Whether you’re sitting at home planning your cruise or you’re already sailing on the deep blue ocean, the right music can really enhance the atmosphere and get you in a cruising mood.
That could be the mood to chill out and relax or the mood to party on the dancefloor. Whatever suits you!
As a music lover who’s been on plenty of cruises, I’ve picked the best cruise songs that are guaranteed to put me in the mood to really make the most of my cruises.
With so many great potential cruising songs out there, it can be hard to choose the best songs about cruising for your playlist. There aren’t many songs with cruise in the title, but there are lots of songs about cruise ship life, or just about sailing in general. No matter what you want to get out of your cruise, you can’t go wrong with these…
1. Kokomo by The Beach Boys
The 1980s isn’t generally regarded as the finest period for the Beach Boys, but this track’s a classic! With its lyrics reeling off the kind of exotic destinations you might visit on a cruise, Kokomo is of the very best cruising songs.
2. Orinoco Flow by Enya
With its refrain of “sail away, sail away, sail away!” It’s the perfect soundtrack as you sit back, relax and watch the world float by. Perfect for a river cruise along the Orinoco, but it’s a laid-back treat anywhere!
3. Banana Boat Song Day O by Harry Belafonte
This Jamaican folk song may have risen to prominence as a work song, but today it’s Harry Belafonte’s version that’s best known. Surprisingly joyful for what was a work song, the call and response lyric makes it a fun song to sing as you sail along the ocean.
4. Love Boat by Jack Jones
I’m (just about) old enough to remember watching the Love Boat every weekend. And its bombastic theme tune certainly conjures up images of onboard romances, making it the ideal soundtrack to an onboard romance, whether you’re cruising with your partner or you’re hoping to find love on board!
Suggested read: The Story of the Actress Behind The Love Boat’s Julie McCoy
5. Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay by Otis Redding
This all-time soul classic is one of the very best cruise songs to chill out to as you sit back, relax and watch the ever-changing views on board your cruise. Perfect as you’re sitting on the deck of the ship.
6. Three Little Birds by Bob Marley
One of the greatest reggae songs of all time. It’s the ideal cruising song for a Caribbean cruise, but is a great song to enjoy as you relax on board any cruise, perhaps sipping a cooling rum and Coke as you sail along.
7. Sailing by Christopher Cross
With its sweeping strings, gorgeous melody, and aspirational lyric, this slice of “yacht rock” is the ideal accompaniment to sailing of any type. That certainly includes cruising, which makes this one of the best songs about cruise ships, whether that was Christopher Cross’s intention or not.
8. Adventure Of A Lifetime by Coldplay
What is a cruise if not an adventure of a lifetime? Whatever your opinion on the indie rock of Chris Martin and his band, you can’t deny that this anthemic banger makes for one of the best cruising songs as you’re sailing along on your literal adventure of a lifetime.
9. Cake By The Ocean by DNCE
This is definitely one of the best pop songs of recent years. It’s also one of the best cruise songs to chill out to whether you’re enjoying literal “cake on the ocean” or metaphorical “cake on the ocean” (if you know, you know!)
10. Fireflies by Owl City
Owl City may be a one-hit wonder, but what a hit! Stick this former number 1 on your playlist and who knows, you might even see ten million fireflies in the evening sky as you sail along to this twinkly pop song. The perfect accompaniment to that stunning twilight scenery.
11. Good To Be Alive (Hallelujah) by Andy Grammer
This euphoric, soulful dance tune is one of the best cruising songs for the nighttime. It’s ideal listening for your cruise playlist, and it’s a top tune to blast out as you “finally find your hallelujah” on board your cruise!
12. I Gotta Feeling by The Black Eyed Peas
Now, this is a proper party banger! This smash hit is pure joy in audio form, making it one of the best cruising songs to get you in the mood to party the night away on board your cruise ship.
13. Jammin by Bob Marley & The Wailers
Another all-time reggae classic from Bob Marley & The Wailers. They truly deserve their spots on my list of the best cruising songs, especially if you’re on a Caribbean cruise. But no matter where you’re sailing, sipping rum and jammin’ along with Bob and company is a delight on any cruise.
14. Red, Red Wine by UB40
If your tipple of choice is a spot of vino, rather than rum, this pop-reggae hit is one of the best cruising songs for you. Just imagine it! Sitting back, sipping a lovely glass of red, red wine with this on your playlist as you admire the stunning scenery.
