What You Should Know About Having a Cruise-Based Bachelor or Bachelorette Party

It may not be as popular as visiting Las Vegas, Austin, or Nashville for a bachelor or bachelorette party, but cruises still see more than their share of these celebrations.

A cruise is a popular spot to have your party, but there are a few things you should consider before you book.

And why not? Cruises offer a ton of advantages over land-based bachelorette parties, including lots of sun, free-flowing drinks, and a pre-planned vacation where you don’t have to worry about hardly anything other than which restaurant you’re going to visit that night.

Having sailed dozens of cruises and seen plenty of these parties happening on board, we have some things you might not have considered when it comes to planning a trip and what to know.

Why Cruises Make a Great Spot for a Bachelor/Bachelorette Party

Let’s start with the basic thing to know about cruising for this party — it’s a great spot to celebrate. With a cruise, you have a lot of advantages but it mostly revolves around being on a ship.

With a cruise ship, everything is contained in a relatively small area. Instead of a city where venues are spread out over blocks or miles, on the ship everything — from restaurants to bars to pools to entertainment — is within walking distance.

There’s no worrying about Uber or Lyft. You don’t need to have a designated driver. There’s always something happening on the ship. And that pizza spot you want at 2 a.m.? It’s just a few steps away and included with your fare.

Fun, But Not Too Wild of a Time

While there’s a lot to like about having your party on the cruise ship, if you want to have a wild time — we mean real wild — then it won’t be the best location. For instance, if you want to go to “adult” establishments like a gentleman’s club… yeah, that’s not available onboard.

And to be honest, the nighttime party scene on a cruise is relatively subdued. If downtown starts heating up around midnight, that’s actually when things are winding down on the ship. That doesn’t mean there aren’t things to do or places to get a drink, but it’s largely quiet around the ship. That said, there is usually a late-night party going somewhere, but it’s not as wild as what you might see on 6th Street in Austin after midnight.

Short Trips Are Ideal for Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties

Cruises come in all lengths from three nights to 180 nights. For a party like this, you want to keep things short — ideally three to four days. This is for several reasons.

First, it’s doubtful that many people want to go on a week-long bachelorette party. It’s just too much. If your focus is on relaxation, then maybe that’s possible. But most times these parties mean letting loose, having drinks, and staying out late. A week of that? That’s hard.

Second, the atmosphere on a cruise ship changes with the length of cruise. Shorter trips tend to have a more outgoing and “party” atmosphere. Longer cruises are much more relaxed.

Save Tons With Three (or Four) to a Cabin

This cabin sleeps three (the bed comes apart into two and a fold down bed on the right). You can save a ton by sailing with more than two people to a room.

If you’re good enough friends to go on a bachelor party together, you should be good enough to share a tight cabin. If so, then you can save some serious cash.

Cruise cabins are sold based on double occupancy. That means if the cruise is priced at $500, you’ll pay $1,000 for the cabin, even if sailing alone. However, if you add a third or even a fourth passenger to the room, they sail for almost nothing.

In other words, if budget is a major factor in your celebration, you can actually make it much cheaper per person by adding more people to a cabin. To be sure, you won’t have a ton of space, but odds are you’re only going to use the cabin for sleeping and will spend the rest of your time out and about.

Balcony Cabins Are Likely Not Worth It

Speaking of little time in the cabin, you might be tempted to book a balcony cabin for your bachelor or bachelorette party. Absolutely, if you want to pay the higher fare, then get a balcony. It’s nice having the outdoor space, natural light, and fresh air.

But if we’re realistic, the amount of time you’re going to spend in the cabin is going to be small. First, you’re likely to be on a short cruise, meaning you’ll spend a lot of the trip either in port or out exploring the ship. Second, you’ll be with friends, and it’s unlikely you’ll all be just hanging out in the cabin.

That’s why paying extra for a balcony room will likely be a waste. Save the money here and you can use it on food, shore excursions in port, or drinks.

What to Know About Drink Packages

Drink packages can be hard to get your money’s worth on a normal cruise. On a bachelor or bachelorette cruise, we think the math would be more in your favor.

One thing to know about drinks on the cruise? They are expensive. Prices run about $8 for a beer and $12-$14 for a cocktail. On top of that is a gratuity charge that’s automatically applied. This is usually 18%. So a $14 cocktail is actually around $16.50.

To help you budget, cruise lines offer drink packages. Here, you pay a set amount each day of the cruise (usually between $60-$90, depending on the line) and then get what you want from the bar.

For most passengers, we’d suggest they won’t get their money’s worth from the package. If you buy it, everyone in the cabin must buy, even if they don’t drink. As well, you pay for it each day of the cruise, even when in port.

However, the dynamic of a bachelor or bachelorette party is different. You’re more likely to be in a “party” mood during the trip. And if you keep the trip short, enjoying yourself at a bar for several days isn’t out of question. You still want to do the math, but the drink packages are more likely to be worth it in our opinion.

Be Aware of Sexual Assault

Not to put a damper on the party, but we think anyone out celebrating on the ship should be aware of sexual assault. To be sure, a cruise is relatively safe. Millions and millions of passengers sail each year without any issue at all. The odds are near perfect that your trip will go off without a hitch.

However, there have been recent reports of a rise in sexual assaults on cruises — about 130 cases in 2023.

If you’re on a bachelorette party, having lots of drinks, and enjoying yourself, you still want to keep your wits about you, just as if you were on land. Nothing bad is likely to happen, but just be aware that cases do occur.

Book at Least One Excursion

The vast majority of your cruise will be spent on the ship, but ports of call are a major part of any cruise. To make the most of your time, we highly suggest booking at least one shore excursion during the cruise.

These tours can be booked on the ship and give you a chance to do things you just can do back home. We’re talking snorkeling trips to coral reefs, visiting cenotes (freshwater sinkholes in Mexico), adventure treks, and a lot more. We’ve found that shore excursions are some of the most memorable moments of our entire vacations.

Find one that your entire group will enjoy and make some memories.

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