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11 Best Cruise Cocktails

Martini Flight from Celebrity Cruise (Photo: Celebrity Cruise Lines)
Martini Flight from Celebrity Cruise (Photo: Celebrity Cruise Lines)

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Updated August 29, 2018

Cocktails and cruises go hand in hand; part of the enjoyment of any cruise vacation for many people is sitting back on a pool lounger or at the aft bar with a fruity concoction in hand.

All cruise ships have the standard umbrella drinks such as margaritas, daiquiris, pina coladas, mai tais, mojitos, blue Hawaiians, caipirinhas, planter's punch and more. In addition, cruise ship bars serve classic pre-dinner cocktails, including martinis, highballs and Manhattans, as well as after-dinner aperitifs and liqueur.

What's changed in the last decade is the breadth and sophistication of cruise cocktails. Mainstream cruise lines have added craft cocktail bars, where bartenders use herbs, bitters, unusual flavors of infused liquor and even raw vegetables and egg whites, to forge new creations.

We can't possibly choose all of our favorite drinks, but here are 11 of the best cruise cocktails for you to try the next time you get onboard. Cheers!


1. Cucumber Sunrise, Carnival Cruise Line

Almost all the spirits doctored up by Carnival's Alchemy Bar mixologists are worth trying, but our favorite is the Cucumber Sunrise. With ingredients like watermelon nectar and muddled cucumber, it's light and refreshing -- and a great choice for day drinking.

Cucumber Sunrise

Cucumber Sunrise Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cucumber wheels (muddled)
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 2 oz. Absolut vodka
  • 2 oz. watermelon syrup
  • 2 oz. orange juice
  • 1 cucumber wheel garnish

Directions:

  • Add muddled cucumbers, lime juice, vodka, syrup and orange juice into glass.
  • Shake contents.
  • Strain excess pulp.
  • Pour into separate glass with ice.
  • Garnish with a cucumber.


2. Legend Reviver on Norwegian Cruise Line

Invented by the 2017 Bacardi Legacy Cruise Competition Bartender of the Year, this cocktail is as much a work of art as it is a delicious pre-dinner drink. Even better: It's available at every bar across the fleet.

Legend Reviver Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Bacardi 8 Anos
  • 0.75 oz. star anise-infused sweet vermouth
  • 0.25 oz. caramel/cinnamon syrup
  • 3 drops of Fee Brothers whiskey barrel-aged bitters
  • Mist of absinthe
  • Lemon peel and star anise garnish

Directions:

  • Mist serving glass with absinthe and set aside.
  • Add Bacardi, vermouth, syrup and bitters into a mixing glass.
  • Add ice to the mixing glass until it is about 3/4 full.
  • Stir until all the liquid touches the ice.
  • Strain liquid into a serving glass.
  • Garnish with lemon peel and star anise.


3. The Isaac, Princess Cruises

Named for the famed bartender from "The Love Boat," The Isaac remains a popular drink of choice for many Princess cruisers, despite the fact that it's not listed on the menu. You can order The Isaac at any Princess cruise ship bar.

The Isaac Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. white rum of choice
  • 2 oz. pomegranate syrup
  • 0.5 oz. lime juice
  • Splash of club soda
  • 2 pineapple leaf spears and cherry garnish

Directions:

  • Fill highball glass with two-thirds ice.
  • Add ice, rum, syrup and lime juice into a cocktail shaker.
  • Shake and strain into glass, filling to the top of the ice.
  • Top off with club soda.
  • Garnish with pineapple spears and cherry.


4. Martini Flight, Celebrity Cruises

Despite its ice-rimmed top, the Martini Bar on Celebrity Cruises is always a hot gathering spot, with passengers lining up to watch the bartenders fling their shakers around. Because the list of creative martinis is too vast to order one by one, we suggest the flight, where you can get six sampler-sized swizzles to try. (The Blue Wave martini is our favorite.)
We recommend not trying to re-create Celebrity Cruises' martini flight at home.

Blue Wave Martini Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. blue curacao
  • 3 oz. Hpnotiq liqueur
  • 2 oz. coconut liqueur
  • 2 oz. pineapple juice
  • Orange peel garnish

Directions:

  • Add ingredients into a cocktail shaker.
  • Shake and strain into a martini glass.
  • Garnish with orange peel.


5. MSC Disarita, MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises' signature drink is perhaps the classiest margarita you'll ever have at sea. Served at MSC Divina's Disaronno Bar, the MSC Disarita combines the amaretto-tasting Italian liqueur with the flavors of Mexico -- a rustic twist to the much-loved cocktail.

MSC Disarita Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Disaronno Originale
  • 1 oz. tequila of choice
  • 2 oz. lemon margarita mix
  • 1 lime wheel

Directions:

  • Salt rim of margarita glass and set aside.
  • Fill separate mixing glass with ice.
  • Add Disaronno, tequila and lemon margarita mix to mixing glass.
  • Shake contents.
  • Strain into margarita glass.
  • Garnish with lime wheel.


