The 10 Best Games on Cruise Ships

by Kayla Becker

The 10 Best Games on Cruise Ships

by Kayla Becker

Games on cruise ships have come a long way since the days of shuffleboard and Canasta. In fact, there are now more options than you’ll probably have time for, from scavenger hunts to games shows and even high-stakes bingo. So if you’re looking for a way to fill a sea day or exercise your competitive side, check out these 10 games that put your skills to the test. Play your cards right, and you could even win a free cruise.

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Mini Golf on Carnival Dream / Carnival Cruise Line
Hasbro, The Game Show on Carnival Breeze
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1. Hasbro, The Game Show

All your favorite board games from your childhood come to life on Carnival ships, and you can play them in front of a live audience. The colorful twists on the classic games include sliding giant Sorry pawns across a board, bowling down oversized dice in Yahtzee, and shooting a ball into a giant Connect 4 board.

The details: There is no extra cost to play the games, and the grand prize is usually a full set of Hasbro games.

All your favorite board games from your childhood come to life on Carnival ships, and you can play them in front of a live audience. The colorful twists on the classic games include sliding giant Sorry pawns across a board, bowling down oversized dice in Yahtzee, and shooting a ball into a giant Connect 4 board.

The details: There is no extra cost to play the games, and the grand prize is usually a full set of Hasbro games.

Puzzle Break on Anthem of the Seas
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2. Puzzle Break

Brains will help more than brawn for this game on Anthem of the SeasHarmony of the Seasand Ovation of the SeasYou and 14 other passengers will have one hour to work together to solve a series of clues in order to escape a locked room. Check out our video to get a sneak peek at what the game is really like.

The details: The game is free and all ages are welcome, though younger kids may not have the patience or knowledge to really participate. Harmony of the Seas even has a dedicated room for the activity. 

Brains will help more than brawn for this game on Anthem of the SeasHarmony of the Seasand Ovation of the SeasYou and 14 other passengers will have one hour to work together to solve a series of clues in order to escape a locked room. Check out our video to get a sneak peek at what the game is really like.

The details: The game is free and all ages are welcome, though younger kids may not have the patience or knowledge to really participate. Harmony of the Seas even has a dedicated room for the activity. 

Beer Pong at RedFrog Pub on Carnival Vista
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3. Beer Pong

If you didn’t get enough of this rowdy game in college, at Carnival Vista’s RedFrog Pub and Brewery you can throw ping pong balls at cups of beer like it's freshman year all over again. These games aren't really about the prizes (usually RedFrog swag), but are all about having fun and a few laughs. Plus, you'll get to try all of the beers that are brewed right on board — a little too quickly, if you aren't careful.

The details: You must be 21 or older to play.

If you didn’t get enough of this rowdy game in college, at Carnival Vista’s RedFrog Pub and Brewery you can throw ping pong balls at cups of beer like it's freshman year all over again. These games aren't really about the prizes (usually RedFrog swag), but are all about having fun and a few laughs. Plus, you'll get to try all of the beers that are brewed right on board — a little too quickly, if you aren't careful.

The details: You must be 21 or older to play.

Bingo on Royal Caribbean
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4. Bingo

No, it's not the cool waterslide or even free drinks that all those people are lined up for. It's bingo. This is one of the most popular events on the high seas — and for good reason. The stakes are high.

The details: If your number comes up, you could win everything from a suite upgrade or spa treatment to cold hard cash (up to a $5,000 jackpot on Carnival) or even a free cruise.

No, it's not the cool waterslide or even free drinks that all those people are lined up for. It's bingo. This is one of the most popular events on the high seas — and for good reason. The stakes are high.

The details: If your number comes up, you could win everything from a suite upgrade or spa treatment to cold hard cash (up to a $5,000 jackpot on Carnival) or even a free cruise.

Bowling on Norwegian Epic
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5. Bowling

There are full-sized lanes on Norwegian and MSC ships where you can knock down pins just like you would on land, but with the extra challenge of finding your balance on a moving ship. It’s an easy choice for getting the whole family together, and if you get a gutter ball, hey, you can always blame it on the waves.

The details: Games cost $5 per person on Norwegian BreakawayNorwegian EpicNorwegian EscapeNorwegian Getaway, and Norwegian Pearland $7 on MSC DivinaMSC MagnificaMSC Preziosa, and MSC Splendida

There are full-sized lanes on Norwegian and MSC ships where you can knock down pins just like you would on land, but with the extra challenge of finding your balance on a moving ship. It’s an easy choice for getting the whole family together, and if you get a gutter ball, hey, you can always blame it on the waves.

