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Carnival cruise ship battered by waves in storm off Charleston

By Aliza Chasan

Updated on: May 29, 2023 / 4:16 PM EDT / CBS News

A storm off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, battered a Carnival cruise ship for hours late Friday night before it docked, leaving passengers terrified.

Passengers aboard the Carnival Sunshine described shattered glass, water pouring into rooms and hallways, the ship pitching about and a lack of communication from cruise staff. Some passengers and crew members needed "minor assistance" from medical staff, a Carnival cruise spokesman told CBS News. "Guests on board the ship were safe," the spokesman added. 

Carnival Sunshine, which was headed from the Bahamas to South Carolina, arrived in Charleston behind schedule, according to the spokesman. Some crew cabins needed to be temporarily taken out of service because of water damage. The ship's next voyage, on which it has since embarked, was also delayed.

The National Hurricane Center on Friday warned of a non-tropical area of low pressure off Florida that was set to move northward and inland over the Carolinas during the weekend. Forecasters said there would be gusty winds, dangerous surf and rip current conditions along portions of the U.S.'s southeastern coast through Sunday.

The Carnival Sunshine cruise ship seen during stormy weather and rough seas on a trip from the Bahamas to Charleston.

Passenger Sharon Tutrone, a professor at Coastal Carolina University, tweeted Friday that the ship was rocking. She said that the only time passengers heard from the captain was in the afternoon, when he told them he had an experienced crew and would do everything he could to minimize discomfort as the ship encountered the storm. 

"They said it will get worse as we get closer to the storm," she tweeted. "@CarnivalCruise  is doing an EXCELLENT job!"

She tweeted again on Saturday afternoon, describing " 14 hours of high winds, rain and massive waves ." 

"We were surrounded by lightning and the ship took a huge hit by a wave and sounded like it split in two," Tutrone tweeted.

Several passengers, including Brenda Goodwin Sherbert, posted on social media about broken glass on the ship . They also wrote about water coming in through balcony doors.

"We had a 40 foot wave hit our side of the ship,.. we almost fell out the bed.. things were crashing all around us and the carpet on my side of the bed was soaked bc water came in thru our balcony door," Goodwin Sherbert wrote.

Passenger Reid Overcash, who was on the cruise with his wife, said televisions on the ship displayed a message during the storm: "Public address announcement please standby." 

He said it was when winds had reached between 70-90 mph and the ship was tilting left that he truly feared for his life.

"Myself being in emergency services and retired, I knew nobody was going to come and rescue us with winds over 40 knots," Overcash said.

The trip marked Overcash's seventh cruise. He said he's not going to let the frightening experience stop him from going on more cruises in the future. 

"It's just one of them unlucky experiences that occurs once in a while," he said.

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Aliza Chasan is a digital producer at 60 Minutes and She has previously written for outlets including PIX11 News, The New York Daily News, Inside Edition and DNAinfo. Aliza covers trending news, often focusing on crime and politics.

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Cruising During Hurricane Season: Everything You Need to Know

Last updated: August 5th, 2021

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  • Find a Cruise

If you think it’s best to avoid booking a cruise vacation during hurricane season, there are certain factors to consider that may change your mind. In fact, cruising during hurricane season may actually be an advantageous time to cruise.

When is hurricane season for cruises?

Hurricane season in the Caribbean runs from June 1 to November 30. The peak of hurricane season occurs between mid-August and early November.

The Eastern Caribbean tends to see more hurricanes toward the beginning of the peak season, while peak season in the Western Caribbean islands stretches throughout the entire period. Some East Coast cruises might be affected by a hurricane in the Northern Atlantic.

Clear blue water of Caribbean beach

Booking your Caribbean cruise vacation before peak time, say in June or July or at the end of November, is one way to cruise during hurricane season.

Hurricanes, or similar types of storms that go by different names, can affect cruises in other parts of the world, too. If cruising Australia or other areas of the South Pacific, for instance, be aware its peak cyclone season is from January to March. Parts of Asia are also susceptible to typhoons during monsoon season, lasting from May to October.

Is it dangerous to cruise during hurricane season?

Only a very small portion of cruises that sail to the Caribbean during a storm season are actually affected by these storms. Though you may encounter slightly rougher water on a cruise during hurricane season, there are many systems in place to detect any hurricane weather along your cruise route, ensuring your ship’s captain and crew will be able to chart a path around any bad weather or make modifications to the itinerary to keep you safe.

Can my cruise itinerary change if there’s a hurricane?

Celebrity Cruises ships at the port

You may have heard or read that there were some cruises that were canceled in the wake of Hurricane Irma in 2017, but the fact is that it’s actually extremely rare for a cruise to be canceled during Caribbean hurricane season.

Typically, it’s still safe for cruise ships to depart the home port while a hurricane is occurring in the Caribbean, as long as the hurricane is not impacting the embarkation (home) port – and if the home port is impacted, a cruise departure may only be delayed by a day or two rather than being canceled.

So what happens when you do embark on time, but there’s a hurricane happening in the region? Most likely a hurricane will not impact your cruise, but you might incur an itinerary change if a hurricane is in the path of a port of call on your cruise itinerary.

