1. Home
  2. Planning
  3. Cruise Policies and Inside Info
  4. 6 Craziest Cruise Ship Parties
Glow Party on Norwegian Escape (Photo: Cruise Critic)

6 Craziest Cruise Ship Parties

If a cruise ship party to you means an endless waterfall of alcohol imbibed in 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 Cuban fiesta 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.

Updated November 8, 2018

1. Norwegian Cruise Line's Glow Party

Norwegian Cruise Line's Glow Party (Photo: Cruise Critic)

A longtime favorite of Norwegian Cruise Line passengers, the White Hot Party (known as H2GLOW on the line's newer ships) is an epic affair where passengers don white and dance the night away with glow sticks in hand. The main pool deck hosts the party on most ships, while the line's newest ships transform the adults-only sun deck SpiceH2O into a nightclub (open to all), complete with red carpet and set aglow with neon face painting, bracelets and costumed crew members. Wherever you're partying, the atmosphere is illuminating, with mesmerizing visuals projected on a big screen as the DJ spins tunes late into the night.

2. Carnival Cruise Line's Amor Cubano After Party

Amor Cubano on Carnival (Photo: Carnival)

The closest thing to a night out in Havana, Cuba, can be found on Carnival's newest ships, Vista and Horizon. Following the second showing of "Amor Cubano: A Caribbean Dance Romance," a Playlist Productions show, the performers make their way to the Havana Bar, joining passengers on the dance floor while a live band spices up the scene with Cuban tunes. Couple that with mouthwatering mojitos, and you've got yourself the ultimate after-party. Note: Carnival Glory and Paradise also offer Amor Cubano, though the party is held in the atrium as the ships do not have the Havana Bar.

3. Princess Cruises' Love Boat Disco Deck Party

Love Boat Cast on Princess (Photo: Princess Cruise Line)

More than just a '70s theme party, the Love Boat Disco Deck Party harkens back to the TV show's heyday. 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

Prohibition Party on Allure of the Seas (Photo by Cruise Critic Member: cschelnick)

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 once per cruise, only on Allure and Oasis of the Seas, in the Jazz on 4 lounge, this soiree will take you back to 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 costs $35; reservations are required. A selection of drinks and appetizers is included in the price.

5. Disney Cruise Line's Pirates of the Caribbean Deck Party

Disney Cruise Line's Pirates of the Caribbean Deck Party (Photo: Disney)

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

Azamara Club Cruises' White Night Party (Photo: Cruise Critic)

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.

Find a Cruise

Popular on Cruise Critic

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.
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.
How To Choose a Cruise Ship Cabin: What You Need to Know
Your room on a cruise ship is called a cabin (or stateroom) and is akin to a hotel room, but typically much smaller. Choosing a cruise ship cabin can be fun and challenging at the same time, and not just a little bit frustrating on occasion. Cabins fall into different types or "categories," and some cruise lines will present as many as 20 or more categories per ship. Before you get overwhelmed, it's helpful to remember that there are essentially only four types of cabins on any cruise vessel: Inside: the smallest-sized room, with no window to the outside Outside: a room with a window or porthole (a round window) with a view to the outside, often similarly sized to an inside cabin or a bit larger; also known as oceanview Balcony: a room featuring a verandah that allows you to step outside without going up to a public deck Suite: a larger cabin, often with separate living and sleeping areas, and a wide variety of extra amenities and perks It's the permutations (size, view, location, amenities and price, for example) of the four basic cabin types that can make choosing difficult. In addition to knowing your cabin options, you need to know yourself: Do you tend to get seasick? Do you prefer to nest peaceably on your balcony rather than hanging with the crowd around the pool area? Conversely, is your idea of a stateroom simply a place to flop into bed at 1 a.m. -- no fancy notions necessary? Are there certain amenities you are willing to splurge on, or can you simply not justify paying for unnecessary perks? The answers will help guide you toward selecting the best stateroom for your money. If you're feeling overwhelmed by choice, we'll help you get started with this guide to choosing the best cruise cabins for you and your travel party.