous year allowing about 3,000 captains to join (1,000 more than last year)… it could have been any number of countless things but it came together to make a lasting mark on me, and I know countless others that booked the next one within days of coming back.

To somehow describe with a medium such as a keyboard, something so innate, so much larger than ourselves, it’s impossible to fully have you grasp what we’re trying to say, and it makes us happy to know that if you went, you understand. It shouldn’t be hard, right? It should be easy to talk about something as life changing or soul-awakening , but, there’s just so much that went on; we’re still finding pictures surfacing, still being tagged in posts, and still partying with shipmates the last few weekends since we’ve been back. I’m not completely convinced it’s over or that it actually ended. The beauty of that statement is I don’t think it will. Groove Cruise Family (insert smirky, devilish, enlightened smile here) for life.

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For those readers that haven’t fully grasped what I’m even talking about, I need to recap what this thing is all about. If you tried to tell me the next few sentences are even possible I’d think you’re extremely high, drunk and crazy. Since most of our readers understand EDC Las Vegas, lets take the main stage for example. Draw a line after the first 5 rows of people and kick the remaining 120,000 people out, but leave the same lineup and lasers. Where everyone else was just standing lets add 1,000 luxury hotel rooms 100 feet away with 3 Vegas style buffets and a couple pools and hot tubs. EDC is dusk til dawn, but I don’t want to stop, so when the sun comes up and we normally have to leave, let’s keep it going all day. Then, let’s take that same chunk of EDC and put it all on a boat that takes us to a private island party in the middle of the ocean, then Ensenada Mexico, and then do this for 72 hours, 24 hours a day, non-stop. Heaven on earth. But wait, while the other 50+ DJ’s are NOT playing, they should just walk around in the crowd and party WITH us, take pictures, eat ice cream cones and get rowdy. Let’s never turn down the music, let’s pretty much just not have any rules. Ok, that’s cool let’s do that. Wait, we just did, that’s GROOVE CRUISE.

The first few hours on the boat are a little like an elephant that’s been in captivity its whole life and been newly released into the wild not really quite sure what to do or where to go. Your bags will be delivered to your room, so what you’re wearing is what you have. There’s a little anxiousness in the air because of the names being called over the intercom, but the music on the open air deck 14 brought us all together. It doesn’t take much time for the hardest partiers in the country to live up to their name.

Before the ship had even left port, a handful of bodies lined the hallway as pointed out by Artist Kristina Sky because they were so tired from work, stress etc they needed a nap…

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Ice Cream cone count: 4

When we finally hit the ocean, it was the last time some people would have any hesitation about answering almost every question for the next 3 days with “yes.” Do you want a drink? Yes. Would you like a shot? Yes. Would you like to go to the chill lounge? Duh, yes.

Catalina Island is cool by itself, but then section off a corner of the beach not even the locals can go to, call it home for a few hours, and you might get too comfortable. SO comfortable that 34 (official number not confirmed, but also not denied) people wanted stay! I tried to warn you all before we left that the boat WILL leave without you. It was at that point that I realized how hard this crew was going. This party with Will Sparks, Eric Morillo and Dean Mason KILLING IT at the end of the night really upped the ante. If we were playing strip poker, pretty much everyone on the first hand raised the bet to all-in. Holy balls, we have 2 more nights this just got even more out of hand. When life hands you lemons… find vodka. Just, always find vodka, or tequila. Just, more. I think I’ll nickname Friday …. “more.” Yes, more. Yes. More. Yes.

Ice Cream cone count: 10

Veterans really stepped up this year. Social media was at an all-time high before, but after as well. There’s a special members only page you’ll be invited to with confirmation of your booking, that will keep Facebook notifications coming all day long. You need something to do at work, right? Friday night around 3am with 14 people in the elevator, some newbies mentioned they were going to sleep. I was proud when everyone started chanting “NO SLEEP! NO SLEEP! NO SLEEP!” proceeded by those newbies being dragged onto the back of the boat for Anthony Attalla. They thanked us later. THERE IS NO SLEEPING ON THE GROOVE CRUISE!!!!!

Ice cream cone count: 14

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Photo Courtesy of: Eventvibe

Random: Honest to God, I’m listening to Thomas Gold’s podcast Fanfare episode 123 and he just announced at 32:49 he’ll be playing Groove Cruise Miami! It’s everywhere!

Saturday Morning. There literally isn’t anything like a Groove Cruise sunrise. There’s no pollution. There are no buildings in the way of the horizon. As the first sliver of sun starts to come from the deep abyss, the bass hasn’t stopped hitting you in the face on the back of the boat. We’re in Mexico. I don’t know how we got there, but we’re here. There are a few hours missing. At this point we can’t function individually, so we have to act as a group. Decisions are getting harder, but let’s go to a private bar called Papa’s & Beer in Ensenada, Mexico. Throw Dean Mason, Sultan & Ned Shepard, Scotty Boy, and Deniz Koyu on some CDJ’s, add tequila shots lit on fire, some $10 sombreros you bargained down to $7, a 1 for $10 or 2 for $15 bracelet with “turnip” (misspelled), and you’ve got yourself a situation…… that I have to stop right here because……. Mexico…….Yes. **OH, and CONGRATS TO THE COUPLE THAT GOT ENGAGED WHILE WE WERE THERE!**

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THE GROOVE CRUISE Family Invades Papas & Beer in Ensenada, Mexico