Ship captains on Celebrity Cruises

Thanks to an incredible arsenal of weather equipment onboard the ship, including everything from weather maps and satellite images to computer-generated storm models from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), your captain and crew are always on top of where a hurricane is headed and have the experience and means to stay out of its path.

One of the ways your captain might avoid a hurricane’s path is to make a last-minute schedule change to your cruise itinerary. If, for example, your Caribbean cruise itinerary had a scheduled stop in the U.S. Virgin Islands, but the route there is impacted by a hurricane, your cruise ship will reroute, and you’ll skip that port of call.

Kids playing inside Camp at Sea room on Celebrity Cruises

This will result in an additional day at sea, during which you’ll continue to enjoy your ship’s many luxurious amenities. With an extra sea day, you can treat yourself to that herbal body wrap at the spa, spend some quality time with the kids, or participate in one of the many onboard classes offered during your cruise. Depending on your ship’s proximity to the storm and its severity, the captain may find it necessary to order the pool to close.

Another hurricane cruise scenario might involve a substitution of one port of call for a skipped one. There are a number of factors at play here, including weather patterns and cruising time to the substitute port that captain and crew will be constantly monitoring.

You may find yourself completely charmed by the opportunity to visit a different Caribbean port and think of those captivating stories you’ll have to tell about the time your cruise ship was diverted during a storm.

If you’re flexible about timing and open to itinerary changes, you should have no worries when booking a cruise during hurricane season. If you choose to cruise during hurricane season, the fact that you likely booked a luxury cruise at an excellent price should make any itinerary changes easier to handle.

Are there special offers during hurricane season?

Guests relaxing inside the onboard spa

Now that you know cruising during hurricane season is unlikely to ruin your vacation, you can begin to plan your cruise strategy. Since many people don’t realize it’s possible to cruise during hurricane season safely, fewer people book cruises during peak hurricane months. Cruise fares are often lower during this time as Caribbean hurricane season occurs just after the peak summer travel season ends.

Where can I cruise to avoid hurricane season?

To avoid cruising during hurricane season, choose a destination other than the Caribbean or other regions of the world that are prone to storms. Consider luxury cruises to Alaska from May to September or European cruises from August to November.

Read: Best Places to Visit in September

Flamingo walking on Aruba beach

If you’re dreaming of a Caribbean cruise vacation and can only cruise during peak hurricane season, think about booking a cruise itinerary with ports of call on islands that are considered outside the hurricane zone. Islands in the Southern Caribbean are statistically less affected by hurricanes. These islands, nicknamed the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao), generally lie outside of the path for most hurricanes.

Will a cruise be canceled because of a hurricane?

It is unlikely that your cruise during Caribbean hurricane season will be canceled, but it is not guaranteed. That’s why it’s a smart move to purchase travel insurance (for any cruise vacation), and most necessary if you choose to cruise during hurricane season.

When you’re looking for travel insurance, don’t pick one based solely on the lowest price. Read a policy’s fine print carefully before you purchase, as many travel insurance policies won’t cover trip cancellations or delays due to hurricanes.

Person searching for travel insurance on laptop

Look for policies that include coverage for trip interruptions or cancellations due to severe weather or a hurricane. Travel insurance policies should also offer medical coverage and non-medical evacuation. Some will even cover delayed flights and travel delays in general. If a policy doesn’t include hurricane coverage, you may be able to add optional “cancel for any reason” coverage, but your best option is to purchase a policy that has specific hurricane coverage.

Just as important, you should purchase your travel insurance immediately after booking your cruise. Most insurance companies set time limits on purchasing policies that include hurricane coverage. Generally, you must have purchased a travel insurance policy before the hurricane is named in order to be covered. There are also travel insurance policies that require you to purchase within a certain timeframe (usually 14 to 21 days) of making your initial trip deposit. These conditions make it well worth your time to research and purchase a travel insurance policy not hastily, but certainly with haste.

Airplane taking off

For complete peace of mind about flights to and from your cruise, book your airfare with Flights by Celebrity. Flights by Celebrity offers cruise travelers a wealth of benefits and protection for your airfare investment with its points, price, and protection platform. First, you can use any applicable airline points to book your flight. Next, you’re guaranteed the lowest available price for the flights you book. Dedicated specialists are available 24/7 to work on your behalf should you experience a flight delay or interruption. They will work to get you on the next available flight so you can still get to your cruise ship on time, or get back home as quickly as possible if your return flight is affected.

What happens if there’s a storm during my cruise?

Celebrity cruising along Labadee

When cruising during hurricane season, you might encounter stormy weather, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that you’ll have to contend with rocking and rolling onboard your ship. Celebrity Cruises’ ships are conceived by master engineers, built exceptionally strong by the world’s most expert shipbuilders, and are equipped with advanced onboard technology that keeps them stabilized so you won’t typically feel even light rolling.

That built-for-strength stability and advanced on-board technology, coupled with the fact that Caribbean waters are quite calm in the summer and fall months, are another reason why it’s most likely that your Caribbean sailing, even during hurricane season, will be smooth and worry free.

Celebrity Edge cruising at night

Passenger safety in adverse weather (and in fair weather, as well) is so important that Celebrity Cruises’ parent company, Royal Caribbean International, employs a Chief Meteorologist who mans a Fleet Operations Center that monitors weather around the globe, wherever Celebrity Cruises’ ships travel.

