Cruises, bay tours are excellent options for college student vacation groups

Posted Oct. 9, 2012


A group of college students were tired of always traveling to the overly populated destinations, such as Florida or Las Vegas, for a vacation and were looking for something fun, exciting, and not so expensive. One friend suggested trying a different city such as Los Angeles or Cancun.

The Groove Cruise is the world's largest floating dance music festival (Photo courtesy of The Groove Cruise).

The Groove Cruise is the world’s largest floating dance music festival (Photo courtesy of The Groove Cruise).

While traveling to other destinations can be fun, it can sometimes be costly. That’s why a great alternative is taking a cruise vacation. Whether it’s for a couple of days, the weekend, or just a couple hours during the day, a cruise is always a great, and less expensive, option for college students.

The Groove Cruise is the ultimate cruise for students who are looking to party every single night. People on the cruise will be doing exactly what the name says: grooving. The cruise is a huge dance party, almost like a nightclub; instead it’s on a moving boat going to two beautiful locations. The Groove Cruise only sets sail once a year from Miami and sometimes New York City or Los Angeles and heads to Great Stirrup Cay and Nassau, Bahamas.

The great thing about the cruise is that all people on board are looking to do the same thing: party. The cruise features the best house artists and DJs to give passengers the best possible live music experience. Each cruise experience is different and may include beach or pool parties, theme parties, shore excursions and fashion shows.

Rafi Leibowitz, who is a marketing associate for the Groove Cruise and works for Whet Travel as well, said the agency’s target demographic are young professionals, “although a handful of students do attend it purposely during school as that is when prices are lowest.”

While the cruise is great for a group of young people to getaway, it is best to book the cruise well in advance.

The Groove Cruise enlists some of the hottest DJs in house music (Photo courtesy of The Groove Cruise).

The Groove Cruise enlists some of the hottest DJs in house music (Photo courtesy of The Groove Cruise).

“It sold out nine months in advance with 2,300 people,” Leibowitz said.

Many students are looking for something fun, cheap and something they can do with a large group of people.

“The Groove Cruise is the best value for party vacations and is 40 percent cheaper than a weekend in Vegas or the Hamptons,” Leibowitz continued. Unlike other vacations to another city, the food and club entry is included in the total cost for the cruise. A basic double room for three nights is $1350, but could be split among four to six people or however many passengers are willing to share a room. The trip normally takes place during the last weekend in January.

Leibowitz knows the cruise is popular with students and has definitely taken that into account with making it more affordable.

“We have been in talks for a while to create a spring break cruise geared and marketed towards students,” he said.

While this cruise is already a great party vacation for students, the Groove Cruise is looking to target students specifically, which could only make the experience that much better.

Another great option for students who want to take a cruise vacation is the Royal Caribbean. If students are just looking for a weekend getaway, this cruise line offers four day, three night cruise options that are affordable for a group of people.

Blair Randall, a former Dartmouth student who is now an assistant media strategist at ID Media, went on a weekend cruise to the Bahamas from Miami. He went with six people and purchased three rooms at $300 each, which ended up being $150 per person. While he considered that to be cheap, “the drinks and merchandise on board were expensive,” Randall said.

Yet, he said it was worth it.

“There were many activities and it was very relaxing,” he said.

Passengers can explore the private island, CocoCay, or enjoy Paradise Island and Blackbeard’s Cay. Some other fun things to do on the islands include waterslides and Aqua Park at CocoCay, glass bottom boat tours and rainbow reef snorkel tours at Nassau port. There are also numerous guided activities and opportunities to go scuba diving, kayaking, and Jet Skiing. All activities off the boat have their own prices and will cost passengers extra, but is definitely something guests should look into. This weekend getaway would be fun for any group of college students looking to get away at an affordable price.

The Groove Cruise has over 2,000 passengers each year (Photo courtesy of The Groove Cruise).

The Groove Cruise has over 2,000 passengers each year (Photo courtesy of The Groove Cruise).

For those students who want to party on a boat, but aren’t looking for a weekend getaway, the Duck tours is perfect for a big group.

The 90-minute cruise takes passengers around Biscayne Bay with a tour guide that will make sure it will be a trip to remember. The tour includes a look at Millionaires Row, which is the home to some of the rich and famous on Star Island.

The tour also allows passengers to bring their own beverages on the boat, and that can include alcoholic beverages such as beer. Unlike other cruise ships which make passengers purchase alcohol on the boat, the Duck tours permits certain beverages such as beer. So guests can make their own party on the boat without having to pay extra.

The amphibious boat is unlike any cruise because it tours on land and in water. The state-of-the-art custom made amphibious vehicle is called the “hydra terra” and can reach up to 65 mph on land. The tour starts in South Beach and takes passengers on a fun ride. Each tour guide has a background in comedy or acting, so the show will be one to remember.

Jasleen Naval, who manages reservations for the Duck Tours, says groups can charter out the boat for just themselves or have the group join other people on the tour. The boat holds 49 passengers, so a big group would look to charter with prices varying.

The busiest times are during vacations, but “the best time would definitely be summer or winter,” Naval said.

She says they get the busiest around holidays as people are in Miami vacationing. Yet, even though there are no student discounts the prices are reasonable being $32 for adults and $22 for adults in a group of 20 or more. Even if students can’t make it to a weekend cruise, they can still enjoy a cruise for a day.


  • The Duck Tours offers tours everyday at the hours of 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m., and also 5 p.m., on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
  • Adult tickets are $32, seniors 65 years and older are $26, children, 4 to 12 years old, are $18, and children under the age of three are free.
  • If passengers are with a group of 20 or more, adult tickets are $25, seniors are $22, and children are $15.
  • Guests have to call and ask about pricing for chartering the boat.
  • Prices do not include Florida sales tax or the 10 percent gratuity for the tour guide.
  • Address: 1661 James Ave., Miami Beach, Fla. 33139.
  • Phone: 305-673-2217
  • On the Web at


  • The cruise departs from Miami and heads to Great Stirrup Cay and Nassau, Bahamas and returns back to Miami in the morning on the fourth day.
  • Reservations can be made online or by calling Whet Travel: 877-438-9438
  • Single/Double Inside with ocean view or balconies: $400
  • Single/Double suites: $1,000
  • Triple Suites: $1,500
  • Quad Inside with ocean view or balcony: $800
  • Quad Suites: $2,000
  • These rates include accommodations, all meals including breakfast, lunch, and dinner and 24-hour room service and entrance to all the Groove Cruise Events on and off the boat.
  • These rates do not include alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, spa treatments, laundry, photographs, casino, shore excursions, airfare and ground transportation to and from the Port of Miami.
  • All passengers must have a valid passport.
  • On line at

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