Now in Its 11th year, the world’s largest floating dance party, the Groove Cruise, is cranking the EDM from Miami to the Caribbean.
English EDM DJ Michael Woods playing a set at last year’s Groove Cruise LA.
The two things Miami does better than anyplace else in the country is electronic dance music and cruises, so it makes sense that the hottest dance party of the New Year combines them both. The 11th annual Groove Cruise, the world’s largest floating dance music festival, departs from Miami on January 28, sailing to the Bahamas through February 1.
With more than 50 DJs mixing amid a top-of-the-line sound and light system, the Groove Cruise is the party to end all parties. Whet Travel, the team behind the event, will take over the entire Norwegian Pearl for three days on the water and two days on a private island in the Caribbean for a heart-pounding, fist-pumping bash that will whet your appetite for Winter Music Conference (March 24 to 28) and the upcoming Miami March madness. This year’s Groove Cruise lineup includes Arty, Thomas Gold, Aly & Fila, New World Punx, Oliver Heldens, and crowd favorite Erick Morillo, who will perform an extended set at sea. “Erick Morillo has been a favorite among our ‘captains’ and team for years,” says owner Jason Beukema. “We’ve wanted him on Groove Cruise since 2008, but scheduling hasn’t worked. We are thrilled that he’s coming onboard.”
“Captains” is the term used in the Groove Cruise world for passengers aboard this party express, and as expected, it’s a hot crowd of music lovers who are masters of a good time. “The crowd truly embodies beautiful, sexy, and, most importantly, mature people,” he says. “Once you set sail with the Groove Cruise, you automatically join the year-round Groove Cruise family. Our captains stay in touch throughout the year and even host their own meet-ups and events.”
That’s how the Groove Cruise started in the first place—as a group of 125 friends cruising together in 2004. It’s always been about bonding over a love to party, but now the social circle expands globally, with 2,500 captains from all over the world expected onboard this year. In addition to the world-class EDM performances, the trip includes everything from beach, pool, and theme parties to shore excursions, crazy sporting competitions, and sexy onboard fashion shows. For its efforts, the Travel Channel named the Groove Cruise the number-one place in the world “to get your groove on,” and Whet Travel was recently ranked the fourth-fastest-growing company on the South Florida Business Journal’s 2014 list.
With all of their success, Beukema and company make sure to give back to the communities they visit. “Most people don’t associate music festivals or cruises with charity, but we have designed two amazing programs that both tie into Whet Travel,” he says. The Whet Foundation works in the Miami area, shaping the leaders of tomorrow through various youth programs centered on positive involvement in the community. Additionally, passengers bring clothing, shoes, and other goods to be donated to a local Caribbean orphanage. On every trip, the party breaks in order to participate. So while captains will spend these five days bumping and grinding to tracks from world-renowned DJs—as well as enjoying the Norwegian Pearl’s bowling alley, 16 restaurants, 13 bars and lounges, casino, spa, pools, and fitness center—they’ll also be helping someone else. “Despite the nonstop music and partying, our amazing volunteers still wake up for our 7 am departure to wherever our destination donation program takes us,” Beukema says.
Or maybe they don’t get up at 7 a.m.—maybe they stay up until 7—either way, the Groove Cruise is the dance fever fiesta where everybody goes home a winner. The 2015 Groove Cruise sails from Miami January 28 to February 1; tickets are now on sale online.