It is the Chief Meteorologist’s job to keep a close eye on weather patterns and monitor any brewing storms that may affect a ship’s route. If a storm develops, the Chief and his team do everything in their power to avoid a ship being in harm’s way.

One advantage that cruise ships have in severe weather is that, unlike land destinations, ships are mobile. If a hurricane or other severe weather appears to be developing while you’re enjoying your cruise vacation, you can be sure the marine operations team is at work assessing when it might arrive, how severe the weather event may be, and how the ship’s captain can maneuver around it or change course.

How do I keep safe if there’s a hurricane while I’m on a cruise?

Now that you know how Celebrity Cruises works to ensure your safety with expert engineers, meteorologists, and experienced captains and crews, you should know what you can do to be safe if a hurricane situation occurs during your cruise vacation.

First, even the most seasoned cruisers might find themselves in need of stomach-calming assistance when cruising during hurricane season, so be sure to pack over-the-counter medication to prevent seasickness or, if necessary, a prescription for a patch that will prevent motion sickness.

Guest shopping onboard Celebrity Cruises

It’s equally important that you stay calm and continue to enjoy as much cruise activity as you would like. Be sure to pay attention to the captain’s daily messages about sea conditions, and always heed crew members directions.

Book your cruise

Now that you understand the ins and outs of cruising during hurricane season, browse our cruise itineraries online and find the perfect cruise for you, or call one of our vacation specialists at 1-800-852-8086.

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Carnival passengers recount ‘nightmare’ cruise as storm floods ship

Videos showed the Carnival Sunshine cabins and hallways flooding and ceilings leaking

Matthew Branham and his fiancée, Madison Davis, were lying by a Carnival Sunshine pool on Friday aboard a cruise returning to Charleston, S.C., from the Bahamas when an announcement came over the loudspeaker. The captain was expecting rougher weather that evening, but there was nothing to worry about. So Branham and Davis didn’t worry.

As the day went on, “We noticed it started getting cooler in the afternoon — much, much cooler,” said Branham, 25, of Castlewood, Va. “And then it was like a switch was flipped, and it literally turned into a nightmare.”

En route back to Charleston Friday night into Saturday, the Carnival Sunshine navigated into a strong storm system that battered the southeast over the holiday weekend. Videos emerged on social media showing cabins and hallways flooding, shop floors littered with destroyed merchandise and leaking ceilings . Passenger Brad Morrell snapped a photo of an automated instrument map reporting a 69 knot, or 79 mph, wind.

#CarnivalSunshine : Due to return to Charleston, South Carolina this Saturday, May 27, 2023, has been delayed due to severe weather. The ship is currently off the South Carolina coast and holding position, unable to return to the port because of high winds & rough seas. #cruise 🙏🏼 — ∼Marietta (@MariettaDaviz) May 28, 2023

Carnival said in a statement that the weather was unexpectedly strong, causing conditions that were rougher than forecast, but that its fleet operations center team, which relies on outside meteorology resources for itinerary planning, “coordinated to keep the ship in its safest location.”

“Attempting to sail out of the large front could have been dangerous,” the statement continued. “The ship proceeded to the port as soon as the weather began to clear.”

Strong Southeast storm slams Carolinas

Carnival said the captain made “several announcements about the weather and the delay it caused in returning to Charleston, asking guests to use extra precaution while walking around the ship.” Additionally, “some of the worst weather occurred in the overnight hours when announcements are not typically made, but guests and crew were safe.”

The ship’s medical staff did help a “small number” of guests and crew members who needed minor assistance following the storm. Despite the significant damage and a delay in schedule, Carnival Sunshine embarked on its next five-day Bahama sailing on Saturday.

From their sea-view room, Branham and Davis watched as waves surged over their window and braced themselves as the 892-foot-long ship lurched in the storm.

“Waves were hitting the boat so hard that it was like an earthquake experience, jarring you like a really rough roller coaster — even in the middle floor,” Branham said.

They were told to stay in their cabins. Meanwhile, Branham said, TVs were falling off walls, and glassware was sliding off shelves and shattering on the floor. “You could not stand up in your room,” he said. “You could be thrown from the bed.”

They packed up their belongings when their floor started to flood and took shelter in a main lobby area.

“All of the employees were sprinting downstairs with life vests,” Branham said. “There were little kids besides us screaming and crying and throwing fits.”

Throughout the storm, Branham wondered why there weren’t more announcements from Carnival staff. Besides the warning of rougher seas earlier Friday and one Saturday morning after they’d weathered the storm, Branham said they weren’t given any official updates on their situation. When he asked workers what was going on, they told him not to worry.

⁦⁦ @CarnivalCruise ⁩ #carnivalsunshine still 75mph winds at 9:25am. Sitting and spinning in the Atlantic. — FlyersCaptain™®© (@flyerscaptain) May 29, 2023

“But you see rooms flooded, and you can pick up a handful of sand and you’re kind of like, ‘What in the world? Why is nobody telling us anything?’” Branham said.

Jim Walker, a maritime lawyer and cruise industry legal expert, says his firm has been contacted by some Carnival Sunshine passengers who were injured during the storm, including a man who says he was struck by a door and broke his foot. Others have asked him about the potential for a class-action lawsuit.

