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The 9 best party cruises for 2024.

The best party cruises have something fun for everyone.

The Best Party Cruises

View from clifftop over the caldera after sunset, illuminated cruise ship anchored off the volcanic island of Nea Kameni, Fira, Santorini, Greece.

(Getty Images)

You won't be bored on a party cruise.

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

H20 Kid's Zone swimming pools and activity area on Royal Caribbean's 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.

Book a  Royal Caribbean cruise on GoToSea, a service of U.S. News.

Carnival: Liberty

Exterior of Carnival Cruise Line's Liberty ship.

(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.

Find a Carnival cruise on GoToSea.

Virgin Voyages: Scarlet Lady

Dancing under red lights in the Manor on 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.

Explore Virgin Voyages deals on GoToSea.

MSC Cruises: Divina

Virtual World gaming area on 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.

Compare MSC Cruises on GoToSea.

Norwegian Cruise Line: Breakaway

Skyy Vodka Ice Bar on 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.

Book a  Norwegian Cruise Line cruise on GoToSea.

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Celebrity Cruises: Apex

The Magic Carpet floating platform at on 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.

Find a Celebrity Cruises itinerary on GoToSea.

Disney Cruise Line: Disney Wish

Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge/Keg & Compass on 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.

Explore Disney Cruise Line deals on GoToSea.

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.

Book a Royal Caribbean cruise on GoToSea.

Azamara: Journey

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.

Compare Azamara cruises on GoToSea.

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.

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The Best Cruise Ship Theme Parties and Where to Find Them

Cruise ship deck party

Carnival Cruises:

  • Carnival Cruises is known for its signature 80s Rock'n'Glow Deck Party. 
  • They also have a Caribbean-themed party known as a Mega Deck Party on longer itineraries. 
  • White Hot Parties are also held on some itineraries where everyone wears white.
  • The ships Vista and Horizon are said to have a Latin dance party known as Amor Cubano.
  • Carnival also has a formal night. It has been a while since I have been on one of “The Fun Ships”, but I seem to remember them being a bit stricter about the dress code than a lot of their competitor cruise lines. Guests who were not dressed more formally on elegant nights would be denied seating in the main dining rooms and forced to eat at the buffet. Cruises six days or longer usually have two Cruise Elegant evenings.

Celebrity Cruises

  • A 60s party, 
  • a Motown party, 
  • a Latin party called Sizzle, 
  • a rock masquerade entitled Masque, 
  • And a silent disco. (They seem to be the only cruise line that does this, which is quite surprising considering the noise complaints we used to get on party nights when I worked in the guest services department of one of their competitors.)
  • White Hot Parties are also held on some itineraries where everyone wears white. 
  • Their formal night has been rebranded as “evening chic” which is supposed to be less formal than formal, but smarter than smart casual. 

Costa Cruises

  • Costa cruises are also said to have a white night and a 70s party. 
  • Some itineraries also feature a black & red night and a masquerade party.

Disney Cruise Line

  • Disney Cruise Line is known for its Pirates of the Caribbean Deck Party complete with a fireworks display. (And let me tell you, pyrotechnics on a cruise ship with loads of kids on board? That sounds like a logistical and safety nightmare! ...But also, probably a lot of fun.) 
  • The Disney Wonder is also said to have a Pixar Pals Party,  while the Disney Wonder and Disney Magic have a Frozen Party. 
  • Each cruise also has an optional “Dress-up night” (where you are encouraged to dress in formal attire, not pirate attire - just to clarify what they mean by “dressing up”).

MSC Cruises 

  • White parties are also common on MSC cruises. 
  • Other theme parties include a Tropical Party,  a Flower Glory Party  (A 70s party), a Carnival party (themed around Brazillian carnivals and not MSC's competitor)  and a Space Party (I would like to experience that one).   
  • Cruises longer than seven days have two formal nights, often referred to as Gala Nights.

Norwegian Cruise Line

  • Norwegian’s Mega ships (Breakaway class or bigger) are known for their Glow parties where guests are encouraged to wear neon colours. 
  • On the smaller ships, they used to have White Hot Parties where guests were encouraged to wear all white. They have now (updated 2023) done away with the White Hot Party and the Glow Party has become the signature party fleetwide. You won't look out of place in white but pack your neon too.
  • Other theme nights you may find on an NCL ship (dependent on the length of cruise and itinerary) include Latin night, Caribbean Night, a 50s & 60s sock hop, 70s night, 80s night, a country hoedown and a Latin dance party.
  • There will be at least one “Dress up or not night” per cruise, with the possibility of more on longer itineraries. 

P&O Cruises 

  • P&O is known for a Bianco party, their version of the White Party,  as well as a Nero party, the antithesis of a white party where everyone wears black. Way to shake things up, P&O! 
  • They are also rumoured to have a Back to School Party. 
  • P&O seems to be most well known for its Gatsby Party. From what I understand, this overlaps their signature party and their formal night. Apparently, they do 1920s dance classes and sequinned headband-making craft sessions in preparation for it. 

Royal Caribbean:

  • A 70s night or 'Disco Inferno' is also a common theme night on Royal Caribbean, but they seem to have replaced the 70s party with a 90s party on The Harmony of the Seas.   
  • They also host a Red Party on the Harmony of the Seas, a high-energy party with DJs, surprise performances, special effects and technology.
  • Some of the other parties you may experience on Royal Caribbean include a Black & White Night, a 50s, 60’s or 80’s party or a Country Western party. 
  • Toga parties and Caribbean parties (dependant on the itinerary) also happen on occasion.
  • Sometimes on Royal Caribbean, the formal night is replaced with a masquerade ball (pre-pandemic these masks covered your eyes not your mouth but that may have changed). Cruises that are seven days long or longer usually have two formal nights, the first one being a bigger deal than the second.  (Formal attire is recommended but not mandatory.)

Virgin Voyages:

  • Virgin Voyages obviously does things differently. They have swopped out the white night for a red night or ‘Scarlet Night’ which is said to feature art installations and performances throughout the ship. It’s less a party and more a ship-wide activation. 
  • It may also be the only cruise line that doesn’t do a formal night.
  • Apparently, the spa is also the location of a spa party complete with DJs.

Additional Parties

  • In addition to this, Sailaway parties are standard on most cruise lines
  • Halloween, New Year's Eve and Christmas have their own theme parties 
  • If you’re sailing off the coast of the USA, you can also look forward to parties that commemorate the Super Bowl, the 4th of July and St. Patrick's Day.  
  • If you cross the equator, there's also a party for that.

The best way to find out what theme nights to expect on your specific cruise:

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The 6 best party cruises on the high seas, from sun-deck soirees to disco dance-offs

Ashley Kosciolek

Whether you're a joiner who loves a themed shindig, a sucker for a family promenade parade, a fan of high-class ballroom dancing or a college student who enjoys a raging kegger, there's a line to fit your cruise party style.

If you're searching for a raucous atmosphere with lots of drinking and dancing into the wee hours of the morning, you'll do best on short sailings (two to four days) out of Florida or southern California. Choose a time when primary schools are in session for a more adult rather than family-focused vibe on board. College spring break weeks are often the ultimate party cruises.

If you're looking for a different kind of party — perhaps something more refined or family-friendly — which cruise line you choose is likely more important than the length of the voyage or the departure port.

Here's my list of the best party cruise lines, whether you want to drop it low or raise the roof.

For more cruise guides, news and tips, sign up for TPG's cruise newsletter .

Margaritaville at Sea: Best for budget bashes

cruise ship crew party

If you're short on time, cash or both, Margaritaville at Sea — which operates just one ship, Margaritaville at Sea Paradise — is the ideal party cruise ship line. Each sailing is just two nights, and the ship runs back and forth between the Port of Palm Beach in Florida and Freeport in the Bahamas.

Because most passengers seek out the ship for a quick getaway where they can let loose during a couple of days off from work, they're often in the mood to party. (After all, it's 5 o'clock somewhere.)

You'll find pool deck dance parties, Jimmy Buffett-themed nightly shows and several bars and lounges on board. The main lounge, Euphoria, is where you can get your boogie on after hours.

To be clear, the ship is more than 30 years old, so you won't be in the lap of luxury on one of these sailings. However, the pricing is great for cruisers on tight budgets . Fares start from $299 for two people for an ocean-view cabin — just $75 per person, per night (not including taxes or port fees). You'd be hard-pressed to find land-based accommodations for that little, and Margaritaville's fares also include meals and entertainment. The best prices are offered midweek.

Want to make the festivities last a bit longer? You can tack on a two-night pre- or post-cruise stay at Margaritaville in Orlando, or book a stay of two, four or six nights at a resort in Freeport before cruising back to Florida.

Virgin Voyages: Best for trendy parties

cruise ship crew party

Ain't no party like a Richard Branson cruise ship party, and there are plenty of them on Virgin Voyages ' ships. When the business mogul signed his name to the cruise line, it was a given that the vessels would be fresh, trendy and ready to rock.

A mix of rockstar chic and drag queen glam, a cruise with Virgin feels like one long fever dream, albeit a pleasant one. All ships are for adults only.

Passengers can expect risqué entertainment, including lounge singer-style performances; late-night parties, notably Scarlet Night, where everyone is encouraged to dress in red for a giant poolside rave; and wacky events like scavenger hunts and secret below-deck tours that take you for tipples in the crew bar after the sun sets.

What's most refreshing about Virgin's take on cruising is its "come as you are" attitude. On a recent sailing, I saw crew — men and women — dressed as merpeople, passengers who decided to wear tutus to dinner (and they weren't even a little bit out of place doing so), and singers and dancers of all shapes, sizes and ethnicities.

Virgin Voyages' ships will give you music festival vibes at sea — but with much better accommodations and fellow guests who have actually showered. (Body glitter, glow-in-the-dark clothing and fairy wings are all encouraged.)

Carnival Cruise Line: Best party drinks

cruise ship crew party

If you prefer to enjoy parties with an adult beverage in hand, a Carnival cruise is worth your consideration. Its mixed drinks are some of the tastiest and most creative in the industry, including specialty concoctions that change color or which are topped with poppable smoke bubbles.

My favorites? Try the Cucumber Sunrise (vodka, lime juice, watermelon syrup, orange juice and muddled cucumber) at the Alchemy bar on nearly any Carnival ship or the Crystal Ball (tequila, Green Chartreuse, agave nectar and lime) at the Fortune Teller bar on Mardi Gras.

One downside is that the drinks can be pricey. If you plan to consume a lot of alcohol, you might want to consider one of the line's beverage packages , which run from $60-65 per person, per day. At that rate, you'd have to drink roughly six cocktails per day to make it worth the cost, and if you purchase the package, anyone else in your cabin who's 21 or older will have to do the same.

