The magic of a cruise vacation is created with culinary delights, exotic ports of call, comfortable accommodations, carefully curated spaces and, of course, parties. These onboard celebrations can take many forms: large dance parties and quiet lounges, family-friendly and adults-only, adrenaline-pumping and relaxing activities, elegant and come-as-you-are events, and entire ships transformed into themed cruises.
Prepare for fun times on the following ships hosting the best party cruises at sea.
Royal Caribbean: Oasis of the Seas
(Courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)
Explore the eastern and western Caribbean aboard Oasis of the Seas, one of the largest cruise ships in the world. On this 6,771-passenger vessel, 18 decks of fun and 2,109 crew members await your next voyage.
- Bionic Bar: For late-night parties where “mixology meets technology,” order cocktails from unexpected bartenders: robots! These two specialized tech creations are well-versed in classic alcoholic and nonalcoholic cocktails, and they can also mix a bespoke drink designed by you.
- Adrenaline-pumping amenities: Get ready for day and night thrills at four separate venues. Ripcord by iFly is billed as the only skydiving simulator at sea; North Star allows cruisers to snap stunning photos from the tallest viewing deck found on any cruise ship; Sky Pad provides a virtual reality experience while patrons jump on a bungee trampoline; and the Ultimate Abyss, named the tallest slide at sea, plunges 10 stories down.
- Surprise events: Scattered throughout the ship are several surprise activities that pop up among the scheduled itinerary of events. Join a toga party; boogie at a disco brigade; dress for a masquerade party; or transport back in time at an ’80s-inspired extravaganza.
(Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)
Cruise for two to 14 days through the Caribbean, Bahamas or Panama Canal on the 2,974-passenger Carnival Liberty. In addition to decks of party fun, cruisers can dine at eateries designed by famous chefs, watch live sports and movies under the stars, and enjoy activities with the kids.
- Sailaway Party/Mega Deck Party: Get the party started on launch day at the Sailaway Party, where all passengers can gather for music, dancing, drinks and smiles. Then, see everyone again at the open-air Mega Deck Party under the stars on the Lido Deck, complete with more dancing, games and giveaways.
- RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar: Taste the flavors of the tropics at these two popular venues for drinks, music and good times. Choose from a chill menu of cocktails and specialty beer while you stay cool by the pool.
- Fun and games: If parties with your friends include spirited competition, this is your ship. In addition to showing off your skills on the basketball court and obstacle-filled mini golf course, play cornhole, sign up for the scavenger hunt and compete in art games. Then, try your luck gambling in the casino, playing bingo, and joining the “Deal or No Deal” onboard game show.
Virgin Voyages: Scarlet Lady
(Courtesy of Virgin Voyages)
Bring your fabulous self aboard Scarlet Lady, the inaugural ship of Virgin Voyages, an adults-only cruise line. Fares include all food, essential drinks, Wi-Fi access, tips, group fitness classes, entertainment and more than 50 onboard events and activities for 2,770 sailors.
- Drag brunch and dance party: Join the ladies in the Razzle Dazzle restaurant for an early meal seasoned with glitz, glam, humor and style. Then, spend an evening in The Red Room, where drag queens bring the party to life with dances and banter.
- Scarlet Night Party: Wear your best scarlet attire and immerse yourself in the saga of a “mysterious goddess of the sea and the sailor who won her heart.” The whole vessel becomes part of the story with games, tales, live music, pop-up performances, a red pool and a late-night dance party.
- The Manor: Bring your dancing shoes and enter this two-level nightclub through a hall of glittery mirrors. Inside are drinks, music and the Festival Stage Acts – a collection of rotating comedy acts that change every few weeks.
- Studio 72: Dance to the beats of the ’70s and early ’80s at this high-energy venue. Live music, light shows and surprises await.
MSC Cruises: Divina
(Courtesy of MSC Cruises)
This 4,345-passenger ship combines modern comfort with eco-friendly tech in an atmosphere of Golden Age glamour. You’ll enjoy lots of party venues on Divina‘s two- and three-night cruises in the Caribbean.
- Bars and lounges: Spend time with friends in your choice of 17 themed spaces, including a cigar bar, a jazz bar, a sports bar, indoor/outdoor/poolside bars, Italian lounges and the casino. Then, try your talents at karaoke (available in multiple languages).
- High-tech spaces: A stocked video arcade, cyber cafe and full-size Formula 1 racecar simulator await.
- Get Together parties: Gather with likeminded cruisers from across the world during special events like the Veterans Get Together, Solo Guests Cocktail Party and LGBTQIAP+ Get Together.
- Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve: Book a cruise that includes a stop at this exclusive private island in The Bahamas. Step off the ship and head to the sand for a day of sun, fun and exploration with your shipmates. Scuba dive, climb the lighthouse, rent a cabana, have a spa treatment or sip your favorite beverage by the sea.
Norwegian Cruise Line: Breakaway
(Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)
Take a transatlantic voyage or book a cruise in the Caribbean or Mediterranean on this 3,963-passenger ship. Refurbished in 2020, Breakaway offers a quarter-mile oceanfront promenade, unique entertainment venues, and a host of complimentary and specialty dining options.
- Spice H20: Pool party by day; dance party by night. This transformative space, inspired by Ibiza’s beach parties, offers cruisers a refreshing dip in the pool, hot tubs and a waterfall when the sun is high. Return after dark to enjoy the venue’s dance floor and large video screen.
- Skyy Vodka Ice Bar: Escape the heat in the coolest spot on the ship – a frozen bar. Sip specialty drinks in this adults-only spot inspired by Scandinavian ice hotels. The bar, tables, decor, seats and glasses are all made of ice.
