The 10 Best Cruise Ship Bars
From chilly “ice bars,” where the temperature is always a brisk 17 degrees, to bars that move between decks and more, these cruise ship bars are worth staying up long past your bedtime:
1. The Bamboo Room
Bartenders at this Polynesian-themed tiki bar use exotic spices and tropical fruits to craft uncommon libations, most of which contain rum. In addition to specialty drinks like the Royal Zombie or Bamboo Swizzle, you’ll find classic tiki cocktails like daiquiris and pina coladas. The tropical watering hole also offers beer and wine, as well as small plate snacks including pulled pork sliders and Asian noodle salad.
What to Drink: Try the bar's signature cocktail, Bamboo Swizzle.
2. Skyline Bar
The Skyline Bar on Disney Cruise Line is an urban-themed venue serving cocktails inspired by different cities around the world. Screens are situated behind the bar, designed to look like windows peering over the nighttime skyline of each city. While both Disney Dream and Fantasy have this chic venue, most of the cities they feature are different. Even if you sail on both ships, the bar is worth checking out each time because not only will you find unique views, but also different cocktails.
What to Drink: Ask for the Paris 75 or the St. Pete Sling.
3. Rising Tide Bar
When was the last time you spent the evening drinking on an elevator? The answer is probably “never” or “in college” — unless you’ve already had the pleasure of imbibing at the Rising Tide, an elevator bar. The 40-ton, 32-seat cocktail spot moves gently between the Royal Promenade (deck 5) and Central Park (deck 8).
What to Drink: Order the signature drink, the Rising Tide, a blue lychee martini.
4. Skyy Ice Bar
At the Skyy Ice Bar, patrons don parkas and gloves to keep warm as they party in the chilly 17-degree temperature. Since this popular spot only holds 25 guests at a time, you’ll want to make reservations in advance. The $20 entry fee includes two cocktails.
What to Drink: The bar mixes several specialty drinks with Inniskillin (a Canadian ice wine made from — you guessed it — frozen grapes). Ask for the Cobalt Blue, a blend of ice wine, vodka, blue curacao, and club soda.
5. RedFrog Rum Bar
A signature addition of Carnival's Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades, the RedFrog Rum Bar is the pool deck party destination for cruisers looking for a celebration that lasts all day (and well into the night). The atmosphere is laid-back and inspired by the tropics and, of course, the alcohol of choice down in the Caribbean.
What to Drink: ThirstyFrog Red, the line’s own American amber ale brew
Where to Find It: Fleetwide
6. Golden Lion Pub
If a low-key pub is more your style, this cruise ship bar is for you. A wide selection of ales and lagers make this a prime destination for beer lovers, and entertainment comes in the form of pub quizzes, karaoke, live sports broadcasts (think soccer and cricket), and piano music. Golden Lion also serves traditional British fare, like fish and chips and shepherd’s pie, during lunch hours.
What to Drink: Order a Pimm’s Cup, a British staple that blends ginger ale with fresh fruit and Pimm’s No. 1.
7. Eden Bar
Eden is a three-deck-high space on Celebrity Edge wrapped with glass windows. Foliage and earthy tones comprise the multi-use space, which is unlike anything else at sea. Within Eden is the Eden Bar, where the centerpiece is the Library of Plants, a living wall where bartenders can pluck fresh herbs and other ingredients right from the plant for artful and refreshing cocktails. Drinks have simple names, such as Garden, Pea, Village, and The Forbidden, but don’t be fooled — they are some of the strangest and most interesting libations at sea. For example, Pea has a skewer of peas across the top of the glass, and Garden looks like an actual cluster of plants are growing out of the glass.
What to Drink: Sip on The Forbidden, which is appropriately served in an apple-shaped glass.
Where to Find It: Celebrity Edge
8. La Reserve by Wine Spectator
In addition to seven-course pairing dinners, this tiny, 24-seat restaurant also serves as a wine bar that offers tastings on sea days. Make your reservations before you board, since slots fill up fast.
What to Drink: La Reserve pours several wines from the Silver Trident Winery, a small Napa vineyard owned by Oceania Cruises Vice Chairman Bob Binder. Order one of the two flagship wines: the Benevolent Dictator (a Russian River Valley pinot noir), or the cabernet sauvignon 27 Fathoms, named after the depth of the Panama Canal.
9. Wheelhouse Bar
The nautical-themed Wheelhouse Bar is a staple across Princess’ fleet, and very popular among loyal passengers. On Royal-class ships, it sits adjacent to the Crown Grille seafood and steakhouse, sharing common space and live piano entertainment. The pub-style bar offers favorite beers on tap, as well as British brews, ciders, an international menu of whiskeys, and other liquors and cocktails. But what really sets the Wheelhouse Bar apart is a daily, complimentary pub lunch that has become a favorite among return passengers. The menu is short and sweet: fish and chips, ploughman’s lunch, bangers and mash, and steak and kidney pie with bread and butter pudding for dessert.
On Crown, Ruby, and Emerald Princess, the Wheelhouse Bar transforms into the Salty Dog Gastropub at night, serving unique cocktails with comfort food like grilled cheese, burgers, and short ribs with a twist for a flat fee of $12 per person. For dessert, don’t miss the bourbon chocolate salted caramel popcorn.
What to Drink: Ask for a pint of British beer or one of the whiskey flights.
Where to Find It: Fleetwide
10. Bionic Bar
If you want to see a robot dance and shake (your drink!), then head on down to Royal Caribbean’s Bionic Bar. iPads are set up around the bar area to place your order. You can choose from a set menu, or create a completely custom cocktail. Once your order is submitted, a screen next to the counter shows how many customers are ahead of you. Two robots mix up drinks at the same time, and every so often they will pause to dance for the crowd. Make sure your camera is rolling so you can capture this robotic ballet in action!
What to Drink: Create a custom cocktail, right down to the mixing method and garnishes.
Join the discussion
What’s your favorite cruise ship bar?