While Walker said passengers should make their complaints known to Carnival, he doesn’t believe filing a lawsuit would be an efficient next step. Instead, impacted passengers can ask Carnival for a refund or a credit for another cruise, although there’s no guarantee the cruise line will grant such requests.

Pete Peterson, owner of Storybook Cruises , which is affiliated with Cruise Planners, said cruise ships keep a close eye on weather developments and will adjust their itinerary depending on the severity of the storm.

“Cruise lines monitor the weather all the time. They’re not going to put their passengers in harm’s way,” said Peterson, who has been a cruise adviser for more than 20 years and has sailed on nearly 60 cruises. “Obviously, some cruise lines are better at doing this than others.”

In 2016, Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas returned to port after cruising into a “bomb cyclone,” which damaged the ship amid winds gusting to 100 mph. The ship sailed into the remnants of Hurricane Hermine seven months later, causing additional problems.

To ensure the safety and comfort of its passengers, a cruise ship can alter its course and circumvent the rough weather system. In stormy conditions, the crew can deploy the stabilizers, which will prevent the ship from rolling and bucking.

“You don’t experience the up and down,” Peterson said. “It’s not as rough a ride.”

Both approaches can add to a cruise line’s expenditures, Peterson said. Stabilizers slow the vessel, thereby consuming more fuel. Sailing around the storm can take longer than the original route and disrupt the company’s cruise schedule, leading to delays or cancellations. The cruise line may have to reimburse passengers or provide them with future credits because of the inconvenience.

“When they do something like that, it’s going to cost them money,” Peterson said.

Craig Setzer , a meteorologist and hurricane preparedness specialist, said that even with the hurricane-like conditions and flooding, “I would never be in doubt of the vessel’s integrity,” he said. “Cruise ships are structurally very, very sound and can survive a lot. They’re really rugged.”

Matthew Cappucci contributed to this report.

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Cruise lines reroute ships as subtropical storm Nicole barrels toward Florida

Gene Sloan

At least three cruise lines were rerouting ships in the Caribbean and the Bahamas on Tuesday as a growing subtropical storm Nicole barreled toward Florida.

In perhaps the most significant change, Royal Caribbean 's giant Anthem of the Seas, which departed from the port of Bayonne, New Jersey, on Sunday on a seven-night cruise to Florida and the Bahamas, skipped its first call Tuesday at Port Canaveral, Florida, to steer clear of the storm and will skip the two remaining calls on the itinerary, too — at Nassau, Bahamas and Perfect Day at CocoCay , Royal Caribbean's private island in the Bahamas.

Instead, the 4,180-passenger ship is heading south to Labadee, Haiti, where it will arrive on Wednesday.

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Also rerouting significantly Tuesday were Royal Caribbean's 3,798-passenger Liberty of the Seas and 3,926-passenger Freedom of the Seas, both of which departed Florida on Monday on four-night sailings.

The Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Liberty of the Seas on Tuesday was speeding south to Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic instead of heading to the Bahamas for calls in Nassau and Perfect Day. The Miami-based Independence of the Seas is on the way to Falmouth, Jamaica, instead of the Bahamas.

A third Royal Caribbean ship that departed Florida on Monday, the 3,858-passenger, Port Canaveral-based Independence of the Seas, is skipping a call scheduled for Wednesday at Perfect Day.

Related: Read this before booking a cruise during hurricane season

Royal Caribbean's Baltimore-based Enchantment of the Seas, which is on an eight-night voyage to Florida and the Bahamas out of Baltimore that began Saturday, also is dropping a call at Perfect Day scheduled for Tuesday and is on its way back north toward Baltimore earlier than scheduled.

The Bahamas ports that the ships were scheduled to visit currently are in the crosshairs of Nicole's expected path over the next two days.

The approach of subtropical storm Nicole to the Bahamas and the coast of Florida also has forced Disney Cruise Line to drop calls this week at Castaway Cay, its private island in the Bahamas, scheduled for two Florida-based ships: Disney Dream and Disney Wish.

cruise ship in tropical storm

The Port Canaveral-based Disney Wish also will drop a visit to Nassau and instead head to Cozumel, Mexico. Both Disney Wish and the Miami-based Disney Dream are on four-night sailings that began on Monday.

Two Carnival Cruise Line ships — the 2,974-passenger Carnival Liberty and 2,052-passenger Carnival Elation — also are being affected.

  • The Port Canaveral-based Carnival Liberty, which departed the port Monday on a four-night cruise, will spend Tuesday at sea instead of a planned visit to Nassau, Bahamas. On Wednesday, the ship will visit Cozumel instead of Princess Cays, Bahamas.
  • The Jacksonville, Florida-based Carnival Elation, which departed the port Saturday on a five-night cruise, will spend Tuesday at Freeport, Bahamas, instead of Princess Cays.

The storm, which currently is well east of Florida, will likely affect more cruise ships over the coming days as it heads westward toward the northwestern Bahamas and Florida.

Related: Stuck at sea during a hurricane

While currently a subtropical storm with maximum sustained winds of just 50 miles per hour, Nicole is expected to gain strength rapidly over the next 48 hours and possibly reach hurricane strength before making landfall along the Florida coast.

But Nicole's winds aren't as big an issue for cruise ships sailing in the region as the massive waves that the storm and interacting storm fronts are expected to churn up over the next couple days.

