Sailaway 10th-12th June 2017
Rave Level 4/5
Family Friendly 1/5
Location: Barcelona to Rome then back.
Size: 2000 people
What to wear: Black
Activities: Trying not to fall overboard
All I knew about Sail Away was that it was a house music festival on a cruise ship. I was intrigued. I met the boat at Rome (rather than Barcelona) as I'd travelled from Naples by train, the sight of the 55,000 tone ship approaching the dock and the tremendous base pumping out with bodies waving and gyrating was really quite something! Excitement was building, or was it dread?
The boat sets sail at Barcelona and heads to Rome where it stops for a few hours before returning to Barcelona, this takes the weekend leaving at 6pm on Friday. The ship comprises of various areas, the main music spots being the Pool Stage, The Ballroom, the Deep Sea Disco and The Cafe. The festival is organised by Corona Sunsets, famed for throwing 10 festivals and hundreds of parties around the world each year. This meant corona branding was quite heavy and they promoted Corona cocktails which we received free with tokens they weren't that bad but I preferred to stick to a whisky and coke - beer cocktails are usually questionable.
There are over 30 electronic DJs from around the world including Bondax and Eton Messy, the crowd felt very european and young. At one stage I borrowed a black and white striped (Off White) hoody from my friend (who was DJing) and there were gasps as I walked past, many guys asking me "how on earth did you get that hoody, I've been trying to get hold of one of those for months", this was a niche crowd. The music is purely electronic, if you haven't heard of Eli and Fur, it's unlikely to be the festival for you.
I had concerns about the concept of being stuck on this ship in the middle of the ocean with no escape. This however wasn't an issue at all. Your escape is your cabin and the ship is rather large so whenever you fancy a change of scene, there are various options. For non raving moments there is also a gym, spa and casino and a few restaurants and bars however I must point out that the food left much to be desired. One 'restaurant' is a basic canteen with school quality food and the smartest restaurant didn't cut the mustard either with overcooked pasta and half hearted fish dishes. I would recommend taking your own food on board.
The cabins are basic. Think Jack's accommodation in The Titanic not Rose's. This was part of the fun for me, but if you demand luxury you may be disappointed. Beds are narrow with bunks. One other thing I would point out which is pretty hilarious, some passengers on the ship were not taking part in the festival, they were purely using the service as a ferry. This made my mind boggle but to be fair they kept out of the way and there were no complaints about the 24hr party.
From what I understand this was Sail Aways first year. As with any festival there were teething problems, the food needs to be looked at and perhaps accommodation could be improved. There were moments of the totally bizarre it's true, but I really liked the concept of being out at sea with no curfew, that was pretty exhilarating. A rave on a ship is surely something everyone should experience at least once in their lives.
For Tickets: www.coronasunsets.com