14 Binge-Worthy TV Shows Set on Cruise Ships

One of my favorite family vacations to this day will always be the 3-day cruise we took from Singapore to Malaysia on the SuperStar Virgo. Even though it was some 20 years ago, I still remember the excitement I felt walking up the grand staircase that wrapped around the Christmas tree, running down the carpeted hallways to find our room and the awe I felt at just how huge the entire ship looked from the outside.

My tiny, eight-year-old brain had a hard time processing how something so big could stay afloat, but I had no worries that it wouldn’t. It was, without a doubt, a memorable experience and one that I’d like to have again as an adult. I definitely recommend going on a cruise at least once in your life!

But if you can’t do it in person, how about doing it via your TV screen?

This is why we put together a comprehensive list of scripted TV shows set on cruise ships for all you sea lovers to get the travel bug somewhat out of your system.

So put on your best cruise outfit, grab that poolside cocktail, and settle down onto your couch to binge these TV shows about cruise ships!

The Good Ship Murder, Channel 5 (2023 – present)

We’ll begin this countdown with the newest show on it – Channel 5’s whodunit The Good Ship Murder.

This murder mystery series centers on former detective Jack Grayling, now a charismatic cruise ship singer working on a luxury Mediterranean cruise, who finds his past resurfacing when a string of murders rocks the idyllic voyage.

Forced to use his honed detective skills, Jack teams up with the ship’s strong-willed First Officer, Kate Woods, to solve the murders.

Together, they navigate exotic Mediterranean locales while unraveling the tangled motives and hidden secrets of passengers and crew alike.

Wreck, BBC Three (2022 – present)

Another newer show on this list is BBC Three’s horror-comedy Wreck.

This genre-bending series follows Jamie Walsh, a nineteen-year-old who takes a job on a board cruise ship called The Sacramentum to figure out what happened to his sister, who went missing from the same ship three months ago.

But paradise quickly turns deadly as a series of grisly murders begin to plague the ship.

So, Jamie learns the ins and outs of living and working on a ship and befriends other crew members in hopes that it will help him investigate his sister’s disappearance and how the recent attacks on crew member could be connected to it.

The Love Boat, ABC (1977 – 1986)

The Love Boat is a scripted rom-com/drama series that aired on ABC more than 30 years ago! However, when watching this series, you’ll find that a lot of the scenarios portrayed still feel very current.

Based on the original made-for-TV movie of the same name, which in turn was based on the non-fiction book Love Boats written by Jeraldine Saunders, a real-life passenger cruise ship director, the show takes place on board the MS Pacific Princess, a luxury passenger cruise ship.

Captain Merrill Stubing is at the helm, guiding not only the ship himself but also his crew members as they attempt to deal with a new passenger’s antics in each episode.

These crew members included the cruise directors, photographer, purser, bartender, doctor, and eventually, even a troupe of dancers!

Love Boat: The Next Wave, UPN (1998 – 1999)

Speaking of The Love Boat, in 1998, UPN came out of a reboot of the classic series.

This time around, we follow Captain Jim Kennedy, a divorced Navy officer, as he steers the luxurious Sun Princess on Caribbean adventures.

Join him on the cruise ship are his teenage son Danny and a crew of quirky characters as they navigate exotic ports and witness blossoming love stories unfold amongst the passengers each week.

Featuring familiar faces from the original Love Boat alongside many new guest stars, Love Boat: The Next Wave is a must-watch for all those who loved the original series!

The Gale Storm Show, CBS/ABC (1956 – 1960)

Next, we’re looking at the oldest show on this countdown – The Gale Storm Show.

This 1956 black-and-white sitcom stars Gale Storm as Susanna “Susan” Kingston, the quick-witted social director aboard the luxury liner SS Ocean Queen.

During the show’s four seasons, we follow Susan and her scatterbrained best friend Ethel “Nugey” Porter’s hilarious misadventures abroad on the ship, kept in check by the ship’s ever-grumpy Captain, James “Jim” Bates.

Each episode brings new laughs as Susan tackles the chaos of passenger demands, quirky crewmates, and her own romantic entanglements.

The Suite Life on Deck, Disney Channel (2008 – 2011)

For a more light-hearted take on a cruise ship series, we have Disney’s The Suite Life on Deck.

A spin-off of the Disney original series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, this show sees twins Zack and Cody Martin trade their posh hotel life for the luxurious cruise liner SS Tipton, owned by their classmate London Tipton’s father.

London, used to a life of luxury, must now share a cramped cabin with Bailey Pickett, a down-to-earth girl from Kansas.

While Mr. Moseby, the uptight manager from their old hotel, joins the crew, keeping a watchful eye on the mischievous twins.