In a video update posted Sunday, Royal Caribbean chief meteorologist James Van Fleet warned the storm could cause waves above 20 feet high in the waters off the east coast of Florida up through the Carolinas.

"We're looking at about 21 to 24 feet [waves], and that's not somewhere where we want to put our ships sailing in those regions," Van Fleet said in a Twitter video offering his outlook on the storm and its effect on cruises.

As of 7 a.m. EST Tuesday, Nicole was about 385 miles east-northeast of the northwestern Bahamas and moving west-northwest at 8 miles per hour. The hurricane had maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour.

The National Hurricane Center on Tuesday said the storm was forecasted to approach the northwestern Bahamas Tuesday, move near or over those islands on Wednesday and approach the east coast of Florida Wednesday night.

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Icon of the Seas Iconic by Night Water Show at the Aquadome

The Best Cruise Ship Nightlife On Icon of the Seas [Infographic]

To hit the deck after dark.

By Amanda Mesa | Published on May 14, 2024

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Icon of the seas sm.

With more than 15 bars and music venues, you'll never run out of ways to live it up or wind down on Icon of the Seas ℠ . Just be sure to save some energy each day for karaoke ballads, spins on the dance floor and late-night toasts!

At this next-level venue, you can marvel at the aerial stunts as you sip craft cocktails paired with unique culinary creations.


The Overlook ℠ & The Overlook ℠ Pods

This swank lounge offers ocean vistas from floor-to-ceiling windows and intimate “pods,” perfect for hanging with friends and snapping selfies.

Rye & Bean ℠

Come here for coffee-infused concoctions that take the cocktail of the moment — the espresso martini — to caffeinated new heights.

Rye & Bean


Headliners play tributes to musical legends from across the decades. Our suggestion? Order cocktails that are as classic as the tunes.

Trellis Bar

Trellis Bar

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This walk-up champagne bar serves all your fizzy faves. Start the day with a mimosa; end it by the tower of flutes.

The Attic

Grab a seat at this adults-only club, where a raucous lineup of stand-up comedians are sure to keep you laughing ‘til it hurts.


The four-piece band at this vibrant, Latin-themed club keeps the samba, salsa, merengue and bachata beats going until the early morning hours.

Dueling Pianos ℠

At this lively parlor, talented master pianists battle it out on two baby grands while guests sing along.


Schooner Bar

It's all about the singalong at this nautical-themed spot, where the soundtrack is set by a talented pianist who always takes requests.

Point & Feather

Point & Feather ℠

Order a pint at this English pub, where you can play a round of darts or appreciate the tunes of a live guitarist.

1400 Lobby Bar

1400 ℠ Lobby Bar

The sea views are as mesmerizing as the mixologist’s creations at this upscale hangout, complete with indoor and outdoor seating.

1400 Lobby Bar

Spotlight ℠ Karma

The live musician here is … you! Belt out your favorite song in front of a live audience or reserve a private room.

Music Hall

Music Hall ℠

A rotating roster of rock cover bands and a resident DJ ensure you'll end up on the dance floor sooner rather than later.

Overlook Bar at Night

Getting There

Start planning your iconic nightlife on an Icon of the Seas℠ cruise now!

W hen it comes to cruise ship nightlife, our newest ship, Icon of the Seas℠, checks all the boxes for an unforgettable evening of iconic nightlife. With more than 15 buzzing bars and live music venues, you'll never run out of satisfying ways to live it up or wind it down onboard. Here are some vacation ideas for adults looking to hit the deck after dark.

Dueling Pianos℠

You've heard of piano bars, but few come close to Dueling Pianos℠ onboard Icon of the Seas℠. At this always lively juke joint, talented master pianists battle it out on two baby grands while guests sing along and sip ice-cold beers, wines and cocktails. Request your favorite ballad or croon along to the crowd's favorites. From Billy Joel to Barry Manilow and The Beatles, get ready for all kinds of iconic hits and timeless melodies.

Lou's Jazz 'n Blues℠

Inspired by the intimate lounges of New York City, New Orleans and Chicago, Lou's Jazz 'n Blues℠ is the perfect place for couples to spend a romantic evening together while enjoying a chill nightcap. Headliners here move from soulful jazz-pop to big band and everything in between, playing odes to musical legends from across the decades. Grab a table indoors or on the terrace and order classic cocktails as the musicians wow you.

Rye & Bean℠

Espresso martinis might be having a moment, but Rye & Bean℠ didn't stop there when curating its expansive menu of coffee-infused concoctions. Stop in for a late-night pick-me-up and stay for the super-cool ambiance — a unique blend between a cozy coffee shop and a hip, local bar. It's a prime spot to wrap up a day of awesome cruise activities and fuel up for a fun-filled night.

The Overlook℠ & The Overlook℠ Pods

Craving an evening that's all about the views? Head on over to The Overlook℠. This swank lounge offers ocean vistas from floor-to-ceiling windows. There's also a glowing garden of intimate seating pods perfect for hanging with friends and snapping the ultimate selfie. If you bring your besties, you can gather 'round classic board games while catchy beats pump through the speakers. This is the stuff vacation memories are made of.

Fill your evening onboard with plenty of laughs during a visit to The Attic, the ship's adults-only comedy club. One of the top cruise ship nightlife options onboard, the club hosts a raucous lineup of jokesters specializing in everything from slapstick to skit comedy — each more hilarious than the last.

