A Nautical Party of Epic Proportions: On Board the Maiden Voyage of Shipsomnia

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Shipsomnia: The Search for Lost Rhythms just came and went, and this is how the most epic party cruise went down. Shipsomnia was a 5-day getaway (2 Jan – 6 Jan 2016) where instead of having to apologize for your alcoholism, you are encouraged to embrace it. This hopping party cruise is not for the lightweights – it is a highseas adventure made of teeth and balls, a nonstop all-around-the-clock hardcore party island on water, a no holds barred electronic music festival boasting the ultimate experience of extravagant stages with an equally decadent lineup of DJs dropping the sickest beats.
 
Shipsomnia 2016 held on the Costa Victoria sold out just within five months of being opened to the public. Nearly 2,000 partygoers from over 30 countries turned up for the world's first themed festival cruise. Prices (exclude taxes and fees) start from US$699 to US$1,199 per person, depending on the choice of cabin, which in my humble opinion, is extremely affordable considering the crazily elaborate decorations and stages that transport you to another world, the free 24-hour room service, the myriad of restaurants that serve up a plethora of different cuisines all day and night for absolutely no extra charge (with the exception of one Pay Restaurant), and of course the insane lineup of over 45 international and regional acts that include Pete Tong, Mat Zo, Armand Van Helden, Zed's Dead, Claptone, Kastle, Justin Jay and many more.
 
DAY 1 – GET THE PARTY STARTED
 
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The Costa Victoria (Shipsomnia) docked at Singapore Cruise Centre
 
There were a few hours of delay in boarding at the Singapore Cruise Centre because the intervals of choppy waves resulted in an unstable link bridge, but that did not put a damper on us Shipsomniacs who were already in high spirits. As we waited for our batch number to be called for boarding, we all collectively had one thing in mind – getting the party started.
 
The Shipsomniacs raided the convenience store located in the cruise terminal for booze. There were only a couple of beers left in the alcohol selection and my boyfriend and I quickly snatched up the last two cans of some particular type of German brew. Shipsomniacs were standing around blasting club hits from their portable speakers, dancing in groups and excitedly chattering away with newly acquired friends.
 
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3D backdrop
 
While waiting and people watching, we made a couple of trips to another convenience store further away from the terminal that thankfully had not run out of booze yet. After four pints of beer each, our batch number was called for boarding and we eagerly checked in.
 
Upon stepping foot onto the cruise, the welcoming crew collected our passports from us which were promised to be returned at the end of the cruise. I would like to say that we then calmly and coolly made our way to our cabin like two dignified grown-ups but that wasn't the case. We sprinted down the hallway, giggling and shrieking like adolescent fan girls at a Justin Bieber concert, all the way to our cabin which was at the farthest end of the ship. Our check-in luggage was already sitting on the bed, and as soon as we threw down all our stuff and prepared to race up to the pool deck to continue getting our drinks on, a friendly face appeared at the door and introduced himself as Dennis – our cabin attendant.
 
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Ocean View Cabin
 
Dennis told us that he would always be outside our cabin to help with anything or answer any questions from 8am – 12pm. He informed us that we would receive an itinerary of the daily activities every morning and that each guest has a Costa Card registered with our names and cabin number which we use for unlocking our cabin door and payment of drinks. We had to go to the main lobby where there is a machine for us to sync our Costa Cards with our credit/debit cards so that all we had to do was carry around the Costa Card for access into our cabin and for charging drinks.
 
We then proceeded up to the pool deck where we ordered our drinks hassle-free from the bar and stretched out on the many lounge chairs. Please note that all prices are in USD, and the bars located throughout the cruise have special beverage packages for spirits, alternatively, one pint of beer costs US$13. Just as we were feeling the buzz of the beers, there was an announcement from the Captain requesting all guests to go back to their rooms to retrieve their life jackets and proceed to the Muster Station for a General Emergency Drill before the ship set off. Many Shipsomniacs were already tipsy at this point, but everyone still waited amicably albeit a little bit impatiently. As soon as the drill came to an end, everyone dispersed to their rooms to keep their life jackets and get back to the party.
 
