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17 best cruise ship bars

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The best bars on cruise ships are more than just places to drink. They’re destinations with atmosphere and attitude — plus creative approaches to sipping.

You might have your drink prepared by a robot or by a human in a chamber kept at 17 degrees Fahrenheit, or in a bar that levitates while you “travel” through hyperspace.

Whether you’re a fan of the perfect martini or craft beer, or you’re looking for mixologists who concoct molecular cocktails that sizzle or smoke, check out these cruise ship bar favorites.

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Half Moon Bar

A bartender making the Rotterdam VII cocktail at the Half Moon Bar on Holland America's Rotterdam
A bartender making the Rotterdam VII cocktail at the Half Moon Bar on Holland America’s Rotterdam ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

The most noteworthy of Holland America‘s bars is the Half Moon Bar, which is new to the fleet and only found on Rotterdam. It offers a menu that’s one part history, one part science.

This venue’s highlights include seven exclusive mixed drinks, each with a backstory and ties to the cruise line’s deep-rooted history. A favorite — for its photo-worthiness as much as its taste — is the Rotterdam VII (named after the only ship on which it’s found), which features smoked gin and maraschino. Beer and wine are also available.

The bar has taken up residence where you’d find wine-mixing bar Blend on other Pinnacle Class ships, and, due to its small size and understandable popularity, it’s often so crowded you have to wait for a seat.

Alchemy Bar

A popular fixture on most Carnival Cruise Line ships, this bar is themed on a pharmacy — complete with apothecary jars — and helmed by specially trained bartenders wearing lab coats who are ready to cure what ails you. You order on a prescription pad, and while there is a fun menu with categories such as Energizing Elixirs and Passion Portions, it’s also a treat to just check off some of your favorite flavors and see what the bartenders “prescribe” for you. If all else fails, try the Cucumber Sunrise, an Alchemy Bar staple.

Sugarcane Mojito Bar

people sitting at an open-air cruise ship bar enjoying mojitos while a bartender mixes a drink
Norwegian Cruise Line’s Sugarcane Mojito Bar. JIM HUGHES/NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE

On Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway and Breakaway-Plus Class ships, check out this Havana-themed venue with indoor and outdoor seating and live Latin-Cuban music. Watch the sun go down from the alfresco promenade while sipping unusual mojitos such as Spicy Passion, Pineapple Coconut and Raspberry Guava. If you can’t decide, go with a flight combining sweet and savory selections.

Blue Eye Lounge

You might not expect one of the coolest bar choices at sea to be on a small ship, but that’s the case on French line Ponant’s Explorer Class 184-passenger Le Laperouse and its four sister ships. The multisensory lounge is below the water line and has two huge, whale-eye-shaped portals for watching the sea. The dark space makes you feel like you are inside a whale, except it’s decorated with swanky “body listening” couches that gently vibrate to undersea acoustics. It’s eerie, fancy and fabulous. Order a martini, and pretend you’re James Bond.

Related: How to get free or cheap drinks on a cruise

Schooner Bar

Two alcoholic drinks in miniature martini glasses on a table in front of a Schooner Bar menu
The drinks menu at the Schooner Bar on Allure of the Seas. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

The Schooner Bar is Royal Caribbean‘s signature watering hole, featuring a classic nautical vibe. It’s the place to hear live piano music and compete in daily trivia. The bar is so popular that you might have trouble finding a free table. A recently revamped cocktail menu has solidified its position as a top Royal Caribbean drinking spot; we recommend the Toasted Marshmallow Old Fashioned.

Ooh La La and Pink

The Champagne Bars on two of Disney Cruise Line‘s ships have their own themes, but they’re equally intriguing. Ooh La La, found on Disney Fantasy, is set up like a French boudoir with delightfully lavish decor — think lots of gold, velvet and ornate furniture — with dim lighting that makes you feel almost naughty for stepping inside. Pink, on Disney Dream, carries a bubble theme as an ode to the drink on which it’s based. Keep an eye out for pink elephants that dance around the walls every so often.

One of the best cocktails to try at either location is the Icy Pop — a fruity, refreshing ice pop served in a large glass of Champagne.

Eden Bar

A well-lit bar with stools and a mirrored back wall
The bar at Eden, a multi-use venue on Celebrity Apex. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

When it debuted on Celebrity Cruises‘ Celebrity Edge in 2018, Eden — a restaurant, bar, deli and performance space all rolled into one venue — had cruisers scratching their heads. A strange, trippy three-hour show that featured acrobats who came a little too close to the audience was complemented by a list of equally curious drinks from the nearby Eden bar.