You don't have to go shoreside to enjoy a world-class concert. Icon of the Seas℠ is home to Music Hall, a sprawling venue that hosts a rotating list of cover bands. From disco hits to punk ballads, every night's a different sonic adventure here — and there's a good chance you'll end up on the dance floor.

1400℠ Lobby Bar

A vintage aesthetic meets modern chic at 1400℠ Lobby Bar, an upscale hangout with indoor and terrace seating that delivers wow-worthy sea views. It's the first time the Royal Promenade has ever opened to the outdoors on anyof our ships, and this bar is sure to leave a lasting impression. The cocktails here are also exceptional; each has been developed with world-renowned mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim.

Trellis Bar is the place to kick off your evening as one of the most charming options for drinks and bites onboard Icon of the Seas℠. Stop in for pre-dinner appetizers that look as beautiful as they taste, paired with cocktails and wines. The surroundings are as impressive as the food, thanks to the thousands of tropical plants and lush living walls that encircle Central Park®.

You don't need to be celebrating something to crave a glass of bubbly. Located in the buzzing heart of Central Park®, Bubbles℠ is a walk-up Champagne bar serving fizzy favorites by the glass or bottle. Swing by in the morning to start your day with a mimosa, then raise an evening flute to a day well spent. This bar is another ideal option for couples looking to toast an incredible cruise. Don't forget to snap a shot of the trickling Champagne tower.

If you came to show off your steps, there's no place onboard like Boleros. The six-piece band at this vibrant, Latin-themed club keeps the samba, salsa, merengue and bachata beats going until the early morning hours. The bartenders keep step, making sure the Cuban mojitos and Brazilian caipirinhas stay flowing.

It's all about the singalong at this nautical-themed venue, where the soundtrack is set by a talented pianist who's always down to take requests. Order up a frosty pint, settle in beneath the mast and get ready to raise a glass to one heartwarming ballad after another.

Point & Feather℠

Point & Feather℠ is a snug English pub onboard Icon of the Seas℠ where you can enjoy a diverse variety of brews while aiming for the bullseye in a round of darts. Keep an ear out for live music; this inviting watering hole regularly hosts live guitarists. The pub is a fitting option for those looking for more easygoing nightlife entertainment.

Spotlight℠ Karaoke

One of the best cruise ship nightlife options onboard Icon of the Seas℠ is Spotlight℠ Karaoke . Choose from thousands of popular songs and belt them out in front of a live audience. Or reserve your own room for a private singalong party with your crew. Need some liquid courage? Grab something to quench your thirst from the onsite bar before your big break.

The shimmering AquaDome℠ perched at the top of Icon of the Seas℠ unlocks a world of sensory discovery. At this next-level venue, athletes dazzle with spellbinding stunts beneath a shapeshifting waterfall as you sip delicious craft cocktails paired with unique culinary creations.

When you sail onboard Icon of the Seas℠, evenings are just as exciting as days spent exploring ashore or enjoying the ship's many cruise activities and attractions. With so many thrilling experiences onboard, leveling up every night of your cruise getaway is easy. Pro tip: make a game plan ahead of your sailing to maximize your time once the sun goes down. And make sure you save some energy each day for whirls on the dance floor, karaoke sessions and late-night cocktail hours.

cruise ship in tropical storm


Amanda has written for Royal Caribbean since 2017. She also covers travel, lifestyle, food and beverage for Indulge Magazine, the Miami Herald and PureWow. She's traveled extensively around the world, enjoys building unforgettable itineraries and loves introducing readers to lesser-known destinations.

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Aquatic Adventures: The Most Thrilling Water Parks on Cruise Ships 

by The Cruise Web Team May 17, 2024

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Embark on a voyage of aquatic adventures as we set sail to explore the most thrilling water parks on cruise ships. These floating playgrounds offer a unique blend of excitement and relaxation, providing guests of all ages with endless fun and refreshing escapes. Imagine soaring down towering waterslides, relaxing in tropical pools, and enjoying interactive splash zones—all while surrounded by the beauty of the open sea. Join us on this journey as we dive into the world of cruise ships with water parks, where every splash leads to unforgettable memories and a truly exhilarating experience at sea.

Splash-tastic Fun: Guide to Onboard Water Parks       

Cruise ships are turning up the fun with their onboard water parks, offering a variety of attractions that cater to both thrill-seekers and those looking for a more relaxing experience. These water parks often feature multiple pools, water slides of varying heights and speeds, and interactive splash zones for younger guests. Whether you’re looking to catch some rays on a sun deck or plunge down a thrilling water slide, there’s something for everyone at these onboard water parks.  

Carnival Cruise Line’s WaterWorks  

Carnival Cruise Line’s WaterWorks is an exhilarating on-board water park designed to provide a thrilling and refreshing experience. Here’s a more detailed look at its features:  

  • Twister Waterslide : This is the star attraction of WaterWorks. The Twister Waterslide is a spiraling slide that begins several decks high, providing an adrenaline-pumping descent. Riders are treated to a swift, wet journey down the slide, making it a favorite among thrill-seekers.      
  • Racing Slides : For guests who enjoy a bit of friendly competition, select Carnival ships offer side-by-side racing slides. These slides allow guests to race each other down parallel slides, adding excitement to the fun.  
  • Speedway Splash : This feature takes the racing concept to another level. The Speedway Splash is a long, winding slide equipped with special lighting effects. It offers hundreds of feet of racing action, making every descent a unique experience.  
  • PowerDrencher : The PowerDrencher introduces a different kind of water fun. It’s essentially a gigantic bucket that fills up with water and tips over at intervals, drenching everyone below. This feature takes the concept of a’soaking’ to a whole new level and is a big hit, especially on hot days.    