Like Margaritaville at Sea, the line offers affordable sailings, but it has a larger fleet of ships from which to choose — some of the best party cruise ships afloat. Also like Margaritaville at Sea, its shorter sailings tend to draw a more party-hardy crowd, so keep that in mind as you determine the level of shenanigans you prefer when you're having a good time.

MSC Cruises: Best for late-night parties

cruise ship crew party

Are you someone who likes to party all night and sleep in the next day? MSC Cruises is a great cruise line for doing just that, especially if you're sailing on one of its Europe-based ships. (On a recent U.S.-based sailing, the club was dead before midnight, but the casino and its bar were open until well after I went to bed.)

Every vessel has a host of bars and lounges, but you'll want to make your way to the onboard nightclub, where DJs play music until well after 2 a.m., as long as there's a crowd.

Themed parties include white parties, where all passengers are encouraged to wear white, and snow parties, where the crew blasts fake snow (read: foam) onto the pool deck as passengers dance.

If you also want to party ashore, look for Caribbean itineraries that offer overnights at the line's private island, Ocean Cay Marine Reserve . After the sun sets, the body of the island's lighthouse illuminates with LED lights to create a spectacular show accompanied by a shoreside beach party.

Don't worry if you feel tired or hung over the next day. In true Italian fashion — it's a Mediterranean line, after all — the coffee is superb. Every bar has a fancy machine that can make whatever your caffeine-starved heart desires: espresso, Americano, cappuccino, latte, mocha and more. Note that specialty coffee costs extra if you don't have a beverage package.

Royal Caribbean: Best for family-friendly parties

cruise ship crew party

Royal Caribbean is one of the most family-friendly cruise lines sailing the seas. Although the line's ships offer plenty of adult activities on board — late-night clubbing, adults-only hot tubbing and 18+ scavenger hunts — they also schedule plenty of parties for kids and families to enjoy together.

For example, every ship that's debuted since 1999 features an indoor promenade, lined with shops and restaurants, that serves as the venue for special performances. For years, Royal Caribbean's promenade parades included characters from "Shrek" and "Madagascar" as part of the line's former partnership with DreamWorks.

Now, the promenade shows feature members of the onboard entertainment staff performing well-known hits, such as the Beatles' "Yellow Submarine," while dressed in costumes. Pirate ships and other props make the experience a fantastic one for all age groups but definitely for children.

Royal Caribbean also scores off the charts in terms of kids club offerings. In addition to a battery of supervised daily activities, the staff also organizes nighttime events, including dance parties, where kids can get their groove on with new friends while enjoying mocktails.

If that isn't enough, the line hosts several theme nights, which encourage passengers to dress up. Held on sailings of four nights or longer, these gatherings, which are appropriate for all ages, might be themed as masquerade, country western, toga or decade-specific ('50s, '60s, '70s, '80s) parties.

Cunard Line: Best for high-class hootenannies

cruise ship crew party

If animated characters, twerking and loud, pulsating music aren't your thing, you might prefer a sailing on one of Cunard 's classic, nautically styled vessels.

On Queen Mary 2, for example, you can partake in ballroom dance classes, where you'll learn to cut a rug with the best of them.

At night, take your newfound (or, perhaps, well-worn) skills back to the ballroom, where a live band plays as cruisers dance classic styles like waltz, foxtrot and swing — often in their most swanky attire. Cunard is one of the few remaining cruise lines that still has formal nights .

On a recent sailing, people nearly three times my age were up dancing until well after 2 a.m. (Seriously, a 103-year-old WWII veteran showed me up on the dance floor several nights in a row.)

During the day, when you're not honing your fancy footwork, the ballroom is used for another more sedentary type of party: afternoon tea. You won't want to miss the pastries and finger sandwiches served by white-gloved waiters. The scones and clotted cream are a party for your tastebuds.

Bottom line

Whether your idea of a party includes loud, late-night debauchery with plenty of drinks or a more laid-back gathering where passengers sip tea in a formal ballroom, there's a cruise that will allow you to cut loose in whichever way you prefer. Your preferences are, ultimately, what determine the best party cruise line for you.

Choose shorter, less expensive sailings for a more raucous experience; select a longer, pricier voyage if you're looking for understated celebrations. Either way, you're sure to have a great time.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

  • The 5 most desirable cabin locations on any cruise ship
  • 8 cabin locations on cruise ships you should definitely avoid
  • Which cruise brand is best for you? A guide to the most popular lines
  • 21 tips and tricks that will make your first cruise go smoothly
  • 15 ways that cruising newbies waste money on their first cruise
  • The 15 best cruise ships for people who never want to grow up
  • Cruise packing list: The ultimate guide to what to pack for a cruise

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Cruise secrets: Former crew member reveals what REALLY happens at cruise ship parties

Cruise ships are well known for the impressive array of entertainment they lay on guests spending their holidays on board - but what do the cruise crew get up to a former ship employee has revealed what crew parties were really like..

cruise ship crew cruises party parties holidays

Cruise crew spend many days and nights working on board the floating hotels. Many are young, single and keen to make the most of the freedom and travel that the job provides. A former cruise worker, Joshua Kinser, has revealed what crew life was like during his career in his 2018 book, Chronicles of a Cruise Ship Crew Member. One thing he particularly said he enjoyed on board were the parties with his colleagues. “We never had to walk far to find celebration on the ship,” he said. “Once a month on most ships, the cruise ship company paid for an official crew party, usually with a theme like ‘70s Disco party,’ or ‘Dress Up Like a Superhero.’”

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“The true camaraderie and moral that buoyed the ship were formed at the crew parties, where that crew was kept happy and unified. They were the best parties on the seven seas,” he wrote.

“And if we hadn’t had enough at the crew party, we could wander around the ship until we found a group of fellow seafarers celebrating ship life in their crew cabins.”

The cabins may not have been that luxurious but they served as a kind of haven to the crew.

“Our crew cabins were one of the few places of the ship where we could take off our name tags for a bit, remove our clip-on bow ties, clean the gel out of our hair, and get out of our uniforms,” said Kinser.

“Our little cabins on the sea were the perfect places to unwind and celebrate until it was time to get back to subbing the decks and hoisting the mizzen and main again the next morning in the passenger areas.”

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Australia: Cruise taken over by burlesque girls and booze

Parties aren’t the only thing crew appreciate on board, according to Kinser. He also revealed in his book that crew love drinking milk on cruise ships .

In one episode, he remembers a time he came across the ship milk machine on a ship and “filled [his] cup to the absolute brim with the glorious ship-milk.” He even calls it “mootopia.”

Kinser explained he thinks his thirst for the dairy drink doesn’t just apply to him.

“Since working on ships, I’ve done some research and found that this same adoration for milk is also found on aircraft carriers, fishing boats, cargo ships, and anywhere else you find large groups of people battling the high seas,” he wrote.

“My theory is that since crew members spend so much time inside the ship and don’t get enough sunlight, they develop a vitamin D deficiency, and so they crave milk.

“It’s just an idea, and I really don’t know. I just know that everyone loves the ship milk, and it always runs out, so crew members have to get it when they can.” 

Incredibly, In 1840, Cunard’s RMS Britannia set forth on its maiden transatlantic voyage and a  dairy cow was brought on board the ship to provide everyone with fresh milk .

British writer Charles Dickens was on the Britannia and described the sight of “one party of men were ’taking in the milk,’” meaning they were bringing the animal on board.

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The Ultimate Guide To Cruise Ship Theme Parties

If you are looking to add some fun and excitement to your cruise vacation, then cruise ship theme parties are the way to go. Whether you’re a first-time cruiser or a seasoned traveler, these parties offer a unique and enjoyable experience for all. In this ultimate guide, we will provide you with practical tips and recommendations to help you plan and throw the perfect cruise ship theme party. From choosing the right theme to incorporating captivating decor and entertainment, we’ve got you covered. So get ready to set sail on a memorable adventure of themed festivities and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Table of Contents

Understanding Cruise Ship Theme Parties

Cruise ship theme parties are special events or nights organized onboard a cruise ship that revolve around a specific theme. These parties are a fun and exciting way to enhance your cruise experience and add some flair to your journey. Whether you’re a first-time cruiser or a seasoned traveler, participating in theme parties can be a highlight of your cruise vacation.

Theme parties on cruise ships are important because they provide a unique and memorable experience for passengers. These parties create a festive atmosphere, allowing people to let loose, socialize, and have fun. They also help passengers connect with the onboard community by providing a shared interest or theme to bond over.

Common theme party activities include costume contests, live performances, dance-offs, themed food and drinks, and interactive games. These activities are designed to immerse passengers in the theme and create a vibrant and engaging environment for everyone onboard.

Popular Types of Cruise Ship Theme Parties

Formal theme parties.

Formal theme parties are a common occurrence on cruise ships. These parties often take place on elegant nights, where passengers are encouraged to dress up in formal attire. The theme could range from a classic black and white ball to a masquerade party. Formal theme parties provide an opportunity for passengers to showcase their style and elegance while enjoying a sophisticated evening of music and dancing.

Cultural Theme Parties

Cultural theme parties celebrate different cultures from around the world. Passengers can experience the vibrant traditions, music, and cuisine of various countries, immersing themselves in a multicultural atmosphere. Whether it’s a Caribbean Night or a Mexican Fiesta, cultural theme parties allow passengers to broaden their horizons and appreciate the diversity of the destinations they are visiting.

Decade or Era Based Parties

Decade or era based parties take passengers back in time to relive the excitement and fashion of a particular period. From the roaring 20s to the disco era of the 70s, these parties are a blast from the past. Passengers can get creative with their outfits and enjoy the nostalgia of a bygone era. Decade or era based parties are a hit among cruisers who love to dress up and transport themselves to a different time.

Colour or Costume Theme Parties

Colour or costume theme parties encourage passengers to dress up in specific colours or costumes related to the theme. Examples include White Out Night, Tropical Paradise Party, or Superhero Night. These parties allow passengers to showcase their creativity and have fun with their outfits. Costume theme parties often lead to lively conversations and interactions among fellow passengers who share a similar interest or favourite character.

Holiday Theme Parties

Holiday theme parties are especially popular during festive seasons such as Halloween, Christmas, or New Year’s Eve. Passengers can celebrate these holidays onboard the cruise ship, complete with decorations, themed music, and special menus. Holiday theme parties create a joyous atmosphere and bring people together to celebrate in a unique and memorable way.

The Ultimate Guide To Cruise Ship Theme Parties

Steps to Planning for Cruise Ship Theme Parties

To make the most of cruise ship theme parties, it’s important to plan ahead and be prepared. Here are some steps to help you get ready for the festivities.

Understanding Theme Party Schedule

Check the cruise ship’s daily newsletter or online portal to find out the schedule of theme parties during your voyage. Note down the dates, times, and themes of each party. This will help you plan your outfits and activities accordingly.

