Five Faves: Belly Up!

Cheers to these five favorite onboard spots to grab a drink.

There’s no denying that the themed bars, chic lounges, and bustling nightclubs found on today’s cruise ships rival any on land. The options are endless for cruisers seeking unique spots to enjoy their favorite drinks. So far, here are my five faves.

RedFrog Pub

Carnival Cruise Lines debuted this Key West–inspired pub aboard Carnival Magic in 2011 and has since rolled it out aboard Carnival Breeze, Carnival Legend, Carnival Sunshine, and Carnival Freedom. On the menu is classic Caribbean fare such as coconut shrimp, grouper fingers, and conch fritters, as well as a selection of cocktails, rums, and beers of the Caribbean. But the best of all, and the reason you’ll find yourself claiming a bar stool of your own, is Carnival’s private-label brew, ThirstyFrog Red.

SVEDKA and Inniskillin Ice Bar

Is it a novelty? Yes. But unless you’re headed to Norway anytime soon, you should take the opportunity to experience the only true ice bar at sea. You’ll find one aboard Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Breakaway, or Norwegian Getaway, so bundle up with the provided parka and gloves, have your colorful vodka drink, post a pic, and then head back to the 85-degree Lido Deck and tell your friends all about it.

Aquavit Terrace

Location. Location. Location. What can be better than sipping an [insert your favorite drink here] at the Aquavit Terrace, found aboard Viking River Cruises’ gazillion Longships? This indoor/outdoor area at the bow of the ship is ideal for taking in the ever-changing views and watching the landscapes roll by.


The Skyline lounge aboard Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy is perfect for starry-eyed travelers who, like me, want to imagine themselves in a city far, far away — if only for one drink. That’s because behind the bar are giant LCD screens that showcase panoramic views of some of the world’s most famous cities, from Hong Kong to Paris to Rio de Janeiro — a different city every 15 minutes. The drink menu boasts cocktail creations that draw inspiration from downtowns around the world.

Rising Tide Bar

Again with the checklist, but how often do you get to walk into a bar on one deck of a cruise ship and exit on another? Enter the Rising Tide Bar, Royal Caribbean International’s moving bar at sea, which you’ll find aboard Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. Cozy up to only a few dozen fellow patrons as the bar ascends and descends between the Royal Promenade and Central Park. In fact, according to RCCL chairman and CEO Richard Fain, the bar is, after all, also certified as an elevator.


—Jodi Ornstein

Now in its 25th year, Porthole Cruise and Travel Magazine is published bi-monthly and available worldwide through digital subscription. It offers the latest news in cruise and travel, with in-depth features on voyages, new ships, the best destinations, readers' picks, onboard cuisine, entertainment, and more!