• In the yard, place a “Cruise Ship Terminal” sign.

  • Alongside your terminal sign, put anchors, a ships wheel, with perhaps some fishing nets, toy ships and plastic fish.

  • Have your guests enter along a gangway.
    • You can lay down planks that lead to the doorway or you can simply use cardboard and paint it to look like planks.
    • Use small poles and rope to line the entrance as they’re making their way aboard.
    • Scatter blue cellophane along the walkway to make water.
    • You could even make cut-outs of fish to lay across the cellophane or make shark fins out of cardboard to have rising from the water (from aluminum foil or gray posterboard).

  • Greet guests in cruise ship style with a life preserver arch and lots of balloons in red, white and blue. (This is a perfect place for a photo spot!)
    • Find an inexpensive balloon arch here
    • Find an inexpensive life preserver here
    • See “creating a photo spot” for more ideas!

  • Place a sign at the entrance that reads, "Welcome Aboard! Mystery of the Seas”. Create your own or use the one included with the mystery purchase!

  • As guests walk in hand out shell necklaces to the ladies and nautical hats to the gents.

  • Upon entering, have your guests pose for a photo (see ‘making a photo spot’ below).

  • After having a photo, direct them to the purser, who will hand them their party information (name tag, money, “a” objectives, etc.).


  • Space Use lots of directional signage to guide everyone through the party, "This way to…" Purser. Galley. Lounge. Casino. Sun Deck. Golf deck. Swimming Pool. Captain’s Quarters. (Signs for areas included with the mystery.)

  • Make portholes and place them throughout the party space
    • Directions and designs are included in mystery!
    • Designs for both above deck (horizon) and below deck (underwater scenes) are included!

  • Hang life preservers throughout.

  • Place Mystery of the Seas “Do Not Disturb” door hangers on all of the rooms that will not be utilized during the party (included in the mystery).

  • Don’t forget to give Wanda and Wilbur Wed some privace with an “Anniversary Suite – Do not disturb” sign.

  • Advertise for the Night of Mystery Review show starring Candy Cann by hanging her show posters in your party area!

  • Have maritime flags hanging! A fun, festive and colorful way to pull the ship together!

  • Create some luggage props with travel stickers (included with the mystery) and an old piece of luggage.
    • Don’t have one? Check your local Goodwill and/or thrift store. (We found ours for $3)

Place seafaring items throughout your party space to give it a nautical feel:

  • Ship’s Wheel
  • Captain’s hats
  • Anchors
  • Life Preservers (make your own here)
  • Cruise Posters
  • Map of the ship (enclosed in mystery)
  • Fish netting
  • Starfish
  • Seagulls
  • Maritime flags




  • A pool/lido deck
    • Purchase scene setters that will give you the ambience and feel of being out on the deck!
    • Set out lawn chairs, patio tables, etc.
    • Drape your furniture with beach towels
    • Create a shuffleboard on the floor with painters/masking tape on the floor.
    • Play some background sea/ocean noise!
  • Casino
    • Have gambling tables set up if you wish – real or fake!
    • Consider having ipads, laptops, etc, with gambling apps preloaded for your casino.
    • Decorate with neon signs, ringing noises, and casino scene setters.

  • Lounge Area
    • Consider a kareoke machine for entertainment during and/or after the mystery.
    • Kareoke microphone could double and help with announcements

  • Bar/Cocktail Lounge
    • Consider using votive candles to enhance some intimate lighting.
    • Serve lifesavers candies in silver dishes.
    • Make sure your guests have plenty to drink!

  • Dinner area
    • Create a room for dining or have a buffet table.
    • Use red, white and navy table clothes to accentuate the maritime theme.
    • Set your table with table decorations to give it a nautical feel.
    • See Food & Music page for more ideas!

  • Chapel
    • For any impromptu weddings or renewing of vows!
    • Can be made easily by stringing lights or tulle on a wedding arch.

  • Salon
    • You can use the bathroom for this with extra pampering details!
    • Have your towels folded into animals (see directions here) – much like you would find on a cruise line!


A few suggestions:

  • Pick a place where there will be good lighting.

  • You can make it as elaborate or simple as you want.

  • Accessories and decorations can make the difference. Have some extra props on hand that your guests can pose with. Consider extra captain's hats, feather boas, tiaras, lifesavers, large sunglasses, anchors, etc.

  • An easy way to create a background is to use a "scene setter". These affordable rolls of images transform your room instantly and make for a good backdrop to your picture.

  • Make sure there is enough room to fit everyone in to the frame.

  • For individual shots of guests, designate someone to be in charge of pictures as your guests arrive.
    o Consider your character list and which character would fit the role of taking the picture. Ie, if you want mug shots, perhaps ask the investigator to be in charge of taking the pictures.

  • For a group picture, take one just before the introduction is read or right after the solution is read (before people may start heading out).
    o These are two times when you can count on everyone being around and attentive.

BACKDROP IDEAS for your cruise ship photospot

  • Take a picture as the guests enter on the gangplank.

  • Use scene setters to make a simple background. There are many that are cruise themed.

  • Create a ship's wheel for your guests to pose behind.

  • Have a additional props such as: captain's hats, an anchor, life preservers, buoys, etc.

  • Paint your own back drop to pose in front of!


 
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