The 10 Best Cruise Ship Bars

best cruise ship bars norwegian carnival
Norwegian's Svedka Ice Bar might be a tad colder than your average watering hole. - Photo by Norwegian Cruise Line

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

Royal Caribbean International

royal caribbean bamboo room tiki bar
This tiki bar serves not only drinks, but snacks too. - Photo by Royal Caribbean International

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.

Where to Find It: Mariner and Navigator of the Seas

 

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2. Skyline Bar

Disney Cruise Line

disney cruise line skyline city bar
Patrons are treated to a "view" of the night skyline. - Photo by Disney Cruise Line

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.

Where to Find It: Disney Dream and Fantasy

 

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3. Rising Tide Bar

Royal Caribbean

royal caribbean rising tide bar cruise
Don't worry, the bar descents very slowly. - Photo by Royal Caribbean

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.

Where to Find It: Oasis, Allure, Harmony, and Symphony of the Seas

 

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4. Skyy Ice Bar

Norwegian Cruise Line

norwegian cruise skyy ice bar vodka
Drink in a tropical bar during the day, and cool off in the ice bar at night. - Photo by Norwegian Cruise Line

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.

Where to Find It: Norwegian Epic, Breakaway, and Getaway

 

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5. RedFrog Rum Bar

Carnival Cruise Lines

carnival cruise redfrog rum bar lido
This open-air bar is one of Carnival's staples. - Photo by Carnival Cruise Line

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

 

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6. Golden Lion Pub

Cunard

cunard line golden lion pub bar
Take a bit of London with you as you sail across the Atlantic. - Photo by Cunard

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.

Where to Find It: Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria, and Queen Elizabeth

 

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7. Eden Bar

Celebrity Cruises

celebrity edge eden bar cruise ship
The Eden Bar is part of the lush Eden lounge. - Photo by Celebrity Cruises

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

 

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8. La Reserve by Wine Spectator

Oceania

oceania cruises la reserve wine bar
La Reserve is like heaven at sea for wine afficianados. - Photo by Oceania Cruises

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.

Where to Find It: Riviera and Marina

 

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9. Wheelhouse Bar

Princess Cruises

princess cruises wheelhouse bar pub lunch
Fish and chips are a favorite at the pub lunch here. - Photo by Princess Cruises

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

 

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10. Bionic Bar

Royal Caribbean

royal caribbean bionic bar robots cruise
It's not every day you pay gratuity to a robot! - Photo by Royal Caribbean International

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.

Where to Find It: Quantum, Anthem, Ovation, Harmony, and Symphony of the Seas

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