In summary, Carnival Cruise Line’s WaterWorks is more than just a water park. It’s a place where guests of all ages can enjoy a variety of water-based activities, from thrilling slides to competitive racing, all while sailing in the middle of the ocean. It’s this unique combination of fun, excitement, and location that makes WaterWorks a standout feature of the Carnival Cruise Line experience.  

View Carnival Cruise Cruises

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Aqua Parks  

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Aqua Parks are a water lover’s paradise, offering a wide range of aquatic activities and features. Here’s a more detailed look at what they offer:  

  • Waterslides : The Aqua Parks are known for their impressive waterslides. These towering structures provide thrilling rides that are sure to get your adrenaline pumping. Among these, the standout is ‘Free Fall’. Available on their Breakaway Class ships, the Free Fall is one of the fastest drop slides at sea, offering a heart-stopping, high-speed descent that’s not for the faint-hearted.  
  • Swimming Pools and Hot Tubs : In addition to the waterslides, the Aqua Parks feature swimming pools where guests can take a leisurely dip. For those looking for a more relaxing experience, the hot tubs provide a perfect spot to unwind and soak in the warmth while enjoying the sea views.  
  • Splash Parks : For younger guests and the young at heart, the splash parks offer a fun and safe water play area. These areas are designed with interactive features that spray, sprinkle, and dump water, providing endless entertainment.  
  • The Epic Plunge : Exclusive to the Norwegian Epic, The Epic Plunge is a 200-foot slide that offers a unique and exhilarating water slide experience. This slide is a must-try for thrill-seekers and water slide enthusiasts.

In summary, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Aqua Parks offer a comprehensive and exciting range of water-based activities. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker looking for an adrenaline rush, a family looking for some fun, or someone simply wanting to relax, the Aqua Parks have something for everyone. They truly enhance the cruising experience, making your time at sea as exciting and enjoyable as the destinations you visit.  

View Norwegian Cruise Line Cruises

Royal Caribbean’s Category 6 Waterpark  

Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas features the Category 6 Waterpark, an impressive aquatic attraction designed to offer thrilling experiences for guests of all ages. This waterpark, the largest at sea, includes six record-breaking waterslides, diverse splash zones, and innovative water attractions, providing a variety of experiences from high-adrenaline thrills to more relaxed water play areas.  

The waterslides and attractions include:  

  • Pressure Drop : An open free-fall slide, the first of its kind at sea, offering an almost vertical drop that delivers an intense adrenaline rush.  
  • Frightening Bolt : The tallest waterslide at sea, standing at a dizzying height, featuring a high-speed descent with twists and turns that provide both speed and excitement.  
  • Storm Surge : A high-speed raft slide designed for multiple riders, with unique spirals and rapid descents that allow groups to enjoy the thrill together.  
  • Hurricane Hunter : Another multi-rider raft slide known for its fast-paced spirals and drops, offering dynamic turns and sudden drops.  
  • Storm Chasers : The first mat-racing duo at sea, featuring two side-by-side slides that allow guests to race each other head-first down winding tracks, adding a competitive element to the waterpark experience.  

Surfside Splashaway Bay is perfect for younger guests with mini slides, water cannons, fountains, and interactive play structures. The Adventure Pool offers floating lily pads, obstacle courses, and rope swings for action-packed fun. The H2O Zone is a family-friendly area with splash pads, water sprays, and interactive elements for all ages.

Trained lifeguards ensure guest safety throughout the waterpark, and certain slides have height and weight restrictions. The waterpark is designed with accessibility in mind, offering features for guests with varying needs. Comfortable lounging areas and private cabanas are available for relaxation.  

To make the most of the Category 6 Waterpark, arrive early to avoid long lines, especially for popular slides. Wear proper swimwear and consider water shoes for comfort. Stay hydrated by bringing water or purchasing beverages from kiosks. Always supervise young children and follow slide requirements. Apply waterproof sunscreen to protect your skin.  

View Icon of the Seas Cruises

MSC Cruises’ Aqua Parks    

The Aqua Parks on MSC Cruises are a paradise for those seeking fun and adventure. They are available on several ships, including MSC Grandiosa , MSC Bellissima , MSC Seaview , MSC Seaside , and MSC Meraviglia .  

Here are some of the exciting features and activities you can find in these aquatic parks:  

  • Zip Line : Thrill-seekers can sign up for a ride on two racing zip lines that extend over the side of the ship, a priceless experience you’re sure to remember forever.
  • Waterpark : High jinks and water are two elements you’ll find plenty of at the on-board Waterpark, perfect for people of all ages to unwind and have tons of aquatic fun. Among the features are twisting slides, a range of pools, and activities to suit every age group.
  • Himalayan Bridge : Check out the Himalayan Bridge! Take the skywalk across a suspension bridge located at the aft of the vessel at a height of some 195 feet above sea level.
  • Swimming Pools : If a bit of poolside therapy sounds like your idea of heaven, look no further than one of the numerous swimming pools to get your fill of sun and relaxation.

