Cruise Ship-Themed Party Ideas

Updated July 11, 2018

Cruise ship themed parties can serve as an appropriate theme for retirement or going-away parties, as these two milestones commonly lead to the guest of honour embarking upon new adventures. It also serves as a common theme for proms or corporate functions. Although some hosts may wish to rent a boat for such an event, indoor or outdoor landlocked settings can also set the stage for cruise ship themed parties.


The host of a cruise ship themed party may wish to design invitations that double as boarding passes, printed out on thick stock paper. For instance, list the address of the party as the spot where the ship will dock, or as the port of embarkation. Party throwers may decide to pick a particular cruise ship destination and tie that specific location into the invitation's theme. A Hawaiian cruise party may include pressed flowers inside, while a Mexican cruise theme party invitation could feature red, white and green confetti.


Hosts can take Polaroid pictures of their guests as they arrive, providing them with paper sailor hats to wear or even leis for a Hawaiian cruise ship theme party. Some local theatrical companies or portrait studios may have vacation backdrops available for rent, which may come in handy while taking pictures. Houses equipped with swimming pools may include miniature cruise ships and life preservers floating in the water. Hosts without pools can simply hang preservers from the walls as well. The tabletops may also feature such items as seashells or personalised luggage tags as party favours.


Hosts may wish to pattern their menu after cruise ship all-you-can-eat buffets, featuring such standard fare as a salad bar, fruit and vegetable platters, dinner rolls and cold cuts. Depending on the party's budget, you may consider serving such items as lobster, shrimp and prime rib. The buffet can also feature a wide variety of desserts, including cakes, pies and cookies. Some party supply stores offer soft serve machines for rent. For drinks, consider including such cruise ship standards as pina coladas and mai tais, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions. An ice sculpture, like those commonly found on most cruise ships, can serve as the buffet's centrepiece.


As most cruise ships feature casinos, hosts should consider setting up a game room filled with roulette, craps, blackjack or poker tables. Many cruise ships also include spas, so hosts may wish to hire a masseuse or a beautician who can provide manicures or pedicures. Hosts can provide a dance floor and a live DJ as well, similar to the discos found on cruise ships. In terms of games, consider splitting partygoers into groups and asking them to perform their own musical act, like those found in a cruise ship show lounge. The host can reward the most original act with a prize.

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About the Author

A travel writer since 2002, Leah Rendon has written countless articles for online pop-culture magazines and various travel-related websites, including Eurobooking and World66. Gosford also has experience in copywriting, having developed a series of articles related to network marketing. She graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a degree in theater arts.