The last I remember, my boyfriend and I headed up the the pool deck again where DJs started spinning club hits and we chugged more beers while just soaking in the vibes. We then stumbled back to our cabin, happy but exhausted and promptly blacked out.
 
DAY 2 – SHIPSOMNIACS AT SEA
 
We woke up to the upbeat and cheery voice of the Captain wishing Shipsomniacs a good afternoon via the loudspeaker outside each cabin, and announcing the many exciting activities of the day. My boyfriend who was well-rested and pumped for a full day at sea dragged an extremely hungover me to the buffet deck where we were spoiled for choice with the large spread of food.
 
After lunch, we proceeded to the Seahorse Stage, which is a terrace at the back of the pool deck where we sipped at a pint of beer as the DJ played chill-out music and random strangers grabbed other random strangers and twirled them around the deck.
 
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Pool party shenanigans
 
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Yoga with Yolanda Be Cool
 
I was obviously in need of recuperation in order to be able to party on through the night when some of the biggest DJs would be spinning. So it was with much regret that we skipped the 2pm Meet & Greet with Mat Zo and the 5pm Yoga Session with Yolanda Be Cool and instead, opted to watch a movie from my portable hard-drive in our cabin and take a nap.
 
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Coral Cove details
 
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Kastle in Coral Cove
 
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Justin Jay in Coral Cove
 
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DJ Ferno in The Aquarium
 
We woke up for dinner and proceeded to wander around the cruise where we found a delightful range of music genres being played in the different clubbing zones. By this time, I had completely recovered from my hangover, and there was perpetually a pint of beer in each of our hands. We alternated between hanging out at Coral Cove where we watched Kastle and Justin Jay get the audience dancing up a storm, and The Aquarium where the DJs were playing hip hop music and the gyrating crowd would erupt in cheering and spontaneous karaoke whenever a popular song came on.
 
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Mat Zo in Coral Cove
 
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Jazzy Jeff in Coral Cove
 
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Jazzy Jeff with MC pumping up the crowd
 
Come 1am, we rushed back to Coral Cove where the party revelers were unanimously chanting Mat Zo's name. He was the act that everyone was waiting for the entire night, and when Mat Zo came out on stage, he was met with rousing applause and cheers. He immediately started spinning his famous tracks and dancers spilled over from the club over onto the outdoors balcony. Everyone was making friends, buying drinks for each other, sharing stories about their respective countries and basically engaging in a hell of a time while getting drunk both on life and booze. Shipsomnia really does live up to its name and brings out the insomniac in you.
 
DAY 3 – PRIVATE BEACH PARTY IN PHUKET
 
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Mother Nature recycled art décor at SOS Beach Festival
 
The Costa Victoria dropped anchor off the shores of Phuket at 10 in the morning, and tender boats started transporting passengers to a pristine private beach that for that day, was reserved exclusively for Shipsomniacs and no other tourists. Having drank too much with new friends the previous night, my boyfriend and I decided to sleep in until 1pm when we got up and had a light lunch. We then changed into our beach wear, slathered on sun-block lotion and took a speedboat to the sunny shores of Banana Beach on Coral Island.
 
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SOS Beach Festival
 
When we arrived at the beach, the Save Our Seas party was already well under way. The briny scent of the ocean carried by the sea breeze makes for a refreshing and uplifting ambience for you to simply let go of all your problems and slowly immense yourself in the merrymaking.
 
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Banana Boat Rides
 
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Scuba Diving Reef Protected Area
 
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Justin Jay Live Set at SOS Beach Festival
 
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Justin Jay at Beach Festival
 
People were scattered all around the beach, a large chunk of them were throwing their hands up in their air like they just didn't care around the DJ stage where Justin Jay, Armand Van Helden and Pete Tong respectively helmed the decks. Adrenaline-seekers were engaging in water activities such as snorkeling, glass bottom kayaking, parasailing, and banana boat rides, while those in need of some relaxation were lounging on deckchairs, sunbathing, taking a soak in the sea, and reading books under palm trees. There were even food stalls serving light bites and authentic thai cuisine to satisfy appetites.
 