Planning Your Outfits

Once you know the themes of the parties, start brainstorming ideas for your outfits. Research online for inspiration and get creative with your costume choices. Make sure to pack all the necessary items, including accessories and props, to fully immerse yourself in the theme.

Participating in Activities

Take part in the activities and games organized during the theme parties. Whether it’s a dance-off, trivia quiz, or a talent show, these activities are designed to engage passengers and add to the overall fun and entertainment. Don’t be shy and join in the excitement – you might even win a prize or make new friends along the way.

How to Choose A Suitable Outfit for A Theme Party

Choosing the right outfit for a cruise ship theme party is crucial to fully enjoy and participate in the festivities. Here are some tips to help you select the perfect attire for any theme party.

Adhering to Theme and Dress Code

Make sure your outfit aligns with the theme of the party. For example, if it’s a Hawaiian Luau party, opt for a floral shirt or a grass skirt. Also, check if there are any specific dress code requirements for the party. Some parties may have formal or semi-formal dress codes, while others may require more casual or costume-like attire.

Comfortable and Appropriate Clothing

While it’s important to dress according to the theme, always prioritize comfort and appropriateness. Consider the weather, the type of activities involved, and the comfort level of your outfit. You don’t want to be in an uncomfortable costume all night or risk being underdressed in inappropriate clothing.

Accessorizing for a Theme Party

Accessories can take your theme party outfit to the next level. Choose accessories that complement your costume and enhance the overall look. Wigs, hats, jewelry, and props can add that extra touch of authenticity and fun to your ensemble. However, make sure your accessories are safe and won’t obstruct movement or cause any inconvenience during the party.

The Ultimate Guide To Cruise Ship Theme Parties

Maximizing Fun at Cruise Ship Theme Parties

To fully enjoy cruise ship theme parties, it’s important to immerse yourself in the party spirit and engage with fellow cruisers. Here are some tips to help you make the most of these festivities.

Getting In the Party Spirit

Before attending a theme party, get yourself in the party mood. Listen to music related to the theme, watch movies or shows that align with the party theme, or even read books or articles to familiarize yourself with the party’s cultural or historical references. This will help you feel more connected to the theme and enhance your overall experience.

Engaging with Fellow Cruisers

Cruise ship theme parties provide an excellent opportunity to socialize and meet new people. Strike up conversations with fellow cruisers who are also enthusiastic about the theme. Compliment their outfits, share your excitement about the party, and exchange stories or experiences related to the theme. Engaging with others will not only make the party more enjoyable but also create lasting memories and friendships.

Taking Part in Games and Theme Activities

Don’t be a wallflower at theme parties; actively participate in the games and activities organized. Whether it’s a dance competition, costume contest, or trivia quiz, take part and have fun. These activities are designed to bring people together and create a lively and interactive atmosphere. Even if you’re not the most outgoing person, challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone and embrace the opportunity to have a great time.

Tips for Family Friendly Cruise Ship Theme Parties

Cruise ship theme parties are not just for adults – they can be a fun and memorable experience for the whole family. Here are some tips to ensure that theme parties are family-friendly and enjoyable for everyone.

Choosing Family Appropriate Themes

When selecting theme parties to attend as a family, make sure the themes are suitable for all ages. Avoid parties that may have adult-oriented themes or activities. Look for themes like pirate night, superhero party, or Disney character night that cater to different age groups and interests.

Dressing Children for Theme Parties

Involve your children in choosing their outfits for theme parties. Let them express their creativity and imagination when selecting costumes. Make sure their outfits are comfortable and safe for them to move around in. Additionally, consider practicality – choose costumes that are easy to put on and take off, especially for younger children who may need to use the restroom more frequently.

Ensuring Safety and Comfort for Kids

While attending theme parties, ensure the safety and comfort of your children. Keep an eye on them during crowded events and make sure they stay within your sight. Dress them in breathable fabrics and provide appropriate footwear to prevent discomfort or potential injuries. Remember to bring any necessary items such as snacks, water, or entertainment to keep them occupied during the party.

The Ultimate Guide To Cruise Ship Theme Parties

Cruise Ship Theme Parties for Couples and Singles

Cruise ship theme parties provide unique opportunities for both couples and singles to have a fantastic time. Here are some suggestions for making the most of theme parties based on your relationship status.

Romantic Theme Parties for Couples

Couples can embrace the romantic atmosphere of cruise ship theme parties by dressing up in matching or complementary outfits. Take advantage of the dance floor and enjoy slow dances or lively dances together. Participate in couple-oriented activities like couple trivia contests, love song karaoke, or photo booths. Use theme parties as a chance to create special memories with your partner while having a great time.

Fun Ideas for Singles at Theme Parties

Singles can make the most of theme parties by embracing their individuality and enjoying the freedom that comes with it. Dress up as your favourite character or in a creative costume that reflects your personality. Use theme parties as an opportunity to meet new people and strike up conversations with fellow cruisers who share similar interests or outfits. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and have a blast on the dance floor or at the party games.

Mix and Mingle Opportunities

Cruise ship theme parties often include mix and mingle events where passengers can meet and socialize with others. Take advantage of these opportunities to make connections, whether it’s for friendship or romance. Engage in conversations, participate in ice-breaking activities, and exchange contact information if you feel a connection. Theme parties create a relaxed and fun-filled environment that encourages socialization and interaction among passengers.

Unique Cruise Ship Theme Party Ideas

While there are common types of cruise ship theme parties, some cruise lines and ships offer unique and creative party ideas. Here are a few examples of these unique theme parties that can add excitement to your cruise experience:

Musical Theme Parties

Musical theme parties are all about celebrating a specific genre or era of music. From rock and roll to disco, passengers can dance the night away to their favourite tunes. These parties often feature live performances, DJs, and themed decorations to create an immersive music experience onboard.

Sci-Fi or Fantasy Based Themes

Sci-fi or fantasy based theme parties transport passengers into the realm of their favourite movies, TV shows, or books. Whether it’s Star Wars, Harry Potter, or Game of Thrones, these parties allow cruisers to dress up as their beloved characters and engage in activities related to the chosen theme. It’s a fantastic opportunity for fans to celebrate their fandom in a lively and entertaining setting.

Parties Based on Popular Cultures or Fandoms

Cruise ships may organize theme parties that celebrate popular cultures or fandoms. From comic book heroes to popular video game franchises, these parties cater to fans of all kinds. Passengers can engage in discussions, showcase their fan art or memorabilia, and connect with like-minded individuals who share a passion for a specific culture or fandom.

Customizing Your Cruise Experience with Theme Parties

Cruise lines often offer passengers the chance to participate in theme party planning and provide valuable input for future parties. Here are some ways you can get involved and contribute to the customization of your cruise experience.

Participating in Theme Party Planning

Some cruise lines invite passengers to join focus groups or provide feedback on potential theme party ideas. Take advantage of these opportunities and share your thoughts and suggestions. This way, you can have a direct impact on the types of theme parties that are planned onboard. Your input can help shape the future of theme parties and ensure that they align with the preferences and expectations of passengers.

Contributing Ideas for Future Parties

If you have unique and creative ideas for theme parties, don’t hesitate to share them with the cruise line. Write to them, participate in online forums, or submit suggestions through onboard feedback forms. Cruise lines are often open to new ideas and appreciate input from passengers. Your ideas could inspire exciting and innovative theme parties that enhance the overall cruise experience for everyone.

Sharing Experiences and Suggestions

After participating in a theme party, share your experiences and suggestions with the cruise line or fellow passengers. Write reviews, share photos on social media, or participate in online forums dedicated to cruise experiences. By sharing your thoughts and recommendations, you can help others make informed decisions and create a community of cruisers who can exchange ideas and tips for future theme parties.

Troubleshooting Common Theme Party Issues

While cruise ship theme parties are generally enjoyable, issues can arise that may require troubleshooting. Here are some common problems and their solutions:

Dealing with Unplanned Situations

In the event of a sudden change in schedule or cancellation of a theme party, stay calm and flexible. Cruise lines may have valid reasons for making changes, such as weather conditions or technical difficulties. Look for alternative activities or parties that are still taking place and embrace the opportunity to try something different. Remember, the cruise line’s priority is to ensure the safety and satisfaction of passengers.

Addressing Dress Code Difficulties

If you encounter difficulties with the dress code for a theme party, seek assistance from the cruise ship’s staff. They can provide guidance on appropriate attire or offer alternatives if you don’t have the necessary clothing. It’s important to respect the dress code to maintain the integrity of the theme party and create a cohesive and enjoyable atmosphere for all attendees.

Solving Socialization Concerns at Parties

If you’re feeling apprehensive about socializing at theme parties, remember that most passengers are in the same boat. Start by observing what others are doing, join group activities or games, or strike up conversations with people who seem friendly or approachable. Chances are, many fellow cruisers are also looking to make connections and have a good time. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and enjoy the party to the fullest.

In conclusion, cruise ship theme parties are a fantastic way to enhance your cruise experience and create lasting memories. Whether it’s a formal ball, a cultural celebration, or a holiday extravaganza, these parties offer something for everyone. By planning ahead, choosing suitable outfits, and actively participating in the festivities, you can maximize the fun and enjoyment of cruise ship theme parties. Families, couples, and singles alike can find opportunities for excitement and engagement, while unique and creative theme party ideas add an extra touch of excitement to your cruise. Get involved in the customization of your cruise experience and troubleshoot any issues that may arise to ensure a smooth and enjoyable theme party experience.

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Confessions of Cruise Ship Insiders: Secret Parties, Crew Bars, and More

Many of us go on cruises to let our hair down. To party with a cocktail or several. Some of us, flush with memories of the whirlwind romances on the TV show The Love Boat , maybe even seek a real-life shipboard love affair.

But what you might not know is that oftentimes, the real partying and at-sea romances are going down on the lower decks, where the ship’s crew lives and plays.

“It’s just an orgy down below the water line,” says Brian David “B.D.” Bruns , a former cruise ship waiter and author of Cruise Confidential , a series of books based on his life at sea. “The best thing about working on cruise ships — they’re like wild parties. I live in Vegas and I would have to go to a private party to find this kind of behavior.”

Related: Kitchen Confidential: Confessions of a Cruise Ship Waiter

Cruise ship vet B.D. Bruns says his days at sea were a constant party. (Photo: Facebook )

Not to paint all cruise ship crew members as a bunch of randy, drunken party animals. They are, by and large, a dedicated and hard-working bunch who take their work seriously. After all, in addition to being bartenders, servers, housecleaners, cruise directors, salespeople, and the like, they’re also experienced sailors trained in lifesaving techniques and are ready to assist you in an emergency.

