IT'S THE SHIP 2015 SERIES INDEX
II - All Aboard (You're Here!)
I stood in amazement at how monstrous this floating city was. It was dressed to impress with It's The Ship (ITS) regalia adorning every inch of its frame, from the elevator doors and down to the napkins. The Promenade on Deck 5 was impressive with its full slate of high end shops, thumping party music and elegant design. My cabin was nearby, one deck up. After making my way there, I slid my key card in and swung the door open to a comfy cabin with only one bed! This was going to get awkward with my roommate… Luckily for me, he never showed and I got the whole cabin to myself for the entire weekend at a 50% discount!
After settling in, we went straight to the heart of the action, Deck 11, dubbed Main Deck, where the main stage was setup. At this point, the ship hadn't even set sail yet and everyone was already on their A-game judging by the number of fists being thrust up and down into the air. Our surroundings finally started moving around 7pm and we were well on our way to Langkawi. Peking Duk, Showtek and Rave Republic kept everyone moving while the neon twinkled darkness soon blanketed everyone as we got later into the evening. I was starting to enjoy the whole rave on a boat setup. If you needed a break, your respite was only an elevator away. After charging up (our electronics and mentally), we made our way to Bate Motel at 2am where the dress code was pajamas and onesies to revel the night away and wrap up Day 1.
Now, switching gears to the food and drink aboard the Mariner of the Seas. You will not go hungry on this ship! The Windjammer Café on Deck 11 served as the main 24 hour dining hall with a gourmet buffet for every appetite. In addition, Café Promenade on Deck 5 was available for a quick pick me up of short eats such as pizzas and brownies. Both options were complimentary as part of your admission ticket. If that didn't strike your fancy, there was also a Johnny Rockets along with a fine dining steak restaurant for an additional charge.
If you are familiar with the liquors available back in the USA, you have probably never heard of most of what was on the menu above, save for Sailor Jerry, Dom Perignon and Moët & Chandon. To be very blunt, we were not pleased with the liquor selection at all. As far as beers go, Heineken, Dos Equis and Corona were available. Also note that all prices are in cold, hard American greenbacks! As large of a group as ours, it made the most sense to pop some bottles. Our poisons included: Grants Whiskey (a major sponsor) - literally vomit inducing on the first sip, while Glenfiddich and Hendrick's were lesser of the three evils to stomach.
Day 2 had everyone buzzing at a fever pitch. We finally reached Langkawi a lot later than expected. It would have been an understatement to say everyone was itching to get back on solid ground and frolic at the Kaskade headlined beach party. That's when disaster struck. From what I heard through the grapevine, there were only a total of maybe 10 coach buses (max capacity of around 50 per bus) to shuttle over 3,000 ship mates to the beach party about 10 minutes away. If you did the math, it was going to take very long to get everyone off the ship. Ship mates were all corralled in different areas of the ship in order to disembark in an orderly manner, and waiting times stretched into the hours with a lot of people taking power naps to bide the time. Running behind schedule to begin with didn't help matters much. By the time we reached the beach party, it was pitch black and already half way into the program. We popped open a bottle of Grants (YUCK) and did the best we could to enjoy what little time we had on the beach. Kaskade was on, and he didn't disappoint, artfully mixing tracks from his latest album Automatic along with other classics and current favorites, such as Galantis's Runaway (U & I) that caused the crowd to roar in affirmation.
Getting back on the ship after the beach party was another spectacular debacle. With the scarcity of buses, everyone become rather rowdy and a bit rough to secure a seat on a bus back to the ship. My friend Jon P. even commented: "Man, getting off and on the ship has really brought out the shittyness in people. We're all trying to get on the same ship. It's not going to leave till everyone is on board". After getting back aboard and decompressing after that rather brief, disappointing beach party, the Main Deck lit up with DJ Soda, Tigerlily, TWRK, Carnage and Headhunterz. The best of the Main Deck acts on this day was undoubtedly Headhunterz in my eyes, who played the most energetic set and brought out every ounce of will left in everyone in 6am overtime. Day 2 ended for me with a groovy sunrise set from Oliver Osborne who quelled all the sleep demons away and kept the party going while the sun rose as a beautiful backdrop.
Oliver Osborne must be part, or maybe all, machine because I began Day 3 with his back to back set with Lizzy that got people pumped at the Hot Tub Time Machine stage, before transitioning to an equally groovy Autograf set at the Main Deck. After all those melodic day time beats, we put on our Sunday's best and took a seat at the glitzy Gala Dinner which produced more yawns than yeahs. The bafflingly low key affair turned out to be a quiet dinner amongst friends. The food and service was nothing to write home about, starkly contrasting the high intensity performances we were being subject to the past 3 days. Sure, there was a toast, a cute performance of Psy's Gangnam Style by a dance troupe and a technically audio challenged performance of Twerk It Like Miley by Brandon Beal, but again, all yawns, no YEAHs. With all the DJs on board, why wasn't one of them serenading us with sweet, sweet bass in our ears? We had enough. All of us made like a banana and split, shedding our Sunday best for our dancing shoes instead.
More news from the grapevine revealed that Far East Movement was not going to perform due a contract dispute, and Adventure Club missed their flight entirely and were going to be a no-show. Boo, hiss… Nevertheless, the party went on with some of my friends heading to the Playboy Lounge with music from Rave Republic & DJ Nikki (not so good apparently), and Ferry Corsten himself taking the reins of the Main Deck in Adventure Club's absence before Will Sparks shut down the stage with the Main Deck finale. My concluding memory from ITS was Ferry Corsten's invitation only A Ferry Special Evening in the Viking Crown (Deck 14), where he continued his finesse of the decks and kept everyone moving till we inched closer and closer to landfall in Singapore.