Ahoy mateys! If you’re going a Disney Cruise, then you’re almost certainly going to encounter a “Pirate Night” during your voyage. Here’s what you need to know to keep the scurvy at bay.
Is there a pirate night on every Disney Cruise?
Not all, but most of them. There are pirate nights on nearly all Caribbean and Mediterranean voyages. In 2013, the Alaskan cruises replaced Pirate Night with a Pixar Night, but they have had Pirate evenings in the past.
What happens during Pirate Night?
There are three main elements to Pirate Night: a themed party, themed food, and costumes.
Party? Did someone say party?
The party is really more of a performance, with a bit of “clap along with me” interactivity to keep you involved. This will happen by the main pool area. Expect to see the Disney pirate version of go-go dancers strategically stationed at points around the deck. I think of them as the saucy wench equivalent of bar mitzvah dance facilitators. Up on stage, you’ll get a show with characters (Mickey, Goofy, and the other usual suspects) trying to thwart Captain Hook’s diabolical plot to take over the ship. And there’s music – loud, loud music.
The highlight of the event is a brief fireworks show off the side of the ship (weather permitting). Disney is the only cruise line allowed to do this, and it really is cool to see fireworks set off in the middle of the ocean.
It’s good silly fun, but if you’re an adult with a character aversion or a child with sensory processing issues, you might want to skip the party.
What does pirate food consist of?
Your pirate dinner will take place in one of the standard three rotational restaurants, whichever one you happen to be scheduled for that night. The servers will wear pirate costumes, say Arrrrrgh a lot, and likely tell some corny pirate jokes (many of which are pretty funny).
The food will be basically the same as the other DCL food, but with cute pirate names. For example, instead of saying “short ribs,” the menu will say “Captain Jack Sparrow’s short ribs.” There will be a Caribbean flavor element to a few of the dishes, such as rum cake or chicken with jerk spice seasoning. This will happen even if you’re not sailing in the Caribbean.
There may also be a pirate-themed late night snack mini-meal available at the ship’s main buffet restaurant. Again, look for Caribbean flavors, and possibly giant turkey legs.
Costumes? What does that mean? Do I have to dress up? Do I have to bring a lot of extra stuff with me?
This was my area of biggest concern when I first learned about Pirate Night, but there’s no need to worry. While the cast members on board will all be wearing some form of pirate costume, there’s no obligation for guests to dress up. However, if you do want to play along, there are many ways to do so.
Your stateroom attendant will give everyone in your party a pirate-themed bandana. For many guests, wearing this is their only nod to the evening’s theme.
During Pirate Night, the on board gift shops will set out more than the usual selection of pirate paraphernalia. This will include Hook hooks, eye patches, faux swords, and the like. Much of this is sized for children, but some can be appropriated by adults as well.
If you really want to play along, you’re welcome to bring your booty of costume treasure with you. A small subset of guests will wear full pirate regalia, complete with puffy shirts, leather hip boots, and shoulder-sitting stuffed parrots.
I think I’d like to dress up. Any ideas?
You can visit almost any costume store to buy a wide range of pirate garb, from inexpensive plastic hats, to elaborate hand-made outfits worthy of any swashbuckling Renaissance fair.
But if you’re not in the mood to pirate purchase, it’s easy to improvise an outfit from items in your closet. Start with black pants or skirt and a white top. Then tie a red scarf or sash around your waist and you’re good to go. Black vests and boots can add an extra special touch. And don’t forget to go heavy on the eye makeup for that just-pillaged-and-plundered look.
There will be pirate-themed backdrops in the lobby atrium. The photographers on board will be happy to capture your pirate scowl to show the folks back home.
So sassy sailors, what’s your take on Pirate Night? Do you dress up? Do you have any costume tips? Do you have a favorite spot to watch the party or fireworks? Let us know in the comments below.