That said, it’s a stressful job with long hours (100-hour weeks are not unheard-of) and demanding passengers. So many cruise ship crew members — especially the younger, unmarried service staff — blow off steam the way 20-somethings away from home for the first time typically do: by partying and hooking up with each other like it’s the end of the world.

Related: A First-Timer’s Guide to Cruising

“Think about when you went to college for the first time,” says Bruns. “That sense of freedom, like, ‘Oh my God, Mom and Dad aren’t here looking over my shoulder.’ So you go to town! Well, now amplify that by 10. Because these [crew members] — who are often from Second or Third World countries — lived in a house with their moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, uncles and aunts because they’re from a small village in Indonesia. Suddenly they’re on their own and they’ve never experienced freedom like that.”

“I generally describe living onboard as like being in a college dorm but no one has any homework,” says Lisa Niver , another cruise ship vet and founder of the travel site We Said Go Travel .

Lisa Niver looks back fondly at her cruise ship days. (Photo: Lisa Niver)

Bruns and Niver — both happily retired from the crew life on the high seas — shared with Yahoo Travel the side of cruise ships you probably will never see, one the cruise lines generally don’t publicize. The partying. The hookup scene. Your chances of getting with a crew member if you’re a passenger (spoiler alert: not good). And how cruise ship crew members work hard but play harder.

Party at sea

We all know the average cruise ship has numerous bars. What you may not know is that there are additional bars that you’ll never see, bars exclusively for the crew.

“A lot of people that work on the ship don’t have the privilege to go out and about on the upper deck [with the passengers],” says Niver. “So after they finish their shift, which could be anywhere from 10 to 14 hours depending on what their service is, there is really only one place they could go, which is the crew bar. The drinks were very reasonably priced, and it was always a great place to hang out and not have to be in uniform.”

The bartender at the crew bar aboard Holland America’s Eurodam. (Photo: Holland America )

So you mix cheap booze with young, stressed-out workers stuck in a confined ship with tight quarters, and you know what’s going to ensue. “Are there a lot of relationships?” Niver remembers. “The drinks are a dollar and no one has any homework, so yes — draw your own conclusions!”

“Every week you’ve got new people from all over the world popping up onto the ship,” says Bruns. “It’s like an international smorgasbord of beautiful young people far from home.”

The multinational flavor of cruise ship crews means that many crew members like to do their own version of cultural exchanges. Bruns says the only reason he stayed in one particularly miserable cruise ship job was because he was chasing after a certain Romanian waitress (he eventually caught her).

“It was one of the unspoken rules that you don’t date somebody who is from your country or your color,” he remembers. “I thought that was awesome. It was really cool for me to see that. Especially nowadays in America, everyone is like, ‘I hate you, you’re not just like me.’ On ships you’re not supposed to talk about politics or religion, but that’s all we did. It’s because everybody is like, ‘Wow, I want to learn.’ And of course, the ultimate way to learn about a culture is to sleep with somebody who is from that culture.” (Are you listening, United Nations?)

Cruise ship crew members engage in international relations. (Photo: iStock)

While much of the partying and hooking up aboard cruise ships involves young crew members, Bruns says older officers were known to get into the act too. “The officers have their own officers’ bars and they don’t mingle with the crew,” he says. But some did. “The Italian officers loved the ladies,” Bruns says of his time on one ship. “They would go to the crew bar intentionally to pick up chicks. They would always have their ship [girlfriends]. And believe me, there are a lot of women who just wanted to have a better cabin for the six months [of their contracts] — even if they aren’t so stupid to think that the officers are going to remember them, because it’s like, ‘Honey, he’s married.’”

Looking back, Bruns does not blame those who gleefully participate in the cruise ship’s hookup culture. “They’re going to be gone in a month anyway; why not have a good time?” he says. “Believe me, you are a zombie, you’re overworked, you’re exhausted. At least you want to try to have a good time or take some memories with you.”

Who are the biggest partiers at sea?

The shipboard entertainers (dancers, singers, musicians, comedians) often aren’t official crew members. But Bruns points to them, especially the musicians, as the hardest partiers of all those working aboard the ships he’s been on.

“I hung out with a lot of the singers on one ship in particular,” he remembers. “We had a great time, but man, these poor people. And they’re just drunk all the time.”

Cruise ship news flash No. 1: Musicians know how to party. Cruise ship news flash No. 2: Water is wet. (Photo: iStock)

Of course, the story of musicians drinking and hooking up at sea is as old as music and water. But Bruns says it’s especially noticeable on cruise ships.

Related: ‘We Bring the Fun’ and Other Confessions of a Cruise Ship Entertainer

“These guys make no money — they’re like the proverbial starving musician types,” he says. “They’re the only ones that have free time. They work like two to three hours a night doing a show. Because everybody else [in the crew] is working all the time — and they’re like, ‘Well, we don’t have enough money to go into port’ — these guys are bored out of their minds. So these guys drink like fish and they sleep with each other all the time in their own little entertainers’ circle.”

Passenger and crew flings? Forget about it.

Maybe you’re reading this and thinking you might be able to indulge in a little shipboard romance with a crew member on your next trip (hey, those uniforms can be pretty sexy). Sorry to let the wind out of your sails, but forget it. Niver and Bruns — in addition to just about every single cruise crew member, past and present, we’ve talked to — say the same thing: Crew members just don’t hook up with passengers. Mainly because it is so against the rules.

Niver compares the no-fly zone cruise lines place around passengers to her previous job at a Club Med resort, which was a tad more, shall we say, permissive about such matters.

“At a staff meeting, the chief of the lodge looked at the team and said, ‘There’s a lot of single women coming next week and I want them to be happy,’” Niver says. “That is not a conversation we’d have on a cruise ship!”

Says Bruns: “Every single time somebody tells me a story [about passenger-crew romances], I call bulls*** on it.”

Looking to make out with a member of the ship’s crew? Don’t make any bets. (Photo: iStock)

Not that crew members aren’t ever tempted to hook up with passengers. You could meet a cruiser who’s extremely attractive, for instance. Or, as Bruns points out, the appeal of hooking up — and potentially starting a relationship — with an American passenger has benefits beyond the physical, especially for some of the foreign crew members.

“You need to understand, some of these crew members would love to have a green card,” he says. As one of the few Americans on the cruise ships he worked, he remembers some fellow crew members even going after him for the same reason. “Me being the American, I got people knocking on my door offering everything you can imagine because they wanted a green card,” he says. “You’ve got a supermodel chick from a small town in the Czech Republic, a village of 50. She wants out of there and she is smoking-hot. She’ll do whatever it takes. Likewise, these crew members would love a green card, so they’re thinking, ‘Hey, if I can get with an American passenger…’” But despite the many reasons to hook up with passengers, crew members generally agree it’s not worth violating the strict rules cruise lines have that discourage that kind of fraternizing.

WATCH: ‘Saturday Night Live’ Cruise Ship Sketch

“It is forbidden,” says Niver. “Passengers are not allowed in crew areas.” Also, crew members — unless they have a specific, cruise-related reason to be there — generally are banned from passenger cabins.

“If they get caught even talking to a passenger inappropriately, in an inappropriate location, they get fired, no questions asked,” says Bruns. (He adds getting fired from a cruise ship is no picnic: “An officer just points to you and says, ‘You, get off at the next port with your luggage.’ Some cruise lines fly you home from there, some don’t. In fact I was abandoned in Copenhagen once.”)

Think you have what it takes to get these guys to risk their jobs? (Photo: iStock)

In short, crew members generally aren’t going to risk their jobs for a quick romance. “These crew members fight tooth and nail to get these jobs,” says Bruns, noting the small salaries crew members tend to make are often small fortunes back in their home countries. “They will not risk that job, and all that money, just for the very slim chance that ‘I’m going to meet this person for seven days, and I’ll convince her or him to marry me.’ They’re not that stupid.”

“Certainly it’s not never, but it’s at great risk,” says Niver about crew-passenger liaisons. “You have to be like, you don’t care about your job or you’re going to get fired anyways. I can’t say never; I would certainly say it’s rare.”

Related: Ships Have Padded Cells for Problem Passengers and Other Confessions of a Cruise Security Officer

Love: exciting and new

Cruising is hard work, and long days at sea could wear on anybody. So it’s comforting to see that cruise ship crew members know how to have a deserved good time to help them deal with the real pressures of the job.

“One of the best things about working onboard is there are people from all over the world that get to meet all different people,” says Niver. Such people are ideal to party with. If an at-sea fling with a fellow cruise member results, so much the better!

“You’re dating someone from this other country, and you have them for two or three months before they leave their contract and you have to find somebody new,” Bruns says. “On a ship you live so much so fast because you know people are going. You make the connections real hard, real tight, real fast. I still have friends from all over the world. That’s awesome. That’s what ships give you.”

WATCH: The Cruise Ship Robot Bartender Hit On My Wife

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cruise ship crew party

My First Crew Party on Cruise Ship

cruise ship crew party

The crew party is held by crew welfare staff and sometimes it is held in a public/guest are of the ship (which is especially nice because it’s an area that some crew are not usually able to go). It’s hard to believe that I have finished two weeks already and two full cruises.  In reflecting on this it seems as though some things are getting better, and I am starting to connect more with my co workers, and a some people from other parts of the staff.  I still have not found anyone who is like a “partner in crime” but maybe that will come in time…we will just have to see.  However, I want to give an update about a topic I discussed in an earlier blog.  I mentioned before that many of the people from the same cultural group stick together…and while this is still true …I actually saw the exception to this a few night ago at my very first Crew Party.

The crew party is held by crew welfare staff and it is held in a public/guest are of the ship (which is especially nice because it’s an area that some crew are not usually able to go).  This time it was held in one of the poolside bars.  Normally we have to wear our uniforms or business casual attire if we are in guest areas but for the party we were able to where anything we wanted…so there were jeans galore!  There was food, a DJ, and drinks for purchase.  So when I got there it was such a funny scene…it really looked like something out of a high school dance….groups of people just standing around, guys with guys and girls with girls (mostly).  No one was really dancing at that time.  However, as the night progressed a few people started dancing, then more, and more, until there was literally no space to walk because the entire deck was crowded with  people dancing. And like I mentioned before this was the exception to the stick with your own culture rule….because truly everyone was dancing with everyone!

It was also then when the ratio of women to men really became very apparent to me.  For those of you that don’t know…there is a definite shortage of women on cruise ships.  Normally it’s not so obvious, but at the party it truly looked like there was at the very least 4 men to one woman.  Being in the profession that I’m in (teaching) that’s really shocking to me because I am used to being in the majority.  It also made for some interesting dancing because there were large groups of guys just dancing around, and the men were flocking to the women who were dancing like crazy!  However I will say that this party was not anything like some of the horror stories that I had heard of before…but at the same time I have heard that right now this ship is somewhat tame…so I can’t say what happens on other ships or on other cruise lines.

