When it comes to throwing an onboard party, you have two core options: a DIY afternoon extravaganza of coolers, red Solo cups and raucous raft-up fun (similar to the parties you might see at one of our 10 Best Party Coves in America), or an event done in superyacht style—which can be surprisingly easy, and affordable, to achieve.

party in superyacht style

Party hard, party on. Photo Credit: Sami Ansari


Theme parties, as the pros call them, are the bread and butter of the superyacht charter trade. Aboard 120- to 180-foot yachts that cater to families, theme parties have been part of the program for more than a decade. They can be a contained evening soiree for the adults, or an all-day event for the whole family. And they can revolve around just about any concept imaginable.

Well, shiver me timbers... X marks the spot!

Pirate Palooza

One of the classic superyacht party themes is pirate palooza, a real winner for kids of all ages. The crew start by taking a chart and burning the edges a bit, dipping it in a quick bath of black tea, wrinkling it up, maybe running it through the dryer—whatever it takes to make it look faded and authentic. Deckhands then rise and shine early and hide the map on a beach, maybe under a rock or a log with a corner sticking out.

After breakfast when the guests are up, the crew put the kids in position to find the map during a water-sports excursion in the tender. The fun then ensues with the kids trying to follow the map, which inevitably leads to a treasure chest filled with, well, whatever they think might make the kids happiest (Don’t have a treasure chest? No problem—an old wine box painted to look like a treasure chest will do).

Crew who want to take pirate day to the next level will carry the theme through dinnertime, too, dressing the deckhands as pirates and having them “raid the yacht” while the kids are at the table, recounting their day’s amazing find.

The evening always ends with the kids in their own keepsake pirate costumes, learning “pirate lingo” and, well, having some serious prep in place ahead of the next Halloween back home.

Toga...toga...toga! It must be Greek Night onboard...

Greek Night

A Greek theme night on a boat is like a toga party on steroids. Start by choosing your favorite Greek god: Zeus (god of the sky); Poseidon (god of the sea); Athena (god of wisdom) or everybody’s favorite, Dionysus (god of wine). Then all it takes to complete your costume is a cleverly wrapped white sheet, a rope used as a belt and a prop that matches your choice of god (this is where a topped-off wineglass somehow becomes erudite).

Greek music is easy to stream online these days, and Greek food is meant to be grazed, not gulped, for hours at a pop. Put out a dozen dishes or more of gyros, moussaka (kids who like lasagna will usually like moussaka), tzatziki, spanakopita, souvlaki and more. Greek food is surprisingly easy to cook, and the whole point of a Greek meal is to taste a little bit of everything.

The evening can end in any number of ways, including a movie night where you show Zorba the Greek, Clash of the Titans (the original, of course) or My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding.

If you can find them, put some Greek pistachios and olives on the coffee table for post-dinner noshing. Their flavor can be absolutely amazing.

Did someone say "sushi"?

Japanese Day

This one’s easy if you’re into sushi—and if there’s fresh catch available, you can even make the party a “roll your own” for lovers of rainbow, spider and dragon rolls. Turn it into a contest: best-looking roll, worst-looking roll, most-lopsided roll. It doesn’t matter; they’re all delicious.

And the real fun of Japanese Day comes after lunch, when you can stuff pillows inside the kids’ shirts and have them do a real-life rock ’em sock ’em sumo contest. Set them up on a beach with a circle drawn in the sand, and make the competition a best-of-three.

Drink some sake while you watch the fun; it’s a tasty twist on rum punch when four parts sake are mixed with four parts orange juice and one part grenadine (the classic “rising sun” ingredients).

Regardless of theme, there's countless ways to party in superyacht style. Whatever you decide, just be sure to follow these basic tips on how to party on a boat. Cheers!