10 Tips for Planning a Cruise Scavenger Hunt

10 Tips for Planning a Cruise Scavenger Hunt

Celebrating at Sea: 10 Tips for Planning a Cruise Scavenger Hunt

1. Plan Ahead

At least a month before your cruise, start brainstorming creative clues, challenges, and photo ops that will have people exploring every nook and cranny. Having a basic plan prepared will make it much easier to put everything together and finalize the details once you're actually on board the ship. Decide if you want people to hunt in teams or as individuals - teams encourage camaraderie but individuals allow for more competition.

Make a list of all the quirky areas, pieces of decor, signs, and other unique elements around the ship that could make for clever clues. Do some research on the cruise line, ship layout, and special attractions to integrate. Having a rough outline and as many clues as possible prepared allows you to finalize everything once you get on board and see the actual layout.

2. Enlist Participation

The more the merrier when it comes to cruise scavenger hunts! Put out feelers to get as many other cruisers involved before you even depart. You can utilize social media groups, cruise forums, and cruise-related Facebook groups to spread the word. Or simply ask around the pool deck, bars, and other common areas those first couple days to find eager participants.

Having a bigger group makes the event even more entertaining, high-energy and allows you to create teams for some friendly competition. Promote it as a fun way to explore the ship, make new friends, and have a blast. Offer little prizes for the winners to add some extra incentive.

3. Kickoff Meeting

On the first or second official day of the cruise, gather all participants for a kickoff meeting to explain all the rules, handout clue sheets, and go over logistics. This meeting builds excitement and camaraderie right from the start. Use this time for participants to introduce themselves to one another too if the group doesn't all know each other already.

Go over the scoring system, any special tasks or challenges, time limits if applicable, and set expectations. Explain whether there will be specific checkpoints or if it's just a free-for-all hunt. Designate a meeting area for the finale so everyone knows where to reconvene when time is up. This kickoff allows everyone to get on the same page before letting the mayhem begin!


Cruise Scavenger Hunt

4. Creative Clues

Get those thinking caps on and brainstorm some truly clever, devious and stumping clues! The clues are what will really make or break your cruise scavenger hunt, so put a lot of thought into crafting ones that will have people putting on their detective hats. Incorporate cruise and ship themes, wordplay, rhymes, and multilayered brain teasers into your clues.

Don't just stick to boring text-based clues either. Mix it up with different types: photo challenges, riddles, anagrams, trivia, scavenger hunt items to retrieve, and more. Come up with creative challenges beyond just riddles, like having to learn a dance move from the cruise staff or trying a goofy food from the buffet. But be sure you know all the solutions yourself!

5. Cover the Whole Ship

The entire point of a cruise scavenger hunt is to have an excuse to explore and discover ALL the nooks and crannies of the ship that you may have otherwise missed. So make sure your clues and tasks will be leading participants to every corner of the ship - don't just stick to the main areas!

Have clues spanning all the restaurants, bars, decks, spas, theaters, and more obscure spots. Make people hunt down that tiny little live music lounge or get a selfie at the outdoor climbing wall. Part of the fun is seeing just how cool, quirky and expansive these cruise ships can be when you really poke around every area.

6. Offer Prizes

While the experience and laughs should be enough motivation, add an extra dash of incentive and excitement by offering prizes! Prizes don't have to be extravagant - maybe some free drinks, snazzy cruise swag, or a cash prize for the winner(s). You could even get the cruise line involved to donate prizes.

Let participants know there will be rewards for the top finishers at the kickoff meeting to give them something to aim for. This adds some friendly competition to the mix and kudos for those who are able to decipher all the clues successfully. At the very least, have a tiny prize for multiple categories like most creative team, best dressed, etc.

7. Appoint Judges

Unless you want to sit out the entire scavenger hunt yourself, be sure to appoint a couple of trusty volunteers to be judges. The judges can verify solved clues, keep score, ensure no one is cheating, and provide oversight while you actually get to participate too.

Having a judging system in place allows you to focus on the hunt and fun without having to be glued to a spreadsheet the whole time. It also adds another layer of accountability and ensures everything is fair for all participants. Be sure the judges are clear on all the rules and scoring methods before certifying them.

8. Time Limits

To keep things moving at a lively pace and add a sense of urgency and momentum, it's best to set some firm time limits. Having cut-offs for solving clues, reaching checkpoints, or for the entire event keeps people motivated and the energy high. That said, don't make the time constraints too tight that people feel stressed or rushed to the point of making it unenjoyable.

A good rule of thumb is setting the overall hunt for maybe 2-4 hours in length, with periodic shorter time limits for segments or subsets of clues mixed in. Having that ticking clock pushes people to engage, collaborate (if in teams), and stay focused on sleuthing out the next clue rather than just lollygagging around the whole time. Just don't go overboard!

9. End With a Bang

When time is finally up and all clues have ideally been solved, be sure to go all out with an exciting finale celebration! Gather everyone back at your predetermined meeting spot to tally up scores, crack the final clue, and award prizes to the winners.

This closing ceremony caps off the adventure and allows everyone to relive the hilarious highlights of any shenanigans people got up to in pursuit of solving the hunt. Read aloud any funny stories of struggles, misconceptions, or silly moments people ran into along the way. Give a toast to the champs and let everyone bask in their glorious accomplishment of conquering the ship!

10. Take Photos

Definitely appoint someone (or a few someones) to be the official hunt photographers and videographers! Documenting all the mayhem, confusion, triumphs and laughs is an absolute must. Encourage participants to take pics throughout too, especially for any photo/selfie challenges.

Having a camera crew ensures you'll have full coverage to cherish these unforgettable memories forever. Between running around halls in search of clues and celebrating at the finale, there are bound to be countless priceless, silly, and epic moments you'll want captured on camera. These cruise scavenger hunts create the type of hilarious anecdotes you'll be recounting for years to come!


Cruise Scavenger Hunt

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