Choose the right cruise ship and you will never be bored! Today’s modern cruise ships have so much to enjoy!
Picking a cruise ship with lots of activities is particularly important if you’re cruising out of season when the weather is colder. Or if you have an itinerary with lots of sea days, such as a transatlantic cruise.
So, here’s a list of the best things you can do on a cruise ship…
1. Eat All the Food
The average cruiser puts on half a stone per week on a cruise, which requires eating an extra 3,500 calories per day on top of what you’d usually eat. Sounds a lot? Well, it’s easily done with endless snack options like pizza slices, chips and ice cream as well as endless buffets and three-course meals every night.
2. Spa Day
Have a massage, float in the pool, and nap on a heated water bed. You could even get your teeth whitened on board. These are some of the most relaxing cruise ship activities by far.
3. Indoor Swimming Pool
What do you do on a cruise when the weather’s not great? Relax by the pool anyway, of course! Choosing a cruise ship with an indoor pool is a good idea for anyone with kids. Even better, head to the adults-only solarium while they’re in the kids’ club for a much more relaxing time.
4. Watch a Movie
Most cruise ships have either a cinema indoors, or a large screen on the pool deck showing movies. P&O ship Iona has four cinema screens on board, so there’s always something good to watch.
Eyes down! Cruise ship bingo can be adults only with big money at stake, or there may also be family versions where kids can join in to win sweets and toys.
There’s loads of fun to be had in the casino, whether at the tables or machines, it’s easy to forget what time it is. One of the more popular things to do on a cruise ship in the evening – although there are still plenty of other options, too.
I always tell myself I’m going to go to the gym on a cruise but I’ve still never done it. I’m sure it would make me feel less guilty about all the desserts if I could manage it!
8. Fitness Classes
Zumba, pilates, HIIT, there’s something for everyone, just check your daily planner (the cruise ship activities list either posted in your room or on the app) for the times.
9. Get Drunk
A rainy day is a great excuse to work your way down the cocktail menu. Particularly if you have a drinks package.
10. Hot Tub
Here’s one outdoor activity that can be enjoyed whatever the weather. Just make sure you have a towel nearby for when it’s time to get out!
11. Play Cards
Most ships have card rooms where you can find others to play games like bridge or whist with.
12. Admire the Views
Head up to the top deck, look out the window or, if you’re on a Royal Caribbean Quantum Class ship, take a ride in the North Star observation pod which rises 300 feet above the sea.
13. Ice Skating
Get your skates on and fall over in style. Then watch the professional ice show and wow at how easy they make it look.
14. Bumper Cars
Another feature on Quantum-class ships is bumper cars, also known as dodgems.
15. Social Media
Make the most of your WiFi package by making your friends jealous with photos of your food.
16. Go to the Hairdresser
Relax with a new style, color, or a fancy updo, ready for a formal night.
17. Watch a Show
Singers, comedians, dancers, musicals, and even synchronized swimming, you’ll find all kinds of entertainment shows on board.
18. Learn Floristry
Did you know that cruise ships have florists on board? Learn how to arrange flowers or make your own corsage to wear in the evening.
19. Ice Bar
Norwegian Breakaway, Getaway and Epic each have an ice bar where you can don a winter coat and enjoy ice cold vodka cocktails whilst sitting on furniture made of ice.
20. Stay In Bed
Order room service, watch movies in bed and take naps. Sounds like heaven to me!
21. Escape Room
Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises each have escape room games where you have to piece together clues to make your way out of a room before the time is up.
22. Virtual Reality Bungee Trampolines
Don your VR goggles and choose from different virtual reality experiences. Or skip the goggles and just bounce. The choice is yours.
23. Galley Tour
Ever wondered how cruise ship kitchens can serve up enough food to feed thousands of people at the same time? Find out with a tour of the ship’s kitchen, also known as the galley.
24. Rock Climbing
Heading up the rock climbing wall is a surefire way to warm up in cooler weather. The small kids make it look so easy. It’s not!
From retro games to air hockey and dance games, there’s lots of fun to be had in the arcades.
26. Board Games
We love to hunt out board games to borrow. Even if we’re not playing them, young kids they like to make up their own games with the pieces.
27. Mini Golf
Crazy golf is fun for all the family. Just don’t hit it into the sea! Fore!
A great way for families to spend time together, you can enjoy an expert-led archery class on your cruise.
Where else but posh cruise line Cunard would offer fencing as an activity? I’d love to give it a go. On guard!
30. See Behind The Scenes
Ever fancied a look in the engine room? Book a behind-the-scenes tour and see all that and more.
31. Trapeze School
After you’ve watched the circus show, on Anthem of the Seas you can actually have a go yourself with a lesson in trapeze artistry.
32. Laser Tag
Once an 80s craze, laser tag is back and better than ever on selected Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line ships.
Basketball, tennis, volleyball, football… there’s no end of sports to enjoy.
34. Watch a Game Show
I really like cruise ship gameshows. It’s great fun cheering on your fellow cruisers as they try to win prizes. The Mr and Mrs type ones are my favourites – so funny!
35. Table Tennis
A great way to spend an hour, table tennis, or as the Americans call it ping-pong is a fun game for two or four people to enjoy together.