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Thai Food
 
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Armand Van Helden at Beach Festival
 
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Armand at Beach Festival
 
As for my boyfriend and I, we bought a beer and found a nice shady spot where the sand poured like fine powder through our toes and took a dip in the crystal-clear waters where we could actually see schools of small colorful fish darting around us. After splashing around and bobbling along with the waves, we got out to get more beer and plonked down on two deckchairs near the DJ stage to listen to Pete Tong's uplifting beach beats and watch the party crowd go wild.
 
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Pete Tong at beach festival
 
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Pete Tong jumping along with the party crowd
 
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Pete Tong closing out beach festival
 
“There was a tsunami of positive energy at the SOS Beach Festival, especially at the end when everyone started taking trash bags and cleaning up the beach” – Jay Slangen, Co-Founder Mad Fresh Events (organiser of Shipsomnia).
 
The beach party was indeed an immense hit with the Shipsomniacs and was a wonderful retreat that catered to everyone's needs – whether they wanted to hit the booze, party, nurse a hangover, or just chill out and enjoy the sea breeze.
 
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Michael Jackson show from Vegas
 
Upon returning to the ship, there were a range of activities lined up for us that included Bingo, the Michael Jackson show, and Movie Night Under the Stars (screening Pirates of the Caribbean), along with 10 international DJs spinning from 9pm to 2am. We caught the Michael Jackson show where Michael Jackson impersonator, Chirstoff, managed to land the late King of Pop's every slick dance move, and even mimicked the real Michael Jackson's genteel speech patterns to a T. The show brought the audience together as they chimed in with popular MJ tracks such as We Are The World, Billy Jean, Smooth Criminal, and of course Thriller.
 
We decided to have an early night and retired to our cabin with a couple of beers, watched a movie and hit the hay so that we could get up for the Langkawi stopover the next morning.
 
DAY 4 – THE SHIPSOMNIA BALL
 
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Arriving in Langkawi
 
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Langkawi's lighthouse
 
We woke up bright and early with no hangover (yay!) for a short three hour stopover in Langkawi. Langkawi was indeed beautiful and picturesque, but other than taking pictures, there was really nothing much to do if you had not paid for a guided tour of the island (which ranged from US$54 - $89 per person). We returned to the ship to have lunch after an hour of exploring the urban area of the island.
 
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Amtrac playing Dodgeball
 
There were a multitude of international DJs spinning from 11am to 5pm, and a Dodgeball Battle with Kastle and Amtrac, but it was crucial for us to get a lot of rest during the day as we expected the Shipsomnia Ball that was held on the last night of Shipsomnia to be an all-out party blown to epic proportions. And we were damned right. This didn't mean that we did not indulge in our mid-afternoon beers though. We brought beers down to our cabin, watched a movie and took a long restful nap in preparation for the madness that laid ahead.
 
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Back Terrace Sun Set Party
 
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Kastle & Amtrac spinning at Sun Set Party
 
We woke up in time to catch the Sun Set Party which was essentially a moshpit filled with fun-loving people dancing and having a good time with Kastle and Amtrac manning the turntables till the sun dipped down into the sparkling waters over the horizon. Then it was off to dinner.
 
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Opening of Shipsomnia Ball
 
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Main Stage Crowd
 
The Shipsomnia Ball opened with a sonic boom of a bang that resounded throughout the raving world. If there is anything I could compare it to, I would say that the Shipsomnia Ball is akin to a mini Tomorrowland that is easily a hundred times more convenient, luxurious and exclusive. If you are done with your beer, just walk to the front or back of the deck to get more. If you want to puke or take a piss, locate one of the many toilets found in abundance on the cruise and proceed to either puke your guts out or answer the call of nature. If you are drunk out of your mind, retreat to the comfortable safety of your cabin. If you are hungry, just stroll through the glass doors into the buffet restaurant or pizzeria and get whatever your stomach desires. You wouldn't have to live in a tent, spend hours queueing for drinks and the toilet, or fight and squeeze in between sweaty bodies for a space to dance and cheer on your favorite act as there is plenty of room on the bottom and top decks to experience the enigmatic mecca of holy rave magic.
 
