Best ships for dancing

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Mississauga ON
1,673 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Costa plays from 6:30 til 01:30 in the main lounge. During busy times, expect to hear what the crowd wants, which could be bachatta or mazurka, but during slow times, the groups have been good about playing requests. When actual dance groups are on, I've found they make a real effort to play dance music. The other lounges often have theme nights or specialty groups, sometimes good, sometimes not. On the Serena, there were 7 live music choices.
You are correct, most cruise lines are utterly gawdawful. Cunard has good floors, but the music is woefully unreliable (there are a number of dancing threads on the Cunard board). I refuse to go back on Holland America because they were so afraid of the old geezers falling down, they put sticky gunk on the dance floor. Some other ships I've been on have nice floors, but the CD didn't schedule any music.
Raleigh Area North Carolina
119 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
As you know, the dancing availability really differs from ship to ship -- even within the same cruise line. I agree -- we are a group that is rapidly growing in number and we need to make our presence known. I think we need to have a sub-group within Cruise Critic to promote the availability of ballroom dancing on all ships. How do we go about doing it?

We've had very mixed experiences on most lines. Princess USUALLY has a danceable group in the Wheelhouse but that's the smallest floor. They also USUALLY have the orchestra play some in a larger venue. The bad thing is it all depends on the cruise director, etc. and is not predictable. How can we unite and further our musical cause?

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164 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Originally posted by lovetocruisenow
As you know, the dancing availability really differs from ship to ship -- even within the same cruise line. I agree -- we are a group that is rapidly growing in number and we need to make our presence known. I think we need to have a sub-group within Cruise Critic to promote the availability of ballroom dancing on all ships. How do we go about doing it? [...] How can we unite and further our musical cause?

Haven't visited this sub-forum for awhile...

Dunno, I'd guess the cruise lines would provide what the majority of guests want, which I suspect is NOT ballroom. And I suspect that a sub-forum would not get much traffic. However, if there's an opportunity to provide feedback to the cruise lines via postcard or Web or whatever, I'd certainly ask for BR music onboard.

Aside: we booked with a ballroom dance group, so there will be 60, give or take, of us onboard. Not sure if we'll have "private" venues or if we'll have to mix with the other passengers for dancing.

