Groove Cruise vs. Traditional Festival Cost Comparison


I know, I know. Many are shocked to see the prices of the cabins when they are thinking about attending their first Groove Cruise. Members of the GC fam get it and understand the value, but those who are new to the world’s largest floating festival sometimes find it tough to justify the expense.

Personally, I don’t like to compare events. Every events has pros and cons and it’s not always an apples-to-apples comparison. But I do know that we all want to experience incredible events without spending a ton of money.

The purpose of this post is to compare the costs of Groove Cruise vs. a Traditional Festival to help those considering sailing for the first time understand the value they are receiving.

Allow me to clarify some points before starting:

  • Travel expenses to/from the event is not factored into this comparison. There are too many variables to consider. Some people live close to the ports, some will have to fly, and others are willing to make the drive. For the purposes of this comparison, I’m leaving this expense out because it will depend on your location and travel preferences, just like any festival.
  • Groove Cruise is a 3 (sometimes 4) day event, so I’ll only be comparing expenses from similarly lengthed traditional festivals.

So, excluding travel to and from the event, let’s compare costs in the major categories associated with attending a music festival:

  • Tickets
  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • Misc.


I took the average after-tax/fees cost between Ultra (Miami), Electric Daisy Carnival (Las Vegas), and TomorrowWorld (Atlanta). Then, I took the cost of a quad interior cabin on Groove Cruise LA, because GCLA is a 3-day event similar to the traditional festivals mentioned here (GCMIA has been a 4-day event for the past couple of years, so that would be an unfair comparison).

Traditional Festival – $406
Groove Cruise (Quad cabin) – $669


For this comparison, I’m going to use the cost of a hotel for 3 nights. This accounts for checking in the first day of the event and checking out the day after the last day. I’m going to take the average of a 3-star hotel walking distance (if possible) to the venue or shuttle stop of the three traditional festivals mentioned above.

Naturally, some will argue you can camp at an event like TomorrowWorld; however, the point of this comparison is to compare similar offerings and a cabin aboard Groove Cruise is more similar to having your own hotel room vs. sleeping in a tent. If you consider the upgraded “Lodges” at TomorrowWorld, that inflates the price well beyond the point of this comparison.

I’m also going to consider the fact that you split this hotel price with 3 of your friends, since getting a Quad cabin aboard Groove Cruise is how you obtain the ticket price mentioned above.

3 Nights Hotel at Traditional Festival – $170
3 Nights Quad Cabin aboard Groove Cruise – Included w/ Ticket


The cost of food is going to vary between individuals, but I’m going to use a realistic cost for the following: 2 meals outside of the festival, 2 meals inside the festival.

Food for 3 days at Traditional Festival – $120
Food for 3 days on Groove Cruise – Included w/ Ticket


There are other expenses that are unique to specific events. In this case, I’m going to use the average cost of a hotel shuttle for TomorrowWorld and EDC and the cost of the mandatory gratuities aboard Groove Cruise LA (3 days).

Shuttle at Traditional Festival – $73
$12/day Gratuity aboard Groove Cruise (3 Days) – $36

Here are the totals calculated from above.

Traditional Festival (3 days):

  • Ticket – $406
  • Accommodation – $170
  • Food – $120
  • Shuttle – $73
  • Total for Traditional Festival – $769

Groove Cruise (3 days)

  • Ticket – $669
  • Accommodation – included
  • Food – included
  • Gratuities – $36
  • Total for Traditional Festival – $705*

*Just $655 if you use my discount code – GrooveCruiseChris (How do I use this code?)!

As you can see, the difference between the two events in this comparison is $64 (before my discount code!) which is negligible in the grand scheme of things.

Allow me to point some things out that lead to Groove Cruise being an even greater value.

Other Things to Consider

Since we’re comparing Groove Cruise to Traditional Festivals, allow me to highlight some of the key features that make Groove Cruise such an incredible value.

Actual Event Time – At traditional festivals, you’re lucky to get 12 hours a day of music, that’s a max of 36 hours of music for the whole event. On Groove Cruise, the music goes on 24 hours a day from the time you board until the time you disembark – roughly 68 hours (even more on 4-day sailings)!

Accommodation – The cost above for traditional festivals is for a 3-star hotel walking distance from the event (or shuttle stop) divided among 4 people. On Groove Cruise, your cabin is on the ship (duh), so you’re walking distance from everything…always. The big benefit, though, isn’t being walking distance to the party, but rather, being able to walk back to your cabin whenever you want. Want a private bathroom? Go back to your cabin. Need to change clothes? Go back to your cabin. At a traditional festival, you better have what you need and not plan on leaving, because you won’t be allowed back in. That problem doesn’t exist on Groove Cruise because you can simply walk back to your cabin whenever you need to. You can also keep your belongings there safely and securely.

Food – To get the cost I mentioned above for traditional festivals, you have to budget a bit and by nature of the festival environment, eat festival food, which isn’t always the best. On Groove Cruise, FOOD IS INCLUDED. Of course, there are some specialty dining options available for a fee, but you get several dining options INCLUDED in your cabin price. On top of that, you can have as much as you want, whenever you want, 24 hours a day!

Payment – While some bigger festivals are working on going cashless, admit it, cruise lines have this system figured out. It’s great not having to carry cash or credit cards, and having my room key work as my payment method aboard Groove Cruise.

Crowding – Traditional Festivals host up to 50,000 people or more every day. Groove Cruise is contained to the capacity of the ship, so it’s just you and 2000+ of your GC fam. While traditional festivals present issues when trying to get up close to the stage or require “VIP” for elevated viewing areas, both of these options are achieved with no fuss aboard Groove Cruise – move up to the front of the stage if you’d like, or move up to a higher viewing area, as well, no worries…no additional stress or upgrades.

Final Words

Any major music festival is a significant investment, and while the cabin prices on Groove Cruise may shock you at first (since you’re probably used to the ~$400 ticket prices at traditional festivals), just remember that this includes nearly everything. At traditional festivals, you have to add accommodation (even camping, if offered) and food, while it’s included aboard Groove Cruise.

On top of that, there are numerous discounts you can take advantage of in addition to using my discount code, GrooveCruiseChris (How do I use this code?), which will get you $50 off per person (up to $200/cabin) on any Groove Cruise sailing. These typically include Female Foursome, Military Discounts, and more

So, if you’re deciding which major festival to attend this year, and money is a concern (because of course it. is), take a moment to compare the real cost of the festival instead of just the ticket prices…you may be surprised!

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