The details: Games cost $5 per person on Norwegian BreakawayNorwegian EpicNorwegian EscapeNorwegian Getaway, and Norwegian Pearland $7 on MSC DivinaMSC MagnificaMSC Preziosa, and MSC Splendida

Oceania's Card Room
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6. Bridge

This card game is probably the most cliché game on the list, but it's anything but boring — especially if you are looking to battle against other experts. There are bridge-themed sailings on lines such as Crystal Cruises, Oceania, and Silversea Cruises with twice-daily tournaments and lectures from members of the American Contract Bridge League.

The details: Both the games and instruction by ACBL members are complimentary on the special sailings.

This card game is probably the most cliché game on the list, but it's anything but boring — especially if you are looking to battle against other experts. There are bridge-themed sailings on lines such as Crystal Cruises, Oceania, and Silversea Cruises with twice-daily tournaments and lectures from members of the American Contract Bridge League.

The details: Both the games and instruction by ACBL members are complimentary on the special sailings.

Conga line
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7. Scavenger Hunts

Several lines organize ship-wide scavenger hunts for all ages. Carnival’s kids programs throw a family scavenger hunt where your group is tasked with everything from forming a conga line with 10 strangers to taking a picture going down the waterslide, and Disney offers a hunt that's just for kids. Others are a little more ... adult-oriented. You have to be at least 18 to participate in Royal Caribbean’s late-night scavenger hunt, and things do get a little wild. You might be asked to put lipstick — or a bra — on a stranger.

The details: There's no extra cost to participate in the scavenger hunts on board.

Several lines organize ship-wide scavenger hunts for all ages. Carnival’s kids programs throw a family scavenger hunt where your group is tasked with everything from forming a conga line with 10 strangers to taking a picture going down the waterslide, and Disney offers a hunt that's just for kids. Others are a little more ... adult-oriented. You have to be at least 18 to participate in Royal Caribbean’s late-night scavenger hunt, and things do get a little wild. You might be asked to put lipstick — or a bra — on a stranger.

The details: There's no extra cost to participate in the scavenger hunts on board.

Love & Marriage game on Carnival Glory
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8. Love & Marriage Game Show

Carnival’s spin on the classic television game show "The Newlywed Game" takes three couples from the audience and sees just how well they know each other. It follows the same format, with each member of the couple answering questions and then comparing responses — with the inevitable laughs at all of the mismatched answers.

The details: The winning couple leaves with a bottle of Champagne.

Carnival’s spin on the classic television game show "The Newlywed Game" takes three couples from the audience and sees just how well they know each other. It follows the same format, with each member of the couple answering questions and then comparing responses — with the inevitable laughs at all of the mismatched answers.

The details: The winning couple leaves with a bottle of Champagne.

Playing mini golf on Royal Caribbean
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9. Mini Golf

Picture an afternoon of mini golf with the family, putting your way around windmills and treasure chests. Now, add the fact that you’ll be looking out on an endless vista of blue, and we think it’s safe to say mini golf is even better at sea.

The details: You can play rounds of mini golf at no additional cost on many family-friendly cruise lines, including Carnival, Norwegian, Princess, and Royal Caribbean.

Picture an afternoon of mini golf with the family, putting your way around windmills and treasure chests. Now, add the fact that you’ll be looking out on an endless vista of blue, and we think it’s safe to say mini golf is even better at sea.

The details: You can play rounds of mini golf at no additional cost on many family-friendly cruise lines, including Carnival, Norwegian, Princess, and Royal Caribbean.

Golden Lion Pub on Queen Mary 2
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10. Quiz Night

Trivia nights are popular on many lines, but we found the competition on Cunard to be the most fun — and the most challenging. This doesn't deter cruisers. It’s best to come early to grab a seat at the Golden Lion Pub since spots fill up quickly. The veddy British trivia subjects range from Bond movies to Shakespeare quotes. If you fall short, you can drown your sorrows in pints of bitters as well as the pub's excellent chicken tikka masala and classic fish and chips.

The details: There is not additional charge to participate in quiz night on Cunard.

Trivia nights are popular on many lines, but we found the competition on Cunard to be the most fun — and the most challenging. This doesn't deter cruisers. It’s best to come early to grab a seat at the Golden Lion Pub since spots fill up quickly. The veddy British trivia subjects range from Bond movies to Shakespeare quotes. If you fall short, you can drown your sorrows in pints of bitters as well as the pub's excellent chicken tikka masala and classic fish and chips.

The details: There is not additional charge to participate in quiz night on Cunard.

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