- Syd Norman’s Pour House: Step back in time at this classic rock ‘n’ roll venue built to look like the intimate, gritty clubs of days gone by. Performers bring to life all the top tunes of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s while the crowd sings along.
- Bliss Ultra Lounge: Stay out on the dance floor all night long at this high energy lounge. The distinctly nightclub vibe is created by DJs spinning up-tempo music, ultraviolet lights, plasma screens and a delicious selection of cocktails.
Celebrity Cruises: Apex
(Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)
Elevate your celebrations of important life events aboard the sleek Celebrity Apex. Work with a specialist to plan a luxury wedding, vow renewal or engagement party on a sailing through Europe or the Caribbean. Itineraries include the Norwegian Fjords, the Mediterranean, the Cayman Islands, the Bahamas and more.
- Magic Carpet: Gather with friends and family at this unique venue. The cantilevered, floating platform is perched out over the ocean on the starboard side and can move to different decks during the voyage. Room for 100 guests, a full bar, live music and views up to 13 stories above sea level create a memorable experience.
- Resort Deck: Enjoy multiple locations throughout this architecturally pleasing space decorated with various art installations. Intimate cabanas sit near the swimming pool, bar and two-story martini hot tubs, while the covered adults-only Solarium is a luxurious spot to unwind. Additionally, the Rooftop Garden offers cocktails, dining, comfy seating, live performances and games. This venue can accommodate up to 270 guests for day and night fun.
- Eden: Choose this glass-wrapped, three-story, 11,800-square-foot space for your next party. This popular venue features tranquil gardens, constantly shifting views, cozy seating, fresh air and an array of nightly events.
Disney Cruise Line: Disney Wish
(Courtesy of Disney Cruise Line)
Make memories on a multigenerational cruise packed with parties for all the ages aboard the 4,000-passenger Disney Wish. Discover a host of family-friendly sights and sounds to delight everyone on this new Disney Cruise Line ship.
- Oceaneer Club: Entertain cruisers ages 3 to 12 at five Disney-themed spaces: Marvel Super Hero Academy, Star Wars Cargo Bay, Mickey and Minnie Captain’s Deck, Imagineering Lab, and Fairytale Hall. The fun includes training as a super hero recruit; an interactive creature challenge; nautical-themed games; hands-on activities; and arts and crafts.
- Edge/Vibe/The Hideaway: Hang out with friends at these three popular clubs for tweens and teens. Counselor-led activities and photo wall backdrops in the chic loft are perfect for cruisers ages 11 to 14. A funky, Parisian art loft awaits those ages 14 to 17, while young adults ages 18 to 20 can plan private parties at The Hideaway.
- Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge/Keg & Compass: Enjoy some adults-only time at two venues created for grown-up gatherings. At night, the ship’s Star Wars-themed lounge becomes a destination for signature cocktail tastings. Or, grab a craft beer and cheer on your favorite sports team in the pub space inspired by Viking ships.
- Pirate Night: Dress as your favorite buccaneer for a swashbuckling good time with the whole family. Shows, trivia, dancing with Disney characters, special effects and fireworks with Captain Jack Sparrow create a night to remember.
Royal Caribbean: Themed Cruises
Sailing on a themed cruise with Royal Caribbean International is a nonstop party. Pick your favorite pastime, hobby or passion and book an immersive experience on a ship full of fun folks who share your interests.
- Star Trek: The Cruise VII, Mariner of the Seas: Explore the Caribbean alongside an impressive list of stars from STNG, DS9, Voyager and more. Hang out in the Star Lounge, Studio B, pubs, bars and night clubs with your fellow Trekkies.
- The ’80s Cruise, Mariner of the Seas: Step back in time and get ready to sing and dance on this seven-day, all-inclusive cruise. More than 50 concerts are planned for this voyage, including ’80s music star performances by 38 Special, Debbie Gibson, Ray Parker Jr., Wang Chung, Sheena Easton and many more.
- The Old School Cruise 2024, Navigator of the Seas: Rock with the old school bands of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s on this cruise sailing from California. Kool & the Gang, Club Nouveau, Midnight Star and more provide the music for this retro dance party.
- Super Legends 2024, Navigator of the Seas: Take an epic musical cruise with the timeless legends of old school, Latin soul, freestyle and Tejano, all on one voyage. This three-night concert at sea sails roundtrip from Los Angeles.
Revel in elegant merriment aboard this mid-sized luxury ship. If stylish celebrations are what you seek, the 690-passenger Azamara Journey is the perfect setting.
- Club Crooner: Enjoy the musical stylings of the great crooners from the past and present at this swanky onboard nightclub. Talented performers channel their inner Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Michael Bublé, Natalie Cole and others for an evening of songs and cocktails.
- And the Beat Goes On: Join in the songs and dances from the greatest hits through time via a musical journey across genres. Set lists include famous tunes by Madonna, Ricky Martin, Katy Perry, Journey and many more.
- Six Strings: Watch the singers and dancers at this venue of classic rock with an acoustic vibe. Reminisce with tunes from The Beatles, Pat Benatar, Aerosmith, Queen, The Rolling Stones and others.
- Onboard fun: For daytime fun, challenge your shipmates to tournaments in darts, table tennis and trivia. In the evenings, enjoy the tunes of pianists, a quartet, a five-piece band and a DJ spinning dance music – or make your own music with a night of karaoke. Be sure to bring white attire to wear at the signature White Night festivities, which include special food and drinks, live music, and dancing on the pool deck.
Why Trust U.S. News Travel
Angela Minor fell in love with cruising during her first voyage as a teenager aboard the SS Emerald Seas where she performed on the ship. Her voyages have taken her into the Caribbean, the Atlantic, the Pacific and Alaska, where she once lived on an island. Minor used her extensive travel knowledge and research skills to write this article.