Sunsets * Pools * Casinos

A cruise theme party is perfect for one who schedules a cruise soon after retirement. The invitations, decorations and the party, itself, can now have a theme. Cruises come in a variety of lengths and venues allowing for personalizing the party for the retiree.

The host or hostess will need to obtain information about the cruise before ordering invitations and decorations. My goal is to provide you with some ideas that you can tailor to your retiree. Let those innovative juices flow.

Invitations, Decorations & Music

Coordinating these three should not be difficult. If the cruise is a Caribbean cruise leaving from Florida with visits to small islands, do the following. Include a photo of the ship on the invitation. Have the centerpiece on each the tables represent one of the islands to be visited.

List the names of the island stops and the cruise dates on the balloons and napkins. Usually cruises are booked weeks in advance - so this information should be available in time to order items.

Steel Band music would be appropriate.


Cruise ships have formal dining rooms, buffets and poolside cafes.

This cruise theme party could be in a fancy restaurant with well-dressed waiters and a maitre d'. The menu would be similarly lavish. It would be even better if the waiters and waitresses spoke with an accent as they do aboard most ships.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets are part of nearly every cruise. This gives the party planner unlimited buffet options. Island food, if available, would be a nice touch.

Of course, a pool party would easily work with the theme. Food items similar to those available at the poolside cafes on the ship would fit this casual event.

Since many Caribbean cruises include a stop in Mexico, a Mexican menu would work. It could even be a catered party.

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Every cruise theme party needs an emcee. One who is charismatic and relaxed in front of a group. He could be dressed as a "ship captain".

Of course, guests will be interested in the details of the trip. Rather than each guest asking the retiree the same questions, I recommend that the "captain" quiz the guests. A small prize could be given to the first one to get the correct answer. Obtain the answers from the guest of honor before the quiz.

  • "For how long has this trip been planned?"
  • "Why was this cruise selected?"
  • "Is the couple traveling with other friends?"
  • "How will they get to Florida?"
  • "At which ports do they stop?"
  • "How much weight will he gain?"
  • "Have they cruised before?"

This is a more interesting manner of presenting some specific information to the guests.

Gift Ideas

In every port the ship's concierge offers tours. Paying for a tour would be a great gift that one or several guests could provide. Cruise ships provide an onboard credit card to be used for alcoholic drinks in the bars and tours. A cash collection to defer that expense would be a gift that is very much appreciated.

Most ships have a casino. A "bag of quarters" for the slot machines is another gift idea.


Prior to boarding the ship, it is customary to take a picture of the passengers in front of a background with the ship's name or emblem on it. Make this part of the party routine for each arriving guest - take a posed photograph. The photo album created will provide a memorable treasure of the cruise theme party.

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