After returning from the maiden voyage of Mad Decent Boat Party, my perception of music festivals (and life in general) just hasn’t been the same. In anticipation for Holy Ship! 2015, I've shared my experience with countless others who have attended these same "festivals on water," and there seems to be a universal consensus that these types of festivals provide the best time, ever. Why you ask? Well…
Your room is always accessible
There is nothing more relieving than knowing you can simply run back to your cabin to snag the wallet, camera, or other valuable item before returning to the plethora of stages where live music is blasting constantly. Need to take a quick nap? Go ahead. Found your new best friend, or even the love of your life, and need to find some "alone time?" No need to take a cab back to your hotel, just run along to your cabin.
Having living chambers integrated into the festival space is a unique accommodation that makes gearing up for a day’s (and night’s) worth of music-binging a little less stressful.
Everyone is so friendly
It wouldn’t make sense to be unfriendly, honestly. Think about it. There’s a chance you’ll be embarking on the cruise knowing a few people, but even if you’re flying solo, there are thousands of people who have invested money in having a good time. But it isn't just "anyone" who attends these events; everyone who invests in a festival cruise is in attendance for the exact same reason as everyone else – the music. Realizing the appreciation everyone on board has for the same scene creates even more of a welcoming space.
It's easy to hop around stages
Festivals maps are not necessary on festival cruises because you exist in a contained space the entire time, except for when you dock on an island. You can expect any open area or room to potentially be turned into a stage, which makes it incredibly easy to wander around aimlessly and stumble upon new artists, all while being able to still catch your favorite act.
You really do not need your phone. Really.
Minus having camera capabilities, your phone is essentially useless on a cruise, unless you are really bent on staying in constant contact with people you know with a mobile package. Being unplugged for such an intense experience, like losing your friends and making new ones during your quest to find them, also encourages you to be fully present at the show. Without the distractions of trying to share every ridiculous moment with the World Wide Web, relinquishing your phone only adds to the feeling of freedom experienced on these types of cruises.
Well, maybe not always… but depending on the type of cruise line the festival is associated with, your ticket likely gives you access to food 24/7, which means that you will never experience hunger – even in the middle of the night when the Main Stage is shutting down and your stomach will not let you forget about not eating dinner.
No need to over pack – the less clothing, the better
Since cruises mean warm weather, and there is always an opportunity to go for a swim, you could potentially be in your bathing suit the entire festival without feeling the slightest bit uncomfortable. That being said, it really isn’t an issue if you forgot to pack a particular clothing item, because the less clothing you’re wearing, the more comfortable you’ll be. Dancing will make you work up a sweat anyway.
You can kick it with the artists like you do this everyday
DJs, they’re just like us! This rings especially true on a cruise ship, where everyone is stuck on a boat together. It is not uncommon to run into your favorite artist in an elevator, or watching another set, or even at the gym for an early morning workout before the music begins. It is a beautiful thing to see the interaction between fans and artists in such a contained space because at the end of the day, everyone present is simply enjoying a luxury vacation and a shared love of EDM culture together.
Even if you feel "lost," you never really "left"
Being lost on a cruise is really just a state of mind. You can easily lose your friends throughout the night, but it’s impossible to truly feel lost when there are so many friends to be made! Roaming around aimlessly is the perfect way to meet new people and explore new areas of the ship, and you’ll inevitably run into the people you’re looking for because again – you’re on a boat. It’s inescapable.
Beats for breakfast. Beats for lunch. Beats for dinner.
There is a very small amount of time on festival cruises when there is no music being played, so it's important to make the most of your time there. One of my favorite parts of Mad Decent Boat Party in particular was the Bounce Brunch, which the first taste of music for the day that sustained the morning breakfast hours into lunchtime. For those of you that will be attending Holy Ship! this spring, you will probably appreciate the fact that they will have a midnight buffet ready for you to ravish as you prepare for the late-night to sunrise routine. There is nothing that describes "music utopia" better to me than looking out at the sea, feeling the warm breeze, and stuffing my face to trap music bumpin' on the main stage. Absolute perfection.
So. Many. Friends.
The people on the ship with you are literally the only people on Earth who are even capable of fully understanding the type of experience you had. This mutual appreciation for the happenings of your cruise creates a strong bond with the rest of your shipmates, regardless of how minute your interactions were with them. The internet is also a beautiful thing, as it becomes a platform where connections can be sustained even after disembarking the ship.