While one of the highlights of a cruise is exploring the various ports of call, there will also be plenty of things to keep you entertained during your sea days.
Some cruise ships have a plethora of facilities onboard from giant climbing walls and bowling alleys to luxuriously large swimming pools and spas to relax in. For this article, we asked bloggers to tell us all about their favourite things to see and do during a sea day.
Participate in sporting activities
Signing up to the ship’s sports classes is a great way to keep active on a cruise, as well as pass the time. What’s available will depend on which line you travel on, so it is worth spending a few moments scoping out the itinerary once onboard.
Laura from Cruise Lifestyle told us she loves to join in the sports classes: “One of my favourite things to do on a sea day is to join in with a dance fitness class. It's something I never find time to do at home and I thoroughly enjoy shaking off those extra calories. On a cruise I took to Hawaii there were lots of sea days so I decided to learn hula dancing. Cultural activities onboard a cruise can be a great way to learn more about the ports you are visiting.”
Cruises provide a “stress-free holiday choice for anyone who wants to experience a number of destinations in one trip”, explained Laura: “I get to see some incredible places without the hassle of organising my own transport and accommodation. A cruise offers fantastic value for money when you take into account the travel, fine dining, choice of activities, facilities and entertainment onboard.”
Susan from Jaunty Travel Mum told us one of the best parts of her holiday is figuring out which activities to choose during the ship’s sea days: “With every cruise line I’ve travelled with I have always received a daily planner, which is delivered the night before directly to your cabin. It provides information about the activities and entertainment of the day ahead. This is one of the highlights of my holiday and I really look forward to receiving these, as it allows me to plan what I want to take part in and do the next day.
“The activities onboard any cruise ships, especially during sea days, are varied and cater for a wide range of interests and ages. I’ve been on numerous cruises with four different cruise lines and on each one, I’ve been spoilt for choice.
“For those who enjoy being active on holiday, there are numerous options from organised ‘walk a mile’ sessions around the deck, dancing classes, exercise classes, sports courts numerous swimming pools and fully equipped gyms to use. The spa and salon onboard can provide a range of treatments if you’re looking for more rest and relaxation. There are loads of activities to choose from and the only problem you may have is trying to juggle the timings so you can fit everything in.”
Indulge in some delicious food onboard
Dinning on delectable cuisine and sipping on tasty beverages is a popular way to enjoy time on board. Perhaps you’re fond of a smorgasbord and enjoy nothing more than tasting a variety of offerings, or maybe you are looking to enjoy an extra special meal with the best fine dining options, no matter what you desire, you are sure to find something to satisfy those cravings.
Marcus from Sparkx explains: “Sea days for me are all about indulgence and really getting into the holiday spirit. Typically, I like to start the day with a light breakfast. There really is nothing quite like enjoying the views from a ship at sea while drinking a nice coffee.
“Lunchtime inevitably comes all too quickly. I like to find a nice al-fresco spot and take time to enjoy the food, drink and atmosphere on board. Speciality restaurants tend to be open on sea days, so it’s a perfect time to experience what they have to offer.”
Alice from Teacake Travels told us a sea day provides the perfect opportunity to experience new things as well as tucking into some delicious food: “There is so much going on when you're at sea that you'll quickly be experiencing FOMO (fear of missing out).
“First and foremost, I fuel up. I personally start my morning off enjoying the fresh food being cooked on board. The standard of the cuisine is top-notch and this is your opportunity to indulge in decadent cooked breakfasts, oven-fresh pizzas, super fresh sushi or to get your teeth into a juicy flame-grilled burger.”
From early morning snacks, freshly cooked breakfasts, elevenses, light lunches or gourmet multi-course suppers, you won’t disembark hungry after a sea day. However, it isn’t all about quantity, cruise ships are also renowned for having the highest standards of cuisine using the freshest and finest quality ingredients. The hard part will be choosing which restaurants to visit and what to order during your time onboard.