Anyway I actually did dance a few times with a couple of people, on guy from India, and another from the Philippines. The craziest thing is that both seemed to be interested in more than just a friendly dance.  I do understand that these guys are out here with very little interaction with women…but really I’m soooooo not interested in becoming someone’s ship girlfriend or “hooking up” with anyone so their requests for me to come back to their room, or go somewhere after the party were quickly shut down.  Don’t get me wrong…I am very interested in learning about different cultures and making friends…but I have been warned about the dangers of ship relationships, and how deceptive they can be.  Sometimes people are just interested in a physical relationship, they might have people back at home that they don’t tell you about…and a variety of other things that could be going on.

Another thing that was a bit crazy to me is how we all work, live, socialize, and party together.  So, if you are on land and you go to the club…make a spectacle of yourself you might feel bad the next day but you won’t have to face all of those people who were there the night before in the morning, and for many more morning during your 6-10 month contract!  However, here on the ship it can be really awkward because the guy you rejected on the dance floor, is the guy that you have to walk past about 5 time a day!  So anyhow, that was my first crew party…sort of fun and very interesting to say the least.

Ok…something funny just happened while I was sitting here writing this very entry.  A guy came up to me and sat down and started talking to me asked we started chatting and then asked me if I had a boyfriend and such…even asked what my cabin number was.  I am sooo glad I had been forewarned about guys trying to hit on you hear so that I would not be surprised.  I of course did not give it to him because I really don’t know his intentions…but it’s just gotten crazy around her this last cruise with the men sort of coming out of the woodwork.  It’s so ironic because my supervisor (and a few other people on the ship) said that we new sign on would be like “fresh meat” and my roommate warned me that some Pilipino men especially like American women.  So I was totally expecting the men to make lewd comments and things like that…but none did…so I was thinking wow..this is great…no one is bothering me.  However, somehow this past cruise has been so different…At least no one is making crazy, obscene comments or anything like that…so it’s still not as bad as I anticipated.

Well, I should get going I have to be back at work in about an hour.  I am really REALY enjoying these 3.5 hour lunch breaks….but I know when high season comes that will probably change.  However, the hours I work are really good, and the lack of a weekend is ok because every port day actually feels like a weekend in 14 days we have 7 port days and 5 sea days and 2 embark days (where the kids are only in the club for about 2 hours) so really I’m not tired at all.  However I will say that my hours are not that typical of the cruise ship staff…who do get breaks but work more hours than I do.  So that’s the update for now…this is our last sea day so we are heading back to Miami as we speak.  Don’t forget to leave me comment please because I LOVE hearing from you all!

By Shareeah Woods

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Life Onboard

Every day of your life as a team member aboard a Carnival cruise ship will offer new adventures as you enter a world of self-discovery, excitement, and fun.

Accommodations

  • Accommodations Accommodations Recreation Gym Lounge Dining Mail Laundry

Most cabins are double occupancy with bunk beds. However, some positions receive single-occupancy cabins. Clean bed linens and towels are provided. The cabins are air-conditioned and equipped with TV, desk, chairs, electrical sockets, closet space, and drawers.

cruise ship crew party

Carnival provides its team members with opportunities for recreation and fun. Our onboard activities include everything from crew parties, movies, spa or karaoke nights, in-port excursions, crew bingo, and talent shows to sporting events such as ping pong, yoga, dodge ball, basketball, mini-golf, and foosball. Crew activities encourage social bonding and team spirit as well as an opportunity to relax and unwind with fellow employees. In addition to organized activities, team members have access to dedicated crew facilities such as Learning Resource Center, crew gym, a crew-only outdoor space, and more.

cruise ship crew party

Regular exercise is a terrific way to keep fit and reduce stress. It’s vital that we do all we can to remain healthy so we can fulfill our duties with enthusiasm. Each ship has a 24-hour gym available to all crew members free of charge. Carnival Entertainment team members may use the guest gym facilities, including the sauna. We also have a number of crew wellness programs to promote healthy living, including exercise and yoga classes for team members.

cruise ship crew party

After the day is done, you can relax, enjoy a beverage, and socialize with fellow team members in our crew lounge. In the crew lounge, team members may buy soft drinks, snacks, cigarettes, and alcoholic beverages at discounted prices. The crew lounge is a popular venue for watching sporting events; playing games such as pool, foosball, and ping pong; or simply relaxing with fellow team members. The crew lounge is also a venue for karaoke, game nights, and other crew events. For the safety of our guests and crew, team members must adhere to Carnival’s policy regarding responsible alcohol consumption on board at all times.

cruise ship crew party

Crew dining areas are assigned on each ship and serve an international variety of cuisine. To accommodate our team members’ varied shifts, meal times on board are scheduled four times a day: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a midnight buffet. With so many palates to please, the Staff Chef rotates the menus constantly and takes into account the variety of nationalities on board. Our meal selections include several courses and dessert. Along with multiple hot meal options, there is a sandwich station, salad bar, and healthy snack options like fruit and yogurt. All crew-area meals are served buffet style and provided to shipboard team members free of charge. Entertainment team members have the privilege of using the guest dining rooms and specialty restaurants during specified hours.

cruise ship crew party

Mail is delivered every time a ship is in its port of embarkation. Most ports have facilities from which you can mail letters and/or parcels. Crew members may receive packages directly from Amazon or other online sites.

cruise ship crew party

All ships have laundry facilities available for washing, drying, and ironing clothes. Crew laundry machines and detergent are free of charge. Uniforms are laundered for you for free. For safety reasons, ironing is prohibited in crew cabins.

cruise ship crew party

The Crew Hangout

Crew Members Only Cruise Ship Areas

  • Post author: Xuxu
  • Post category: Resources

Cruise ship workers are one of the hardest working people in the travel industry. Working long days, some up to 12 hours with no day off in contracts that can last up to 10 months can seriously take a toll. The companies know that and they have tools in place to make sure the crew is also healthy, both mentally and physically. Most companies provide some sort of activities for the crew members from time to time, as well as facilities where the crew can relax and destress on your hard-earned free time. 

During your free time, you are free to do whatever you want with it but what is there to do onboard a cruise ship when you have some time off?  

 Below are some of the options offered exclusively for  crew members on cruise ships:

Table of Contents

cruise ship crew party

Most cruise ships will have a dedicated crew gym with all the necessary equipment that you might need for your workout. They also have TVs and sound systems. There are some crew events that are held at the crew gym such as Zumba, yoga classes, salsa lessons, and aerobic classes, among others.

The crew gym it’s normally open 24 hours in some ships, and depending on the location of the gym, there might be some restrictions on the hours you can work out because there might be some crew cabins around the gym, and that may disrupt the sleeping of your fellow crew members.

Can I use the Passenger Gym?

Tips job Cruise Ship - Gym Cruise Ship

The cruise ship main passenger gym, which is much better located on a higher floor on the cruise ship with excellent views, is also accessible for the crew members. A downside of the crew gym is that there’s no view whatsoever and working out while enjoying a nice view is a great motivator.  

The problem with the guest’s gym is that it is exclusively for guest use, however, if you are working in the position grants you guest access privileges, you might be able to access the guest gym. The guest’s gym is also open 24 hours and you can use it as long as the gym is not crowded with passengers, which is normally on sea days. Management is always reminding you that  that guests always come first.

Crew Pool Cruise Ship Norwegian Jewel

If you are working on a cruise ship that has a crew pool you are in luck. Not all ships will have a dedicated crew pool. Crew pools are small, very small and the main point being is that the pool is meant for you to get a splash of water and just lay down on a sunbathing chair right in the front of the ship. 

The crew pool is located at the bow of the ship(front) and some cruise ships will have a crew pool and sometimes, a crew bar right next to it,  where you can drink at night under the stars. I have used the crew pool a lot when I had the chance and it’s definitely an asset to have when you are stuck on board, don’t have a lot of time to get to a beach. 

Crew Bar on a Cruise Ship

Crew bar is the social and most visited place onboard a cruise ship. It is the place where the crew goes to unwind and destress. Many events are held on the crew bar and almost every night there’s music at the crew bar. Aspiring DJs can sign up with the Crew Activities Specialist onboard to DJ at the crew bar. They have a monthly calendar of events around the ship and most of it happens at the crew bar. 

In my point of view, the Crew bar is the heart and soul of the cruise ship. The crew bar is where people go to socialize after work hours, to release stress, catch up with friends while enjoying a beer, wine or whatever drink you like.  At the crew bar, you can be yourself and dress the way you want (sort of). The crew go to the crew bar to let some steam off, relax and forget about work for a while. 

Brazilian Party Crew Bar cruise Ship

Also, a cool thing about the crew bar is that you have a chance to meet your friends from different departments, to chat and be yourself, listen to some music, wear your own clothes and just have a good time. Sometimes, people dress to impress and you will definitely notice it since you might be used to see a person only in uniform but when there’s a party at the crew bar, people will put on their best outfit, so make sure to bring one on your luggage.

What to Pack Cruise Ship

Tip: Not sure what to pack for your first contract on a cruise ship? Visit this post , to learn more about it.

Drinks Are Cheap at The Crew Bar

Crew Bar Cruise Ship

Drinks at the crew bar are very inexpensive, and the crew definitely takes advantage of it. You can buy beer for as low as $1, glasses of wine for $0.75. Some cruise ships even have a full-on bar where you can order a nice cocktail, whiskey, margarita, etc. I wasn’t as lucky because, on Norwegian Cruise Line, they only sell wine, beer and sometimes, Smirnoff ice but on Disney, they had a nice full bar. Some crew bars also sell snacks to accompany your drink while chatting with friends

Awesome Parties at the Crew Bar!

Crew Party Crew Bar

The crew bar is a cozy place with many of it having comfy chairs and sofa, some have a jukebox and live DJ where the crew members can sign up to DJ. There’s always something going on at the crew bar. A calendar of events is posted on the main crew areas showcasing all the activities during that month, including special theme nights at the crew bar. If you like to Dj, then this might be a fun hobby when you are off at night, providing entertainment to your fellow crew members.  

The Crew Mess

Cruise Ship Crew Mess Food

Ah, the crew mess. Crew members have a love-hate relationship with the mess, mostly on the hate side. The crew’s main restaurant, the mess is a place where you will eat most of your meals, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. The mess is often divided into food categories, one catering towards Asian foods (most of the crew members are from Asia), a non-Asian food section including foods like pasta, rice, vegetables, pizza, burgers. There’s also a salad bar with a variety of options like lettuce, onions, olives, shaved carrot, tomatoes, etc.

Some crew messes also have a dessert section that, on some occasions, includes fruits but mainly pastries, cakes, and sweets.  

