5 Movies Set On Cruise Ships

This week we’ve gone a bit Hollywood with a look at 5 movies set on cruise ships.  From cinematic classics to the slightly absurd  we’ve tried to include something for everyone.

Oh, and before anyone accuses us of leaving out what is probably the most famous cruise ship film of all time, we thought that including Titanic was perhaps a bit too obvious…

Speed 2:  Cruise Control

Speed 2: Cruise Control

Year of release: 1997
Starring:  Sandra Bullock, Jason Patric

This imaginatively titled sequel took on a similar premise to the first film but used a cruise ship as the setting rather than a bus – which we’re sure you’ll agree is slightly more glamorous.  However, it failed to live up to the successes of the first film and the fact that Keanu Reeves’ role as the hero was replaced by the lesser-known Jason Patric probably didn’t help much.


Bonus points for:
  An incredibly hammy performance from Willem Dafoe as the baddie.
Watch if you like:  Speed, Under Siege.
Cruise ship used:  Seabourn Legend

Carry on Cruising

Carry on Cruising

Year of release: 1962
Starring:  Sid James, Kenneth Connor, Kenneth Williams

With Christmas fast approaching you can expect a TV roster jam-packed with afternoon showings of ‘Carry on…’ films, though whether they’ll be showing this one remains to be seen.  Nonetheless, ‘Carry on Cruising’ sees Sid James and his slightly unsettling laugh as captain of the SS Happy Wanderer who finds his crew replaced at the last minute by a bunch of rag-tag misfits.  Much hilarity ensues, obviously.

It was also the first ‘Carry on…’ film to be shot in colour.


Bonus points for:
  Trying to cram as much cruise ship-related innuendo into 90 minutes as humanly possible.
Watch if you like:  Carry on Camping, Carry on Nurse, Carry on Cabby, Carry on Cleo…you get the idea.
Cruise ship used:  Carry on Cruising wasn’t actually filmed aboard a real ship, instead the crew built a life size mock of the Happy Wanderer complete with all the furnishings you’d expect to find on a real vessel.

The Poseidon Adventure

Year of release: 1972
Starring: Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Shirley Winters

The Poseidon Adventure

Set aboard a luxury cruise ship on its last voyage from New York to Athens, the crossing is thrown into chaos when the vessel is hit by a freak tsunami wave in the middle of the night. A plucky bunch of survivors then attempt to navigate their way through the upside-down ship to safety, led by preacher man Gene Hackman.

A classic disaster film, the Poseidon Adventure was nominated a Special Achievement Academy Award for Special Affects, and received Golden Globe nomination for Best Dramatic Global Picture.  It’s highly unlikely you’ll find this in the DVD library on the ship of your next cruise, but that’s not to say you should avoid it completely.


Bonus points for: 
 Not being the remake starring Kurt Russell.
Watch if you like:  The Towering Inferno, Earthquake, Dante’s Peak and Titanic.
Cruise ship used:  Some scenes of the film were shot aboard Cunard’s Queen Mary.

Out to Sea

Out to Sea

Date of release: 1997
Starring: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau

Out to Sea stars Walter Matthau as Charlie, a down-on-his-luck gambler looking to flee the loan sharks and shady characters that are chasing him to settle his debts.  Hatching a cunning scheme to escape and with the plan of meeting a rich widow, he cons his brother Herb into joining him on a luxury cruise.  Unbeknown to Herb (played by a rather excellent Jack Lemmon), Charlie has left out one important detail:  He’s signed the pair up as dance hosts for the duration of the cruise – and Charlie doesn’t exactly have the best pair of dancing feet.

Out to Sea was the 9th Lemmon/Matthau collaboration and is widely regarded as one of the partnerships’ best films.


Bonus points for:
 The outtakes reel when the credits roll.
Watch if you like:  The Odd Couple, Grumpy Old Men, Buddy Buddy.
Cruise ship used:   Holland America’s Westerdam.

Death on the Nile

Death on the Nile

Date of release:  1978
Starring: Peter Ustinov, Mia Farrow

OK, so technically Death on the Nile takes place on a river steamer rather than a cruise ship, but seeing as The Cruise Line sells a wide range of river cruises, we think it more than warrants its inclusion.

Based on an Agatha Christie novel of the same name, Death on the Nile sees intrepid Belgian detective Hercule Poirot attempt to unravel a murder case aboard the S.S Karnack.  To be honest, it’s pretty standard Agatha Christie/Poirot fare, but it’s worth a watch if only for the some of the stunning locations used throughout the film and highly recommended if you’re seeking a reason to enjoy a cruise down the Nile in the future.


Bonus points for: 
 Weaving in some of Egypt’s iconic structures and architecture throughout the story.
Watch if you like:  Murder on the Orient Express, Evil Under the Sun.
Cruise ship used:  The S.S Sudan.

 Do you have any movies set on cruise ships you’d like to add to our list? Leave your suggestions in the comments below! 


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2 Responses to 5 Movies Set On Cruise Ships

  1. John Honeywell (@CaptGreybeard) November 29, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

    You were quite right not to include Titanic – it was NOT a cruise ship

  2. Scott Anderson September 6, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

    Alvin and the Chipmunks was filmed on Carnival! http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1615918/

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