Cruising often allows us to indulge in delicious cuisine and drinks by the pool, but it can also be the perfect option for those looking to get more active and enjoy being fit while on holiday.

One of the ways to keep fit is with the number of sports you can play on a cruise ship, offering the chance to get competitive with friends and family while also getting in some exercise!

Table tennis

Almost every cruise ship has a table tennis area, usually close to the main pool areas. Many cruise lines also hold tournaments as part of the daily programme, making it ultra-competitive for those who want to get involved.

Cruise lines which have table tennis: Azamara Club Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Cunard, Disney Cruise Line, Fred. Olsen Cruises, MSC Cruises, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean

Basketball

Many cruise lines also boast a full-sized basketball court perfect for competitions and organised tournaments. Some cruise lines even take the opportunity for pair fun teams such as dads against sons or girls against boys.

Cruise lines with basketball: Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean

Man playing basketball

Running

Enjoy a run with a view aboard your cruise, as many cruise lines offer jogging tracks for you to burn off some steam. The tracks often run around the top deck, meaning you can enjoy the views of the waves as you complete a few laps.

Cruise lines with a jogging track: Azamara Club Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Cruise & Maritime Voyages, Cunard, Disney Cruise Line, Fred. Olsen Cruises, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean

Golf

First introduced by Royal Caribbean, this sport quickly became a cruising trend for sports fanatics with putting greens, virtual courses and 9-hole mini-golf courses. Enjoy playing golf surrounded by the sea or take part in a course with the whole family.

Cruise lines with golf: Carnival Cruise Line, Cunard, Disney Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean

Father and daughter swimming in a pool on-board Princess Cruises

Deck games

For a little more relaxed fun while still remaining competitive, deck games offer the perfect way to pass the time. Enjoy shuffleboard or deck quoits as you overlook the ocean and keep active at a gentler pace.

Cruise lines with deck games: Azamara Club Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Cunard, Disney Cruise Line, Fred. Olsen Cruises, MSC Cruises, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean

Volleyball

The perfect holiday sport, volleyball is best played either in the water or on a court. You have the option of both when cruising, with scheduled volleyball tournaments taking place in the main pool and in the court throughout your daily programmes.

Cruise lines with volleyball: Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean

Boxing

First introduced on Freedom of the Seas, Royal Caribbean was the initial cruise line to have boxing rinks at sea. Complete with punch bags, railings and boxing gloves the rinks are ideal for those looking to practice or even enter fun competitions organised by the crew.

Cruise lines with boxing: Royal Caribbean

Kids sat poolside on-board Royal Caribbean

Swimming

Every cruise ship has a swimming pool, albeit they aren’t huge but they are good enough for a few lengths or fun and games with the family. Compete in mini swimming galas or take a relaxing dip and practice your backstroke.

Cruise lines with swimming pools: All cruise lines

Croquet

A traditional sport usually played in fields, croquet could be seen as very out of place on a cruise ship. However, Celebrity Cruises have turned the tables on this with the addition of croquet on its Solstice Class ships.

Join friends and family at the Lawn Club where real grass and sunshine offer the ultimate setting for a fun game of croquet.

Cruise lines with croquet: Celebrity Cruise Line and Cunard

Croquet on the Lawn Club - Celebrity Cruises

Fencing

Cunard offered the first recreational fencing at sea following a partnership with Leon Paul Fencing Company back in 2007. You can learn the basics or fine-tune their fencing skills alongside a fully-certified instructor using equipment which is identical to that used by world champions.

Cruise lines with fencing: Cunard

Pool

With the movement of some cruise ships, you might wonder how a game of pool works when sailing. Cruise lines with pool tables have introduced self-levelling and stabilising tables which mirror the technique used by the ships themselves. This allows the balls to stay perfectly in place and you can enjoy a game with friends old and new.

Cruise lines with pool tables: Royal Caribbean

Ice-skating

Imagine ice-skating in the middle of the ocean. Well, now it’s a reality! Royal Caribbean has a popular show on-board their ships where you can watch professionals before trying it out for yourself and hit the ice. Whether you are an expert or a beginner, the professionals will also be able to guide you as you glide.

Cruise lines with ice-skating: Royal Caribbean

Rock-climbing on Royal Caribbean

Rock-climbing

A signature sport which you find most often on Royal Caribbean cruise ships, rock-climbing provides inspiring views of up to 200 feet above sea level. The grips are colour-coded by difficulty, allowing you to map out a route for your abilities.

Cruise lines with rock-climbing: Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean

Bowling

Back in 2007, Norwegian Cruise Line launched the first ten-pin bowling alley at sea on-board Norwegian Pearl. With four lanes for you to challenge your fellow bowlers, the alley is the centrepiece of the ship. This is also another sporting option where the rolling waves can alter the fate of your game.

Cruise lines with bowling: MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line

FlowRider - Royal Caribbean

Surfing

Another Royal Caribbean signature addition, the FlowRider is a unique on-board activity which is featured on several of the cruise line’s ships. The 32-foot by 40-foot pool generates waves for passengers to surf or body board.

Cruise lines with surfing: Royal Caribbean

Trampolining

There are many interpretations of sports with trampolining elements which you can enjoy during a cruise. Royal Caribbean’s SkyPad incorporates trampolining with a virtual reality experience, while Carnival Cruise Line has the Sky Zone on-board Carnival Panorama which is a fun indoor trampoline park.

Cruise lines with trampolines: Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean

Which of these sports have you played on a cruise? Are there any we have missed? Let us know in the comments below!

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Emma Smith
Emma has more than six years' experience as a writer and has been in the travel industry for over a year. She loves learning of 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 Royal Caribbean and is looking to get something in diary for 2020! Her favourite things to see on a ship include excellent entertainment, a delicious cocktail menu and extraordinary dining venues.

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