The four-day floating festie known as Groove Cruise 2014 (aka GCX) came and went in a blur. For their 10th anniversary, a new boat, the Norwegian Pearl, was chartered to carry her 2750 music-loving passengers to the beautiful shore of Cozumel, Mexico. The rain didn’t stop the sold-out crowd from filling the pool deck and dancing their way into the Caribbean and leaving Winter Storm Leon far behind with Rebecca & Fiona at the helm.
After the two Swedish beauties wrapped up their two-hour energetic performance, Markus Schulz took the stage as part of the surprise set for the evening. Not expected until the final day, Schulz was welcomed with open arms as the crowd delighted in the chance for some extra time with the trance king himself. The first night offered an overwhelming amount of talent, including some of our favorite performances from EDX, Digital Lab, Gabriel and Dresden, and Cosmic Gate.
With 96 hours of nonstop music, it’s impossible to note all of the mind-blowing moments that occurred throughout Groove Cruise. One of the most memorable occured on day two. After epic sets from Ben Gold and Funkagenda, Gareth Emery had just about every DJ on stage with him in a theater packed to the door. The energy was nearly palpable.
The third morning found us docked in the gorgeous blue waters of the Port of Cozumel, where sleep-deprived partiers hailed cabs to join the beach party festivities at Playa Mia. There, Sultan & Ned Shepard won the beach over, followed by John Dahlback throwing down a diverse and banging set. It was a beautiful view to see Groove Cruisers taking advantage of the playground on the water, laying out in the sand, and dancing away under the beaming sun.
Back on the boat that evening, Firebeatz and Tritonal served it up on the main pool deck, and the recent Grammy-winner Cedric Gervais didn’t let us down as the audience danced off their sunburns. One of the most magical moments had to be with Marco Lys during Incorrect Afterhours. Imagine being on the deck of a cruise ship, jamming to your favorite deep house, surrounded by your friends, and the sun rising behind you as you dance. There really isn’t anything like it.
The last day was a big day for all football lovers, and Groove Cruise made sure no one had to miss out on cheering for their favorite team during the Super Bowl. Michael Woods kept the party going as everyone prepared for their last night. Later on that evening, the handsome Adrian Lux blew us away, and Birthday boy Markus Schulz’s open-to-close set left us unable to walk. But the die-hard GCXers pushed through to end their cruise with DSK CHK’s sunrise set in epic style.
Whet Travel Gives Back
It goes without saying that we had a blast on GCX. With 71 DJs and 96 hours of non-stop music, who wouldn’t? However, what made the biggest impression on us was the philanthropic effort of Whet Travel, the people behind the whole production, via their sister organization Whet Foundation. In an industry that at times seems centered around self-gratification, the kindness and generosity of their team shone through.
Upon arriving in Cozumel, the Whet Travel team and 35 other partiers (ourselves included) took time out to visit the Ciudad de Angeles Orphanage. Each of us carried clothes, toys, school supplies, and toiletries stuffed into backpacks (as garbage bags tend to draw attention from customs) and piled into taxis to deliver our donations and spend time with the kids. It was amazing how a simple push on a swing, a game of tag, or a piggyback ride could bring a smile to the faces of these kids.
(Photos by Zak Mann)
We learned from the orphanage’s director, Brian Coffin, that in Mexico, if siblings are orphaned, they must be adopted together. That means that most these beautiful children will spend their childhood here as part of an amazing family, woven together by circumstance and love. Their campus is a work in progress, with housing and classrooms still under construction. The kids will attend school, church, and learn family values here, so that they may be an asset to Mexican society when they embark on their own.
You can donate here or sponsor a child yourself. Be forewarned, sponsoring a child comes with the mandate that you visit them at minimum once a year in the beautiful and sunny Cozumel. What a pity, right?
And so, with full hearts, tired feet, and many new lifelong friends, we join the rest of the Groove Cruise family in our countdown to 2015.