Ice Cream cone count: 24

Saturday night. It’s the last night. There’s no holding back. Everything is everyone’s at this point. You’ve had a conversation with almost everyone on board. You pass people in the hall like you’ve known them for 10 years. The boat is somehow still together and floating, except for the light and ceiling fixture from the genius who wanted to do a pull up in one of the eateries. Somehow no one has fallen off. There is literally no holding back, and the vibe is a whole new level I have never experienced. It’s like the video of a baby born deaf hearing his mom’s voice for the first time. Remember what I said about everyone being all-in playing strip poker… this is a whole new game that hasn’t even been named yet where I bet with your money. Literally every single person’s hands are in the air. I swear the sound system was at level 5,000. The boom, boom, boom, boom vibrating every last beer bottle off any table, more water on the deck than in the pool, everyone on the same page as every drop created a 4.2 magnitude earthquake when everyone jumped and stomped like there was 5 hours left on the earth. TAKE ME BACK!!!!

The sounds from the intimate Trance stage with artists like Darude, Kristina Sky (double set!) and Cosmic Gate were booming all night. The stage was packed from front to back with diehard Trance fans getting down to the old and new sounds Trance sounds. Darude took us back, Cosmic Gate made us feel on the top of the world, and Kristina Sky played tons of uplifting. We didn’t feel like we were on a Cruise Ship, but felt like we were in a club in Hollywood. The lights and multiple lasers dazzled us as we fans from all over the ship came together “in a state of trance.” The beautiful part about Groove Cruise is that the music was still going and people were still partying hard when Kristina Sky once again took the stage in the wee hours of the morning. The party doesn’t stop on Groove Cruise, and the last night was shining example of that.

As we floated back to harbor our boat turned into a magic spaceship “The Princess,” in a glory of mysterious magical fog as Dsk Chk’s sunrise set gave us one final chance to rage. This sunrise is forever burned into my memory. I could go blind and never forget this. What a way to end it.

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The transition back to reality has been rough too. Here are some things we’ve been dealing with and I know you have as well:

The “not following” people:

How hard is it to explain everything that happened to people when you got back?! I’ve had to dumb down some stories because they’re almost unbelievable. The glossed over look in some people’s eyes, the blank stares, the look of pure incomprehensibility; so you stop and say out of frustration “guess you had to be there” or “no, seriously, you don’t believe me?!” Your heart hurts for them, because, seriously, how do you not understand how awesome that story was?! It happened.

Bandwagon Committee:

These are the people that have partied and get it. They openly wish they were in the story you’re telling them and are in such awe they want to know where to sign up. These are the early committers who see the spark and twinkle in your eye as you tell about the story where you took the kids plastic tricycles for a spin around the ship…. and they want in. “Yup, I’m for sure going!” “No way, that’s awesome, I’m totally in 100%!” “Dude, I have to go, I’m going with you!” It’s unfortunate that only a small portion of people will actually come, but at least it makes you feel good about the story.

The “boss” or “upper management”

This one’s tough. Its equivalent to having to use the restroom, and then waiting another 45 min, and once you get there your zipper gets stuck. “Hey Chaz! How was your vacation?” The answer depends on how much information you divulged before. If you played the “going to see family” card you’re going to have to snap into character really fast because no one gets that excited to see Aunt Helga and the twins. If you told your boss you were going on a cruise to Mexico, you can’t get overly excited because that random drug test might not be so random. If you play it cool, and say “It was good. I had fun. I’m a little tired, but aren’t we all after vacation,” and fake a laugh, inside your heart you’ve just shaken up a 2 liter of coke and twisted the lid open a little. You’re having flashbacks of the elevator incident with piñata girl, the time on twerkin 12th deck bent over the balcony, and the twins you CAN get excited about, but you CANT SAY ANY OF IT! The amounts of industries that can’t know you were there baffle me. It makes me go back and wonder if MY kindergarten teacher or daycare or nurse was that cool to go on a dance cruise…..

The jealous friends:

They hate you. They don’t believe any of your stories. Right now they’re just tolerating you because the pictures confirm that yes, indeed, you actually WERE found walking around eating an ice cream cone out of a unicorns mouth while wearing 3 hats, 2 pairs of sunglasses, Mickey Mouse hands and a gold chain with a coconut bikini….. and it was completely normal and acceptable. There WAS a baby DJ (DJ 2cute that actually has a Facebook page)… There WAS girls walking around in nothing but body paint, there WAS a huge TED bear, you DID take shots of tequila with Michael Woods, you ….you just had the time of your life, and they’re mad because they weren’t there. If they can’t believe the stories that actually have pictures, they’ll never believe the ones that aren’t properly documented.

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Regardless, I bet very few people have anything they’d do differently. They left everything they had on that ship. I can’t say enough about the memories we now share and friendships that we’ve made. I said it before and I’ll reiterate, stay in touch… these are the people you want in your wedding party. We’re miles and countries apart for now, but can’t wait to get back on the boat in Miami, and rejoin everyone in LA. We’re sold. We’re all-in…… but, we have been since the first hand on Catalina.

So, yea. We all survived. Well done. Man did we kill it. THE GROOVE CRUISE sails from Miami to the Bahamas at the end of January 28- February 1st. We’ll see you on board. Oh, and more inflatable animals!

Ice Cream cone count: I love ice cream.

– Brett (Chaz)

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Photos: Veranmiky, Groove Cruise