Boasted as Asia’s largest festival at sea, this year, IT’S THE SHIP (ITS in short) had returned to its 4th year. Curious to see what all the big fuss is about, I went for the 4-day 3-night cruise ship festival for the first time to uncover some of the lurking myths and legends we have heard over the last 4 years.
This year, IT’S THE SHIP made its first maiden voyage to the island of Phuket, Thailand crossing international waters from Singapore and return with over 4,000 shipmates in attendance.
I have been to numerous music festivals and many of which are attended by much bigger crowds. But I have to admit that ITS has delivered a comprehensive and unparalleled festival experience that would be hard to forget.For all the ITS ‘virgins’ out there, here are the reasons why you should not miss the next one.
1.Party with Comfort
This year, IT’S THE SHIP has moved to the luxurious and newly-made Genting Dream cruise ship. The cruise itself is a giant mobile hotel with all the facilities you need for a nice retreat. Let’s be honest. It’s the perfect getaway for people like me, in our mid-20s and 30s, who still enjoy awesome parties and yet expect a certain level of comfort. At ITS, you don’t have to deal with getting stuck in the muddy field during the shows, and squeezing in with others in small tents all sweaty and smelly after, and thank god – no horrifying mobile toilets out in the open air.
Instead, you get to rest in your very own private room during party breaks: I was cosily tucked in an air-conditioned room with smooth bed sheets and stayed hassle-free with all the available hygiene amenities (most important for a girl). Pay just a little extra, you can even enjoy a room that comes with a balcony and unbeatable sea view throughout your stay.
2. Hanging Out with Your Favourite DJs
One remarkable aspect you probably wouldn’t easily experience at other festivals is that you get to party with your beloved DJs! All the performing artists stay on the ship too and they certainly want to have a good time like you, especially after their sets. One night, when I was on the dance floor with Yellow Claw at Zouk Club, I soon realised Higher Brothers had also joined the crowd next to us while the international turntable champion DJ Shintaro was showing off his jaw-dropping spinning skills right in front of me.
3. All-You-Can FEAST 24/7!
The icing on the cake is probably the food on IT’S THE SHIP. A buffet canteen with an international spread that suits all appetites open almost 24 hours throughout the whole journey.
The menu keeps changing from meal to meal, keeping it fresh from the kitchen and safe for consumption. You don’t have to worry about where to get those after-party munchies at 5 am. In fact, it’s probably at this time that it’d just getting crowded. There are also two other fine dining restaurants with complimentary set menus serving western and Chinese cuisine respectively. These restaurants also played host to the Shanghai Night-themed Gala Dinners. The delectable restaurant-quality fare is one of the highlights you will get to enjoy besides the diverse music curation on board.
4. Eclectic Music Programming
While the main stage was headlined by popular EDM acts such as Krewella and Yellow Claw, there are the alternative acts playing at Zouk Club (indoor) and Zouk Beach Club (outdoor) into the nights and mornings till sunrise. It is probably one of the only festivals in the world to see a DJ spinning at the deck while enjoying a heartfelt breakfast. The line-up that spread across three stages includes over 80 artists, both international and well-represented regional talents such as Bangkok Invaders, Joe Flizzow, and Shigga Shay flying the flag for Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.
5. Themed Events and Pop-up Parties
Parties, parties and more parties. You’ve been warned! Don’t expect much rest on IT’S THE SHIP because it’s all about partying till you drop. If you are considering a quiet evening and a movie night in with a glass of wine, this is probably not what you have signed up for. Other than the festival stages, there are special themed parties and events running at full blast every night. This is where you get creative with your wardrobe – “Onesies Party”, “Jungle Fever”, and “Loco” (Mexican) just to name a few. The fabulous “Shanghai Nights” Gala Dinner saw the ladies dressed up in Cheongsams and fancy evening gowns, and gentlemen in suit-and-ties. Yes, ITS is a proper party for adults.
6. Something Special for the Ladies and Gents
Not one party in the world should lack a juicy story to tell and neither should ITS.
ITS has invited Las Vegas’ The Chippendales a.k.a Magic Mike’s real live version on board that totally melted shipmates’ hearts. The male striptease troupe includes actor and Vogue’s most popular male model Tyson Beckford. Something super hot for the ladies and some gents out there!
7. Quality Time with Old & New Friends
Although it is optional and charged at a premium rate, wifi connection is extremely poor and almost close to zero on the cruise. It does sound pretty horrifying for people who live in any modern society where internet almost equates to the necessity for livelihood, however, it isn’t a bad thing after all. Instead of checking your phone every 30 seconds, it may just be your once-in-a-lifetime moment where you can enjoy face-to-face conversations at dinner tables uninterrupted by the outside world, and immerse yourself at the dance floors without bothering to post that new Instagram Story. How awesome is that?!
8. Get Fit & Active!
If you want to take a break from dancing and drinking and keep up with your get-fit routine, there are tons of healthy options for you on ITS. The cruise is equipped with 5-story tall water slides, a basketball field, rock climbing, ping pong tables, rope course, mini-golf, flying fox and many more. The organiser has curated everything imaginable to spend time, from a morning yoga session with Tigerlily to soccer with Thailand’s Playboy bunnies.
9. International Crowd
It’s reported that ITS has the most successful year to date, with participating festival goers from across 88 different countries. While expecting a big Southeast Asian crowd, it was a nice surprise to have met Japanese, Koreans, as well as a handful from Australia, the States and Europe. It’s a diverse crowd but with the same objective – to have a fun-filled long-weekend getaway.
10. Free Cabin Up for Grabs
For the hardcore fans who have thoroughly enjoyed all the ITS editions and can’t wait (while biting their nails) for the next one, Livescape found just the way to reward these faithful supporters – a FREE cabin for ITS 2018 to anyone who’d be brave enough to have the ITS logo tattooed on their body! There are already six shipmates who have done so this year, according to the organizer.
There is definitely room for improvement for ITS too, such as the extremely long queues embarking and disembarking the ship in Singapore, and the less attractive programming at the stopover destination in Phuket, Thailand. Would this be all worth it? After all, it’s just like what the DJ would say: “If you missed it [ITS], you must be pretty fucked…”