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10 Ravers Open Up About Why Friendship is Their Favorite Festival Cruise

Admin By Admin Nov26,2023

Oh, ship! The countdown to Friendship 2024 is on.

Returning January 6-11, the beloved floating festival will feature performances from a slew of electronic tastemakers, like Bob Moses, Chris Lake, Chris Lorenzo, Dr. Fresch, Nitepunk, SkiiTour and The Sponges, among many others. Perhaps the most alluring, however, is Skrillex, who has been confirmed to perform an exclusive set during a 24-hour private island party on Belize’s Harvest Caye. 

It’s “shore” to be a good time. Last month we caught up with the festival’s founder, Gary Richards, who said to expect a “24-hour beach party with 4,000 of your best friends and Skrillex.”

Harvest Caye, a private island in Belize owned by Norwegian Cruise Line.

c/o Press

“[Friendship] is the one place where you can just be goofy and no one’s going to care. They’re going to like it more,” Richards adds. “I think I kind of helped set the tone. I don’t try to take it so seriously, let everyone just have fun.”

Ahead of the 2024 event, reached out to several past shipmates to get their honest take on what makes Destructo’s esteemed festival cruise so special. Check out what they had to say about their experiences at Friendship below.

And if you’ve been considering coming aboard, it’s a-boat time to book as cabin sales will close in early December. Navigate here for more information.

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“I love Friendship for so many reasons, but the biggest part has to be the community and friendships made because of it. This year will be my 5th boat, and between what was Holy Ship! and Friendship, I have shared these adventures with a majority of the same crew of people since day 1. Every year has its own unique story, with old and new friendships being nourished and explored. No matter what corner you turn on that boat, you will see someone sharing a smile back at you, saying hello, giving a high five, or even just sharing a cute trinket. I feel so at home when I’m on that boat, knowing there is so many of us that are there for all the same reasons. I feel like we all get to be little kids again enjoying the experience together and it’s a friendly reminder as to why cultivating friendships as an adult is so valuable. 

Gary has done such an incredible job at cultivating such a loving community it’s what keeps me coming back every year. He also takes so much time, thought and consideration into his work to try and provide us an incredible experience. He always asks for our feedback and it feels like we all work together as a family to curate the next years experience, making improvements every time.” – Alex

“For me it’s all about the ship fam who make Friendship special. The vibes are always top tier. Some special experiences that Gary creates for Friendship include the Dial a DJs and the sunrise sermon. Very excited that we have a full 24 hours on the private island in 2024 to have a truly beautiful sunrise surrounded by friends and great music. The spontaneity of the dial a djs adds excitement to the experience as well.” – Kristy

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“Friendship is my favorite festival cruise because of the at home feeling you get when you are there. I know it sounds strange, because how can you feel at home thousands of miles away on a ship ? I think it’s because of the shipfam & the community that we have made over the years. Everyone is so respectful to each other & the ship. We do extravagant, weird & wonderful things to enhance other people’s experience. I think this all stems from destructo and staff putting so much energy into the experience on ship for us – that we all want to add to it to make it the best that it can be. The feeling of being able to let go, be authentically yourself, surrounded by likeminded people & listening to some of your favorite artists is too surreal to put into words. And if that isn’t perfect enough – the cherry on top for me is getting that nice tropical weather during the bitter cold winter I experience at home.” – Shainne 

I have been attending Friendship since 2017 (before it was called Friendship). I was going through a difficult time in my life and it fell over my birthday, so I did something crazy and went completely alone. What a beautiful risk I took! I fell in love with the community. I felt accepted, at home, and I left with a new family, ‘Shipfam’. Years later, I am still deeply connected with this community. It’s the perfect festival if you’re a little bougie but love to be silly and party. You can get a massage, your hair done, hit the spa, and then return to the party refreshed and ready to go. There is something special about that community that has kept me going back so many years, even after I passed my wild party days.” – Chenice 

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“I’ve been lucky enough to go on 8 festival cruises now (including Holy Ship and recently EDsea) and can say without doubt or hesitation that Friendship is the best Ship. Friendship isn’t just about incredible music, awesome parties, and beautiful beaches. Friendship is about family and love. It’s about either knowing everyone you hop into an elevator with or them being your new best friends in a short few seconds. It’s about being able to (accidentally) leave your cabin door open and coming home to gifts on your bed and a sweet note saying “Some doors don’t close unless you pull them tight. We closed it for ya! Love you Shipfam!”… and all of your valuables remaining untouched.”

