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The Ark, a dance music festival on a cruise ship, is setting sail later this month from Barcelona. Culture Trip chats to Tijs Vandenbroucke, one of the organisers.
Cruises used to be associated with wealthy retirees enjoying smooth jazz and cocktails with a buffet dinner. But a new dance and music festival will be transforming the humble cruise ship into a mini rave for millennials over two weekends.
There will be 111 DJs performing over four stages and two voyages. Booka Shade, Loco Dice, Faithless, Nastia, Patrick Topping, Luciano, Nic Fancuilli, Andrea Oliva, Miguel Campbell, Camelphat, Claptone, and Yousef are some of the acts who will be playing.
We sat down with Tijs Vandenbroucke, the festival’s chief operating officer, to find out more about the festival.
Culture Trip: Why did you want to put a festival on a cruise ship?
Tijs Vandenbroucke: We wanted to create something that was completely out of our comfort zone. We finally came up with a cruise ship because that’s something you don’t relate to electronic music and is a bucket list thing for many people as well.
CT: How has the festival grown?
TV: Last year was our maiden trip. It was an extraordinary experience. This year we are doing two consecutive sailings, we have an even more versatile and open-minded line-up and each sailing has an extra day.
CT: What’s the best thing about having a festival on a cruise ship?
TV: These types of cruise ships are amazing. It’s a unique travel experience because you can hop on and off on the islands. It’s a festival because every night you can party to some of the world’s finest DJs. You have all the luxury of good food, yoga classes, a casino and everything all within reach. Even your place to sleep and rest can’t be closer than at any other festival.
CT: And the worst?
TV: We always thought the worst thing would be seasickness. But you can’t even tell when the ship is sailing or not.
CT: What else do you have on offer apart from the music?
TV: There’s so much to choose from. From island hopping to yoga, from casino games to fine dining in several specialty restaurants, from wellness or fitness to quality clubbing, from climbing to just relaxing in the solarium.
CT: Why did you pick that route from Barcelona to Ibiza?
TV: The Mediterranean sea and the Balearic Islands are so beautiful. They have a lot to offer if you want to spend some time there. The airports are close to the port and you can fly relatively cheaply to these destinations as well.
CT: Any plans to offer cruises to other destinations?
TV: We have so many plans and ideas. Our focus now is to make The Ark an unforgettable experience.
CT: What kind of clubbing experience do you offer people?
TV: It’s fun to bring friends. And we wanted to bring a little something for everybody, because people have different tastes. Every night we have three or four areas open with DJs from all over the globe. We bring house music, melodic techno, a touch of classic R&B. All quality electronic music.
CT: How much time do people have to enjoy the locations once you dock?
TV: It depends from port to port. Together with the captain we’ve provided a schedule where you can stay on the islands from six to 12 hours. Enough time to do some exploring, discover some secrets and maybe come back one day for the full package.
CT: There are lots of other cruise festivals popping up. Why do you think they’re becoming popular?
TV: Great minds think alike, I guess. People still have to get used to the idea, but these types of events create memories that last a lifetime!
CT: Cruises used to be known as something for older travellers. Why do you think young people have embraced them?
TV: Because if you tweak and adjust everything to something that all ages can enjoy, what’s not great about that? Ibiza used to be an island for older travellers as well. They adapted and look at it now. Some love it, some won’t. Those who embrace change and want to check this on their bucket list, welcome on board!
The Ark is taking place from 30 August to 3 September and 3 September to 7 September. For tickets and more information, visit www.theark.cruises.