36. Ride a Carousel
Hop aboard a horsey (or zebra) and ride the carousel in the Boardwalk of selected Royal Caribbean ships.
37. Hall of Mirrors
Watch out for the funny mirrors by the carousel, especially the one that shows what you’ll look like if you spend too long in the buffet.
38. Go Karting
Yes, that’s right, newer Norwegian Cruise Line ships even have go kart tracks on board! Unbelievable!
39. Art Classes
Learn to draw or paint in a class led by an expert artist.
40. Silent Disco
On Celebrity Cruises, you can set your headphones to your favorite channel and dance like nobody’s watching.
41. Ride a Roller Coaster
The world’s first roller coasters at sea can be found on Carnival Cruise Line’s newer ships Mardi Gras, Carnival Celebration and Carnival Jubilee.
Knock down the pins and try for a strike in the bowling alley
Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 has a full-size planetarium where you can learn about everything in the night sky for a fun and educational experience.
44. Cookery Classes
Learn to make sushi, cupcakes, pizzas or almost anything else at an expert-led class
45. Art Gallery
Admire the pieces in the onboard art gallery. You could even attend an art auction and bid on a piece to take home with you.
46. Order a Drink From a Robot
Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises both have bionic bartenders that will mix your cocktails while you look on in awe. So clever!
47. Dance Classes
Led by expert dancers, a sea day is a perfect opportunity to spend an hour learning to tango, waltz or samba.
48. Sky Bike
Carnival Vista, Carnival Panorama and Carnival Horizon have pedal-powered bikes on a track 150 feet above the sea.
49. Learn a Language
Brush up on your skills or learn something entirely new with a language class.
50. Sky Diving
Royal Caribbean’s RipCord by iFLY attraction is a skydiving simulator that can be found on Quantum Class ships such as Anthem of the Seas.
Cruise ship karaoke is great. But does anyone else prefer the bad singers to the good ones?
Walk along a glass pathway 128 feet above the sea on Princess Cruises’ ships Royal Princess, Regal Princess and Majestic Princess.
53. 4D Movies
More than just a 3D movie, with a 4D experience your chair moves, you’re squirted with water and there might even be pumped-in smells to add to the sensory experience of watching a film. 4D cinemas can be found on selected MSC Cruises, Costa Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line ships.
54. Formula One Simulator
Get behind the wheel of a Formula One car replica and go for a spin on the virtual reality track.
55. Roller Skating
You’ll be reminded of your childhood as you whizz round on skates, trying not to take anyone out as you go.
Whilst you might not want to brave a water slide in the cold weather, selected Royal Caribbean ships feature the Ultimate Abyss – a dry slide which starts at deck 16 and ends at deck 6.
Who doesn’t love a good pub quiz? I’m terrible at them but it’s still good fun.
58. High Ropes Course
Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Escape have ropes courses with 99 elements, including a plank which extends eight feet over the edge of the ship. You have to stretch to ring the bell. Not much scares me but I found this terrifying!
59. Guest Lectures
Lectures can be about anything from health and fitness to the history of the ports you’ll visit. Take a look at the daily planner to see which ones look interesting.
60. Computer Games Tournaments
Teenagers can challenge their new friends to a whole host of games on the Xbox, Switch or Playstation.
61. Towel Art
Want to know how the housekeepers manage to make your towel look like a swan? Learn the tricks at a towel art class so you can make your own towel animals at home.
62. Build a Model Cruise Ship
Team up with fellow cruisers and staff to see who can build the best model cruise ship on P&O Cruises holidays. You’ll even get to float them in the pool and see how they fare against stormy seas.
Nine decks high and 82 feet across, Royal Caribbean’s ziplines zoom above Central Park in the hollow centre of the ship.
64. Play Pool
You may not be up for swimming in the cold, so why not try a different kind of pool and have a game on a pool table? This popular pub game is best accompanied with a pint of beer. The ships’ tables even have stabilisers so the balls don’t roll around in the waves (unless it gets a bit stormy)!
65. Surf Lessons
Ever wanted to learn how to surf? Enjoy a private lesson on Royal Caribbean’s FlowRider surf simulator.
66. Watch An Outdoor Movie
Snuggle up under blankets, grab some popcorn and relax and watch a film on the big screen by the pool.
Selected Celebrity Cruises ships have real grass on the top deck which is ideal for enjoying a quiet game of croquet. Possibly followed by Pimms and cucumber sandwiches, I’d imagine.
68. Read a Book
I only ever read books on holiday. I just don’t get time at home. So when I’m away I love to curl up in a cosy spot and get stuck in to a good book.
69. Deck Games
Old fashioned games like quoits and shuffleboard have been popular since the olden days and still provide a good hour of fun, once you understand the rules.
What Do You Like To Do on a Sea Day?
What’s your favourite activity that you’ve enjoyed on a sea day? Let me know in the comments below. With so much to enjoy on today’s exciting modern cruise ships, I’d be happy if every day was a sea day. A transatlantic crossing is definitely on my bucket list.
- Best cruise destinations for families
- How to cruise to Iceland
- How to find really cheap school holidays cruises with P&O Cruises
If you enjoyed this article please share!
Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.