Norwegian Cruise Cocktails NCL Cruisers Love

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What are some cruisers’ favorite Norwegian Cruise cocktails? Frequent NCL cruisers have repeatedly praised these drinks throughout the cruise community as the best cocktails on Norwegian Cruise Line.

We were recently back on a Norwegian cruise, and I continued my journey to try some of the most requested cocktails in Norway. We started our cruise with the iconic piña colada, my go-to vacation drink, which I had many of this time around. I introduced my family, who were cruising with us, to the Miami Vice, and we also indulged in the beloved Espresso Martini.

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New to Norwegian? This list can guide you on where to start with your NCL Beverage Package. A seasoned NCL cruiser? Maybe you’ll discover something new, and we’d still love to hear your favorites. We’ve also included recipes you can make at home. What is your favorite cocktail when sailing on the Norwegian Cruise Line?

Note: There is a new bar menu on NCL ships (included below). Drinks like the Painkiller and Rebellious Fish are no longer on the list. However, I confirmed with the bartender in the atrium, and they will gladly make you these loved NCL drinks if you ask, as long as they have the ingredients.

Tip: If you upgrade to the Premium Plus Beverage Package, when you order your drink from a bartender, ask for “top shelf.” For example, “Top shelf piña colada.” The bartender will prepare it with premium liquor. If you ask a waiter, they’ll look at you funny.

Mango Meltdown

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Mango Meltdown

Mango Meltdown was one of those frozen drinks I always chatted about, yet I had never tried one until this last cruise. All I can say is, WOW, now I know why. This was my first drink on embarkation day.

You must love mango to appreciate this drink, which tastes exactly like a frozen mango smoothie topped with a strawberry smoothie—with liquor.

NCL’s recipe uses Island Oasis Mango Mix, Strawberry Mix, amaretto liquor, and rum. Depending on the bartender, the strawberry mix is swirled or layered within the drink. The Mango Meltdown can be ordered virgin.

Make a Mango Meltdown at Home

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz of Mango Puree
  • 1 oz of Strawberry Mix
  • 1.25 oz Anejo RUM
  • 0.5 oz Amaretto

Instructions:

  1. Pour 1 oz of strawberry mix into the bottom of a cup.
  2. Mix 4 oz of mango puree, 1.25 oz of añejo rum, and 0.5 oz of amaretto with ice until smooth.
  3. Gently pour the blended mixture over the strawberry mix in the cup to create a layered effect.

Piña Colada

pina colada served in a glass with a slice of pineapple, liquor floating on top, sitting on top of a tablePin
Piña Colada

The fact is, Piña Coladas are an all-around favorite on cruise ships and even in the middle of cruising Alaska. Not only did I have it more than once, but we saw these being ordered all the time at the bar. It’s, without a doubt, a top favorite.

And as a piña colada connoisseur who has been drinking them since I was a child visiting Puerto Rico (virgin ones, of course), I can say that NCL makes a delicious piña colada. Even though they use a mix, I can forgive them because it’s good.

NCL uses ‘Island Oasis Piña Colada Mix’ in their recipe with two kinds of rum. They blend each drink individually as you order it. The pina colada can be ordered virgin.

Make a Piña Colada at Home

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Add the Piña Colada mix and white and dark rum to a blender. If you’re aiming for a creamier consistency, include coconut cream.
  2. Use about a cup of ice or adjust to your desired thickness
  3. Blend everything until the cocktail is creamy and homogeneous.
  4. Pour the mixture into a chilled glass, garnish with a pineapple slice or cherry, and enjoy.

Miami Vice

An image of a hand holding a Miami Vice cocktail in a "NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE" branded cup, with distinct yellow, blue, and red layers. The background features a vibrant blue ocean and sky, viewed from a cruise ship.Pin
Miami Vice

The Miami Vice cocktail is a delightful fusion of two beloved drinks: the Piña Colada and the Strawberry Daiquiri. This best-of-both-worlds blend layers these frozen favorites into one enticing beverage, available as a virgin drink or with alcohol. My fondness for the Piña Coladas served on NCL ships makes this an easy favorite, a sentiment many other cruisers echo.

