Love them or loathe them, days at sea are featured on most cruise itineraries. For some, the peaceful views of the waves offer the perfect backdrop for relaxation, while others wait around for the next port to come into view.

You might not be out and about seeing the sights, but that’s the perfect excuse to explore everything your ship has to offer! Whether you’re a family on their first getaway or a couple having a romantic break, here are some of the best ways to spend your days at sea.

Solo traveller

Solo travel is a growing trend, particularly with cruising. According to ABTA’s latest Holiday Habits survey, one in nine holidaymakers reported that they took a holiday on their own in the previous 12 months – double the number when compared to six years previously.

Woman on the balcony

Norwegian Cruise Line were one of the first to spot this trend back in 2010, when the line debuted the first studio rooms designed especially for solo travellers. Guests booking in one of the single cabins also gain exclusive access to the Studio Lounge. Here, solo cruisers can enjoy complimentary refreshments, watch the big-screen TV, and meet with fellow single travellers. Norwegian Cruise Line even arrange meet-ups, pub crawls and happy hours to keep you busy while on-board – it’s no wonder the cruise line was voted Porthole Magazine’s Best Cruise Line for five years in a row!

Travelling alone offers up the perfect opportunity to indulge guilt-free. Book a spa treatment for a relaxing massage and some well-deserved ‘you-time’ or head to the cinema to watch that blockbuster hit with your own popcorn.


Many cruise lines are perfect for families, with fun activities and programmes in place to keep everyone happy and occupied at sea. In general, the bigger and newer ships offer the most activities.

Family dining on deck

Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas, which launched last year, offers 18 decks of family fun including the tallest slide at sea, Ultimate Abyss; a zip line; mini golf and a fairground carousel! The ship also boasts the fleet’s only Ultimate Family Suite, complete with a games table, chalkboard wall, play area, hot tub and slide. You also get your own Royal Genie who can arrange all your family activities hassle-free.

Princess Cruises signature Movies Under the Stars are a great way to enjoy family time on-board, with a giant 300-square foot poolside screen showing some of the finest cruise ship entertainment for you to cosy under a blanket with popcorn, cookies and milk.

Sky Course - Carnival Cruises

Carnival Cruise Line have their SkyCourse on-board selected ships, offering the perfect scenario to challenge your family. The high-ropes course allows your thrill seekers to navigate obstacles with a view out to sea that is unforgettable! Carnival Cruise Line also brings your favourite family board games to life with the Hasbro: The Game Show featuring giant versions of Yahtzee, Connect 4 and Operation for competitive family fun!

All of this is without mentioning go karting, ice skating, surf simulators and bowling alleys – need we say more?


While a cruise can be the ideal place for a family, it’s just as fun for couples. Celebrity Cruises offers a secluded space in the Alcoves, on-board Celebrity Reflection and Celebrity Silhouette. This area offers eight cabana-style areas for you and your partner to unwind. You can even order food, complete with a la carte beverages, for your own outdoor picnic. Bliss!

If relaxation is your thing, a couple’s massage will be perfect for you to enjoy while on-board. Many cruise lines offer these treatments leaving you utterly relaxed and walking on air for the remainder of your sailing. For the ultimate indulgence, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Deluxe Romantic Package offers a 25-minute Swedish massage; sparkling wine and chocolate-covered strawberries in your stateroom on embarkation; canapes; roses; breakfast in bed on a day or your choice and a romantic dinner in Le Bistro.

Couple on-board Celebrity Cruises - Lawn Club

Aside from reaching a level of serenity and calm, couples can also spend time on-board learning a new skill or taking part in a workshop. The Cookery Club on-board P&O Cruises is ideal for budding chefs and perfecting a recipe to create for you both back home. There is a whole menu of classes to tempt you, whether you’re a whizz in the kitchen or a complete beginner.

Children and teenagers

Family-oriented cruise lines, such as Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line or Carnival Cruise Line, offer a jam-packed programme of activities for your little (and not-so-little) ones to experience. One of the best ways for them to spend time on-board is by visiting the kids’ club.

Most kids’ clubs tend to welcome children as young as two- or three-years-old and are open most of the day while at sea. A kids’ club at sea is a great place for your children to interact with the facilities and fellow children. They can even enjoy meeting kids their own age each club is split into different age groups. Most of the kids’ clubs range from three- to 17-years-old, with the older children having their own space to chill out, play on the games consoles and watch late-night movies.

Kids club - P&O Cruises

As for activities on-board, Princess Cruises offers the exclusive Discovery at SEA. In partnership with Discovery™, the cruise line supports learning and fun with a breadth of activities sure to engage your children. These include activities inspired by Shark Week and MythBusters, as well as stargazing on deck.

Your youngsters will also love the challenge and competitive elements of Royal Caribbean’s escape room, working together to uncover hidden clues and solve mind-bending puzzles. Or they could get ready for a laser tag battle of galactic proportions with a game on-board Norwegian Cruise Line.

 Late at night, teens can also enjoy exclusive invites to parties and get togethers. These feature oversized beanbags, numerous video games and teen-only hot tubs.

From dining on breakfast on your balcony to exploring the waterparks under the sun, there’s never a dull day at sea. And with so much to see and do on-board a cruise, you might find that your days at sea are just as busy as the days you’re in port!

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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