15. It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere by Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett
Are you looking for an excuse to indulge in an early cocktail on board? Hey, as this country rock banger says, it’s five o’clock somewhere, so treat yourself! This song also boasts one of the very best cruise music videos!
16. No Woman No Cry by Bob Marley
He’s back again! Because let’s face it, who better to listen to on a Caribbean cruise (or any cruise, for that matter)? The song’s uptempo calypso beat will sound so good as you relax in the sun on board your ship!
17. Beyond The Sea by Bobby Darin
As you relax on board your cruise ship, sailing along the waters, your thoughts will no doubt turn toward what might lie beyond the sea. Therefore, this swingin’ hit from crooner Bobby Darin is one of the very best cruising songs for your playlist.
18. Come Sail Away by Styx
A bit of a literal choice, perhaps, but this track from rockers Styx really is one of the ultimate cruise songs of all time! You simply can’t argue with the sentiment of the lyric and title, “Let’s sail Away” indeed!
19. Rock The Boat by Hues Corporation
You won’t want to rock the boat, baby while you’re relaxing as your ship sails along. But you certainly will want to get the party rockin’ to this absolute disco banger when you’re partying the night away on the onboard dancefloor!
20. Island In The Sun by Weezer
This slice of power pop finds US alt-rockers Weezer in an unusually laid-back mood. This makes their hit single Island in the Sun one of the best cruise songs to enjoy as you sail toward an island in the sun yourself!
21. Two Pina Coladas by King of Country
This upbeat track combines twangy country with a calypso beat. Its refrain of “bring me two pina Coladas” will have you singing along to it on board in no time as you sip your very own pina Coladas (maybe one in each hand, like the song, suggests!)
22. Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffett
Another great cocktail-based song, and another track that is one of the best cruising songs. This is the ideal track to listen to as you relax on board sipping a Margarita (or any cocktail, really!) Taking yourself to Margaritaville as you sail along.
23. Walking On Sunshine by Katrina And The Waves
This uptempo, upbeat pop classic is ideal for those sunny days on board! Whether you’re relaxing on board in the afternoon sun or getting ready to party on board in the evening, Walking on Sunshine is definitely one of the very best cruise songs!
24. Let’s Groove by Earth, Wind & Fire
This lively disco stomper is sure to get you in a dancin’ mood as you groove the night away on the onboard dancefloor on your cruise ship! So why not crank it up loud and head for the dance floor? Let’s Groove!
25. Piano Man by Billy Joel
If you’d rather spend your evenings on board relaxing with a drink than hitting the dancefloor then this all-time classic by the legendary ‘Piano Man’ himself is the perfect cruise song for your playlist. Just sit back, relax and enjoy the dulcet tones of Billy Joel – pure bliss!
26. Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond
Who doesn’t love this fantastic pop song? It’s an all-time classic, and in recent years, it’s practically become the UK’s second national anthem! It’s guaranteed to get a convivial sing-along going with your fellow cruisers if they hear it blasting from your cruise playlist!
27. All Night Long by Lionel Richie
Yet another all-time party classic for your cruise playlist! This slice of soulful pop is one of the best cruise songs because it’s guaranteed to put you in the mood for an unforgettable night of merriment and revelry (all night, all night long!)
28. Beautiful Day by U2
This joyous anthem from the long-running Irish rockers U2 is the perfect accompaniment to a “Beautiful Day” on board your cruise ship. You’re sure to agree with its uplifting sentiments as you enjoy your day on your cruise! One of the most joyful cruising songs for your playlist.
29. Night Fever by Bee Gees
One of the ultimate disco bangers! This is one of the very best cruise songs for partying the night away on your ship’s dancefloor. You’ll certainly be feeling the “Night Fever” as you strut your stuff to this great tune (medallion optional)!
30. The Sound Of Sunshine by Michael Franti & Spearhead
I like to keep my playlists eclectic, so here’s a track from former Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy frontman Michael Franti. This track finds Franti in an unusually uptempo mood, so why not enjoy his Sound of Sunshine as you bask in the sunshine on board?
31. Clocks by Coldplay
Another indie banger from Chris Martin’s somewhat divisive mob. That iconic, uplifting piano riff is sure to suit your high spirits as you enjoy your cruise! Even if you don’t normally like Coldplay’s music, surely you like this juggernaut of a track?
32. We Got The Beat by The Go-Go’s
This uptempo rocker from Belinda Carlisle’s new wave troupe is sure to get you in a party mood. It’s one of the most fun cruising songs for your cruise playlist, especially if you’re looking to hear something that’s a little more rockin’.
