So, you’re planning a stag or hen do and considering a cruise? Good idea!
A cruise can be an unforgettable way to celebrate a stag or hen party. Read on to find out everything you need to know to plan the perfect stag or hen party cruise.
What is a cruise?
Firstly, for anyone who has never cruised before (which some of your party undoubtedly won’t have), it’s important to make sure that you’re all on the same page when discussing the idea of a stag or hen party cruise.
Different people think of different things when they think of a ‘cruise’. In this case, we’re talking about cruising on ocean cruise ships.
A cruise is a holiday on-board a large ocean ship which carries several thousand passengers and usually calls at several destinations.
We are not talking about…
- A day trip, boat party or booze cruise
- A river cruise
- A canal boat trip
- An overnight ferry
- A yacht holiday
If you search online, you’ll find many options for stag and hen parties which involve everything from hiring a barge for an hour right up to a weekend away on a 5,000-passenger mega-ship. Here at Cruise118, we specialise in cruise holidays and can help you to arrange the perfect short cruise holiday for your hen or stag party.
How long is a cruise?
Cruise durations vary from one night to several months at sea. For a stag or hen party cruise, you’ll probably be looking at two- to five-nights at sea. This will give you the opportunity to visit one or two ports of call during your cruise.
Where can you sail from?
The main cruise port for the UK is Southampton. You’ll find a large variety of cruise ships sailing from here.
Other UK departure ports include Dover, Poole, Bristol, Liverpool, Newcastle, and Edinburgh. However, if you sail from a UK port other than Southampton, you’ll find that your choice of ship is limited and that many of the ships sailing from these ports are aimed at older travellers and are not ideal for groups such as stag and hen parties.
Departure ports a little further away include Venice, Rome and Hamburg. If you really want to push the boat out, so to speak, you could even fly to Miami and enjoy a four-night cruise around the Caribbean.
Where can you sail to?
That depends on where you sail from and how many days you have at sea. Assuming that you take a round-trip sailing from a UK port for a few days, your destinations will be limited to those which the cruise ship can reach in that time.
Top stag and hen cruise destinations
- Amsterdam – This party destination is ideal for stags and hens. Visit the Sex Museum; the Hash, Marijuana and Hemp Museum; the Heineken Experience; or take a stroll through the infamous Red Light District. Choose a cruise where your ship docks overnight in Amsterdam and you can also sample the nightlife of this exciting party city.
- Bruges – The port of Zeebrugge is just ten miles from historic Bruges. Here you can enjoy brewery tours, chocolate tasting or take a horse-drawn tour of the city.
- Guernsey – St Peter Port is the capital of Guernsey and your ship will dock in the heart of this small but beautiful city. Here you can enjoy afternoon tea or head to the beach for a spot of sunbathing.
Which cruise lines are best for stag and hen parties?
The most popular cruise line for stag and hen cruises is P&O Cruises. This is because their cruises are relatively cheap and they offer a good variety of short cruises, including weekend break cruises. If you have a slightly larger budget, you should also consider cruising with Royal Caribbean or Celebrity Cruises.
Cruise lines such as Cruise & Maritime Voyages, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines and Cunard also offer short cruises. However, the passengers on these ships tend to be slightly older than average and they may not be as accepting of the company of rowdy groups.
What can stags and hens do on-board a ship?
Cruise ships are packed full of facilities that stags and hens will love. Some examples include:
- Bars – Each ship has several different bars such as cocktail bars, Champagne bars, sports bars, poolside bars and pubs. Some ships even have sub-zero ice bars or bionic bars with drinks served by robots!
- Nightclubs – Cruise ship nightclubs are open until the early hours; the perfect place to celebrate the last night of freedom
- Shows – The West End-style shows on cruise ships are absolutely fantastic, a great way to spend an evening with friends
- Spa – Your party will love pampering themselves in the spa, with facilities such as saunas and steam rooms as well as a range of treatments
- Outdoor Hot Tubs – You’ll find several hot tubs on the top deck of each ship; the ideal place to relax and chat with your party
Are drinks included in the price of a cruise?
The ticket price of a cruise includes accommodation, meals and entertainment. Drinks are generally not included, but some cruise lines offer unlimited drinks packages which can be purchased to convert your cruise into an all-inclusive cruise holiday.
Many cruise lines offer drink packages, meaning you can pay upfront for selected, and often unlimited, drinks during your sailing. These differ from cruise line to cruise line, with some quite reasonably priced. It’s worth keeping your eye on offers which might include drinks to get a good deal on your cruise booking!
With P&O Cruises in particular, drinks on-board are very reasonably priced and the cruise line offers a drinks package, starting a £7.95pp for a Children’s Drinks Package. You are also allowed to bring one litre of wine or spirits on board per person to drink in your cabin, as well as unlimited soft drinks or mixers.
What is the accommodation like on-board?
The cheapest cabins are inside cabins which have no window. These are fine for a mini cruise of just a few nights as it’s likely that you’ll only be using your cabin for sleeping, showering and changing.
If you’re keen to keep the price of your cruise down, you can fit up to four adults in a twin cabin, making use of the extra beds which pull down from the ceiling.
If you’d prefer a bit more space, book two people into each cabin and consider larger cabins or those with balconies. For something extra special, cruise ship suites have living areas as well as a host of added extras.
Is there a dress-code on-board?
Cruise lines generally have a formal night on board each sailing. This gives you the chance to dress up in ball gowns or dinner jackets and enjoy a luxurious four- or five-course meal.
The rest of the time, you’ll be free to dress in casual clothing. Until recently, many groups of stags and hens used to relish in the opportunity to don nautical-themed fancy dress such as sailors, pirates and mermaids. However, some cruise lines have now banned this, along with t-shirts with offensive names or slogans. So be sure to check with your cruise line before you plan any stag and hen themed outfits.
How to book a cruise
Here at Cruise118, we have a team of expert Cruise Concierge who can offer advice about every aspect of cruising, as well as booking your cruise at the best price. If you have any questions, just give us a call on 0808 1234 118.
Take a look at our deals on mini cruises and if you see any that you like, call us for a quote for your party.
When you’ve decided on your cruise and have a list of who’s coming, call us to book. You’ll need the full names (as they appear on passports) and dates of birth of all of the people in your group.