Ice Cream

How are The Meals Served?

cruise ship crew party

The meals are served buffet-style in the crew mess—that’s how they call the crew cafeteria. 

There are specific times for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Some ships also offer a late-night meal. Outside of these times, there will be no food available. You cannot just come later to grab a snack to bring to your cabin or bring the food to your cabin.  If you miss a meal, for example, breakfast, you better have some snacks in your cabin to keep you going on your shift, until the next mealtime. 

Asian Style Food

Western Style Food

Officer Mess

For high ranked officials. Typically with waiter service and a menu to choose from.

Food Republic Norwegian Escape

Your position onboard will dictate what kinds of access you have throughout the ship. If allowed, on your time off you are free to eat at the guest’s restaurants, space permitting. Cruise ships have one, two or more main dining rooms (free), a buffet-style restaurant and some specialty restaurants (paid). 

Special Events Means Special Menu

Chocoholic Buffet Cruise Ship Crew

There are some special events only for crew members and the most popular ones are the ones that involve food and drinks. During some holidays and special dates like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Philippines’ independence, the company provides special meals to the crew. When I was on the Norwegian Spirit, we had a Mexican night with Mexican food like tacos, burritos, queso, and chips, for Mexican independence.

Also, Philippines independency day is a big deal since the majority of the crew is from the philippines. There’s usually ton of food and party at the crew bar, usually featuring  a Philippine band.

There was also a chocoholic buffet where everything was made of chocolate, including a chocolate cruise ship model.

For the most part, the food will be tolerable. After a few months onboard, it will feel like you are seeing the same food over and over, making it very hard to get excited for a meal at the mess, unless it’s a special event like mentioned above. You will be craving home-cooked food and the simplest of the foods you can imagine from back home.

Try the Local Food Whenever possible

A huge plus is that you will also have the chance to eat the local food at the ports of call. Indulge yourself in the delicious pizzas and gelatos in Italy, Tapas, and paellas while in Spain, the fresh and cheap seafood in the islands of the Caribbean or authentic Mexican food while in Cozumel. Go ahead; enjoy all these perks while working on a cruise ship. Make it count!

Pastel de Nata Portugal

Crew Game Room

Some cruise lines will have a dedicated game room that will have some games like PlayStation, Xbox, and Wii. They will also have board games and even books and DVDs that you can check out and take to your cabin. The crew activities team is always updating the book and DVD list, and they will have office hours when you can check out DVDs and books.

Crew Internet Cafe

Cruise Ship Internet Access Crew member

A Crew internet café is offered onboard the ship so the crew can be connected even while at sea. The Internet is not free thought and it cost significantly more than on land without land speeds. Expect to pay approximately $20 for 220 minutes of use ($0.10 a minute). You can connect via Wi-Fi on your personal device or use one of the computers at the internet café. Simply create an account and choose an internet package. Packages vary from $5 to $20 although the price is the same, around $0.10 a minute.

The crew internet cafe also has some computers set up for you to access the internet if you don’t have a personal computer. They also provide access to the company’s exclusive website, where you can browse the latest news from the company via the intranet, find training, events, benefits like cruise discounts or even learn a second language. On NCLs ships, they provide free Rosetta Stone courses for free in English and some other languages like Spanish.  

Tip: give yourself a budget monthly for internet usage as costs can add considerably. I have friends that have spent over $500 a month on internet alone, a not very smart way to use your hard-earned money.

How Can I Stay Connected While Working on a Cruise Ship?

There are many ways you can save money on internet and not have to rely on the cruise ship’s slow internet access. Thee cruise line also sells phone cards if you need to make a phone call while at sea but on port days, you can use your own phone. One easy way is to have a plan from your country that allows roaming internationally. We currently use T-Mobile Simple Choice Plan(US Only) where we can have a data package valid in 160 countries, together with free texts and $0.20 a minute in international calls. All of this for $50 plus taxes a month or $90 for two lines. This plan has been invaluable for us while on the cruise ship and during our travels.

Get a GSM Unlocked Phone

If you don’t live in the US, you should definitely get an unlocked GMS phone. You can purchase a local SIM card in the ports that your ship calls and they are usually much cheaper than paying roaming charges. One such example is in Italy, where you can get a TIM Sim card with 5 GB of internet for $20 Euros.

There are also plenty of internet cafes and crew centers located in the ports of call that caters towards crew members where you can pay for internet usage, buy SIM cards and make phone calls. 

cruise ship crew party

Crew Member Activities

Crew Member Activities Board

There are a ton of activities created especially for the crew members. They even have a dedicated position created onboard to help manage events and cool activities for crew members. The position is called Crew Activities Coordinator . (Future Post coming soon)

Activities are varied but here are some ideas of events coordinated by the Crew Activities Coordinator:

  • Shore Excursions
  • Crew Parties
  • Bike Rentals
  • Movie Nights
  • Theme Dinners
  • Sports Tournaments
  • Crew-Only Sales

Crew Only Excursions

Shore Excursions Cruise Ship Crew

Crew members also get to participate in crew only excursions to awesome places. The excursions offered often are similar to what’s offered to the guests but at a much cheaper price, since the majority of the cost is being subsidized by the company and the tour operators. 

Crew Tour Cruise Ship

  When a crew excursion is available, they will post on the crew activities board (monthly calendar) and a signup sheet will be available. Prices are low but spaces are limited. Very popular excursions tend to get full very quickly, so if you see something you like and have the time off, you should definitely go for it. Some managers will work with you on your schedule if you want to participate, sometimes by swapping schedules with a fellow coworker as well.

Shore Excursions Job Cruise Ship

Tip: If you really want to be an expert in excursions, and by an expert I mean go on as many as you want, then you should definitely consider working as a Shore Excursion Staff.  

Final Words

Working on a cruise ship has its perks. What kind of job would you give a complete package with room, board, food, events, and activities, seeing the world all while getting paid for it? A job on a cruise ship might be just what you are looking for, so if you want some adventure in your life, then go for it, what do you have to lose?

Ten Reasons Why You Should Work on a Cruise Ship

TIP: Not convinced yet? Read 10 Reasons Why You Should Work on a Cruise Ship to learn more.

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  • Main content

Ex-Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Line workers reveal what it's really like to live at sea

  • Cruise ship jobs have a number of distinctive features that separate them from land-based jobs.
  • Business Insider spoke with 39 current and former cruise line employees who described what it's like to live and work on a cruise ship.
  • They described long hours, bad food, and an intense hookup culture.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Insider Today

Cruise ship jobs have a number of distinctive features that separate them from land-based jobs. Perhaps the biggest difference is the fact that cruise ship employees live where they work.

That can have advantages, like short "commutes" and close bonds with co-workers, but it also presents potential downsides, like poor food quality and a sometimes excessive party culture.

Business Insider spoke with 39 current and former cruise line employees who described what it's like to live and work on a cruise ship. (Some of those mentioned in this story requested anonymity due to a fear of reprisal from their current or former employer.)

Here's what they said.

Have you worked on a cruise ship? Do you have a story to share? Email this reporter at  [email protected]

There's a big party culture, but it isn't always as fun as it seems.

cruise ship crew party

Cruise ships have a reputation for fostering a party culture among employees fueled by long hours and cheap drinks available at crew-only bars.

But social drinking can turn into self-medication , according to Brian David Bruns, who worked as a waiter for Carnival Cruise Lines for 13 months between 2003 and 2004 and wrote a book, "Cruise Confidential," about the experience.

Bruns told Business Insider that the stress and loneliness of working on a cruise ship made alcohol an attractive coping mechanism. During his time as a waiter, an outside observer would likely have determined that he developed a drinking problem, Bruns said.

"I'm sure any third party would observe me and say I had a problem," he said. "It can happen very quickly where you go from a social drink to self-medicating because of loneliness."

The food is bad.

cruise ship crew party

Cruise ship workers with lower-paying jobs, like bartenders and waiters, are often at the mercy of the crew cafeteria. There, according to five current or former cruise ship employees, the food leaves much to be desired .

Some described their distaste for the food as a logistical issue. Since many ships employ crew members from around the world, the food served in the crew cafeteria can reflect that variety, making it difficult for some to find food similar to what they would eat at home on a consistent basis. Others described food of poor quality, like chicken with a rubber-like texture or sauteed fish heads.

"The food sucks," a former employee for Norwegian Cruise Line and Holland America Line said.

Workers would keep tuna, granola bars, and other snack foods in their rooms or favor simple foods that require little preparation, like fruit, cereal, and sandwiches, she said.

Not all of the cruise ship employees Business Insider spoke to disliked the food in the crew cafeteria. Two former cruise ship employees said they enjoyed both the quality and variety of the food served to crew members.

You work long hours.

cruise ship crew party

Rather than working traditional five-day weeks, cruise-ship employees often work seven days a week for the duration of their contracts, which can range from about two months to 11 months. Between four and eight months was the most common contract length cited by 31 current and former cruise-ship employees who spoke with Business Insider.

The hours can also be intense, from about eight to nearly 20 hours a day. The employees Business Insider spoke with reported an average of about 12 hours.

A former waiter for Carnival Cruise Line who said he worked about 12 hours a day described his schedule as "crazy" and said it led to fatigue and stress.

"We don't get enough sleep," he said.

Employees have a lot of sex with each other.

cruise ship crew party

Among the many distinctive features of a cruise ship job is the fact that you live with your co-workers. That can result in unusually close bonds among employees and an unusual amount of sex between them.

"There's a lot of sex on cruise ships," said a former casino manager for Holland America Line.

Some compared the hookup culture as being similar to, or even exceeding, that of a college dorm.

But the permissive sexual culture on cruise ships can also lead to aggressive or inappropriate behavior. A former Royal Caribbean Cruises employee said one of her managers would make comments about her sexual orientation and criticize her for never changing her hairstyle.

Royal Caribbean did not respond to a request for comment.

Romantic relationships start and end quickly

cruise ship crew party

Romantic relationships among employees develop and end much faster than on land , which, along with frequent turnover, can make long-term relationships difficult.

"One month on a ship is maybe like two years on land, because you spend so much time with these people," said Taylor Sokol, a former cruise director for Holland America.

But the close proximity between employees can make it difficult to maintain a healthy amount of space from a romantic partner, Sokol said.

"It's kind of hard to give someone their space when you live maybe 10 feet away from them."

Almost all of the passengers are pleasant, but some are annoying

cruise ship crew party

Current and former employees had largely positive things to say about passengers, characterizing the vast majority of them as pleasant and respectful.

But some employees described frustrating tendencies they've noticed in passengers, like being too rowdy, asking annoying questions, and talking too much.

