If a cruise ship party to you means an endless waterfall of alcohol imbibed in, say, a pizza-patterned onesie while pillow fighting among new pals set to 24 hours of bass-thumping music, then pray you make it onto the waiting list for the annual at-sea party of a lifetime known as Holy Ship. If you're looking for a more casual party atmosphere to go with your cruise, there are plenty of fun, once-per-cruise deck parties for young and old alike. From an elegant white party and a new-age glow party to parties that span the decades, we round up the craziest cruise ship parties at sea so you know how to find them -- or avoid them.
1. Norwegian Cruise Line's Glow Party
Formerly Norwegian's wildly popular White Hot Party, H2GLOW is a reimagined white party with funky neon touches. Adults-only sun deck SpiceH2O hosts the party, transforming into a nightclub (open to all), complete with red carpet and set aglow with neon face painting, bracelets and costumed crew members. The atmosphere is, well, illuminating, with mesmerizing visuals projected on a big screen as the DJ spins tunes late into the night.
2. Celebrity Cruises' Indulgence
Pop-up performances like acrobats on rings surround you as you sip on specialty drinks and dishes crafted just for the event. Held behind thick red curtains in Cellar Masters, Indulgence is billed as "the Great Gatsby meets Moulin Rouge." For $39, access an open bar and munchies while performers in masks and animal heads swirl around you. It's all a bit bizarre, but why not? While this quirky performance-art-meets-cocktail party is an intriguing prospect for evening entertainment, it's currently only available on Celebrity Summit.
3. Princess Cruises' Love Boat Disco Deck Party
More than just a '70s theme party, the Love Boat Disco Deck Party harkens back to the TV show's heyday. In honor of the line's 50th anniversary, Princess pays tribute to the influence the TV program has had on the cruise line's history with a video message from the original cast, a "Love Boat" sing-along, trivia, '70s music videos and even a live kiss cam. In the midst of dancing to a live band, stop to watch a special Love Boat-themed production number, or pose for a photo op with a "Love Boat" life ring.
4. Royal Caribbean's Prohibition Party
Royal is known for over-the-top entertainment and activities, but its Prohibition Party is a secret. (A lapel pin and code get you into the event.) Available on Oasis-class ships on every fifth night in the Jazz on 4 lounge, this soiree will help you step back into the 1920s in speakeasy style, complete with a live jazz band and handcrafted cocktails inspired by the era. Plus, the line promises "a few surprises" throughout the night. (Expect some comedic touches thrown in to the evening's entertainment.) This party is for adults 21 and older, and it's only available through a $35 reservation. A selection of drinks and appetizers is included in the price.
5. Disney Cruise Line's Pirates of the Caribbean Deck Party
As one would expect from Disney, the themed evening known as Pirate Night consists of more than just eye patches and skull flags. Begin your evening with a pirate-themed dinner in the main dining room; waiters dressed in swashbuckling attire serve up themed dinner options from a treasure map menu. A bandana is also provided to kick off the p"arrr"ty. After chowing down, swab the deck with your dancing shoes as the buccaneer bash heats up with character appearances and ends in a dazzling fireworks display.
6. Azamara Club Cruises' White Night Party
An elegant take on a traditional white party, Azamara's White Nights has a fiercely loyal following. Once per cruise, the pool deck is transformed with pure white banners and balloons; the crowd is expected to add to the whitewash with their ensembles. Despite a demographic skewed toward mature cruisers, the event in blanc elicits boogying down from passengers who otherwise tend not to fill the nightclub.