- Nov 12-16, 2014, with music nearly 24/7 till we arrived back in Miami.
- Departed out of Miami, FL, with stops at Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay
- 3 official stages; Pool Deck, Stardust Theatre, and The Atrium, plus a handful of small side stages.
- Tickets: Cabins ranged in price and size (2-4 persons) ticket was all inclusive (except for alcohol, gambling, and shore excursions)
Doing It Right
Fan-Curated Pre-Party: Getting together the night before departure to reunite with old friends and make new ones gets the party going early. Luckily for us, our shipmates included seasoned local promoters and thus, an unofficial pre-party was born. Working together with Unite, a production company that combines music and philanthropy, they secured Vue Nightclub and carefully selected a well balanced line up of budding talent and artists like NYC based#BRUNCHBOUNCE. We watched the party take shape online, and eventually Sixthman took notice; posting their support and listing the party on their site and social media. Reasonably priced tickets were available for purchase on a password protected site, and included a custom rainbow Unite + Pura Vida bracelet. From 8pm-3am on Tues Nov 11th, MADFAM from the world over came together to celebrate our last night on land. Vue offered appetizers, Hookah, and drinks, and as the night wore on, the turn up got real - ultimately culminating in several artists showing up at the venue to join the fun.
Staterooms: The single greatest perk to a festival at sea is the fact that your hotel room comes WITH you, everywhere you go. Once onboard and unpacked, you were set for 4 days in your own well equipped cabin; complete with 24/7 service from a steward, who was tasked with making your stay as pleasant as possible. Daily tip for the stewards is configured into your daily shipboard fee, although extra tips are always appreciated by these hardworking folks. We loved having the option to return to our stateroom to quickly change, grab a nap, or just decompress between sets, without re-entry worries or additional security lines. We loved our Mini-Suite room, which featured an upgraded bathroom, about 200 extra sq ft. and a large balcony.
Private Beach Party: One of the largest selling points behind festivals at sea is the beach party day! There is possibly nothing better than getting to see your favorite artists play just for you, except maybe having them do it just for you on a private island. Great Stirrup Cay is one of the small barrier islands of the Bahamas, and is owned by Norwegian Cruise Lines. This allows Norwegian to host private 'ship only' parties and excursions at their amazing beach club. We took a tender (small boat) into the island and spent a day in paradise getting down to the best Mad Decent had to offer live onstage, from a beach chair, or lounging on a rented pool float in the ocean. Ample bars, excursions, and a small no-pressure shopping area were also available on the island, but we found it hard to tear ourselves away from Major Lazer, Dillon Francis, and the rest of the Mad Decent crew.
Doing It Wrong
Embarkation & Disembarkation: Due to the fact that all boats of all sizes must answer to the US Coast Guard and Customs Officials, the wait to get on (and off) these ships can be astronomical. Basically, every single person must get on and off the ship, and be counted while the passengers turn over, the luggage turns over, and all the waste and food are removed and replaced. All of this happens between 8am and 4pm on the one day a week the ship is in port. While everyone on board (staff and passengers) are generally doing their absolute BEST- it takes forever. Bring a good game and cell phone charger!