9 of the Best Party Cruise Ships

The Deck Parties on Carnival Vista/Oyster

The Deck Parties on Carnival Vista/Oyster

When it comes to partying on the high seas, one might instantly imagine an adult booze cruise, but there’s so much more fun to be had than simply drinking alcohol. In fact, there are plenty of activities and onboard fiestas that will satisfy all ages and interests. With that in mind, we rounded up nine of the best party cruise ships.

1. Carnival Fantasy

Should a classic good time be desired, Carnival Cruise Line was the father of the “Fun Ship” fleet, and the Carnival Fantasy is the most senior among the brand’s vessels. In fact, there are a total of eight Fantasy-class sister ships that are commonly deployed on shorter weekend getaway cruises -- perfect for partiers. The interior design is bright and colorful and so can be the bars and nightclubs. The Fantasy itself features the line’s latest BlueIguana Tequila Bar and RedFrog Rum Bar, as well as Electricity Dance Club to keep things hopping into the wee hours.

2. Carnival Vista

The Beach Pool on Carnival Vista/Oyster

The Beach Pool on Carnival Vista/Oyster

If you’re seeking Carnival’s more refined nature, the Carnival Vista may be more your speed. All the fun is still there, but the formerly flashy decor of previous ships is swapped for a more subtle beach resort aesthetic. The brand’s aforementioned signature watering holes continue along for the ride, and the pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar and RedFrog Pub & Brewery offer beers that are brewed right onboard. Once lubricated, parties are hosted at the outdoor pool deck and indoor Liquid Lounge.

3. Norwegian Escape

Jimmy Buffett’s Magaritaville at Sea on Norwegian Escape/Oyster

Jimmy Buffett’s Magaritaville at Sea on Norwegian Escape/Oyster

Norwegian Cruise Line channels Jimmy Buffett to create the relaxed party atmosphere aboard its Norwegian Escape. The musician’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar and Margaritaville at Sea embody his philosophy of partaking in the good life. Still, passengers can get their blood pumping again with all sorts of high-octane activities. There are thrilling water slides plus a challenging ropes course to enjoy. The Broadway-style production of “After Midnight” also jazzes up the scene.

4. Norwegian Pearl

In addition to the Norwegian Escape, the Norwegian Pearl is a party perennial, thanks to its frequent themed cruise charter use. Music festivals come to the ship, giving guests a chance to listen in on multiple live sets as well as mingle with their favorite artists. The expansive pool deck and concert-friendly Stardust Theater are prime for anyone from Kid Rock to the Barenaked Ladies. The ship is even home to the Walker Stalker Cruise with Norman Reedus and other cast members from the hit TV show “The Walking Dead.”

5. Harmony of the Seas

Royal Promenade on Harmony of the Seas/Oyster

Royal Promenade on Harmony of the Seas/Oyster

When it comes to the biggest cruise ships with parties, there are none larger than those within the Royal Caribbean International line. Specifically, Harmony of the Seas is currently the largest at sea and showcases venues galore for guests. The vessel is so wide that its central Royal Promenade is big enough to host parades, and its Studio B is a multipurpose hub of activity complete with a genuine ice rink. This one even has the Puzzle Break escape room experience, as well as the thrilling Ultimate Abyss spiral dry slide and AquaTheater.

6. Anthem of the Seas

The North Star on Anthem of the Seas/Oyster

The North Star on Anthem of the Seas/Oyster

Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas is another ship that offers a unique set of activities that can be enjoyed by partiers. At the Bionic Bar, robots stir and shake all types of boozy concoctions, while the SeaPlex provides a mix between an indoor sports court, video game lounge, bumper car arena, roller rink, circus school, and dance club. Passengers can check out the line’s signature FlowRider surf simulator as well as the RipCord by iFly skydiving simulator and the North Star. On the latter, passengers are craned in a glass-enclosed pod high up and over the side of the ship. The ship can even be booked for premium events such as marriage proposals or wedding ceremonies. 

7. Disney Fantasy

Disney Fantasy/Photo courtesy of Jason Leppert
Disney Fantasy/Photo courtesy of Jason Leppert

For family-friendly fiestas and activities, Disney Cruise Line is the industry leader, and its Disney Fantasy packs in the most for its weeklong voyages. Nowhere else can guests party with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and plenty of other characters while on vacation at sea. Best of all, the line does a fine job of providing something for everyone. Families can catch signature stage shows, film screenings, and themed dining, as well as ride the AquaDuck water coaster and play at the AquaLab. Children can also have parties at Disney’s Oceaneer Club and Disney’s Oceaneer Lab while adults can head to Europa for The Tube nightclub or La Piazza, Ooh La La, O’Gills Pub, and Skyline bars.

8. Disney Wonder

Tiana's Place, Disney Wonder/Photo courtesy of Jason Leppert
Tiana's Place, Disney Wonder/Photo courtesy of Jason Leppert

The Disney Wonder may be smaller than the Fantasy, but it too has been updated with lots of party-focused features, including its own AquaLab interactive water park. Families will especially appreciate Tiana’s Place, a restaurant inspired by “The Princess and the Frog.” Here, guests will enjoy a live jazz band and parade during dinner. Plus, Marvel Super Hero Academy and Frozen Adventures join Disney’s Oceaneer Club kids facility, and Queen Elsa and Princess Anna from the latter head to the stage for the family-friendly “Frozen, A Musical Spectacular.”

9. Queen Mary 2

The Queens Room, Queen Mary 2/Photo courtesy of Jason Leppert
The Queens Room, Queen Mary 2/Photo courtesy of Jason Leppert

While it may not come to mind as a party ship at first, Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 is a wonderful option for those who want to step back in time for a grand gala. The ocean liner hearkens back to its vintage heritage with a formal dress code and live big band music. The Queens Room beckons guests to its dance floor for a swinging soiree, and the adjacent G32 nightclub presents a modern alternative.

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