How Holy Ship! Creates The Most Welcoming Floating Community On Earth

01.23.18 4 months ago

As a diehard lover of hip-hop, going on a rave cruise was something I never thought I’d agree to. I don’t listen to much electronic music. Also… not a huge fan of being surrounded by water, since I can’t swim. Point being: an EDM cruise has never been on my bucket list, so to speak. Not even close.

Nevertheless, I agreed to board Holy Ship!, an electronic dance music party cruise (say that five times fast) that traveled from Cape Canaveral, Florida to a private island in Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas. “New year, new me,” or whatever. It seemed fun and potentially disasterous, which is always a good recipe for travel. Still, I didn’t want to overdo it, so I signed aboard the second, 3-day leg — Holy Ship! 11.0 — which was shorter than the first leg.

As a defense to the onslaught of boots-and-hats-and-boots-and-hats-and-boots-and-hats of electronic music, I brought my best friend, Courtney, along. I figured having a cabin mate would give me someone to blast hip-hop with if the EDM made my eardrums bleed. Plus I might need backup against white people on ecstasy, white people who I would have to restrain myself from punching out every time a song came on that had the n-word in it, or white guys with black girl fetishes who I might have to kick in the junk.

Never have I been more wrong about an event or a group of people.

Joseph Llanes

First, let me say I want to apologize for generalizing TF out of the Holy Ship! crew. These were some of the most diverse people I’ve ever met — coming from all over the world; arriving in all colors, shapes, and sizes. Even better than the surprising diversity we saw as we boarded the ship was how ridiculously nice everyone was. As soon as we got on board, everyone was all smiles, calling us their “Ship Fam,” asking us if this was our first “ship” (they could clearly tell since we were the only ones in boring clothing), and wishing us a “happy ship.”

Alistair, our point of contact, began to tell us a bit about what EDM has done for the “kids” aboard the ship as we were ushered past the crowd to our rooms. He told us how some of them were in places where they felt left out, rejected, or otherwise made to feel uncomfortable for being themselves until they found the EDM community where no one judges anyone else and it’s all about the music and dancing. Since much of the music has no words, it truly is about immersing oneself in the sounds and enjoying the company of a diverse group of people.

While diversity and connection were key, there was also a sense of freedom. Everyone dressed up. Everyone looked weird. No one cared.

Many of the DJs and fans of the early days of EDM wore masks or costumes that encourage anonymity, whether out of shyness or a desire to be someone else for awhile and now, the costumes and masks are common at raves and dance parties. The cruise took this to the next logical place: Theme nights. There was Dynamic Duos (you and a friend either come dressed as a famous duo or just wear identical outfits) and Back to the Future (either futuristic outfits or like characters from the 1980s film).

Not gonna lie, it’s a pretty cool enhancement to a party to walk in a see a bunch of people dressed as robots, movie characters, space creatures, or just as close to naked as they can possibly get, and no one cares what anyone else is wearing except if they want to compliment it (I had to ask a couple people where they got their light-up gear, myself. You know, just in case…).

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