  • How 30,000 meals a day are made on the world's largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas
  • The 10 large cruise ships with the best food
  • The 8 best luxury cruise lines in the world, ranked
  • Ex-Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line workers reveal the things they couldn't live without on board

cruise ship crew party

US News & World Report - Travel

The 9 Best Party Cruises for 2024

T he 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

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.

Book a  Royal Caribbean cruise on GoToSea, a service of U.S. News.

Carnival: Liberty

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.

Find a Carnival cruise on GoToSea.

Virgin Voyages: Scarlet Lady

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.

Explore Virgin Voyages deals on GoToSea.

MSC Cruises: Divina

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.

Compare MSC Cruises on GoToSea.

Norwegian Cruise Line: Breakaway

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.

Book a  Norwegian Cruise Line cruise on GoToSea.

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Celebrity Cruises: Apex

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.

Find a Celebrity Cruises itinerary on GoToSea.

Disney Cruise Line: Disney Wish

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.

Explore Disney Cruise Line deals on GoToSea.

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.

Book a Royal Caribbean cruise on GoToSea.

Azamara: Journey

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.

Compare Azamara cruises on GoToSea.

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.

You might also be interested in:

  • Cruise Packing List
  • The Most Festive Christmas Cruises
  • The Top Gay Cruises
  • The Top Cruise Lines for Solo Travelers
  • The Top 3-Day Cruise Itineraries

Copyright 2024 U.S. News & World Report

View from clifftop over the caldera after sunset, illuminated cruise ship anchored off the volcanic island of Nea Kameni, Fira, Santorini, Greece.

Do cruise ship employees party?

travel-faq

1. Are there specific areas on the ship for employees to party?

2. can cruise ship employees join passenger parties, 3. are there any rules or restrictions regarding employee parties, 4. how do cruise ship employees balance work and partying, 5. what kind of parties or events do cruise ship employees have, 6. how do cruise ship employees socialize with each other, 7. do cruise ship employees party every night, 8. what precautions are taken to ensure employee parties do not disturb passengers, 9. are there any cultural or religious considerations for employee parties, 10. can passengers join employee parties, 11. how are employee parties organized and funded, 12. are there any rules regarding employee behavior during parties, do cruise ship employees party.

Yes, cruise ship employees do party, just like anyone else. Working on a cruise ship can be demanding and stressful, and employees often need to let off steam and relax during their time off. There are various venues and events on board where employees can socialize and enjoy themselves, such as crew bars, parties, and organized activities. However, it’s important to note that cruise ship employees are expected to maintain a professional attitude while on duty and adhere to the ship’s rules and regulations.

Yes, most cruise ships have designated crew areas specifically for employees to relax and unwind during their time off. These areas typically include crew bars, lounges, and recreational facilities. These spaces are designed to create a separate and private environment where employees can socialize without interfering with the passengers’ experience.

In some cases, cruise ship employees may be allowed to attend passenger parties or events, depending on their position and the specific rules of the cruise line. However, this is usually restricted to employees who directly interact with passengers, such as entertainers or dining staff. Most crew members have their own social events and venues to enjoy during their time off.

Yes, cruise ship employees are subject to certain rules and restrictions when it comes to partying on board. They are expected to adhere to the ship’s policies, which often include guidelines on responsible alcohol consumption, curfew hours, and appropriate behavior. Violations of these rules can result in disciplinary action, as cruise lines prioritize the safety and comfort of both employees and passengers.

Maintaining a balance between work and partying is essential for cruise ship employees. They have strict schedules and responsibilities during their working hours, and partying excessively can affect their ability to perform their duties effectively. Most employees are aware of this and understand the importance of moderation and responsible behavior, ensuring they have enough rest and energy for their work shifts.

Cruise ship employees have a variety of parties and events to enjoy during their time off. These can range from themed parties organized by the ship’s crew department to special celebrations for holidays or milestones. Additionally, there are often sports tournaments, talent shows, and performances where employees can showcase their skills and talents. These events provide opportunities for socializing and creating a sense of camaraderie among the crew members.

Cruise ship employees have numerous opportunities to socialize with each other. Besides the organized parties and events, they can relax in crew lounges, make use of the recreational facilities on board, or participate in crew-only activities and clubs. Additionally, employees often form close-knit groups or friendships with colleagues from different departments, creating a supportive network within the ship’s community.

The frequency of parties for cruise ship employees can vary depending on the ship’s itinerary, the schedule of the crew, and the policies of the cruise line. While there may be events or activities available every night, not all employees will participate regularly. Some employees may choose to use their time off to rest or engage in other personal activities, while others may enjoy the social scene more frequently.

Cruise lines take precautions to ensure that employee parties do not disturb passengers. Crew areas are typically located away from passenger areas and are soundproofed to minimize noise transfer. Additionally, rules and guidelines are in place for employees to maintain a respectful distance from passenger areas while socializing. Cruise lines prioritize the comfort and experience of their guests and ensure that crew parties do not interfere with that.

Cruise lines aim to accommodate the cultural and religious needs of their employees. They provide appropriate venues and facilities to celebrate various traditions and holidays, allowing employees to enjoy their own cultural or religious parties or events on board. As cruise ships employ a diverse international crew, fostering inclusivity and respect for different backgrounds is a priority.

Generally, employee parties are meant for the crew members only and are not open to passengers. While some cruise lines may occasionally organize events where passengers can interact with the crew, these are usually separate from employee parties. The primary focus is to provide an enjoyable experience for the passengers while ensuring the crew has dedicated spaces to relax and enjoy their time off.

Employee parties on cruise ships are typically organized and funded by the ship’s crew department or the company itself. The crew department plans and arranges various events and activities to cater to the different interests of the crew members. The funding for these parties comes from the cruise line’s budget allocation for crew welfare and recreation.

Yes, cruise ship employees are expected to adhere to specific behavior guidelines during parties. While the atmosphere may be more relaxed than during work hours, employees are still required to maintain professionalism and respect for their colleagues. Excessive drinking, inappropriate behavior, or any actions that could jeopardize their safety or the safety of others are strictly prohibited. Employees are encouraged to enjoy themselves responsibly and to conduct themselves in a manner that upholds the cruise line’s values and standards.

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25 Things Cruise Ship Employees Keep On The DL About Cruises

Life on a cruise ship is very different for those who work on board year round. It's not just parties and adventures all day long, it's hard work!

Think working on a cruise ship is all cocktails, dance parties, and sun chairs by the sea? Think again. Life on a cruise ship is very different for those who work on board year round. It's not just parties and adventures all day long, it's hard work! If you've ever taken a cruise, you may have noticed how much cruise crews are responsible for.

From the moment they decide to pursue a cruise ship career, tough auditions, boot camps, and major life adjustments are in store. As real cruise employees explain below, choosing to work on cruises means a trade-off between a normal, stable life and a whole lot of sacrifice.

Imagine leaving everything you know (including solid ground) behind and living on a ship for months of your life! According to researchers at  Crew Center , thousands of people choose to do this every year for jobs on cruise lines like Carnival, Princess, and Royal Caribbean. They report that the total number of cruise ship employees worldwide is currently around 223,914.

Don't get us wrong: these employees usually love their jobs. There are positive parts of being stranded at sea for months at a time! For cruise ship singers, dancers, cooks, and hospitality workers, there are plenty of unique cruise ship perks that they exclusively can enjoy - no passengers allowed.

So what's it really like to work on board one of these massive and exciting ships? Here are 25 things you probably didn't know about the lives of cruise ship employees:

25 25. They Don’t Actually Like the Food

Cruise ship food is famously delicious . You might assume that cruise ship workers would consider the food to be the best part of their jobs, but many of them actually grow to dislike the food options on board.

“Imagine eating at your high-school cafeteria three meals a day, seven days a week for a year,” explains one cruise employee to Insider Magazine . This definitely makes sense to us. Even if a meal is great, you probably don't want to see, smell, and eat it every single day for months at a time, and that's the case for many cruise ship workers.

24 24. Their Coworkers Are Incredibly Diverse

As reported in a survey by Medium , most cruise ship staff members tend to share a native language with the passengers (think cruise directors and entertainers). That doesn't mean that if you take an American cruise, all your crew members will be American, however.

“On any given contract, you’re working with about 64 nationalities,” former cruise crew member Kat tells Mental Floss . Medium's results confirm her view that cruise ship employees are incredibly diverse and that this is actually an intentional choice by some cruise lines: "Royal Caribbean, for example, portrays itself as an 'international' brand," Medium reports, explaining why this company chooses to hire people with a wide range of nationalities.

23 24. For Them, Drinks Cost Next to Nothing

Unless you pay for an all-inclusive drinks package when you take a cruise, you'll find yourself shelling out upwards of $10 every time you feel like enjoying a drink by the pool. That's unless you're a cruise ship employee, of course.

Cruise ship employees enjoy their own private bars on deck, where drinks cost much less than they do elsewhere on their ships. As one former cruise employee named Sam explains : "At the passenger bars they were charging like $15 for a drink and we’d go down into the crew bar and you could get a beer or mixed drinks for $1.25."

22 22. But They’re Not Allowed to Drink Too Much

A lot of cruise passengers enjoy kicking back and sipping martinis all day while they enjoy their vacations. For the people on the cruise ship who aren't actually on vacation (also known as the cruise ship employees), this isn't possible. They are strictly monitored to make sure that they never exceed the cruise line's alcohol limits.

They can be subjected to surprise breathalyzer tests just to make sure they are staying professional while they're on the clock. "There was a strict limit on our ship of no more than .04 blood alcohol content at any time," says a former cruise ship employee named Gavin. "but as long as you didn’t make a fool of yourself, you wouldn’t get randomly breathalyzed."

21 21. Cruise Ships Make Up for Them Missing Holidays

Kristen Marie is a YouTuber  who used to work as a singer and dancer on Carnival cruise ships. She has experience as an employee on seven different ships: Carnival Pride, Ecstasy, Imagination, Glory, Paradise, Fantasy, and Freedom. On every one, she says that no matter how far she was from home, the cruise line would try to make things better around the holidays by hosting special events for their workers.

"Our chefs would make us a special meal," she shares. "It made it a little special because...you’re not home for Thanksgiving or Christmas." How sweet! It's like an office Christmas party, but more personal because they literally live with all of their coworkers.

20 20. Their Work Hours Are Extremely Long

According to Insider Magazine , cruise ship workers don’t really get days off – they get hours off. "You're always setting an alarm and you always have to be somewhere," cruise ship rock climbing wall instructor Julian Austin told the magazine.

Other employees agree that the work hours that cruise crews are expected to keep are highly demanding and unlike any other jobs' hours. It's hard to imagine that they don't all get overworked within their first months of employment with these intense schedules.

“On my worst contract, I was working close to 300 hours a month,” shares Kat. “Yeah, you might be in beautiful places, but you’re so tired sometimes you don’t even want to go out and explore.”

