“I love to drink martinis. Two at the very most. Three I’m under the table. Four I’m under my host.” So said famous writer and critic Dorothy Parker, way back in the Roaring Twenties.
Martinis, whether shaken or stirred (James Bond did much for the cocktail trade with his favourite concoction), are still one of the most popular cocktails ordered on cruises. But these days there’s a rainbow of variations on the classic gin and dry-vermouth recipe.
Passengers are flocking to martini-tasting sessions on Disney and Carnival cruise ships, mixology classes are always booked out, while gin-tasting on board top-rated luxury ship Europa 2 is an excellent way to while away two or three hours.
After extensive on-the-job research, we found that margaritas, mojitos, cosmopolitans and caipirinhas also have a healthy fan base, while the good old pina colada is experiencing something of a comeback. And of course barmen on ships the world over love to serve their own special concoctions. Here, we sample some of their favourites. Even if you’re not going on a cruise ship any time soon, you can mix one at home to get into the mood.
Candy Bartini, Princess Cruises
Bartender Bruce at the Wheelhouse Bar on Diamond Princess is particularly partial to the Candy Bartini, one of 10 new cocktails that are part of Princess Cruises’ recently introduced “Chocolate Journeys”. Bruce says the chocolate, caramel and creamy nougat flavours are enhanced by the addition of Grey Goose vodka.

Candy Bartini
45ml Grey Goose vodka
15ml Kahlua
15ml Irish Cream
7ml Galliano
7ml Butterscotch Schnapps
Shake all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a chocolate and caramel swirl.

Chilli Margarita and Cascade Martini, P&O Cruises
According to barman Adam Monkman, who looks after thousands of keen imbibers at the uber-cool MIX Bar on Pacific Pearl, the most requested cocktails are the Chilli Margarita and Cascade Martini.

Chilli Margarita
30ml chilli-infused tequila
(1800 gold)
30ml Grand Marnier
30ml fresh lime juice
30ml pineapple juice
Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
Shake well. Salt the rim of a chilled margarita glass and pour contents, with ice, into the glass. Garnish with a dried chilli.

Cascade Martini
45ml Absolut Raspberry
15ml  Chambord (raspberry liqueur)
15ml lemon juice
15ml vanilla syrup
30ml cranberry juice
Shake all the ingredients together in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a sliver of lemon peel.

Cucumber Sunrise, Carnival Cruise Lines
The recipe for this deliciously refreshing cocktail is taken from Carnival Cruises’ Alchemy Bar, which you’ll find on Carnival ships in the US and will be added to Carnival Spirit during her drydock in August. The bar is described as a vintage cocktail pharmacy where mixologists prescribe alcoholic remedies for all manner of “ailments”. Bartender Richard Andrews, from Jamaica, says the Cucumber Sunrise is the most-served cocktail at Alchemy.

Cucumber Sunrise
2 cucumber wheels
60ml Belvedere vodka
30ml fresh lime juice
30ml watermelon syrup
22ml orange juice
Put two cucumber wheels into a chilled glass and muddle. Place remaining ingredients in another glass, add ice and cover with the shaker. Shake for five seconds then double strain into the chilled glass – strain into glass through a fine strainer after passing though a regular strainer. Garnish with a cucumber wheel.

Esensual SeaDream, SeaDream Yacht Club
Manuel Duarte is chief bartender on board boutique luxury ship SeaDream I. He created his Esensual SeaDream as a long, refreshing drink for guests to enjoy around the pool or at the open-air Top of the Yacht Bar. Manuel says his job is not just about mixing amazing cocktails but creating special relationships with the guests. As they say in Portugal, saúde!
Esensual SeaDream
20ml each of Vodka, Midori and Triple Sec
40ml sweet-and-sour mix (freshly squeezed lemon juice with sugar to taste, diluted 50-50 with water)
Pineapple juice
Place plenty of crushed ice in a tall glass, add the spirits and sweet-and-sour mix, then fill to the top with pineapple juice. Stir and garnish with a pineapple wedge and a maraschino cherry.