Move over Christmas and New Year – Halloween is fast becoming one of the hottest headliners of holiday cruises. With spooky festivities, horror flicks and onboard trick-or-treating, Halloween cruises are basically floating parties with a devilishly creepy edge. It won’t take commuting or long walks around the neighbourhood to take part in these festivities either – as here Halloween is brought right to your door.

If you’re in the market for the best Halloween cruise deals, we’ve got a trick – and treat – for you. Here’s our guide to the top Halloween cruises, with killer destinations and chill-worthy activities.

Spooky destinations


You’ve seen the colourful sugar skulls and undead Mariachi men – these are small tokens taken from Mexico’s coveted ‘Dia de los Muertos’ celebration. On the whole, it’s a relatively sombre celebration that’s marked as a day of reflection, but Mexico – specifically central regions and those in the south – comes to life with traditional cuisine and flowers that decorate just about every surface.

Dia de los Muertos is typically celebrated from 28th October to 2nd November, though that can vary depending on where you go. Halloween as we know it is also celebrated in Mexico, too.

The Bermuda Triangle

You’ve probably heard of the Bermuda Triangle, as popular culture has made it a great and mysterious place in our minds. The area is said to be responsible for terrorising sailors and pilots, sending them into the unknown, never to be heard from again. Don’t let a visit here on a cruise ship worry you, though, as the Bermuda Triangle is a regular passage point for many modern cruise ships, whether you knew it or not.

That doesn’t demystify the mystery, however, or make it any less fun to ponder as you cross through its misty waters. Lines like Royal Caribbean® even tap into the creepiness that surrounds the Bermuda Triangle with a spooky nighttime shore excursion onboard a glass-bottom boat. Cruisers will pass over an abandoned shipwreck, marine life and chilling pockets of total darkness.

Dracula’s Castle

Tucked away in the hills of Transylvania is the mysterious Bran Castle, otherwise known as Dracula’s Castle. It’s still heavily speculated whether Bram Stoker, author of ‘Dracula’, had Bran Castle in mind when constructing his novel. In reality, it’s the former swelling place of the infamously cruel Vlad III, who was the inspiration for the character of Dracula.

It’s not difficult to see why visiting Dracula’s Castle would inspire all kinds of thrills and chills on Halloween. Avalon Waterways hosts a Balkan cruise with trips into Transylvania, so visiting Dracula’s old haunts may be easier than you thought.

Halloween celebrations

Carnival Cruise Line’s Frightfully Fun Halloween

Cruisers sailing with Carnival Cruise Lines are in for a treat when it comes to celebrating Halloween on a cruise, as costume parties, Halloween parades, adult dance parties and themed treats hit the decks. Carnival’s signature Dive-In Movies even get a frightful makeover as horror flicks take over late-night poolside screenings.

Halloween with Celebrity Cruises®

There’s a little something for adults and kids by way of spooky celebrations with Celebrity Cruises®. There are Halloween-themed silent discos, clad in themed decor and featuring special themed tipples. Family-friendly Halloween films take to screen, plus there’s trick-or-treating, arts and crafts and costume parades.

Sweet treats with Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line gives Halloween a gourmet spin with special Halloween cocktails and sweet treats, including buffets decorated with pumpkins. The Halloween festivities will vary depending on what ship you choose, but you can guarantee the presence of Halloween parties, scary films and trick-or-treating for little ones.

BONUS – a real life, haunted cruise ship

This is not a drill – Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Dawn is thought to be actually haunted. Numerous sightings of ghostly activity have been reported, from a blonde-haired woman materialising in staterooms to creepy nighttime knocks on the doors. If you ask us, there’s no better way to celebrate Halloween than by dining alongside a real life ghost.

Tips for making the most of your Halloween cruise

  1. Bring a costume! Even if you’re not sure whether or not your cruise offers Halloween celebrations, if you’ve got the room in your suitcase, it doesn’t hurt to pack a set of cat ears or a pack of fangs. You’ll probably be surprised at the lengths cruise ship crews go to, to get in the Halloween spirit.
  2. Don’t dismiss Halloween as a celebration just for kids – if there are Halloween celebrations happening onboard your cruise ship, odds are, there will be an adults-only celebration later on at night.
  3. If it’s Halloween, feel free to wear your costume to dinner so that you won’t have to rush back to your cabin afterwards to get your outfit together. Most Halloween fetes take place right after dinner, so you won’t have to waste any time putting on your face paint.
  4. If you love the idea of spooky excursions and haunted destinations but don’t have the time in your schedule to take a cruise holiday at the end of October, never fear – there are lines that offer these same creepy excursions and destinations year-round. Spookiness isn’t reserved for just one time of year.
  5. Make sure to plan your outfit to your cruise ship’s safety standards. Weapons of any kind – including the obviously fake, cheesy plastic ones – are strictly forbidden, so don’t get caught off guard.

Ready to get spooked? We thought so. Let the costume planning commence!

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