"We knew something went wrong when we heard them announce 'bright star' on the ship's P.A.; that's ship jargon for medical emergency," says an insider connected with the Xingolati Groove Cruise that took off from Long Beach October 14. Before the vessel's return voyage from Ensenada, someone overdosed in a cabin and died.
"It was Saturday morning when they found the body," says the insider. An investigation delayed the departure from Ensenada for two hours.
The cruise was a sell-out; 2000 people paid as much as $1000 to see the Flaming Lips; G Love; Medeski, Martin and Wood; and locals Slightly Stoopid.
"We were skeptical about the cruise from the beginning," says Jon Phillips, co-manager of Slightly Stoopid. Phillips says he wondered if 2000 $800 tickets could be sold. "But it was a huge success. Flaming Lips did their big ball thing in the ballroom. The whole thing was a sensory experience. They had the vaudeville circus acts like they have at Burning Man [an annual outdoor festival in the Nevada desert]. People were wearing costumes. It was nothing but fun; it wasn't one of those all-out drug things."
The inside source says, "When we went through the terminal in Long Beach, they said they would be very strict with drugs. The Xingolati people were on the docks warning people to not bring anything because drug-sniffing dogs would be on board."
Guy Grand Promotions chartered the Paradise from Carnival Cruise Lines. Guy Grand spokesman Neil Turley says he won't comment on specifics of the death out of respect for the person's family. Turley says his company "absolutely" wants to organize another Xingolati cruise.
"It was an incredible event. Two couples were engaged to be married. It was a spiritual experience for many people on the cruise."