Things to keep you busy on board
Published on 14 Jul 2021
While one of the highlights of a cruise is exploring various ports of call, there’s also plenty to keep you occupied during your days at sea. Modern-day cruise ships have a plethora of facilities on board, from giant climbing walls and bowling alleys to luxurious swimming pools and relaxing spas. Here, we chat to some of our favourite travel bloggers who explain how they keep themselves busy on a sea day:
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. Giana from Tea with Gi has been cruising since she was a child, she told us, “When I was a teenager I used to go to the teen club on board. 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.”
We also chatted to Paul from The Joy of Cruising, he told us, “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 to 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 in the more sedate activities like mini-golf.”
Paul explained that kids clubs also give adults the 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!”
Dining 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 fancy, 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 how sea days provide the opportunity to experience new things and tuck into some delicious food, “There is so much going on when you’re at sea that you’ll quickly experience 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.
“The amount of activities happening all at once means you’ll never be bored,” Alex explained. “Whatever your age, hobbies or energy level, there is something for you on board. I have taken part in bingo and dabbled in some line dancing - I even won a dance competition!”
Each cruise line offers something different, meaning there’s always something to be doing. “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,” Marcus told us.
Sally Dowling and her husband have been on several cruises during their retirement. They told us why sea days are their favourite, “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 to 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.”
Signing up for the ship’s sports classes is a great way to stay fit on board. What’s available will depend on which line you travel on, so it’s worth spending a few moments scoping out the itinerary on board.
We chatted to Laura from Cruise Lifestyle, she told us, “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 on board 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 on board.”
Susan from Jaunty Travel Mum told us why she enjoys choosing activities for sea days, “With every cruise line I’ve travelled with, I have always received a daily planner which is delivered the night before. 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 on board 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, dance classes, exercise classes, sports courts, numerous swimming pools and fully equipped gyms to use. The spa and salon on board 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 timing so you can fit everything in”
Whether you prefer live music or a laugh-out-loud comedy sketch, there will be plenty of entertainment scheduled throughout your time at sea. “The entertainment is incredible,” Marcus told us. “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.
“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. 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?”