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6 Best Party Cruises: Top Cruise Ships for Partying on the High Seas

Marissa Wright

Last updated
Mar 20, 2023

Read time
4 min read

For a growing number of people, long weekends are a great excuse to leave their troubles behind at the shore and enjoy the ultimate party weekend onboard the best cruise ships.

Not only do short cruises leaving from U.S. ports tend to be budget-friendly, but they also generally appeal to millennials and anyone looking for an easy way to escape the grind and let loose while still getting back to work Monday (or maybe Tuesday).

We researched three- and four-night cruises leaving from U.S. ports in Florida, Texas and California with top-rated cruise lines to come up with this list of the best party cruise ships. These cruises are so good you'll probably come up with a few creative excuses for playing hooky from work by the time you've finished reading this article.

1. Virgin Voyages' Scarlet Lady: Adults-Only Everything, High-Profile Artists and Drag Brunches

The quintessential cool party cruise, adults-only sailings on Virgin's Scarlet Lady promise legendary musical entertainment. High-profile artists like Mark Ronson and Diplo started to join some of the voyages starting in 2020, which include stops at Virgin's private island resort, Bimini.

There's an onboard tattoo studio, drag queen brunch and "Scarlet Night," which is billed as the "party to end all parties" (bring your red attire).

Signature drinks on Virgin Voyages' Scarlet Lady: Try the Yasss Queen (a Champagne cocktail with citrus bitters, hibiscus and ginger) or the Rizzle Dizzle CBD (a cocktail with gin, elderflower and black pepper).

2. Norwegian Breakaway: A Comedy Club, Ice Bar and White Hot Parties

Featuring a 17-degree Fahrenheit ice bar, Norwegian Breakaway features some of the coolest drinking establishments at sea. Other fun spaces include Syd Norman's Pour House (including live rock band performances), Headliners Comedy Club and Bliss Ultra Lounge, with a spacious, glassy dance floor just begging for you to showcase your best moves.

Don your best white duds, grab a light stick and head to the ship's legendary adults-only White Hot Party known as H2Glow at Spice H2O, a space just for grown-ups both day and night.

Signature drink on Norwegian Breakaway: The Rebellious Fish: passion fruit liqueur, orange vodka, orange liqueur, orange juice and sparkling wine garnished with fresh berries.

3. Margaritaville at Sea Paradise: Late-Night Bars, Famous Musical Acts and Tropical Drinks Galore

Margaritaville at Sea Paradise, previously known as Grand Classica, offers two-night Bahamas itineraries throughout the week, year-round -- the perfect weekend getaway.

These cruises tend to appeal to travelers who are 20- and 30-somethings and Florida locals. Take a long weekend and extend your stay with an all-inclusive package at a resort (including unlimited food, drinks and resort activities) for a mid-cruise land-based stay.

The ship offers a half-dozen bars that stay open until the wee hours, slinging tropical drinks like specialty mojitos, plus nightclubs that start the party early (starting at 6 p.m.) with dance-friendly tunes.

The line is also known for booking big musical acts throughout the year, such as the Marshall Tucker Band, KT Tunstall and Tito Puente Jr. Be sure to check the entertainment schedule in advance.

Signature drinks on Margaritaville at Sea Paradise: The Encore, a vodka-based cocktail with lime juice, basil, ginger and cucumber; acai caipirinhas; and lychee martinis.

4. Carnival Miracle: Adults-Only Sun Deck, PianoBar, Mixologist Competitions and Beyond

Carnival's Spirit-class ships are legendary for their free-wheeling, fun-loving atmosphere, but the all-around best Carnival ship for partying has to be Carnival Miracle.

Value-priced, shorter sailings earn this ship plenty of repeat customers among young people looking to escape the grind of LA life. Adult-themed comedy shows and an adults-only sun deck are draws, along with Miracle's bars and lounges (including the super popular Alchemy Bar).

Miracle's bars and lounges conveniently stay open late so that people on the shorter itinerary can make the most of their long weekend getaway.

Participate in the Mixologists Competition to show your bartender prowess. Or just make an appearance at the PianoBar for a late-night concert.

Signature drinks on Carnival Miracle: Sip on ThirstyFrog Red (Carnival's private label beer) or the Ting mojito.

5. Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas: Pools, Hot Tubs, Bars, Lounges and Dancing Under the Stars

Though Galveston-based cruises don't have the hard-partying reputation of those on the coasts, if a party is what you're looking for, you'll find it on a short-but-sweet jaunt on Enchantment of the Seas.

Eight bars and lounges, plus nine pools and hot tubs (including an adults-only Solarium), are among some of the amenities to help you unwind. If you're feeling a bit more active, take your partner for a spin salsa dancing at Boleros, bounce on the bungee trampolines or get soaked on the Splash Deck.

Late-night dance parties often take place on the pool deck under the stars as well.

Signature drinks on Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas: Try the Lava Flow, Royal Caribbean's signature piña colada streaked with strawberry and rum.

6. Carnival Liberty: Seaday Brunch, a Poolside Rum Bar and Various Other Exciting Bars

If you love to brunch, then you need to try the at-sea version with Carnival's Seaday Brunch, filled with all your favorite brunch bites and drinks. Carnival Liberty is a Conquest-class ship with a ton of room for fun -- from brunch and beyond.

It features the RedFrog Rum Bar that has rum drinks available by the pitcher and their signature beer ThirstyFrog Red. Carnival’s signature RedFrog Rum Bar is now poolside, so you can catch some sun during your quick getaway.

If you’re wondering which Carnival ship bar is the best, you may be drawn to Liberty’s Alchemy Bar Martini Tasting, Piano Bar or BlueIguana Tequila Bar.

If you prefer to keep up with weekend sports games while you party on your next cruise, head on over to SkyBox Sports Bar. They’ll serve up your favorite drafts while you kick back, relax and enjoy the game.

Signature drinks on Carnival Liberty: Order a round of beer or margaritas for your group at RedFrog Rum Bar with the 101-ounce "The Frog Likes to Share" tube, pitchers or yards.

Publish date March 20, 2023
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