6. Robot-Made Cocktail, Royal Caribbean

Part of what makes any drink at Royal Caribbean's Bionic Bar a favorite of ours is the fact that it's served to you by a "robot bartender." Order your drink via an iPad; then watch a mechanical arm shake and pour your concoction into a cup, ready for you to enjoy. Look for the Bionic Bar on Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas.

Infinity Recipe (one of a handful of "Bionic Signature" drinks)

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Beefeater gin
  • 2 oz. cranberry juice
  • 2 oz. tonic
  • 1 oz. lime juice

Directions:

  • Add ingredients to cocktail shaker.
  • Shake and strain into glass, over ice.


7. High Tide, Disney Cruise Line

With its focus on families, you might think Disney suffers in the cocktail department. Not so; mama needs a drink! Quench your thirst with this popular drink of the day, available at every bar across the fleet.

High Tide Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz. Malibu rum
  • 1.5 oz. amaretto
  • 2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 2 oz. cranberry juice
  • Lime wheel and cherry garnish

Directions:

  • Add rum, amaretto, pineapple juice and cranberry juice into shaker.
  • Shake contents.
  • Pour mixture into glass, over ice.
  • Garnish with lime wheel and cherry.


8. Strawberry Basil Bellissimo, Holland America

Sweet, fruity drink lovers are sure to order seconds of Holland America's Strawberry Basil Bellissimo, whose fresh garden-esque flavors disguise the taste of the alcohol -- making it go down smoothly. The popular drink is found in all bars fleetwide and is best paired with live music at B.B. King's Blues Club, Billboard Onboard or Lincoln Center Stage.

Strawberry Basil Bellissimo Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 strawberries
  • 3 basil leaves
  • Strawberry syrup
  • 2 oz. vodka of choice
  • 2 oz. lime juice

Directions:

  • Sugar rim of tumbler glass and set aside.
  • Add strawberries, two basil leaves and splash of strawberry syrup to mixing glass.
  • Muddle contents.
  • Fill mixing glass with ice.
  • Pour vodka and lime juice.
  • Shake contents.
  • Pour into tumbler glass and garnish with basil leaf.


9. Kiss on the Lips, Carnival Cruise Line

Although the Alchemy Bar is outstanding, Carnival has also elevated the fruity pool drink into an art form, with an extensive menu of colorful concoctions. It's hard to miss the bright orange Kiss on the Lips; made with peach schnapps, mango mix and grenadine, the cocktail is one of the line's most popular -- for good reason.

Kiss on the Lips Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz. peach schnapps
  • 5 oz. frozen mango mix
  • 1 tbsp. grenadine

Directions:

  • Add peach schnapps, frozen mango mix and crushed ice (2 cups) into a blender.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Pour grenadine into cocktail glass.
  • Pour blended mixture into cocktail glass with grenadine.
  • Garnish with pineapple slice and cherry.

10. Rebellious Fish, Norwegian Cruise Line

Sometimes a glass just isn't enough to slake your thirst (or keep a buzz going). The Rebellious Fish, which combines a variety of flavors, is not only refreshing and delicious, but it's served in a souvenir fishbowl. Don't forget to snap a selfie with your giant drink, as it's sure to rack up "likes" on Instagram.

Rebellious Fish

Rebellious Fish Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 0.75 oz. Passoa passion fruit liqueur
  • 0.75 oz. Russian Standard vodka
  • 0.25 oz. triple sec
  • 2 oz. prosecco
  • 2 oz. Orange juice
  • Fresh berries (garnish)

Directions:

  • Combine passionfruit liqueur, vodka, triple sec and orange juice in a mixing glass.
  • Shake contents.
  • Pour mixture into glass, over ice.
  • Pour prosecco (sparkling wine) through strainer into 12 oz. serving glass, over ice.
  • Float berries on top.

11. Coco Loco, Royal Caribbean

Nothing evokes the tropics more than a drink with coconut in it. Coco Loco -- inspired by Royal Caribbean's private island CocoCay but also served on the ships -- fits the bill with coconut cream and coconut rum, as well as orange, pineapple and papaya juices, grenadine and dark rum.

Coco Loco Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 0.75 oz. dark rum
  • 0.75 oz. coconut rum
  • 0.5 oz. orange juice concentrate
  • 0.5 oz. pineapple juice concentrate
  • 0.5 oz. papaya juice concentrate
  • 0.5 oz. coconut cream
  • 0.25 oz. grenadine
  • Pineapple wedge garnish

Directions:

  • Add ingredients, along with a half-cup of crushed ice, into a blender.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Pour mixture into cocktail glass.
  • Garnish with pineapple wedge.

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