About This Festival
Beats at sea and on the beach
Holy Ship! has all the elements of a mega electronic dance music festival, including big-name DJs, beautiful bodies, all-night parties, and glowy lights—minus the masses and mud. Think Electric Daisy Carnival, but with only 3 percent of the crowd. And on an air-conditioned boat.
Yes, Holy Ship! is a floating fiesta aboard a 4,000-passenger ocean liner. The music starts as soon as the vessel pulls out of port in Miami, and doesn't let up for the next 60 hours. The frisky twenty-somethings plunge right in, aided by Red Bull and other endurance enhancers. They "woo" and arm-wave under spinning strobes in a spectrum of costumes: Some ravers dress as robots, others as sea creatures, with maybe a banana and nun costume thrown in for good measure. Needless to say, the scene gets trippy fast.
DJs stoke parties in various venues, including the Pantheon Theatre (the biggest stage), the Black & White Lounge (medium-sized), and the Galaxy Disco (tiny). Impromptu sets flare up everywhere from the pool deck to the dining room. And that's just day one.
The party migrates to the beach once the ship docks at the Bahamas. Staffers ferry everyone over to a private island, where guys bust out their white captain hats and ladies don bikinis. Some frolic in the shallow surf on blow-up shark rafts while others play volleyball or build badass sand sculptures.
Someone like Pharrell will helicopter in to provide the tunes.
Holy Ship! attendees are diehard, and many make the pilgrimage annually. The tight-knit clan has become known as the ShipFam (for "ship family," duh), with folks staying in touch via social media and virtual fan groups throughout the year.
Even the artists begin to feel like family. Part of the event's appeal is its intimacy. So not only are you up close to the 40-plus acts during shows, but you might play poker beside Zedd or practice kung fu next to Laidback Luke. The performers make a point of stepping away from the turntables and joining the ship's activities, leading beach games, yoga classes, even lifeguarding on occasion. There's always the potential thrill of running into your DJ hero over a whiskey shot at the bar.
Another happy facet of the smallish setup: Most artists perform two sets during the cruise, so there's ample opportunity to catch your favorites.
Bits and bobs
The cruise sails to Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas. The February cruise takes a different path, with stops at Nassau and Coco Cay.
As much as the boat morphs into a crazy EDM blowout, it's also a traditional cruise ship, complete with an infinity pool, spa, casino, and endless food and drink. Only instead of your grandmother or Myrtle from Indiana piling on sausages at the breakfast buffet, it's hollow-eyed ravers. Costume nights, shuffleboard matches, and poker tournaments are de rigueur.
History and past line-ups
Holy Ship! had its maiden voyage in 2012. That year, and in 2013, the party raged aboard the 2,800-passenger MSC Poesia. In 2014, the fest got a bigger vessel: the 4,000-passenger MSC Divina. In 2015, Holy Ship! doubled the fun by adding a second cruise, so now the music plays in both January and February.
Holy Ship! specializes in getting big names behind the decks. Headliners during past voyages have included many of EDM's hottest acts:
* Fatboy Slim, Skrillex, Diplo, A-Trak, Boys Noize, Steve Aoki, Tommy Lee and DJ Aero, plus a striptease by Ditta Von Tease in 2012.
* Boys Noize, Knife Party, Major Lazer, Skrillex, Diplo, Justice, Skream and Benga, and Dillon Francis in 2013.
* Pharrell, Skrillex, Diplo, A-Trak, Boys Noize, Zedd, Chromeo, Disclosure, Claude VonStroke, Laid Back Luke, Flume, Cyril Hahn, and surprise guest Tiesto in 2014.
* The 2015 lineup brought on Pretty Lights, Skrillex, Tommy Trash, Fatboy Slim, DJ Snake, Knife Party, Flume, Boys Noize, A-Trak, Laidback Luke, Duke Dumont, Rudimental, Destructo, RL Grime, Alex Metric, Rustie, Cyril Hahn, Oliver, Dusky, and GRiZ.
Port Canaveral - Cruise Terminal #10
Port Canaveral - Cruise Terminal #10