[FESTIVAL REVIEW] Groove Cruise's 20th Anniversary Sailing: An Unrivaled Music-Powered Getaway

Groove Cruise 2024, Festival Review

| February 06, 2024

Contrary to the typical festival review, it seems only right that our Groove Cruise review revolves around a first-person perspective of its experience.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary just a little over a week ago, this flagship cruise has built its community through an intimate dance-fueled culture where artists and music fans can interact and hang out together.

This core value, along with an emphasis on hospitality, made itself known before the boarding process even began. As my brother Tyler – a casual electronic music fan looking for a fun time and to meet new people – and I arrived at the Port of Miami, we were welcomed with open arms. 

Many of the other writers and press team were returning for their second, third, or even seventh time to Groove Cruise. Judging by the pure excitement on their faces, it was going to be an amazing 96 hours ahead. 

The boarding process was very smooth and well organized. People were able to get on the ship with plenty of time to explore before the later stage takeovers.

Night 1's theme was U Are The Universe. Not only did some of festival-goers take their outfits to the extreme, so did Groove Cruise's production staff.

Arriving at the Theatre, we noticed the stage design was adapted into a celestial environment, complemented by skilled dancers who moved in perfect harmony with the groovy house basslines throughout the Higher Ground takeover. They cycled through different poi with ease, almost as if they were the headlining act at a rave-themed circus.

Biscits kicked things off for us with tech house heaters, teasing his recently released track "Life Goes On."  

Next up was LP Giobbi, who put on a special hybrid performance. Her ability to melt together soulful piano with airy disco house was remarkable to witness.

We then caught the majority of Diplo's set. He fired off hit after hit, keeping the crowd on the edge of their seats with his unique song selection.

Walking out of the Theatre, we decided to explore a bit and ended up at the Martian Circusa psychoactive 5D experience that is best left unexplained. The only way to truly appreciate it is to be in the midst of its vibrant neon and funky jam-band orbit.

For Day 2 we made sure to wake up early to catch the closing hours of Kyle Walker and Ranger Trucco's b2b sunrise marathon set. There was a mix of early risers and insomniacs, but we all had the same thing in common: we could not resist the urge to shuffle around the main pool deck to the retro-house soundscapes emitting from these rising superstars.

Capping off a great morning, we hit the gym with expert trainer Shannon Sierra, aka fit2rave, for a high-intensity workout. 

After making physical gains, Neon Owl presented a great way for mental gains by hosting an artist panel, including the likes of Highlnd, Lucii, Danny Olson, and more.

Back at the main pool deck, San Pacho was ushering in the future of house music with his heavily percussive-driven anthems and Latin-infused sounds. The crowd went wild when he queued up his new song, "No Guest List," that is currently being rinsed at the hottest clubs across the planet.

Keeping the energy up, house technician Deeper Purpose threw in electrifying remixes and edits, providing the darty soundtrack that everyone needed.

Proceeding Deeper Purpose, Disco Lines put his one-of-a-kind style on display, supplying alluring beats like his 2024 single "Cutting Loose" with J. Worra and Anabel Englund. 

Some sort of detox was required post-dancing and partying under the hot sun for four consecutive hours. Yoga with LP Giobbi on in the scenic observation lounge definitely filled this requirement.

When Night 2 arrived, so did its theme: Dancing Thru The Decadeswhich encompassed just about any outfit you can think of reminiscent of the last 100 years. 

We passed Max Low curating a fun-loving tech house vibe in the Atrium for the Carnival party prior to reaching our destination, which was singing along to So Tuff So Cute nostalgic tunes to wrap up the Taking Back Emo takeover.

This bled into the Sirens After Dark takeover kicked off by cinematic bass artist Danny Olson. Between his commanding stage presence and unique fusion of cinematic scores with melodic dubstep, Danny left the crowd flabbergasted. 

As midnight struck, we hit the silent disco and got weird to a housey set from REVILOHe even repped our copper diffraction goggles after his performance.

Copper Diffraction Goggles

There was only time to take a brief nap so we could get up at 5 AM on for an emphatic two-hour sunrise set from Lilly Palmer. The techno queen unleashed a series of dark and hypnotic bangers, like "My Fantasy."

While attempting to catch up on work in the Observation Lounge, Tyler and I could not refrain from catching a few hours of Zs.

In Groove Cruise hospitable fashion, someone came by and tucked us in with towels, leaving me tasked with hiding a blue duck for another attendee to find on the ship. It coincidentally matched our 1 Up Bucket Hats that we wore for the Day 3 themes of Groove Racers and 50 Shades Of Nintendo.

1 Up Bucket Hats

We hid the duck then went to our second Neon Owl panel: Behind The Artists. The wisdom and experiences shared from these professionals was truly eye-opening.

We got an immersive look into the career journeys and day-to-day operations of Groove Cruise PR exec Charlotte Vosbeck, part of HALIENE's production and management team, event producer John Porrata (aka Skeeter), and others.

