Move over Christmas and New Year – Halloween is the hottest new celebration on the high seas. Cruise lines are amping up their spooky festivities and hosting some of the creepiest and sweetest activities around this year, featuring everything from dance parties to trick-or-treating.
We’re not just talking fancy dress and sugar highs though, as sailing to spook-tacular destinations this Halloween will also help get you in a ghoulish mood – as will a certain haunted cruise ship that’ll have you feeling, shall we say, ghostly.
You’ve seen the colourful sugar skulls and eerie Mariachi men – small tokens taken from Mexico’s coveted ‘Dia de los Muertos’ celebrations. On the whole it’s a relatively sombre celebration that is marked as a day of reflection, but Mexico – specifically central regions and those in the south – comes to life with traditional cuisine and flowers that decorate just about every surface.
Dia de los Muertos is typically celebrated from 28th October to 2nd November , though that can vary depending on where you go. Halloween as we know it is also celebrated in Mexico, too.
The Bermuda Triangle
You’ve probably heard of the Bermuda Triangle, as popular culture has made it a great and mysterious thing in our minds. The area is said to be responsible for terrorising sailors and pilots and sending them into the unknown, never to be heard from again. Don’t let a visit here on a cruise ship worry you, though, as the Bermuda Triangle is a regular passage point for many modern cruise ships.
That doesn’t demystify the mystery however, or make it any less fun to wonder about as you cross through its misty waters. Lines like Royal Caribbean® even tap into the creepy vibes that surround the Bermuda Triangle with a spooky shore excursion onboard a glass-bottom boat. Cruisers will pass over an abandoned shipwreck, dazzling marine life and chilling pockets of total darkness.
Tucked away in the hills of Transylvania is the mysterious Bran Castle, otherwise known as Dracula’s Castle. It’s still heavily speculated whether Bram Stoker, author of ‘Dracula’, had Bran Castle in mind when constructing his novel, but really is the former dwelling place of the infamously-cruel Vlad III, who was the inspiration for the character of Dracula.
It’s not difficult to see why visiting Dracula’s Castle would inspire all kinds of thrills and chills on Halloween. Viking Cruises offers an optional Bucharest and Transylvania add-on to their Eastern Europe river cruise, so visiting Dracula’s old haunts may be much easier than you think.
Disney’s Halloween on the High Seas
Leave it to Disney Cruise Line to throw the ultimate at-sea Halloween bash. Available on most Disney cruises from late September to Halloween are trick-or-treating outings, ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ screenings, ghostly activities and adults-only costume parties.
Carnival Cruise Line’s Frightfully Fun Halloween
Cruisers sailing with Carnival Cruise Lines are in for a fang-tastic treat this Halloween, as costume parties, Halloween parades, adult dance parties and devilishly-delicious bites hit the decks. Carnival’s signature Dive-In Movies even get a frightful twist as horror flicks take over late-night poolside screens.
BONUS – a real life, haunted cruise ship!
This is not a drill – Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Dawn is actually thought to be haunted. Numerous sightings of ghostly activity have been reported, from a blonde-haired woman materialising in staterooms to creepy night-time knocks on the doors.
Norwegian Cruise Line has paired up with Strange Escapes for a special scare-packed cruise next summer, sailing from Salem, Massachussetts – famed for the 17th-century witch trials – to the Bermuda Triangle. In the meantime, we’ll have to settle for cruising with the paranormal. After all, what better way to celebrate Halloween is there than by dining alongside a real life ghost?
Where would you go on a Halloween cruise? Let us know in the comments below.