Bartenders must blend two separate elements to prepare this drink. They use the Piña Colada recipe previously discussed and the Island Oasis Strawberry Mix for the daiquiri. The drinks are then expertly layered, enhanced with rum, and finished with a splash of blue curaçao.

Make a Miami Vice at Home

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Blend 3 oz strawberry puree, 1 oz white rum, and ice until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Blend 3 oz colada mix, 1 oz white rum, and ice until smooth.
  3. In a 16 oz glass, add Blue Curaçao, then pour in the Strawberry Daiquiri, followed by the Piña Colada.
  4. Carefully float 1 oz of dark rum on top.

Mudslide

mudsline drink with a straw sitting on a table with a view of the ocean in the backgroundPin
Mudslide

The Mudslide is a popular frozen dessert cocktail. If you’re a fan of milkshakes, this adult version will surely hit the spot.

NCL combines Bailey, Kahlua, and Vodka with Island Oasis Ice Cream mix and blends it with ice to prepare this frozen cocktail. They serve it in a glass swirled with chocolate syrup. The result is a delightful frozen cocktail with a perfect balance of sweet, creamy, and boozy flavors.

Make a Mudslide at Home

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Vanilla Ice Cream
  • 1.5 oz Vodka
  • 1.5 oz Irish Cream
  • 0.5 oz Kahlua
  • Chocolate Syrup
  • Chocolate Shavings (optional, for garnish)

Instructions:

  1. Drizzle chocolate syrup inside a serving glass for decoration.
  2. In a blender, mix 1 cup of vanilla ice cream, 1.5 oz of vodka, 1.5 oz of Irish cream, and 0.5 oz of Kahlua until smooth.
  3. Pour the mixture into the prepared glass.
  4. Top with additional chocolate syrup and sprinkle with chocolate shavings if desired.

Painkiller

painkiller cocktail on norwegian cruise linePin
Painkiller

The Painkiller on Norweigan Cruise Line is a top cocktail. This one is a win for anyone who already loves the piña colada. It’s very similar but has orange juice mixed in and shaken, not blended.

I remember drinking these repeatedly on our Norwegian Pearl cruise. The familiar taste of pineapple with a hint of coconut served with a pineapple slice drives home the vacation vibes. While it’s no longer on NCL’s bar menu, if the bartender has the ingredients behind the bar, they will still make it for you. It is included with the Free-at-Sea Unlimited Open Bar Package.

Make a painkiller at Home

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz Pineapple Juice
  • 2 oz Dark Rum
  • 1 oz Coconut Cream
  • 1 oz Orange Juice
  • Grated Nutmeg (for garnish)

Instructions:

  1. Combine 2 oz of dark rum, 4 oz of pineapple juice, 1 oz of orange juice, and 1 oz of coconut cream in a shaker filled with ice.
  2. Shake vigorously until the mixture is well chilled.
  3. Strain the cocktail into a glass filled with ice.
  4. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg on top.

Mojito

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Bacardi Mojito

The Barcardi mojito cocktail is a favorite cocktail among cruisers. While you can order this cocktail at any bar on the ship, the Mojito Bar is the place to go on the Norweigan Cruise Line’s cruise ships.

At the Mojito Bar, you can order a variety of flavors, from raspberry guava mojitos to pineapple coconut mojitos. If you’re up for it, you can challenge yourself to try the entire menu throughout your cruise.

A mojito is prepared with muddled lime wedges and mint leaves, followed by Bacardi Rum and soda water. It is one of those drinks that goes down easily. It’s included in the Unlimted Drinks Package that comes with the Free-at-Sea.

