Some passengers dread sea days, but honestly? We love them! You might not be out and about seeing the sights, but during days at sea, you have the perfect excuse to explore everything your ship has to offer and spoil yourself rotten.

Here are nine cruise ship activities you will love trying out while you are sailing to your next destination.

1. Have a lie in

Steaming cup of tea on a bedside table next to someone bundled up in a duvet

Port days are action-packed and tiring, especially if you are booked onto exciting shore excursions. When you are due to spend a day on the water, plan in a much-needed lie in to rest your aching feet and replenish your energy levels. One of the worst things you can do is pack in too many cruise ship activities and end up more exhausted than when you are on dry land! Take it slow and give yourself chance to enjoy on-board life.

2. Order room service for breakfast

Lady enjoying room service breakfast on her cruise ship balcony

There is nothing more indulgent than enjoying a delicious breakfast in the comfort of your own stateroom; even more so when you are staying in an Ocean View or Balcony stateroom. Curl up in front of your windows or in your balcony chair, sip a comforting cup of tea and watch the sea glide by. Depending on where you are cruising, you could even spot a passing pod of dolphins!

3. Hit the gym

Passengers using the ocean-view gym on-board MSC Fantasia

Whether you want to keep up with your regular fitness routine or seize the chance to work off some of that tantalising cruise ship cuisine, sea-days are the perfect opportunity to hit the gym. Equipped with the latest machines and boasting beautiful sea views, there is no better place to work up a sweat.

Top tip: The gym is usually packed in the morning and late afternoon, so pay a visit between these hours. Lunchtime is usually best – the perfect excuse to refuel at the buffet.

4. Indulge in a spa treatment

Woman enjoying an outdoor massage in the spa of her cruise ship

The cruise ship spa is an absolute must-try during any cruise holiday. Facials, massages and even acupuncture treatments are on the menu, offering a relaxing experience for every taste. There is just one thing to remember: book your spa treatments well in advance! This area fills up fast during sea-days.

5. Sit out on deck

Lady sun-bathing on the deck of MSC Fantasia

What could be more serene than sitting out on deck and gazing out to sea? Grab a good book and settle down into a lounge chair as the sound of the sea sails by and the breeze cools your skin. Or, if you want to avoid the crowds by the pool and relax somewhere a little more peaceful, it is well worth renting a cabana. Alternatively, depending on your cruise ship, you could hit the on-board library or Observation Lounge.

6. Learn something new

A lady experimenting with shades of blue during a cruise ship painting class

Cruise ships are fantastic places to learn something new, from painting classes and dance lessons to culinary masterclasses.

P&O cruises on-board ships like Arcadia host dance classes during itineraries including seven or more days at sea, as well as watercolour classes on voyages with six or more days at sea. Celebrity Cruises goes one step further. Alongside self-guided tours of the artworks on-board and fun-packed trivia contests, guests can enjoy unique experiences like A Taste of Film: an outdoor showing of a film that has inspired the evening’s bites and drinks.

7. Find your sense of adventure

Lady enjoying the iFly skydiving simulator on-board a Royal Caribbean cruise ship

Modern cruise ships are packed with unbelievable thrills and spills. Norwegian Breakaway’s Sports Complex comes complete with an exhilarating ropes course and eight foot plank extending above the sea. Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas has its very own skydiving simulator, while Oasis of the Seas offers the ride of your life on a nine decks-high zip line. MSC Meraviglia boasts an amazing F1 simulator that will transport you straight to the track, and guests on-board Carnival cruises can enjoy the WaterWorks waterpark.

8. Brush up on your photography skills

Cruise passenger taking a picture of a butterfly after an on-board photography class

Cruises are packed with photo opportunities, so why not make the most of them by brushing up on your photography skills? Cruise lines ranging from Princess Cruises to Holland America Line offer photography classes covering everything from how to compose your shots, to how to edit them when you get back home.

9. Learn a new language

A pile of language books ranging from German dictionaries to Japanese language guides

Wouldn’t it be amazing to be bilingual? Or at least able to speak enough to get by? Thankfully, luxury cruise lines like Crystal and Celebrity Cruises offer language classes as part of on-board enrichment programmes. Crystal Cruises run them as part of its Creative Learning Institute, which also features brilliant music, wellness and tai chi classes.

Each cruise line offers their own range of exciting activities to do while on-board, from P&O’s dance classes to Royal Caribbean’s skydiving simulator. It’s typical that the larger ships have the most activities to try out on-board, but that doesn’t rule out the smaller fleets as being fun for days at sea. Whether you’re looking to linger a little longer in bed or explore the top deck with your newly gained photography skills, days at sea are a thing to be embraced!

Have any of these on-board activities caught your eye? Perhaps we haven’t mentioned your favourite thing to do during days at sea? Let us know in the comment box below!

Emma Smith
Emma has more than seven years' experience as a writer and has been in the travel industry for nearly five years. She loves learning about new places and cruise ships coming to market, as well as discovering fun and exciting activities to do while you sail. She has cruised with Princess Cruises, Cunard, Celebrity Cruises, Virgin Voyages, Avalon Waterways and Royal Caribbean and is looking to get something in her diary for 2024! Her favourite things to see on a ship include excellent entertainment, a delicious cocktail menu and extraordinary dining venues.

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