19 19. They’re Hired for Their Personalities

It’s not just practical skills that get a cruise ship employee hired. Cruise Ship employment professionals are always looking for people who will be good at carrying conversations with passengers and maintaining a cheerful, upbeat attitude.

"Your job on a cruise ship is not just walking out, singing, and going home. Clearly, you live on board," shares Kristen . "You need to be hospitable, friendly, welcoming, warming, and they like to make you memorable."

She says you don't need an agent, but you do need charisma. Coming to an open-call cruise audition without it is a surefire way to get sent out the door, whether you're applying to be a singer, dancer, server, or otherwise.

18 18. They Like to Prank Passengers

Just like how the food gets a little boring to workers who are on the ship every single day for months, the activities on the ship can also get a bit humdrum and monotonous. How do the most adventurous and daring crew members pass the time? According to some: pranks.

"A favorite was while in a passenger area say to another crew member, loud enough to be heard by passengers, 'Meet you in the bowling alley tonight!' Of course, there wasn’t actually a bowling alley on board," shares one former cruise employee. "Then we'd wait for the comment cards to come in: 'Why do crew get a bowling alley when we don't?'"

17 17. They Go Through an Intense Training Bootcamp

Before setting foot on the cruise ship itself, singers, dancers, and musicians have to undergo weeks of intensive training on land. That’s when they learn the songs and choreography they’ll be performing. According to Kristen , Carnival Cruise workers work from 9 to 5, with no cell phones for 6 days a week for an entire month before they’re ready to start actually doing their jobs. They’re even housed in one main apartment complex so they can get used to working in close quarters.

Even though every person hired into these positions already has years of training and experience, there’s nothing like working on a cruise ship! It takes specialized, intense practice to prepare for dancing around on rocky seas.

16 16. There’s Lots of ‘High School Drama’ On Board

It doesn't come as a surprise that when you put a bunch of young people in a tight social bubble, have them work long hours without much sleep, some of them are going to butt heads. While some fantastic, lasting friendships are made between people who work on cruise ships together, there is also a good amount of drama between crew members on board who can't separate themselves from the group and find a moment alone.

"That is the difficult part about it, separation," explains Julian Austin . "You're constantly mixed with work and personal life, and it all gets intertwined... there were only 1,200 crew members and I think my high school was three times that."

15 15. Their Room and Board Are Completely Covered

Have you ever wondered what it costs financially for crew members to live on board? They have room and board completely covered, and they just make a paycheck on top of that.

According to  CruiseJobFinder.com , a lot of employees find that the money from these paychecks easily adds up. This is because they don't need to spend it on the typical adult expenses of rent, food, or healthcare.

"Many people who work on cruise ships save most of the money they earn because they have so few expenses," the website reports. "Most cruise companies also offer medical and dental insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, travel benefits for you and your family, and vacation time."

14 14. They Call Home Only on ‘Port Days’

Just like passengers, cruise ship workers only have very expensive, very slow Wi-Fi and no cell phone service while they’re aboard a ship. Unlike passengers, this doesn’t just prevent them from sharing their pictures as instantly as they might like to. It also prevents them from being able to contact their families or check their emails/social media accounts for days at a time.

This contributes to the feelings of isolation that many cruise employees experience. If you see your favorite cruise ship crew member talking on the phone or video chatting while off the ship at a port of call, resist the temptation to go say hi! This is the precious time that they need for staying in touch with their families.

13 13. They’re Not All Allowed to Visit Port Cities

Even though port days are crucially important for keeping in touch with their families, friends, and lives at home, not every performer gets to actually leave the ship at every port. Maritime Law states that a certain number of employees must be on board manning the cruise ships at all times.

For Carnival , crew members rotate this duty. One day the performers will leave the ship, kitchen staff the next day, hotel staff the next day, and so on. The rest have their port passes confiscated so they can’t set foot off the ship! If you don’t see your fave performer enjoying the sandy shores of your port stop, now you know why.

12 12. Some Parts of the Ship Are Off Limits

Even though they work there, cruise ship employees don’t get to go wherever they want. Kristen Marie says that despite working on 7 different cruise ships for years, she never got to set foot in certain areas of the ship.

One that she mentions is the boiler room, which to be honest, we wouldn't be interested in visiting anyway, but it is strange that even a trusted employee can't walk around freely in their own workplace. This is especially true when you consider that their workplace is also their home. Who else can't walk around freely and explore their own home? Rough.

11 11. They Get Their Own Themed Parties

It’s not just the passengers having all the fun. Performers, kitchen staff, administrative staff, and hospitality workers all get to come together at exclusive parties and events while the guests are asleep in their beds or doing their own thing. Cruise crews have their own entire social events calendars of fun activities that the ship’s staff plans for them to enjoy while on board.

If you're someone who enjoys cruises, you'll already know that partying on a cruise ship is no joke. The cruise lines go all out when it comes to decorations, activities, music, and more, all which fit with the particular party theme. Employees are lucky enough to enjoy their very own versions of these world-class events.

10 10. A Lot of Their Paycheck is Based on Your Feedback

Passengers have a lot of influence over how much cruise ship employees get paid. You know the comment cards at the end of your cruise? These are a way for you to review your experience and share your opinions about the staff - which, if positive, translate directly into salaries and bonuses for workers.

"For most people, their salaries are quite low and they rely on those bonuses," Kat says . So if you leave a bad review, you can be sure that the employee you mention within it will feel the impact on their paycheck. "The very best thing you can do for a crew member is to write a glowing review, mentioning them specifically on your comment card."

9 9. They Can Win Big Prizes from the Cruise Line

When your cruise ship has a staff of 1200 people, and each of those people pitch in a few dollars on crew-only bingo night, you could find yourself raking in thousands of dollars in cash in just one night.

According to Kristen Marie , Carnival also donates big prizes like phones, ipads, cameras, and more to crew-only events like these. Salaries aside, working on a cruise ship can get you some great free gear if luck is on your side.

8 8. They Can Get Kicked Off at Random Ports

In typical jobs, getting fired is always uncomfortable and awkward. If it ever happens to you, just be grateful that your job takes place on land. The most your boss can do is take away your future paychecks and wave you out the door. On cruise ships, firing has a much more dramatic conclusion.

Cruise Lines take rules about their employees conduct very seriously, according to RydeAway . When a crew member breaks the rules, they can be fired and kicked off the ship at the next port of call. This means that an American crew member can easily find themselves out of a room and a job and completely alone in a foreign country like Norway or Belize.

7 7. They Have a Morgue On Board

"We definitely had a morgue on board," one former ship employee told Mental Floss . "Because the line was for older demographics, we had people die on the ship pretty regularly."

According to Cruise Critic , deaths on cruise ships are definitely a regular occurrence. Roughly 200 people die on cruise ships every year, so it makes sense that cruise lines have built special rooms to meet the need that arises from having deceased passengers on board. Most ships have morgues that can hold up to five or six bodies at a time to keep them safe until the ship reaches shore.

6 6. They Don’t Get Seasick

Have you ever heard of the expression "get your sea legs"? According to Marine Insight magazine, this expression "refers to getting acclimatized to a newer surrounding, specifically on the water." When you don't have your so-called sea legs, it's easy to get seasick on a cruise ship. Since the crew has so much experience on board, they overcome seasickness over time.

"You definitely notice it when you first get on board, that first night you're in your bed and you're rocking," says Julian Austin. "It's something to get used to. There are days when you feel off, your equilibrium is just off, but it could be from the night you partied before."

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    80s Night Celebrity Cruises Celebrity Cruises doesn't seem to have one main signature theme party, instead, they seem to have a number of experiences or events specially tailored to certain venues on specific ships. Across the board, some of the theme nights you're likely to experience include: A 60s party, a Motown party,

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    If you're short on time, cash or both, Margaritaville at Sea — which operates just one ship, Margaritaville at Sea Paradise — is the ideal party cruise ship line. Each sailing is just two nights, and the ship runs back and forth between the Port of Palm Beach in Florida and Freeport in the Bahamas.

  6. Places On A Carnival Cruise Ship For Crew Members Only

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  9. The Ultimate Guide To Cruise Ship Theme Parties

    Cruise ship theme parties are special events or nights organized onboard a cruise ship that revolve around a specific theme. These parties are a fun and exciting way to enhance your cruise experience and add some flair to your journey.

  10. Confessions of Cruise Ship Insiders: Secret Parties, Crew Bars ...

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    Every day of your life as a team member aboard a Carnival cruise ship will offer new adventures as you enter a world of self-discovery, excitement, and fun. Accommodations; ... Our onboard activities include everything from crew parties, movies, spa or karaoke nights, in-port excursions, crew bingo, and talent shows to sporting events such as ...

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    While onboard Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas for a seven month contract, TikTok user @cruisingwithkay, whose real name is Kailey but goes by Kookie, posted videos showing what ship life is like for crew, as well as some of her day-to-day responsibilities as Youth Staff. To date, she has amassed over 128,000 followers and 600,000 likes ...

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  15. Crew Members Only Cruise Ship Areas

    Xuxu Resources Cruise ship workers are one of the hardest working people in the travel industry. Working long days, some up to 12 hours with no day off in contracts that can last up to 10 months can seriously take a toll. The companies know that and they have tools in place to make sure the crew is also healthy, both mentally and physically.

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    Updated Cruise ship jobs and land-based jobs have a number of differences. NAN728/Shutterstock Cruise ship jobs have a number of distinctive features that separate them from land-based...

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    r/Cruise • by redrocketinn View community ranking In the Top 1% of largest communities on Reddit Crew party mayhem So this was my first cruise contract ever. All things considered it's definitely been an unforgettable one. My cruise ship was involved with the Aus wildfires, a tropical storm, a volcano eruption, and now covid.

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    Travel the world on a cruise ship and also earn money. You'll discover endless thrills for every kind of adventurer onboard any cruise shipsVisit: https://ww...

  19. 6 Best Party Cruises: Top Cruise Ships for Partying

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  21. Cruising As Crew

    Welcome to my channel where we will discuss all things cruising. I have been working onboard cruise ships for the past four years and am currently working for Virgin Voyages on The Scarlet Lady.

  22. Do cruise ship employees party?

    1. Are there specific areas on the ship for employees to party? Yes, most cruise ships have designated crew areas specifically for employees to relax and unwind during their time off. These areas typically include crew bars, lounges, and recreational facilities.

  23. 25 Things Cruise Ship Employees Keep On The DL About Cruises

    24 24. Their Coworkers Are Incredibly Diverse. As reported in a survey by Medium, most cruise ship staff members tend to share a native language with the passengers (think cruise directors and entertainers).That doesn't mean that if you take an American cruise, all your crew members will be American, however.

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