Breaker High, YTV (1997 – 1998)

Speaking of teenagers on a cruise ship, there also is a one-season Canadian series, Breaker High.

This unique series takes place at the Pacific Coast Academy, which ditches the traditional classroom for the decks of a luxurious cruise ship, allowing students to explore exotic ports while tackling real-life challenges.

Join a vibrant cast including brooding heartthrob Sean (played by young Ryan Gosling!), practical joker Jimmy, tomboyish Cassidy, and overachiever Denise as they navigate friendships, first loves, and the pressures of high school – all under the watchful eye of the student activities counselor Tony Gifford and the ship’s captain/the school principal Captain Ballard.

High Seas, Netflix (2019 – 2020)

High Seas, also known as Alta Mar in its original Spanish, is a Netflix original series that aired for three seasons beginning in 2019.

Unlike the modern cruise ship settings that we’ve seen so far, High Seas takes place on a luxury ocean liner in the 1940s!

As it voyages from Spain to Brazil, sisters Eva and Carolina Villanueva climb aboard the Barbara de Braganza liner. Unbeknownst to the other passengers and crew, they’ve smuggled a mysterious woman onboard after she pleaded for their help.

Things go terribly awry when the woman is thrown overboard, and Eva, a curious and headstrong writer, launches an investigation into the mysterious goings-on on the ship.

Eventually, both she and her sister discover shocking secrets that tie into their family’s dark past. Who are they supposed to believe?

Anchored, Telecinco (2015)

Another Spanish series set on a cruise ship is the 2015 sitcom Anchored (or Anclados in its original Spanish).

This short-lived Spanish series takes place on a budget cruise ship called the Estrella del Mar (Star of the Sea).

So, we follow the ship’s quirky crew, led by the ever-optimistic Captain Paloma and the perpetually grumpy Cruise Director Mariano, as they struggle to keep the ship afloat – both literally and metaphorically.

Join them alongside a wacky cast of passengers, from social media-obsessed millennials to eccentric retirees, as they navigate hilarious mishaps, stormy weather (both literal and emotional), and all-inclusive chaos.

The Dream Ship, ZDF (1981 – 2005)

From Spanish, we will jump to German in this next series.

The Dream Ship (or Das Traumschiff in its original German) is a long-running German drama that whisks viewers away on luxurious cruises to exotic locations around the globe.

Each episode features heartwarming stories of the passengers taking the cruise – blossoming romances, rekindled friendships, and even family reconciliations – all played out against the backdrop of paradise.

Captains and crews change throughout the series, but the focus on feel-good stories and stunning locales remains constant.

Titanic, ITV (2012)

While not exactly a cruise ship, Titanic is probably the most well-known ship on the planet, so I think we would be remiss if we didn’t mention a TV show about this passenger liner.

Written by Julian Fellowes of Downton Abbey fame to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster, this series weaves a fictional tapestry of stories against the backdrop of the historical tragedy.

We follow the ship’s passengers from all walks of life – ambitious first-class socialites, hopeful Irish immigrants, and hardworking stokers – as they embark on the RMS Titanic’s maiden voyage.

1899, Netflix (2022)

And if we’re mentioning 2012’s Titanic, then we also have to tell you about Netflix’s short-lived series 1899.

This multilingual sci-fi thriller follows a group of European immigrants sailing westward on the steamship Kerberos. However, their dreams of a new life in America are shattered when they encounter another vessel adrift on the open sea – the Prometheus.

A sinister puzzle unfolds as passengers from both ships, each harboring dark secrets, are inexplicably linked. Mysterious symbols, cryptic messages, and unsettling occurrences plague the journey, raising questions about reality itself.

You Are My Destiny (2020)

The last non-English language series we’ll mention is the Cheese drama You Are My Destiny.

Based on the 2008 Taiwanese drama called Fated to Love You, the series is set on board a cruise ship bound for the Bahamas.

There we meet a mousy administrative assistant, Chen Jia Xin, and a charming heir to a large toiletries conglomerate, Wang Xi Yi.

After a chance encounter, the two find themselves unexpectedly drawn together. Will they become each other’s destiny despite their differences?

Avenue 5, HBO (2020 – 2022)

Finally, science fiction and dark comedy collide in this last entry – HBO’s Avenue 5.

This series brings cruise ships to a place you never could have imagined: space. Yup, you read that right!

While setting off on an eight-week-long cruise, the interplanetary cruise ship Avenue 5 experiences technical difficulties that set off a devastating chain of events: a temporary loss of gravity and the Chief Engineer’s accidental death, causing the ship to veer off-course.

When it’s estimated to take three years for them to return to Earth, Captain Clark and his crew need to figure out how to keep their passengers calm, collected, and safe – even as mishaps are happening left and right.

Will they ever be able to make it back home?

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