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Claptone was the first act at the Shipsomnia Ball
 
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Stanton Warriors followed second
 
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Zed's Dead was the third act of the night
 
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Shipsomnia Ball Main Stage
 
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Shipsomnia Ball Main Stage
 
Partygoers decked up in the most elaborate marine costumes, from pirates, mermaids and sea creatures. The story of Shipsomnia’s theme, The Search for Lost Rhythms, opened with the activation of the giant portal that connects the ocean world to the cruise ship. Led by the steampunk pirate captain and his Seahorse Guardsman and Aqua Girls, they were also accompanied by stiltwalkers (Cray Cray fish and Giant Lion Fish), alongside the giant LED-lit Angler Fish and Jelly Fish, and the head-bobbing turtle.
 
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Crazy Pool Parties
 
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Angler Fish crowd prop
 
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Large Turtle Crowd Prop
 
The ambience was inundated with the raucous, delighted roar of strangers from all around the world becoming friends as they bond over drinks, upbeat music and basically life as they were living it. My boyfriend and I are never ones to shy away from engaging in obstreperous fun, and the outstanding music got our blood pumping and our bodies moving.
 
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Partygoers dressed up in various marine outfits
 
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Davy Jones
 
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Lion Fish Stilt Walker
 
We found ourselves gravitating towards the bar at Seahorse Terrace with alarming frequency as the night wore on and eventually settled down at the bar with some of the awesomest, most boisterous people we have ever met, just drinking and dancing the night away.
 
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Seahorse Terrace
 
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New friends we met
 
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More friendship built over awesome music and alcohol
 
It was truly amazing and heartwarming how the partygoers at Shipsomnia were some of the most jovial and affable people we have ever came to know. There was an instant bond developed when someone would come over to the bar, order a drink and treat random strangers in close proximity to a round. Strangers would become immediate friends as we partake in the merrymaking. The only fights that broke out were people fighting over each other to buy the drinks for everyone. An insane number of beers, cocktails, spirits and shots were downed in the spirit of friendship and partying. The Shipsomnia Ball trumped all the other nights and completely blew us out of the water – the night was nothing short of spectacular and we made many wonderful, drunken memories with new friends that we would treasure for life. 
 
DAY 5 – BACK TO REALITY
 
Day 5 was the end of the magical journey as we woke up extremely hungover in Singapore waters. We had lunch on board and disembarked bleary-eyed but with some of the best memories as a souvenir to keep forever. We would miss the madness of these five days, the partying, the friends we made, the opulence of the cruise, and not to mention, the food. Here are some pictures of the huge myriad of delectable food that was offered on board.
 
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Black Pepper Hanger's Steak
 
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Gratinated Lobster with Crustacean Sauce and Fettuccine Al Fungi
 
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Mussels in Spicy Tomato Paste
 
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Octopus Carpaccio
 
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Smoked Salmon Carpaccio
 
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Prosciutto Ham with Buffalo Mozzarella
 
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Eggs Benedict
 
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Margherita Pizza
 
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Dory Fish
 
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Tiramisu
 
SHIPSOMNIA: THE SEARCH FOR LOST RHYTHMS
 
The Search for Lost Rhythms was found in the camaraderie of the party revelers who travelled from all far-flung corners of the globe, the attentive and well-mannered staff that always greet you with a smile, the meticulous planning of the organizers, the sick beats laid down by some of the most renowned DJs in the EDM scene, and of course – the nonstop 24-hour partying action on board worthy of Poseidon himself. We truly lived life to the fullest for five whole days. The maiden voyage of Shipsomnia far exceeded all our expectations and might even be one of the reigning events of the Singapore clubbing scene.
 
Time marches on, but it's hard to see that from day to day. Most of the time we get so caught up in the living, we forget about all the life. We occasionally need to treat ourselves to a liberating holiday like this where it gives us the opportunity to throw off the weight we have been carrying around, let loose, set ourselves free, dance like no one is watching and just embrace life. Let go and live in the moment and live a life you will remember. If you missed Shipsomnia 2016, do not fret, for the organizers are already planning the second edition of the thematic festival cruise in 2017. The new chapter – The Tale of the Kraken – will be reveiled this March/April with a whole new story and production, stay tuned for tickets will be snapped up faster than you can say Shipsomnia. If it is anything like its maiden voyage, the next edition will no doubt be received with much aplomb. This party cruise will definitely not be running out of steam.
 
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