33. Celebration by Kool & The Gang
While you’re enjoying your time on board your cruise, you’re sure to feel like celebrating the good times you’re having. This celebratory disco groover certainly provides the perfect soundtrack to do so! So come on!
34. Feeling Hot Hot Hot by The Merrymen
As you’re basking in the glorious sun on board your cruise ship, perhaps lazing on a sun lounger, you’re sure to be feeling hot, hot, hot! That means this is certainly one of the best cruise songs for your playlist! Crank it up loud and enjoy the sunshine!
35. Magic by B.o.B
This infectious fuzzy pop song from rapper B.o.B also features an artist who’s already appeared on my list – Rivers Cuomo, frontman of Weezer. This catchy song’s a must for your cruise playlist because you’ll definitely feel like you have the magic in you on your cruise!
36. On Top Of The World by Imagine Dragons
You’re sure to be feeling “On Top of the World” throughout your cruise. This means that this uplifting tune by American pop-rockers Imagine Dragons is one of the perfect cruising songs for your playlist! A real feel-good track to enhance the mood on your cruise.
37. Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO
This party banger by dance music duo LMFAO is just the thing to get you in the mood for a night of partying on board your ship. It’s ideal for your cruise playlist, and it sounds especially good as you party the night away on board.
38. Island Girl by Elton John
If your cruise visits an exotic island during its journey, you could feel like the “Island Girl” of this jaunty number from one of the all-time greatest pop singers. Its smooth sound and calypso beat make it one of the best cruise songs to relax to as you sail along.
39. Surfin’ USA by The Beach Boys
The second entry on my list for The Beach Boys! Surfin’ USA sees The Beach Boys in their surf-pop prime, and Surfin’ USA is a summertime smash of epic proportions. A must for any cruise to the USA, but an absolute pleasure to hear on a sunny day absolutely anywhere!
40. Sweat (A La La Long) by Inner Circle
This reggae-pop smash hit from the 90s is one of the best cruise songs to blast out as you relax on board in the sun, or if you’re preparing to party the night away! That summer sunshine or a night on the dancefloor is gonna make you sweat, after all!
41. Toes by Zac Brown Band
This carefree, uptempo country-pop tune is one of the best cruising songs to chill out to as you relax on board your ship. Especially if you really do have your toes in the water and a cold beer in your hand. And why wouldn’t you?
42. Best Day Of My Life by American Authors
If you’re doing your cruise properly, then your cruise is sure to include some of the best days of your life! Therefore, this euphoric sing-along anthem by American Authors really is one of the very best cruise songs for your playlist.
43. Good Feeling by Flo Rida
Cruises are certainly all about feeling good! That makes this upbeat banger from rapper Flo Rida one of the very best cruise songs for your playlist! So, make the most of that “Good Feeling” on board as you listen to this uplifting track!
44. Good Life by OneRepublic
If relaxing on board a magnificent cruise liner as you sail from destination to destination isn’t the “Good Life”, then I don’t know what is! This great song is the perfect soundtrack as you enjoy cruising life. Definitely one of my best cruise songs!
45. Get Lucky by Daft Punk
This slice of funky dance from mysterious French duo Daft Punk features Chic legend Nile Rogers on guitar and if you’re lucky enough to be enjoying yourself on a cruise, you’ve already got lucky making this a perfect cruising song! One of the biggest hits of recent years – deservedly so.
46. Happy by Pharrell Williams
Another of the biggest hit singles of recent years – with good reason. This joyous anthem is one of the perfect cruising songs to blast out as you’re feeling happy on board your cruise ship. This burst of perfect pop certainly always makes me feel “Happy”!
47. Cheers (Drink To That) by Rihanna
Rihanna is undoubtedly one of the greatest pop stars of the 21st century, and this celebratory anthem is the perfect soundtrack to enjoying a tipple or two aboard your cruise ship. A real party banger. I’ll definitely drink to that!
These are just some of the great cruising songs out there, but in my humble opinion, these are the best cruise ship songs, and all 47 are an absolute must for your cruise playlist.
Your cruise will certainly include a great deal of relaxation on board, as well as quite a bit of partying at night, not to mention unforgettable visits to wonderful ports of call, and this selection of the best cruise songs I’ve hand-picked for you are designed to reflect all this and more, with a mixture of party bangers, singalong anthems and tunes with a more chilled, laid-back vibe.
And if like me, you love both cruises and music, you won’t want to miss my look at the best music cruises, which combine the very best of both!