8 of the best Halloween cruises

Halloween on a cruise ship can be an exciting event, and several cruise lines are going all-out for the occasion with costume contests, Halloween parties and more. Here are eight ideas for festive Halloween cruises.

Disney Cruise Line to the Bahamas

Disney has a roster of fun Halloween activities for families such as a masquerade party, a pirate night, trick-or-treating and dancing with Disney characters. For teens and tweens, there will be themed events like pumpkin carving and mask making. There will also be a Tim Burton interactive movie experience, spooky storytelling on the top deck, and an adults-only party and costume contest.

For a short, three-night getaway, the Disney Dream embarks from Port Canaveral October 30 and sails to Nassau and Disney’s private island in the Bahamas.

Norwegian Cruise Line to Mexico

The Norwegian Sun is sailing an 11-night itinerary from San Diego that puts guests in the heart of the Mexican Riviera during festivities. After setting sail on the 24th, the ship calls on Acapulco, Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta before reaching Mazatlan on Halloween.

In Mexico, the real celebration is Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead), which takes place November 2 (although revelry officially begins October 31) to honor relatives that passed. During this time, the ship will be in Cabo San Lucas before returning to San Diego.

Carnival Sailing from New Orleans

Onboard Carnival ships, guests can join pumpkin-carving demonstrations, trivia contests, a dance party, giveaways and Halloween movies. Adults can sip “Witches Brew” beverages, while kids can join special-themed activities.

The Carnival Elation will be cruising from New Orleans on Halloween, so passengers have the opportunity to explore haunted houses, street parties (that begin October 29) or spooky city tours prior to departure. It will arrive in Cozumel, Mexico on “the Day of the Dead,” followed by Progresso, Mexico.

Princess Cruises from New York

From scary movie showings on the large outdoor screen to kids trick-or-treating around the ship, Princess has an array of Halloween happenings. Scary “stowaways” will be hidden throughout the fleet, and guests who find these figures can win prizes. There’s also a "Fright Night" costume party featuring a flash mob as well as a “Thriller” performance.

The new Regal Princess will be repositioning from New York City October 24 and will spend Halloween at the island of Aruba. The cruise will also call in Antigua and St. Thomas before concluding in Fort Lauderdale.

MSC Cruises from Italy

MSC will have a decorated lounge or disco that will host a costume party for adults. Kids can join a Halloween parade where they can show off their costumes or join Halloween arts and crafts.

Most of MSC’s ships embarking over Halloween are stationed in the Mediterranean, with several departures from Venice — home to ghostly walking tours of the city. The MSC Poesia sets sail on Halloween and will call in Italy, Greece, Croatia and Turkey before returning to Venice.

Royal Caribbean’s Fall Foliage Cruise

The Serenade of the Seas repositions in October from New England to Fort Lauderdale, allowing for a unique experience. The ship will overnight in Quebec City prior to embarking on a two-week voyage that includes the scenic fall colors of Canada before heading to Bar Harbor, Portland and Boston.

Passengers will spend the holiday in historic Charleston, South Carolina — home to several spooky cemeteries and ghost tours. During Halloween on Royal Caribbean, there will be a costume parade at sea, a haunted house or carnival, games and crafts and trick or treating.

Holland America to Key West

Holland America is throwing costume parties and offering snacks, treats for kids, and a costume contest. The MS Eurodam will be cruising into Key West October 31 — smack in the middle of the Fantasy Fest, the island’s biggest party. This year’s theme is “All Hallows Intergalactic Freak Show,” so bring your best alien costume.

The ship embarks on the seven-night cruise from Fort Lauderdale October 25 and will also call in Jamaica, Grand Cayman and a private island in the Bahamas.

Celebrity Cruises to Central America

Celebrity Cruises will be hosting a Halloween costume party with a live band, DJ and a costume contest for adults, while kids can go trick-or-treating, join a parade or make Halloween arts and crafts.

One standout voyage for the holiday is the seven-night sailing aboard the Celebrity Infinity, departing Fort Lauderdale October 29. The ship will spend a day at sea before arriving at Cozumel, Mexico for Halloween, followed by the Bay Islands in Honduras; Belize City, Belize; and Costa Maya, Mexico.

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