It’s January, which means it’s almost time for Groove Cruise 2024. For the GC “virgins” and those who have gone a little too hard in the past, you may be wondering how to make the most of 96 straight hours of cruising and partying. Take it from the experienced raver, you want to balance your leisure with your partying to survive Groove Cruise 2024. Here are some tips to make the most of your experience.
Explore the Ship on Day 1
This year is the first (and only?) year on Norwegian Encore. This ship is far larger than the Celebrity Millenium class vessels that have been in rotation thrice over the past several years. So do yourself a favor and find the ship map, find the Groove Cruise stage map, and go visit each one on the first day. Each cruise ship tends to arrange the public spaces over a few lower to middle decks and then the top decks. On Norwegian Encore the public spaces are scattered on Decks 6-8 and Decks 16-20. You can check out the deck plans here.
Find Your Friends
It might be 2024, but WiFi is still not free for all, especially on a cruise ship. In fact, the WiFi can be expensive! So you will probably need to resort to living the old-fashioned way at times. If you have friends going, make a chat and gather everybody’s cabin numbers in advance so you can call or knock on their door. The ship phones are everywhere and you can call the rooms from any of them. Make a cool design to hang on your cabin door so people can find you that way. Better yet, get a small adhesive white board so friends, and less-than-sober passersby, can leave messages on your door.
Groove Cruise has a party going on pretty much every hour from the moment you step on the ship. You can’t do them all and survive to the end. So plan some relaxation time. Have a nice breakfast, catch the afternoon poolside sets from a deck chair and just chill out for a bit. Find 1-2 hours between lunch and dinner to disco nap. The Norwegian Encore is slightly different from Celebrity, so the relax plans are slightly different too. Stop by Whet Oasis for downtempo music, yoga, comfortable cuddle pillows and such. If you prefer to be social go take your disco naps there in the Observation Lounge. If you want to seriously relax like you did on the Whet Oasis in 2023, then you’ll need to pony up for the Thermal Suite. Norwegian Encore’s thermal suite provides everything, and more, that the Celebrity ships had. There’s thallasotherapy pools, hot plunge, an ice room, steam room, sauna, heated day beds, the works. It runs $200 per person for full access all cruise. It appears to be open until around midnight. What saved me in 2023 was a quick party break around midnight (before or after) with a dip in the heated pool/spa and some steam room action. Just imagine if you had access to a spa at a regular music festival. Take advantage of this.
Groove Cruise is better than your typical festival because you have 24/7 access to food within a few minutes of the stage. Staying up for the sunrise set with John Summit on Sunday? Go grab yourself a plate of food and bring it with you to the party. Nobody’s stopping you. Nothing says Groove Cruise like partying till the sunrise with a plate full of breakfast buffet food in hand and a mimosa in the other.
Get Into Costume
People take the themes VERY seriously on Groove Cruise. You may not feel the need to pack an entire second suitcase full of costumes (some will), but pick a few that you want to do and go wild with it! It’s all part of the fun. It’s the only time you’ll see somebody in nothing but pasties, a blue wig, with a giant boombox sampling wine from a sommelier at a cruise ship dining room.
The Full Survival Guide
Whet has compiled a very thorough survival guide with all of the info you’d want to know before you cruise so check that out below too.