1. Home
  2. Planning
  3. Best Cruises
  4. 5 Best Cruise Lines for NFL Football
Best spots to catch the big game on your cruise. (Photo: Marquisphoto/Shuterstock)
Best spots to catch the big game on your cruise. (Photo: Marquisphoto/Shuterstock)

5 Best Cruise Lines for NFL Football

Fall is a great time to cruise, with lower fares and fewer crowds -- but if you're a football fan, will you miss key NFL games if you're sailing?

Never fear: a number of cruise lines broadcast games onboard. But if you're a superfan, know that only a few bring the fandom and game-day culture to life with activities like tailgate parties and fantasy football competitions. (Expect more elaborate celebrations during the Super Bowl.) Some lines even up the ante with sports team partnerships. For example, Norwegian Cruise Line offers perks such as $50 spending credit with a Miami Dolphins promo code, while Carnival -- the official cruise line of the Houston Texans and New Orleans Saints -- occasionally hosts special events with players onboard its ships.

If you want to support your home team, keep up with your fantasy league or simply soak up the game-day energy, here are the five best cruise lines for NFL football.

Updated August 8, 2018

Princess Cruises

Outdoor movie screen overlooking pool on a cruise ship at night

Ships: Fleetwide, except for Diamond Princess, Majestic Princess, Sea Princess and Sun Princess.

Where: Games are shown on the Movies Under the Stars outdoor movie screen.

Game-Day Activities: Select Princess ships feature "Game of the Week" tailgate parties, where fans can enjoy foods like pizza, burgers and hot dogs, as well as beer buckets and team-inspired drink specials.

NFL Games: The line broadcasts nearly 100 games -- including Thursday, Sunday and Monday night -- as well as wildcard and division playoffs, conference championships and the Super Bowl.


Disney Cruise Line

Bar with TVs and tables

Ships: Fleetwide

Where: Games are broadcast via Funnel Vision, the outdoor movie screen on all four ships, as well as the sports bar on each ship (Pub 687 on Disney Dream, Crown & Fin Pub on Disney Wonder and O'Gills Pub on Disney Fantasy and Disney Magic). You can also catch the games in the Promenade Lounge on Disney Magic and Disney Wonder.

Game-Day Activities: Depending on the ship and itinerary, Disney offers two NFL-themed activities: ESPN Dream Team Draft Day, an interactive fantasy football draft, and Partner Playoff, sports trivia with a Disney twist.

NFL Games: The line shows all Thursday-, Sunday- and Monday-night games, plus wildcard and division playoffs, conference championships and the Super Bowl.


Royal Caribbean International

Outdoor movie screen by the pool

Ships: Fleetwide, except for Quantum of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas. (Vision of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas and Jewel of the Seas will begin broadcasting the games in early November; Rhapsody of the Seas will begin in early December; Ovation of the Seas will stream only the Super Bowl.)

Where: Games are broadcast on the outdoor movie screens, at the sports bar and on cabin TVs. Symphony of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas and Independence of the Seas will broadcast cames in the Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade.

Game-Day Activities: During games, fans can participate in fun activities that are tailored to each ship and itinerary. On special games like Thanksgiving Day, expect to see football-themed decorations, food and drink specials, football trivia, crew members dressed in team jerseys and more.

NFL Games: Royal Caribbean shows 13 Thursday-night games, 34 Sunday-afternoon games and two Thanksgiving games as well as two wildcard playoffs, two divisional playoffs, one conference championship and the Super Bowl.


Find a Cruise
Email me when prices drop

Norwegian Cruise Line

Big TV screen inside atrium of cruise ship with people sitting down on chairs

Ships: Fleetwide (Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Star will begin broadcasting the games in early November.)

Where: Games are broadcast on the atrium screens and at various bars and lounges.

Game-Day Activities: O'Sheehan's Bar & Grill and The Local on Norwegian Bliss serve up game day-inspired snacks like chips and salsa, popcorn and chicken wings.

NFL Games: Norwegian offers Monday-night games, Thursday-night games, Sunday-afternoon games and two Thanksgiving games, as well as wildcard and division playoffs, conference championships, the AFC-NFC Pro bowl and the Super Bowl. Pride of America will broadcast a slightly different schedule than the other ships.


Carnival Cruise Line

Sports bar with TV screens and red chairs

Ships: Fleetwide, with the exception of Carnival's Australia-based ships.

Where: Games are broadcast at the Sports Bar and other various bars and lounges.

Game-Day Activities: Carnival offers beer bucket specials and traditional game-day foods such as hot pretzels.

NFL Games: Carnival shows Sunday- and Monday-night games, as well as playoffs and the Super Bowl.