Learn a new skill
There really is a plethora of activities, classes and courses to enjoy on board as Alice explains: “The amount of activities happening all at once means that you will never be at a loss as to what to do. Whatever your age, hobbies or energy level, there is something for you onboard. I have taken part in bingo and dabbled in some line dancing - I even won a dance competition!”
Each cruise line offers something new, however, there’s sure to be lots to choose from: “Cruises can also have a series of lectures on board, so they will use public spaces to talk about a variety of subjects. Name a subject and I guarantee there is a talk on it on a ship”, says Marcus.
Sally Dowling and her husband have embarked on several cruises during their retirement and told us the sea days are one of the best parts of their trip: “How often do you get the chance to completely switch off and suit yourself? Lazy days without feeling guilty. The only negative is they go by too quickly!
“My husband and I like different things so I will choose a language class or port lecture, and he will go the gym or have a swim, or maybe a cooking demo for me and a snooze for him. Neither of us can pass by a jigsaw puzzle if one is on the go. The beauty of a cruise is the chance to pick and choose and sample activities you may not have tried before such as ballroom dancing, crafting, art, or as I like to do, learn the basics of a different language.”
Sally went on to tell us why she prefers no-fly cruises: “Cruising from a UK port is my preference, it is such a treat to leave our hectic airports behind and no baggage restrictions. Despite being fairly new to cruising we are now converts to this restful, interesting and varied holiday, and sea days are one of the best things about a cruise.”
Children can enjoy the kids’ clubs
It isn’t just adults who have all the fun, there are lots of things to keep children and teenagers entertained when on a family cruise holiday.
Giana, who writes for Tea with Gi, has been enjoying cruises since her childhood: “When I was a teenager I used to go to the teen club on the cruise ship and I made so many friends there that I'd spend most of my time with them! Playing mini-golf, watching a movie at the cinema and playing in the pool.
“I love how cruise ships provide entertainment for all age groups, even if you have kids most cruises have creches to give the parents some time off. Whether you're looking for a relaxing day at sea or activities to keep you occupied, there's always something going on.
“Cruises have definitely been some of my favourite holidays, you meet so many people and get to see so many places in a short space of time. Great way to bond with the family and the food is always great.”
Paul from The Joy of Cruising told us that the activities created for families on cruises are incredible: “My favourite activities on sea days are largely influenced by my grandchildren. Most of my cruising these days is with them, so the choice of ship, and its sea day activities and features are going be a significant consideration. Ships are now so family-friendly, I call this the ‘themeparkification’ of cruise ships. Some cruise ships have bumper cars, water slides, trampolines, bowling alleys, surfing simulators, zip lines, go-kart tracks, laser tag courses, and more. I don’t hesitate to join my grandchildren on the more sedate activities like mini-golf.”
As well as blogging about cruising, Paul has written about it in his book: The Joy of Cruising. He also told us that the children’s clubs can give adults a chance to have a break: “The strong draw of the kids and teen clubs does provide time to focus on adult-only sea day activities. On a recent cruise, I attended a bourbon tasting. I didn’t realise how much I could appreciate fine bourbon, and I learned a lot about the production process. With the generous number of samples though, I did have to take a rare midday cabin nap afterwards.”
Watch live entertainment
Whether you prefer music or comedy sketch, there will be plenty of live entertainment scheduled throughout your time at sea.
“The entertainment is incredible. On sea days some ships will put on shows in the main theatre during the day, so expect off-Broadway matinee productions. Even better, these tend to be quieter than in the evening”, says Marcus.
Marcus continued to explain why he prefers embarking on a cruise over other methods of travel: “For me, cruise ships come into their own on sea days. There is such a variety of things to do that you will struggle to scratch the surface.
“For me, cruising is all about variety and value for money. I can’t think of any other holiday where so much is included, from activities, accommodation, entertainment and food at the very least. Some even include drinks, excursions and other benefits on board. You are spoiled for choice, and on top of that, you get to unpack once and wake up in a new destination every day, somewhere totally new and exciting to explore. What better way could you want to see the world?”
Sea days can provide some of the most wonderful highlights from your cruise, and with so much to see and do onboard, you are sure to be entertained until your next port stop.