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What is a Party Cruise?

By T. Alaine
Updated May 23, 2024
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A party cruise is a particular type of cruise vacation that emphasizes drinking; dancing; and generally rowdy, festive behavior. Typically, cruise lines and tourist agencies market party cruises toward younger individuals, especially college-aged people. Most other kinds of cruises have a reputation for being laid back and relaxing, but the party cruise is geared toward high levels of celebratory activity.

Perhaps as an attempt to shake the shuttlecock and formal dinner reputation of some cruises, marketing professionals for cruise lines came up with the concept of the party cruise. Often, these trips are promoted as Spring Break packages, or geared almost exclusively toward the early- to mid-twenties age group. Realistically, a party cruise is not all that different from a regular cruise, but the marketing plays up certain elements of the trip.

Typically, a party cruise differs somewhat from a regular cruise in the clientele on board. Other theme cruises are tailored toward culture, family activities, or peace and quiet and relaxation. On a traditional cruise with no theme it is certainly likely to find people who want to spend their time celebrating, but on a party cruise, these people will be the majority. Typically, it is unlikely that, upon reading a pamphlet for a party cruise, a young family or elderly couple will choose that particular trip. As a result, the guest demographic on a party cruise is generally pretty consistent.

Party cruises keep travel schedules similar to traditional cruises: docking in one city to pick of passengers, cruising to a tropical or otherwise desirable location, docking for a few nights, and returning to the original port. On a party cruise, guests can expect to be inundated with opportunities to drink alcohol, attend parties at on-board clubs, and even gamble in the ship’s casino. The next day, passengers can sleep late, eat brunch, and lay out relaxing on the deck or next to a pool. Some party cruises also emphasize adrenaline-fueled activities like climbing walls or fitness centers.

After the cruise ship docks, passengers are free to disembark. Usually, a party cruise will dock in a city that has a reputation for an active nightlife and, of course, a party atmosphere. Passengers can spend their days exploring the chosen locale and spend their nights celebrating at local nightclubs or on the cruise ship. Upon completing its stay at the destination, the cruise ship returns to port, and guests are invited to continue partying all the way back to shore.

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Discussion Comments
By goldensky — On Oct 04, 2011

When my husband and I were younger, party cruises were our vacation of choice. We loved getting dressed up every evening and mingling with the other couples. Although none of the nightlife activities were mandatory, you find yourself drawn to something every night anyway! There was so much going on every night from gambling to the on-board clubs. So during the day most just want to kick back and relax by the pool or in their cabin.

Now that we're older we prefer a more relaxing nighttime setting on a cruise, but we will never forget the memories we made on those party boat cruises.

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