As notable for their unique ingredients as they are for their eye-wateringly high prices, the drinks — now available on two different menus across the line’s Edge Class vessels — are masterfully concocted, featuring some of the most jaw-dropping presentations we’ve ever seen. Think treasure boxes, smoke and glasses in the shape of apples. It’s not just hype, though; every drink on the menu is fantastic.


Royal Caribbean’s wine bar, Vintages, is generally one of the line’s least crowded bars, which appeals to anyone looking for a quiet drink before dinner. Tastings happen there throughout each sailing, and an extensive wine list makes it easy to find something you’ll enjoy during other times of the day. Even if you’re not a wino, Vintages — often found in Central Park on ships that have neighborhoods — also serves tapas that are worth trying if you’re feeling peckish. Plus, the laid-back but classy setting makes it the perfect place to sip and socialize.


A rounded bar with a wall full of alcohol bottles behind it
Sip Champagne bar on Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady. BHAWNA KHOWAL/THE POINTS GUY

Sip, the Champagne bar on Virgin Voyages‘ ships, is one of the most popular bars on board. Because you have to pass through it to reach the theater, you can’t miss it.

Elegantly appointed with creams, tans and jewel tones, it’s set up with a bar on one side of the walkway that runs through it and plush, comfortable alcove seating on the other, near windows that provide sea views. It’s the place to go to snag a glass of bubbly while you take in live music at night or to enjoy afternoon tea during the day.

Guy’s Pig & Anchor Brewhouse

Guy’s Pig & Anchor Brewhouse is the place to sip Carnival’s exclusive Parched Pig craft brews made by a brewmaster on each ship. There’s a smoked porter, farmhouse ale and hoppy IPA, among other selections. If you’re indecisive, go with a flight.

The bar is found on Carnival Horizon, Carnival Panorama, Mardi Gras, Carnival Celebration and Carnival Jubilee. The outlets on those ships also offer brewery tours and the opportunity to dive into hickory-smoked barbecue selections from Food Network star Guy Fieri. The RedFrog Pub and Brewery on Carnival Vista has the beers, too, but with pub grub.

Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge

A darkened bar lit by purple lights and an LED screen depicting space scenes
The Star Wars Hyperspace Lounge on Disney Wish. SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

Live out your Star Wars fantasies in the Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge on the new 4,000-passenger Disney Wish. The door to this cozy bar whooshes as you enter the space, styled like a luxury space yacht ready to jump between galaxies. (It does so thanks to projections of outer space on “virtual” windows and a top-rate, rumbling sound system.) Order up Coruscant The Chancellor, a cognac cocktail “enjoyed by the senate elite members.”

Golden Lion Pub

On Cunard ships, including ocean liner Queen Mary 2, the Golden Lion replicates a real British pub, from the dark wood, leather banquettes and stools to the darts tournaments and pub quizzes. Sample a wide selection of beers and ales, including three craft beers from award-winning U.K. microbrewery Dark Revolution. Or go with a traditional Pimm’s Cup (made with a gin-based liquor, fresh fruit and ginger ale). The pub grub menu features fish ‘n’ chips and bangers and mash (sausages and mashed potatoes).

Scenic Bar

A large granite bar with chairs faces a floor-to-ceilling wall of shelves filled with whiskies from all over the world.
The cozy Scenic Lounge is also home to a bar that serves more than 100 whiskies. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Located in the main lounge on 228-passenger Scenic Luxury Cruises & ToursScenic Eclipse, this bar boasts more than 110 bottles of whisky on the wall, all in a floor-to-ceiling showcase backlit for dramatic effect. Among the golden-brown liquids, you’ll find single malts such as a 25-year-old Glendullan, a 30-year-old Jura The Loch and a 16-year-old Lagavulin. Big-name super-premium blends are well represented in a collection that gathers bottles from around the world, including Australia, Japan, France, India, Taiwan, South Africa, the United States, Scotland, Ireland and Sweden. Drinks are included in the cruise fares.

Fortune Teller

Exclusively on Carnival Cruise Line’s 5,200-passenger Mardi Gras, the Fortune Teller stands out for its cool New Orleans vibe. It’s located in the big ship’s French Quarter (where Chef Emeril Lagasse also has his first seagoing bistro) and features creative drinks, Victorian decor and a voodoo allure. Drinks change color, smoke or otherwise impress. The Crystal Ball comes topped with a hazy orb where you might or might not see your future after drinking the concoction of Herradura Silver Tequila, Green Chartreuse, agave nectar and lime.

Related: 8 best drinks to order with a cruise ship beverage package (and 3 to avoid)

Martini Bar & Crush

A bar in the middle of a cruise ship atrium
Celebrity Beyond Atrium featuring the Martini Bar. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

On most Celebrity Cruises ships, the popular Martini Bars are classy, tucked-away spaces featuring a collection of rare vodkas (and the option of caviar, too) served from an ice-topped bar. The bartenders do more than just pour the drinks; they entertain like Tom Cruise in the movie “Cocktail,” flipping and juggling shakers and pouring multiple drinks at once from a stack of them.