“Friendship is about spending half of your time at a set running around and hugging your friends. It’s about being able to rave solo and never feeling alone or unsafe. It’s about lifelong friendships with people you might only get to spend a week a year with but you know will have your back and be in your life forever. It’s truly the most beautiful community filled with more peace, love, unity, and respect than my wildest festival dreams could conjure.” – Lyds

“Community is an essential and integral part of any festival or event. It is the collective energy, shared passion(s), and sense of belonging that make these events truly special. Gary Richards and All My Friends (aka AMF) have created a space (Friendship) where people from all walks of life can come together, leaving behind their differences and embracing their shared love for music, art, and self-expression. While other cruise events will have their own unique communities and experiences, the Friendship community is unparalleled and has set itself apart from everyone else. Over the years, I have attended a lot of events and festivals, and hands down Friendship is one of the top events I’ve ever attended.

Gary and his team have done an amazing job at keeping Friendship (and other events) fresh throughout the years. The curated lineup itself adds to the community experience because Gary brings artists who want to be there, be present, and vibe with everyone. On the virgin sailing, Gary debuted the first ever Dial-A-DJ cart and it brought the talent even closer to the attendees through intimate cabin sets. I still will never forget walking over to my neighbor’s room on deck 12 and seeing Boys Noize, 2ManyDJs, and Busy P all going back to back during the last night of the 2018 virgin sailing. Later on, the intimate experience got moved over by the 12th floor elevators so more attendees could enjoy, then all of the sudden Gary shows up with his own Dial-A-DJ for a battle royale.

Ever since that experience (plus many others over the years), I have come back to Friendship for every sailing. There has been some years where I was not super familiar with the lineup, but I am not really worried because I always have a fun time through the community that Gary has curated. For the upcoming sailing, I am bringing 2 virgin sailors (i.e. 1st timers) to show them what all the hype is about. Even though I will be graduating this year (i.e. 4 years of attendance), I still find it hard to describe the community and experiences to 1st timers until they take the leap of faith by stepping on board.

At the end of the day, we are all in this together and the Friendship community does not let quirks and unforeseen setbacks deter the vibe and the event. Friendship is a unique place where strangers become friends, and friendships can last a lifetime from the most random adventures (usually forged on a dancefloor).

In Gary We Trust.” – Mitch

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“FriendShip… where to start? The music, the people, the open sea, the island vibes… there is no point in even making a list, because all collective pieces — from the lineup to the creativity that the individual people bring — are what make this event so special. I’ve met some of the best friends of my life, I’ve had a chance to have heart-to-heart conversations with some of my favorite artists in the scene and, every year, I get to enjoy an insanely beautiful music festival experience on a 5-star floating hotel. It’s a pretty hard time to beat. This event has been truly life-changing for me. I can’t wait to be back with my family in January 2024!” – Brian

“I’ll never forget year after year my good friend Dani badgering me to get on board with Holy Ship. I didn’t quite understand what I was missing out on until I finally shipped for the first time on Friendship’s second sailing in January 2020. I was SO GLAD to have that AMAZING experience. I’d been raving since about 2009 and witnessed how my local Florida scene and the dance music scene abroad changed over those years. For a long time I really missed the true loving community vibes I used to feel at raves when I first started going.”

“On ship, I saw, felt, and lived that same vibe in a new way. I can say without a doubt that Ship Fam is THE BEST fam! Everyone is so free, open, fun, loving, silly and responsible—for themselves and each other! I’ve made many friends on ship since then and now am bringing several of my best friends onto their first ship for what I’m sure is going to the the best Ship ever! The people make the party and everyone on that boat just GETS IT! Whether an act unfortunately has to cancel or weather conditions prevent us from going the planned route or getting onto the island stop or whatever, no one is phased and we all still make the best of it, still having the most fun possible! It’s truly amazing. And let’s not forget all the little trinkets. I’ve never seen a community so devoted to something to make so much fan merch to give away for free to everyone! It’s so inspiring. This year, I’ve got a ton of my own hilarious sticker designs planned to hand out. Look for Tony Snark and I’ll hit you with one or several!” – Tony 

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“Friendship is hands down the best festival cruise ever because of the vibe it attracts. It is actually one of my top favorite festivals ever! The crowd this festival brings to makes it so much fun. There are no judgements & everyone is welcome here. I have never felt so much love and happiness in a place before.”

“2023 was my first year onboard Friendship & it exceeded my expectations. We were gifted a surprise lineup and I got to discover a lot of amazing and new music. One of my favorite moments was stumbling upon Christian Martin’s drum & bass set in a random stateroom! You could say there were about 20 of us cramped together having the best time of our lives. Gary has done an incredible job of curating the ultimate festival cruise experience.” – Kim

“Literal unmatched energy to any other event possible. The feels of a camping festival with the comforts of luxury and none of the annoyances!” – Amanda



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