Make a Mojito at Home

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz Bacardi Rum
  • 3-4 oz Club Soda
  • 0.75 oz Simple Syrup
  • Half a lime, cut into wedges
  • Fresh Mint Leaves

Instructions:

  1. Muddle the mint leaves and lime wedges gently in a tall glass.
  2. Add the simple syrup and Bacardi Rum.
  3. Fill the glass with ice.
  4. Pour in the club soda to top off the glass.
  5. Stir lightly to mix, then garnish with a mint sprig and a lime wedge.

Espresso Martini

A photo of an espresso martini served on a glittery bar counter. The cocktail is presented in a martini glass, set on a napkin labeled "NORWEGIAN". In the background, the bar displays a luminous blue light and bartenders are visible, attending to other tasks.Pin
Espresso Martini

The Espresso Martini is a favorite among NCL cruisers. Its espresso content offers a delightful pick-me-up. I find it perfect for sipping before or after dinner or even with brunch to kickstart the day.

This cocktail combines coffee, Vanilla Absolut Vodka, and Kahlua. Although priced at $18, it exceeds the $15 per drink limit of the Unlimited Open Bar package. If you have this package, you only need to pay an additional $3 plus gratuities, totaling $3.60, rather than upgrading to the Premium Plus Package.

Not all bars on the ship can prepare this cocktail, as it requires an espresso machine. I successfully ordered mine at Shaker’s Martini Bar on the Breakaway. You can also try the Atrium Bar and Mixx near the Taste & Savor restaurants. One fellow cruiser affectionately referred to it as “gold” after nearly spilling hers, highlighting her effort to find this cherished drink.

Make an Espresso Martini at Home

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Absolute Vanilla Vodka
  • 1 oz Kahlúa Liqueur
  • 1 oz Espresso (cooled)
  • Coffee Beans (garnish)

Instructions:

  1. Combine vodka, Kahlúa, and espresso in a shaker with ice.
  2. Shake well until chilled, about 15 seconds.
  3. Strain into the chilled martini glass.
  4. Optional: Garnish with three coffee beans.

The Chocolate Martini

An image of a chocolate martini garnished with mint, served in a martini glass on a glittery bar counter. The setting features a softly lit bar with a bartender in the backgroundPin
Chocolate Martini

The Chocolate Martini is another fantastic cocktail that cruisers adore. What’s not to love about chocolate liqueur and Absolut Vanilla Vodka shaken and served chilled in a martini glass? I particularly enjoy this one at night after dinner.

Similar to the Espresso Martini, it costs $18. If you have the Unlimited Open Bar Package included with your cruise, you’ll only need to pay the difference plus gratuities, totaling $3.60. It’s also covered under the Premium Plus Package.

Blackberry Smash

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Blackberry Bourbon Smash Cocktail

The Blackberry Smash is a sweet Norwegian cruise cocktail served at Maltings Whiskey. While I love a good bourbon drink or Old Fashioned, I would never have ordered it had I not seen it repeatedly praised by other cruisers.

This cocktail pleasantly surprised me. The cocktail is sweet and slightly tart, yet you can still taste the whiskey bourbon as it hits your tastebuds. The fact that it tastes like cranberry juice and blackberries doesn’t hurt either.

Surprisingly, this drink is on tap. It is made with Buffalo Trace Bourbon Whiskey, cranberry, fresh lemon elixir, and blackberries. It’s shaken with ice and served with blackberries and a lemon slice. It’s $15 and included with the Free-at-Sea Open Bar, but only at Maltings Whiskey.

Make your own at home with this Blackberry Smash recipe.

Signature Mai Tai

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Mai Tai

The Signature Mai Tai is another beloved drink on Norwegian’s standard menu. It is a tropical delight that transports you to the sun-soaked shores with its blend of premium rum, orange liqueur, almond syrup, and a splash of lime juice, served over ice.