Dance friends were an Alaskan (non-dance) cruise and they said the band played whatever they requested because they were the "stars" of the dancefloor - other passengers came to watch them dance. I'd prefer not to be a floorshow, but if it works to my advantage... Heh heh heh...
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Crown Princess 2/4/2012 Voyage to Nowhere
Wolverhampton, England
88 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
ok...thought id contribute....
in brief, im a former world and european professional ballroom finalist and british champion and own the uk's largest ballroom and latin chain of dance studios and i also own which is a company specializing in dancing holidays on cruise ships....ive also worked on many ships as a guest entertainer so i know a lot about dancing on cruise ships.
in my view....cunard is overall the best for dancing as the floors are rectangular and the largest. the ballroom also has the best feel for dancing as the room and decor all suits. the band is very hit and miss with its tempos and ive found that on all of the cunard ships- this is because they are playing mainly american tempos which are not the same as the rest of the world dance to....everyone else dances international style and the tempos are different. so although i get complaints about the tempos not being right on 50% of what they play, my groups still feel its overall worth it as they still get some good dancing on a good floor. ive found the service ok on cunard.
Costa does not have dance floors that are 'as big or even bigger' - this simply isnt true although they do have some that are very decent...but round! They tend to play a mix of music....latin, a bit of ballroom, jazz, and a whole lot of weird german leg slapping hoe downs! But they have a good atmosphere and are lively but do tend to be full of Italians....many of whom can be too noisy and pushy for other nationalities.
Crystal i love....plenty of dancing and IS suitable for serious dancers but round floors again but of a decent size....just expensive compared to the mainstream....then get what you pay for!
Ive found the dance floors too small on Celebrity for ballroom.
Norwegian Epic has a nice floor...have been on for a ship visit but cant see how it would work as its situated in the middle of the you dance between courses ...a quick jive and then wolf down the beef wellington?....will be needing anti acid tablets and sick bags on the tables! or do you come in and dance during the other sitting...and provide the entertainment for the diners (im thinking about tables of kids and possible rowdy familes s******ing as you samba past their Turkey breast!) Not sure about that....maybe someone can enlighten me as to how it works?...but the floor looks good.
Another option ive found that works well is the Radiance class of ships on Royal Caribbean - they have an oval floor and quite a bit of general dancing at night...again, its not perfect but not bad at all.
I havnt found Princess to be that good for dancing as the floors arnt really big enough but P&O have 2 ships that are good for dancing.....Oriana and Aurora both have nice dance floors...Oriana has a rectangular floor and Aurora has a round floor (but its a good size) and both cater very well to ballroom and latin. Im about to take a group on Azura....looks ok on the webcam and the measurements seem to indicated it will work.....but im only taking about 60 on this one which is a manageable amount (i split the group up for dance classes into smaller sections) ....ill see how it goes!
One of the main problems though is size of floor....its ok for a low level social dancer to just shuffle around on a smaller floor but if its a more serious ballroom dancer they want a bigger space so i think it depends on the level of the person who makes the comment as to whether its a good ship for dancing or not.
hope this helps and gives an unbiased view of it all.
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Mississauga ON
1,673 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
I will be on Costa Atlantica in December, QV in January; I will take a tape measure with me this time. I'm convinced the floors are almost identical, except QV's has that awkward curved end. Costa's round floors are on the larger, Fortuna class ships.
Most of Cunard's music is just plain off-tempo, by any standard, more like 90%. Costa's musicians were always willing to play requests during quiet times; Cunard's have a set playlist and won't until long after you've left the room. However, QV did have excellent recorded music last time I was on and the Caribbean band played decent contemporary Latin when they tried.
Norwegian Epic- yes, would be a nice floor, if it wasn't covered with tables, leaving maybe 15' x 20'. Some people do like to dance between courses; the band does take breaks, for a leisurely beef wellington. It's open sitting, you can stay til the band finishes. The Atrium had a nice floor but abysmal music when I was on.
RC Adventure of the Seas from San Juan had a very popular salsa lounge, but not much else. Vision had a reasonable floor but no music worthy of the name.
I am very interested in comments about P&O. I've heard good things but P&O does no marketing in North America and my agent here gets no cooperation dealing with them.
4 Posts
Joined Nov 2011
We've cruises mainly on Carnival. Although their floors are small, when you start doing serious dancing, people usually leave you plenty of room.

The main thing we've found that is important is the size and age of the ship.
If the ship is old and small, they seem to only have budget to have one band so therefore only one dance venue open at a time. This means that they typically don't play anything you can ballroom or swing to.

Since that experience, we make sure to book on more modern ships in popular routes (ie bigger entertainment budgets).
Mississauga ON
1,673 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Dancing on Costa Atlantica, December 2011

Main Lounge- Deck 2 Madame Butterfly: 36’ x 24’
Two groups (Trio Tringali and Duo Virginia) alternated, continuous music from 17:30 to 01:30 except for a few cruise staff activities. Good tempos, they play what people dance to, very accommodating for requests. In my opinion, everything one could expect for social dancing.

Deck 1 Corallo lounge: 39’ x 20’, slightly curved but mostly usable.
I believe the present group will be replaced after the next cruise.

Deck 2 main lobby- oval, 28’ x 12’
The pianist sometimes plays in the main lounge, also plays good dance music. Partly blocked by a large tree for Xmas.

Deck 2 Via Veneto (restaurant entrance) an oddly shaped area about 16’ x 10’, with a small lounge. Surprisingly popular, with some dancing.

Disco rarely used, there was too much else going on in the lounges. The usual, what I call “Neanderthal crackhead engine room” noise.

