How to Decorate for a Cruise-Ship Theme Party

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Ahoy, matey! Whether it's for a bon voyage party or just a general get-together, a cruise ship-themed fete offers plenty of opportunities for creative decor. Draw inspiration from nautical or travel motifs, as well as the tropical and beach landscapes to which many ships cruise, to decorate your party's entryway, tables and food presentation.

Walk the Gangway

It might be a little far-fetched to build a gangway-like ramp to your door, but you can create a mock gangway for a splashy entrance to the party. If you have the budget and carpentry skills, lay wood on the path with a slight incline so guests will feel as if they are walking up to the ship. If that's not possible, spread a thin runner of white fabric on the ground to create your "gangway." Sandwich each side with faux handrails made from rope. Hang an orange ring buoy on your door with the word "Ahoy" above it.

Inside the Party

Set up tables inside the party so guests have somewhere to sit, and name each table after a common cruising destination decorated with appropriate decor. One table could be named Mexico and feature a sombrero and bright pink, yellow and orange flowers. Another could indicate Alaska, in honor of cold-weather sailing destinations, and include pine cones and decorative snowflakes. Around the room, hang nautical flags and faux porthole windows. Because every cruise ship room features towel animals, learn how to twist some towels into origami figures and place them around the party.

Food Table Decor

For the food table, add visual intrigue to your display by using vintage suitcases or trunks to elevate dishes to different levels. Open up one suitcase, and -- after it's thoroughly cleaned -- display cupcakes or other treats inside. Over the table, hang a world map and set out pins for every guest to mark his or her favorite cruising destination.

Out-of-the-Box Details

Have a little fun by thinking creatively if you feel like your party needs a little something extra. If you have an outdoor space, jazz it up by designating it as the "excursion" portion of the cruise and decorating it as a tropical island, complete with decorative palm trees and a small sandy "beach." You could also have some fun by incorporating some pirate decor or old sea legends, such as the Kraken, a mythical octopus-like creature.