The Norwegian Cruise Line’s Signature Mai Tai may not precisely replicate the ones I enjoyed in Kauai, yet they boast a delightful balance of sweetness and tartness. This drink is included with the Free-at-Sea Open Bar Package.

Make a Mai Tai at Home

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz Pineapple Juice
  • 1 oz Lime Juice
  • 1.25 oz Añejo Rum
  • 0.5 oz Almond Syrup
  • 0.5 oz Simple Syrup
  • Dash of Cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Mix the pineapple juice, lime juice, añejo rum, almond syrup, simple syrup, and a dash of cinnamon in a shaker.
  2. Add ice to the shaker and shake vigorously until well chilled.
  3. Strain the mixture into another glass filled with ice.
  4. Optionally, garnish with a slice of pineapple.

Old Fashioned

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Palermo Old Fashioned at Onda Restaurant

An Old Fashioned cocktail, with its timeless charm, is a classic libation that stands the test of time and is one of my favorites. While sailing to Alaska, it was a great drink to sip and get warm with.

We had the best Old Fashioned cocktail on the ship at Onda Restaurant. The Palermo Old Fashion, with its hint of vanilla, shocked me by its smoothness. I’m unsure if they’ll make it for anyone outside Onda, but it’s worth asking.

The next best old-fashioned can be found at Malting’s Whiskey Bar, the Woodford Reserve Old Fashioned – only order it here as they make it best and under $15. It’s prepared with Woodserve Reserve Bourbon, maple syrup, angostura bitters, and sweet vermouth.

Make a Woodford Reserve Old Fashioned At Home

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Woodford Reserve Bourbon
  • 0.5 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.25 oz Maple Syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Orange slice (for garnish)
  • Maraschino Cherries (for garnish)

Instructions:

  1. In a mixing glass, add 2 oz of Woodford Reserve Bourbon, 0.5 oz of sweet vermouth, 0.25 oz of maple syrup, and 2 dashes of Angostura bitters.
  2. Fill the mixing glass with ice and stir the mixture until well chilled.
  3. Strain the cocktail into a rock glass filled with ice.
  4. Garnish with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry.

Bush Whacker

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The Bush Whacker is a popular drink known from St. Thomas. This one reminded me of a mudslide. It mixes a piña colada and a mudslide without the ice cream.

NCL combines Island Oasis piña colada and ice cream mix with a medley of amaretto, Irish cream, and Kahlua. In the photo, the bartender served it with chocolate swirled on the inside; I think that’s just an added tweak to Norwegian’s version.

Make your own with this classic Bush Whacker recipe.

Norwegian Cruise Line cocktail Menu

This is the latest shipwide bar menu on Norwegian Cruise Line. If your drink is not on here, it doesn’t mean they can’t make it for you. As long as it is a full bar, you shouldn’t have an issue ordering a drink.

Note: Specialty bars like the Mojito Bar, Maltings Whiskey, or Shaker’s will have their menus with specialty cocktails and drinks. Some restaurants will have crafted cocktails on their menus that can only be enjoyed there.

An image of two bartenders preparing drinks at a cruise ship bar, with a bar menu on the glittery counter and a row of espresso martinis in the background, under a blue-lit shelf.Pin
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Enjoying a signature drink at the Food Republic on Norweigan Encore with dinner.

Other NCL Drinks that made the list of favorites:

  • Pistachio Martini
  • BBC
  • Rebellious Fish (recipe)

BEFORE YOU SET SAIL, HERE ARE SOME RELATED ARTICLES YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS:

Kathy Ava

Meet Kathy Ava, a food, travel, and cruise writer based in Los Angeles/Pasadena, and the owner and main writer of Tasty Itinerary. With over 20 years of experience planning trips and logistics at her full-time job and for herself, she's become a pro at crafting unforgettable tasty itineraries. She's always on the hunt for delicious, fun travel destinations and cruise itineraries. She firmly believes that life is short and we must make the most of it, so always say yes to dessert.

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