Deck 3 There is also a pianist in one of the bars and classical music in the Café Florian,
Boston, MA
413 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Our experience is limited just to the QM2, having done two transatlantic crossings. We love to dance and picked the QM2 for this reason. While we agree with most that the band can be a problem with tempos, overall they were passable. The floor is large and not always that crowded. On TA #2 we did notice a significant drop-off in the quality of the band. A few of dancers spoke to the CD and the band leader and things improved a bit.

One item that irked us on both trips: the daily programs lists there will be recorded music for dancing for about 45 minutes after the band quits for the night. However, the cleaning crew lurks nearby and if the floor is empty for a minute, they move in and set up ladders and equipment and start working. One bad song, everyone sits out and it’s over. They flip up the lights and start working.

Last fall we spent a weekend on the original Queen Mary in Long Beach. They have a beautiful main ballroom with a large floor. In their Observation Bar they have a small dance floor that slopes about 10 degrees and is bordered by stairs. One false move and it’s over. This floor would normally hold 3 or 4 couples. However there were 10 couples all dancing Balboa. We’re now learning that dance for our next cruise. It fits no matter how small the floor.
Mississauga ON
1,673 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Just got off QM2 TA last week. The band was mediocre and uninspiring, but I guess you could say passable. The recorded music needs work- someone with knowledge needs to go through and prune out the unsuitable. Just got off QE today. The band was acceptable, the recorded music had a few duds but was pretty good.
The big problem with QM2 was no alternate dance venue when there's a reception in Queens Room. The entrance to G32, which isn't a really good floor anyway, is through QR. Five nights out of 7, there was less than 3 hours of ballroom. That's not cost-effective at Cunard's prices. On QE and QV, there's music in Yacht Club/Hemispheres 1945-2030 when there's a reception; the ED might be negotiable for more if enough were interested.
4 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Dancing cruises are different from simple cruises. There are many arrangements in it. Dance friends were an Alaskan (non-dance) cruise and they said the band played whatever they requested because they were the "stars" of the dancefloor - other passengers came to watch them dance.
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Groundnut Feed Products
Pacific Coast
184 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Loving the comments on this thread and like Danceman my wife and I are certified instructors (although definitely jealous of DM's accomplishments which far outstrip ours ). Even though I'm 61 I still like to compete.

When we go cruising we accept that the live music will be off tempo, sung seriously under pitch and we will be social dancing. However, I usually take my music with me (and it is all current strict tempo). In the past we have just approached the activity directors and asked if we can use the ships sound system for a bit of practice in a down period. Usually the ship personnel are very accommodating and we get something happening. Word spreads quickly and by day 3 all the practiced ballroomers have come out of the woodwork and the ship establishes a daily "Ballroom Practice". We include Westcoast Swing so all the Westies show up too. This leads to a lot of interaction with people from all over the place. We usually get 30+ dancers and double that for an audience.

Worked very well until our February cruise on the Emerald Princess. It was fully booked and so all the rooms were fully booked with activities all day long. We got to practice less than 30 minutes total over 10 days. Such is life but we still had fun.

If you're ever passing through Victoria, BC on the way to Alaska contact us through the Victoria Ballroom Dance Society and we can direct you to a lot of dancing while on land.
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OB the Dancer With 3 Left Feet

RCCL: Mexico and Alaska
Princess: Alaska, Mexico, Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean, Southern Caribbean and Pacific Coastals(2), Panama (full transit)
Carnival: Western Caribbean
Oceania: Transatlantic
Holland: Alaska
6 Posts
Joined Mar 2001
Originally posted by Dancer Bob
My experience on Oosterdam was totally different. The music, which was provided by HAL and the musicians had to play, was dull, dreary, dismal. I think the musicians were just as bored with it as we were (I was with a dance group, I refused to go unless we took our own music for the breaks. Good decision, and I saw the band playing the air-guitar to our music a couple of times.) Not to mention- I was just about the only passenger awake after 11 PM.

