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Cruise Playlist: 10 Best Cruise Songs

Chris Gray Faust
Executive Editor, U.S.

10 Best Cruise Songs

There are some songs that automatically get you in the mood to cruise. Whether they are musical odes to the Caribbean, such as the Beach Boys' "Kokomo," or simply songs that make you want to get up and dance like Pharrell's "Happy," these tunes have a few things in common: they evoke the fun times that you've had onboard, and get you excited to sail again. (That, and these catchy earworms are almost impossible to get out of your head once they get in there.)

To be honest, our list of music that gets us in a seaside kind of mood is endless. We could list the entire reggae genre, for example, or every single line dance from the "Electric Slide" to the "Wobble" (personally, we also love cheesy mariner-style music like "Brandy" and even have some old-fashioned sea shanties stored on our phone). We're sure that you have your go-to songs as well.

Here are our favorite cruise ship songs to add to your nautical playlist.

1. "Come Sail Away" by Styx

In our minds, this song has everything: a gentle ballad-style opener, tinkling piano, a crescendo that builds to a bombastic chorus. Styx is the epitome of '70s "prog rock" -- music that's so bad, it's awesome -- and this song gets us in the mood to cruise every time.

2. "Hot, Hot, Hot" by Buster Poindexter

Even if you've heard it a hundred times, the ultimate conga line song always gets the crowd going. You'll get up and dance too, even if you groan as you hear it.

3. "Freedom" by Pitbull

Mr. Worldwide has a connection to the cruise world beyond the fact that his catchy songs are sailaway staples: He's the godfather of Miami-based Norwegian Escape.

4. "Orinoco Flow" by Enya

Ok, this '90s New Age staple is more likely to evoke the Zen feelings of the ship spa than the time-to-party vibes on the Lido Deck (that's fine; you have your cruise tradition and we have ours). When we think about relaxing on our balcony, this is the song we hear.

5. "Beyond the Sea" by Bobby Darin

Remember when cruising had a sophisticated edge? Formal wear, dancing cheek to cheek, romantic table for two on your balcony or in a specialty restaurant… this Rat Pack-era classic helps you relive those memories.

Listening to music on Phone

6. "Knee Deep" by Zac Brown

For us, the beach is an essential part of a Caribbean cruise and this Southern alt-country tune brings us right back to sunny skies and deep blue water: lounge chair required, beer optional.

7. "Southern Cross" by Crosby, Stills & Nash

Another reason we cruise is to explore exotic places that have long been on our bucket list. This '70s classic might be a metaphor for an aging musician's divorce, but for us and other cruisers it's a call to sail the seven seas and look up into the starry night sky.

8. "(Day-O) The Banana Boat Song" by Harry Belafonte

Calypso music entered American consciousness in the 1950s with this classic song drawing from Jamaican roots. It's bouncy and buoyant, the perfect musical side order to your first onboard daiquiri.

9. "Under the Sea" by Samuel E. Wright

It's catchy, it's cute and it's played in cruise ship kids' clubs everywhere. Still, the penultimate "Little Mermaid" song does tap into your inner child -- and will put a smile on your face when you hear it.

10. Anything by Jimmy Buffett

It's not just that Margaritaville restaurants are now a part of several Norwegian cruise ships ... or that the chance someone on a ship will hand you a drink and tell you it's "5 o'clock somewhere" is about 80 percent. It's that you really do know the songs by heart, and once you're on vacation, you can belt out the tune without inhibition.

Updated September 21, 2017

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