These aquatic parks offer a variety of activities for all ages, making them a hub of entertainment and relaxation. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or just looking to unwind, there’s something for everyone at MSC Cruises’ Aqua Parks. Enjoy the high seas like never before!  

View MSC Cruises

Slides, Rides, and Pools: Water Park Attractions Overview  

One of the highlights of cruise ship water parks is the wide range of attractions available. From twisting water slides that offer breathtaking views of the ocean to relaxing, lazy rivers that meander through the ship, there’s no shortage of fun to be had. Some ships even feature surf simulators, allowing guests to catch a wave without ever leaving the ship. With so many attractions to choose from, you’ll want to plan your day carefully to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the fun.  

Kid-Friendly Zones vs. Adult-Only Areas      

Cruise ship water parks are designed to cater to guests of all ages, with separate areas for children and adults. Kid-friendly zones often feature shallow pools, interactive water play areas, and gentle water slides that are perfect for younger guests. Adults can enjoy more thrilling attractions, such as high-speed water slides and relaxing hot tubs. Some ships even offer exclusive adult-only areas, allowing guests to relax and unwind in a peaceful setting away from the hustle and bustle of the main water park.  

Beyond the Slides: Additional Water Park Amenities      

In addition to thrilling water slides and pools, cruise ship water parks often offer a range of amenities to enhance your experience. Many parks feature snack bars and lounges where guests can grab a bite to eat or enjoy a refreshing drink. Some ships even offer cabanas for rent, providing a private oasis where guests can relax and unwind in between rides. With so many amenities available, you will never run out of ways to enjoy your day at the water park.  

Making a Splash: Tips for Enjoying the Water Park at Sea  

In the world of cruising, the journey is just as important as the destination. With the advent of onboard water parks, cruise ships have transformed into floating resorts, offering thrilling aquatic adventures that rival some of the best land-based water parks. From high-speed slides to relaxing pools, these water parks cater to everyone, ensuring an unforgettable experience for all ages.  

As we’ve explored in “Aquatic Adventures: The Most Thrilling Water Parks on Cruise Ships,” the offerings from Carnival Cruise Line , Norwegian Cruise Line , Royal Caribbean , and MSC Cruises are truly remarkable. Each cruise line brings its own unique touch to their water parks, creating an array of experiences that are sure to make your cruise vacation a splash hit!    

Are you ready to dive into these aquatic adventures? Don’t wait! Start planning your next cruise vacation today and experience the thrill of these amazing water parks at sea. Remember, the perfect cruise ship with a water park is out there waiting for you. It is time to make a splash on your next vacation!  

For more information or to start booking your cruise, give us a call at 1-800-377-9383 or email us at [email protected] . Our travel experts are ready to help you plan the perfect aquatic adventure!  

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Port Canaveral announces plans to build a new cruise terminal

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. — Port Canaveral announced plans Thursday to build a new cruise terminal to accommodate large cruise vessels.

Port officials plan to build a new multi-user cruise terminal at the Port’s existing North 8 berth, which would require minimal modifications to extend the current 1,020 linear feet bulkhead to 1,344 feet.

What You Need To Know

Port canaveral announces plans to build a new cruise terminal port officials to build a new multi-user cruise terminal at the port's existing north 8 berth they will extend the current 1,020 linear feet bulkhead to 1,344 feet officials hope to have the new terminal operational by summer 2026.

Port Canaveral’s North 8 berth — which was designed and built in 2018 for multi-purpose flexibility — shares its basin with the Port’s Cruise Terminal 5 on the northside of Port Canaveral.

In addition to extending the North 8 bulkhead capacity, the project would also extend and improve the berthing capacity of Cruise Terminal 5 by improving the waterside to the northside of the shared basin.

“We have cruise partners with immediate needs to locate assets in Florida and Port Canaveral is where they want to be,” stated Capt. John Murray, Port Canaveral CEO. “Our ability to efficiently bring a new cruise terminal online was key to retaining and growing this important business segment that supports many jobs and delivers high value to our regional and state economy.”

cruise ship in tropical storm

Due to North 8’s location, current berth configuration and vacant uplands, port officials said construction would cause minimal disruption to current port and tenant operations.

The new terminal campus will include a multi-story parking facility to accommodate up to 3,000 vehicles and roadway improvements in and out of the new facility, including turning lanes and a “flyover” ramp directly connecting the site with State Road 401.

The port is often referred to as “the cruise capital of the world,”

Here, 6 terminals are already operating at maximum capacity, and officials say the need for a new terminal has become urgent.

Baking is her specialty. It’s Brenda Bernard’s day to day at Ludz Foodie Bar and Grill. Tourism that comes from the cruise ships makes up about 80% of Bernard’s clientele.

For her, today’s announcement is great news.

“What we look at is job creation, an opportunity to bring in more employees and get involved with the local community,” Bernard said.

For businesses in the area, accommodating these extra crowds will mean hiring more employees and expanding restaurants to accommodate the growth in Port Canaveral.

Officials are targeting summer 2026 to complete the new facility. 


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