But what made it completely unacceptable- the ship put nonskid, sticky gunk on the floor! It was like walking on adhesive tape- you could hear your shoes pulling loose. Your ankles and knees were at great risk.

The only music I really know much about is dance music, but I thought one of the characteristics of jazz, is a complete lack of strict tempo?
Haven't been on the QM2 recently, but I hear they have improved a little.

I would like to get in contact with dancerbob ASAP about his comment on the condition of the dance floor on the HAL ship, how is that possible??
Mississauga ON
1,673 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
As far as I could tell, they put the same sticky gunk on all the hard tiled surfaces in the corridors. Given all the people I saw making a big show of being feeble and decrepit, I can see why. It's quite possible if the hotel manager couldn't care less about keeping dancers happy, just wants to appease the old farts. I have no personal knowledge, but I heard a report Eurodam did the same thing.
The group I travel with did another cruise on HAL, I believe the Nieuw Amsterdam. I refused to go, never again on HAL until I'm at least 90 years old. The report I heard was that the hotel manager was totally uncooperative and refused to consider any request, although I'm not sure of all the details.
31 Posts
Joined Dec 2005
I've been on HAL twice -- and the only way to survive the sticky dance floors is to wear something over your shoes -- so they will slide on the floor. The floors are fine if one just wants to stand and sway to the music. We found it easier to dance on the carpet -- we could hear the music in the area where the elevators were, and just danced there. There wasn't much traffic through the area, and we had enough room to waltz and foxtrot.
196 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Our pick for best dancing was on the Norwegian Epic. Specifically the Main Dining Room.

They have a large wooden dance floor right in the middle of the MDR. Their house orchestra as well as various bands and performers from other venues on the ship perform there nightly.

You can actually dance between courses of your dinner. We even came back later in the night to have dessert and enjoy some more dancing. Especially when they would feature one of the singers from the evening shows with the orchestra.

The dance floor is large however, at times, they do have tables set up on a portion of the floor. Still, it is larger than most dancefloors that you find on ships these days, especially the newer ones.

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RCL Anthem (9N) 10/20/16
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SS NORWAY 11/13/1999
Mississauga ON
1,673 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
I would be wary about recommending NCL Epic for dancing. When I was on, there were ALWAYS tables packed onto the floor in the Manhattan Room. And you HAD to dance during dinner, it was the only decent music on the ship.
The group in the Atrium was terrible; the Cruise Director claimed "they have a prerecored background tape and can't change the tempo". The condition of the disco floor was terrible; they could have saved a lot of money on music by simply piping in engine room noise. The deck parties were just drunken clown dancing.
It could be NCL's management attitude has changed, but I was always treated as an annoyance when I tried to find out if alternatives were possible.
Wellborn, TX
3 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
Getting this data is like searching for a needle in a haystack and often gets ignored, then buried by answers such as "I don't know but we found a large one ... and a postage stamp one ... yadayada ..."

Thus far, all I have is
Crown Princess Fusion (rear of ship so can be rocky) = 1450sf (square feet)
QE II reported as 1000sf but quotes say this might have been enlarged to retain it's reputation as largest afloat?

So that's the quest of this post - What IS the largest wood dance floor afloat today?
No need to post best band, cruise line, preferences, just a simple data question - what is the largest wood dance floor afloat & available to US passengers?
If you think you have a winner, please first contact the cruise line customer /guest relations ... guessing really doesn't help here, it just crowds up the space.
Mississauga ON
1,673 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
How do you factor in odd shapes? QM2 has a rectangular floor, while Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth, Costa Atlantica and Costa Mediterranea all have semicircular additions on the end. Crystal Serenity has a rectangular floor as large as QM2 but with four pillars on it, and a second large floor that's somewhat horseshoe shaped (and they put tables on it). The Costa Fortuna-class ships have circular floors that are quite large in total area for latin/rhythm, but less so in terms of Line Of Dance, for ballroom/smooth.