In sync with Day 2, we went from the panel to the main deck for LP Giobbi's Femme House takeover. She once again put on a mesmerizing piano-house set, then dove into a b3b with VNSSA and Casmalia.

Beelining it to the Theatre, we got there just in time to experience progressive house and melodic techno wizard K3SS get the party going for Sirens Echo Presents RE:BORN. 

Years Of War was up next, shocking attendees with an eruption of bass house and dubstep.

After all that headbanging, we were in search for a ton of hard techno to double-down on the energy. DEEPFAKE and Abyss Presents Deep Dive in Q Texas Smokehouse was an underground rager that quadrupled it.

Still in line with the Day 2 schedule, we closed out the night with Matty G at the silent disco for a blend of vintage old-school house and drum & bass. We did not stop moving once, continuously high-stepping throughout the laser tag arena.

 

Strutting back to the room, it was impossible not to get caught up in the new wave of hard-hitting house and techno from Max Styler.

The final day began with another detox: bumping to Gene Farris's sunrise marathon from the hot tubs on the upper level of the main pool deck.

Then it was to the tropical paradise of Bahamanian island Great Stirrup Caye, where Max Low and Disco Lines set the optimal vibe for Groove Cruise's headliner. 

Tiësto played a wide spectrum of his classic, thrilling mashups, and flips of the chart-topping dance music tracks from 2023 and the first few weeks of 2024.

We also got to link up with our silent disco hero Matty G, who popped off in an Over The Horizon Bucket Hat.

As night approached, LP Giobbi locked in her spot as iEDM's favorite artist and performer aboard this year's Groove Cruise. 

To put the cherry on top of the sensational trip, John Summit played a memorable multi-hour set on the main deck, with his final song being the emotional and powerful soon-to-be hit, "Shiver," with Hayla.

The party animal then helmed an extended set afters in the Theatre with Max Styler, Ranger Trucco, and Kyle Walker. Together, they took turns blessing the Theatre with club weapons like Styler and Westend's "Rhythm Machine." 

Running on minimal sleep, we were woken up with founder Jason Beukema's daily announcement over the ship's PA system. However, the real bed riser was the PA playing Marc Rebillet's YOUR NEW MORNING ALARM.

This also put Tyler and me in the afterparty mindset, as we embarked on an adventure through the city of Miami. Determined, we hurdled obstacles like the Miami marathon until we reached the entrance of E11even for the official Groove Cruise afterparty headed by Joel Corry and a birthday set from Markus Schulz.

Schulz was a fantastic finisher to our first Groove Cruise experience. Checking all the boxes of a bucket list festival and getaway, we will surely be back next year.

_________________________________

Groove Cruise 2025 will sail from Miami, Florida from Thursday, January 23 - Monday, January 27, 2025, aboard Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas to the breathtaking location of Labadee - a Royal Caribbean private beach destination that has been voted #1 in the entire Caribbean by the GCFAM.

Click to book your spot now while space is still available!

CONNECT WITH GROOVE CRUISE: INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOKX | TIKTOK | YOUTUBE

 

Photos courtesy of Don Idio (DIVISUALS) and Groove Cruise.

 

Stay up to date on the latest festival announcements and music news HERE!

 

Upgrade your rave closet for the 2024 festival season with iEDM apparel and accessories. Check out our entire collection HERE!

CONNOR PHILLIPS

Read More...

Fueled by his passion for EDM, Connor’s life revolves around dance music and its ability to bring people together. Raised in upstate New York, Connor was deprived of festivals and raves until he attended Florida State University, where he was instantly hooked. Fast-forward to today and Connor has become a house and melodic techno DJ, an avid EDM-based interviewer and writer, and has worked PR for the likes of Matroda, Bleu Clair, and other new-wave house icons.

Outside of music, Connor loves pretty much any sport (huge Knicks, Yankees, and NY Giants fan), going on hikes, traveling, and food. Based in Florida, there’s a good chance you will eventually run into Connor at one of the popular festivals and clubs throughout the state.

Related Posts

iEDM's Official 2024 Music Festival Schedule
iEDM's Official 2024 Music Festival Schedule
Prepare yourself for a year full of raving and dancing fever! iEDM's Official 2024 Festival Schedule includes all the...
Read More
2024 Festival Season Lookbook: Curated Rave Fashion And Accessories For Every Type Of EDM Event
2024 Festival Season Lookbook: Curated Rave Fashion And Accessories For Every Type Of EDM Event
2024 is shaping up to be one of the biggest years ever for dance music and music festivals. It is time to revamp your...
Read More
Top 10 Artists To See At Project GLOW 2024
Top 10 Artists To See At Project GLOW 2024
Washington D.C. is getting ready to kick off Project GLOW for the third year in a row! From April 27-28, over 50 glob...
Read More