On Edge Class ships, the action moves to the Grand Plaza under a breathtaking, color-changing three-deck light fixture. Go with a dirty martini or a Candied Apple (Gray Goose, apple schnapps, pomegranate juice and butterscotch schnapps).

Good Spirits At Sea

Every cocktail at this Princess Cruises bar comes with a story, created in partnership with the TV series Good Spirits. Drinks are made from liquor and other ingredients gathered from around the world, including farm-fresh, local ingredients from cruising destinations. A mixologist does the preparation while giving detailed explanations. Get up-close views of the drink-making on a video screen behind the bar, found on select ships. Sample a Grappa Peach while learning about its origins in Uruguay, or try a Bangkok Mule made with whiskey, ginger and lemongrass.

Founders Bar

Founder Bars on Oceania's Vista.
Founders Bar on Oceania’s Vista. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

If you like your cocktails crafty, the Founders Bar on Oceania‘s new Vista will keep you coming back for more. You don’t bother with wine or beer there; it’s not worth the wait to order anything not on the menu of creative concoctions. Try drinks pumped full of smoke in a box, spritzed with flavor from perfume-style bottles, topped with bubbles from a Flavor Blaster Gun or centered on a frozen fruity ice cube. Don’t forget your phone because every beverage is as picturesque as it is delicious.

Gimmicky bars worth a mention

Some cruise ship bars emphasize interesting concepts over quality drinks or, conversely, pour flashy beverages in dull spaces with absolutely no atmosphere. If you’re looking for bragging rights or to try something new, check out these entertaining bars that are a one-and-done experience.

Magic Carpet Bar

Each of Celebrity’s Edge Class vessels is equipped with a giant orange apparatus on its starboard side. Known as the Magic Carpet, it can move up and down the side of the ship, where it serves various functions (including a tender platform), depending on the deck on which it stops.

When it’s positioned on Deck 14, near the pool, or Deck 5, when it turns into an open-air dining venue, the Magic Carpet is a great place for passengers to grab a drink. Although the beverages aren’t anything particularly notable, the atmosphere is spectacular, offering drool-worthy views, comfortable seating and an ocean breeze, sometimes with live music to boot.

Rising Tide Bar

A bar with a fountain underneath it levitating on hydraulics in the middle of a shopping mall-like promenade on a cruise ship
Rising Tide Bar on the Royal Promenade. ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL

On Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class ships, this popular bar moves smoothly up and down three decks on a slow, 20-minute ride. There are seats for 32 imbibers who sip as they travel between the bustling Royal Promenade and tree-lined Central Park. The popular drink: A Kir Royale (creme de cassis and Champagne). You must be at least 21 to take a ride in this elevator. It’s fun to try, but it’s not a place people tend to return to again and again.

Related: Are drinks packages on cruise ships worth the price?

SKYY Vodka Ice Bar

Who doesn’t want to put on a parka in the Caribbean? On select Norwegian Cruise Line ships, you’ll want to bundle up for this icy bar, located in a chamber always kept at 17 degrees Fahrenheit and decorated with ice sculptures and cool color lights. You sit on ice blocks while bartenders serve average vodka drinks on ice and in ice glasses.

Bionic Bar

Two robotic arms on top of a bar with dozens of alcohol bottle suspended upside down overhead
The Bionic Bar on Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas. ROY RILEY/ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL

Royal Caribbean’s Quantum Class ships, as well as the Oasis Class’ Harmony of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas, take drink-making out of the hands of human bartenders and put it into the hands — or, rather, robotic arms — of machines. The robots, with names such as Rock’Em and Sock’Em, can’t make every drink in the book, but they can shake up a signature Bionic Tea (think: Long Island Iced Tea), sliding it to you across a bar top. Order your selections by communicating via a smartpad. George Jetson would be impressed.

Although the robots are fun to watch, the messy and impersonal experience does not make you want to hang out for hours at this futuristic watering hole.

Metropolitan Bar

On Norwegian Cruise Line’s new Norwegian Prima and Norwegian Viva, this sustainability-focused bar specializes in handcrafted zero-waste cocktails. The idea is to combine surplus ingredients with sustainable spirits in creative ways. The signature Primadonna, a take on an Old-Fashioned, is made with surplus banana peels and Flor De Cana rum, which is produced with 100% renewable energy. There’s also a line of responsibly sourced botanical gins and 20 biodynamic wines produced via organic farming methods. While we love the concept, the ambience is lacking, which is likely why the Metropolitan Bar was frequently uncrowded.

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