An uncountable number of festivals and special events will take place across the globe in 2015 – extraordinary occasions that will allow the participants to party to within an inch of their lives. So many not-to-be-missed occasions are occurring that it’s impossible to partake in them all, even for the most hardcore of partygoers.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t make a good attempt to do just this. Cruising to world events has seen a sharp uptick in popularity lately, with many holidaymakers seeking something more than the usual itinerary-driven list of sights to see. The trend is largely borne of the determination of veteran cruisers keen to have new experiences not offered by a typical holiday on a ship.
“We are seeing a trend in cruisers who are looking for opportunities to immerse themselves in a destination’s culture. Cruise lines are responding by creating itineraries that coincide with worldwide events,” explained Christine Duffy, president and CEO of the Cruise Lines International Association.
Additionally, she added, “Industry-wide, cruisers are seeking cruises that offer opportunities to spend more time in a port, giving passengers more time to immerse themselves in local culture.”
So now you know the trend. You know the advantages. Which world parties are you hoping to experience in 2015?
Barcelona – Gràcia Festival
Barcelona is an extraordinarily fun place to be during the summer. The party-loving residents host festival after festival, with each neighbourhood participating in a string of week-long events that include plenty of live music and opportunities to drink yourself under the table, as well as traditional Catalan activities. Gràcia Festival takes place during the summer and sees thousands of people thronging the narrow streets of the charismatic Gràcia neighbourhood, with live bands at intervals that help with the atmosphere and entertainment.
Expect plenty of dancing and outdoor alcohol consumption, known as botellón. Other activities to keep an eye out for include correfoc, in which members of the general public are ‘chased’ by groups dressed up as devils brandishing sparkling fireworks. It’s a fun event, but sleeves are recommended in spite of the warm weather! Otherwise, you run the risk of burns. If you get the opportunity to watch castellers, this is also worth turning up for. Local groups practise the Catalan art of building gigantic human towers, each one topped with an impossibly small child. Be warned – this sport will take your breath away.
Venice – Festa del Redentore
Ah, Venice. City of love, passion and many canals. The Italians love a party as much as the Catalans, and Venice’s calendar is so packed with carnivals and festivals that it’s difficult to choose just one. However, Festa del Redentore is always a good bet for those who want to indulge in Venetian hospitality. Originally a religious outpouring that saw the residents celebrating the end of a particularly long plague, the modern-day festivities include a spectacular late-night fireworks display, as well as a beautifully decorated and illuminated parade of boats that can be seen for much of the holiday on St Mark’s Basin.
Particularly exciting is the gondola regatta, which sees thousands of people turn up on the shores of the Grand Canal to watch the gondolas stream underneath Venice’s picturesque selection of bridges. This naturally makes for some fantastic photo opportunities, so make sure you get a place near the front of the crowd.
The Festa del Redentore also has the advantage of being an authentically local event, unlike the more famous Carnival in February, which is primarily created for tourists.
Rio de Janeiro – Carnival
Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival is one of the most famous knees-ups in the world. Millions take to the city’s streets, as enormous floats proceed down the road, topped with dancers wearing bright and vibrant outfits. Outdoor music in every square complements an exciting programme of events that can be viewed online. However, if there’s one you really shouldn’t miss, it’s definitely the Samba Parade, which sees thousands of dancers shimmying their stuff along the main boulevards.
Watching the intricate teams of performers during this incredible annual party, you’ll wonder how they learned to strut like that. But Carnival is a way of life here, and people practice all year round for an opportunity to participate. Do you want to miss out on such an incredible extravaganza this year? Then book yourself a cruise there right now.
Kyoto – Obon
Japanese festivals are quite unlike any other – full of extraordinary spectacle and plenty of ceremony dating back to ancient times. The traditional values of the people shine through particularly strongly during the Obon celebrations, which take place across the country on several dates during the summer. Easily the most impressive festivities take place not in the capital Tokyo, as one might expect, but in Kyoto. Accessible for cruise-goers by nearby Kobe, Kyoto is a beautiful city surrounded by mountains. As night falls, people gather at key places where they can get a decent view of them. Then, at specific times throughout the evening, the giant Japanese symbols inscribed into the surrounding countryside are illuminated by an elaborate network of bonfires. It’s a truly incredible sight and one that you will remember for the rest of your life.
What’s more, Kyoto’s fantastic selection of bars and restaurants makes for a truly fantastic foodie scene. Be sure to experience karaoke and try local specialties including ramen and okonomiyaki.
Cannes Film Festival
You just can’t beat the glamour and extravagance of the Cannes Film Festival. This incredible event attracts thousands of participants to its red-carpeted premieres, where you’ll spot a star a minute if you’re lucky. Careers have been built on this magnificent event, and you won’t forget it while you’re there. The mere mention of the town conjures up images of red carpets, palm trees, scantily-clad starlets, the blinding flashes of a million paparazzi cameras, and of course, celebrity parties.
Cruising there in style only adds to the glamour and style – both of which are crucial aspects that define the Cannes Film Festival. Once you get to the resort itself, there won’t be much time for luxury as you join the throngs of crowds hoping to enjoy some stargazing on the streets. So make sure you get your relaxation in beforehand aboard a beautiful boat.