Popular on Cruise Critic

What to Pack for a Cruise: A Beginner's Guide
There once was a not-so-savvy seafarer who didn't feel right unless she took two steamer trunks crammed with outfits on every cruise. This, she learned, was not a good idea. Besides incurring the wrath of her male traveling companion, who pointed out that he would have to wrestle with excess baggage through airport terminals and beyond, she quickly tired of cramming her belongings into tiny closets. The now savvy seafarer follows this packing rule: Thou shalt put into one's suitcase only that which will fit neatly in the allocated cabin storage space. Following that advice is getting easier because, for the most part, cruising has become a more casual vacation with relaxed dress codes. Plus, with airlines charging to check bags, it's just plain economical to pack light. To do so, you need to have a good sense of what you’re going to wear on a cruise so you don't pack your entire closet. If you're wondering what to bring on your next cruise, here are our guidelines for what you'll need to pack.
Booking a Cruise Onboard: How to Score Extras and Discounts
If you're like us -- hesitant to miss out on even a minute of precious cruise vacation fun -- you've inevitably breezed past your cruise ship's onboard sales office, ignoring the colorful brochures and promises of booking incentives. The thing is, if you're going to go on another cruise someday -- and, face it, we all know you are! -- you really do want to check in at the sales desk to see the kinds of deals featured. That's because your cruise line is likely to be offering onboard credit, reduced deposits or an attractive discount when you book a future cruise onboard your current sailing. Many also let you change your cruise dates or ship or even cancel by a certain date with no penalty or fees. In most cases, you have nothing to lose if your travel plans change and everything to gain if you're going to take another cruise with that line. Here's a look at some of the key benefits the major lines offer when you book a future cruise while aboard a sailing on their ships.
13 Cruise Fees That Might Take You By Surprise
Like any vacation, cruising can come with good and bad surprises. Finding out your favorite specialty restaurant is bargain-priced for lunch or that spa treatments are discounted on port days might make you feel like you've discovered buried treasure. On the flipside, realizing you have to pay a $15 corkage fee to drink the wine you brought onboard or that the room service you ordered is saddled with a surcharge can be a real letdown. Despite the "all inclusive" lingo commonly used to describe cruises, all lines have "hidden" cruise fees. Additionally, each cruise line has its own policy when it comes to tipping, room service and more. Ordering bacon and eggs from your cabin might be free on one cruise line, but cost you on another. If you're under the impression something is included, having to pay can put a damper on your worry-free vacation mood and potentially leave your budget in a bind. So how do you prepare for fees that aren't as obvious? Here are 13 cruise fees that might take you by surprise.
8 Best Luxury Cruise Ships
The moment you step aboard a luxury cruise ship, a hostess is at your arm proffering a glass of bubbly while a capable room steward offers to heft your carry-on as he escorts you to what will be your home-away-from-home for the next few days. You stow your things (likely in a walk-in closet) and then emerge from your suite to get the lay of the ship. As you walk the decks, friendly crew members greet you ... by name. How can that be? You just set foot onboard! First-class, personalized service is just one of the hallmarks of luxury cruise lines. You can also expect exotic itineraries, varying degrees of inclusivity in pricing, fine wines and gourmet cuisine as well as universally high crew-to-passenger ratios. That being the case, you might think any old luxury cruise ship will do, but that's not quite true. Like people, cruise ships have their own unique personalities -- and some will be more suited to your vacation style than others. Lines like SeaDream might not offer the most spacious suites, but their intimate yachts can stealthily visit ports that large ships can't manage. Regent Seven Seas and Oceania Cruises are owned by the same parent company but Regent offers a completely inclusive vacation experience, while Oceania draws travelers with a more independent streak. Take a look at Cruise Critic's list of best luxury cruise lines and ships to see which one resonates with you.
6 Cruise Ship Cabins to Avoid
You might expect loud noises, close quarters and crazy maneuvers in the dance club onboard your cruise ship -- but not in your cabin. Even if you don't plan to spend much time there, it should be a restful and private place so you can maintain that much-needed vacation stamina. To help you do so, we've compiled a list of cabins you'll want to avoid booking if closet-like dimensions or scraping chair sounds overhead aren't appealing to you. Heed our advice, and you might be feeling a bit less claustrophobic and a tad more refreshed come disembarkation.
Secrets the Cruise Lines Don't Tell You
Cruise ship life can be a little mysterious. Your choices aren't always spelled out in black and white. The more you cruise, the more you pick up on the unofficial secrets the cruise lines don't tell you -- which give you more options, let you save money and generally allow you to have a better time onboard. Maybe it's knowing what your cabin steward is able to bring you or what the off-the-menu items are at the bar or dining room. Or perhaps it's a tip to getting a good deal on an onboard purchase. But why wait to figure these things out the hard way -- possibly after you've missed your chance? We trawled through all the great advice on Cruise Critic's Message Boards to bring you some of the worst-kept cruise secrets ... at least among our readers who love to share. But whether you're a first-time cruiser or an old sea dog, you might find there's something here you didn't already know.