Top 40 Things to Do on Cruise Sea Days

Cruise vacations are a great way to visit many exciting destinations, but cruise sea days can be just as fun with these top 40 things to do.

Top 40 Things to Do on Cruise Sea Days

Cruise sea days are the days when a cruise ship is at sea, traveling from one port to another without any stops. These days can be an enjoyable part of the cruise experience for many passengers, as they provide a chance to relax and unwind while enjoying the various onboard activities and amenities.

While cruise vacations are a great way to travel and visit many new and exciting destinations, sea days can be just as fun. Whether you are a first-time cruiser or a seasoned traveler, there is always something to do on modern cruise ships. Here are the top 40 things to do on a cruise sea day.

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Keep in mind that the number of sea days will vary based on your particular itinerary, and the onboard activities and amenities will vary somewhat based on your particular cruise line and cruise ship.

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Top Things to Do on Cruise Sea Days

1. Relax

One of the most popular activities on a cruise sea day is to simply just relax. You can soak up the sun, read a book, or enjoy a refreshing drink poolside while listening to the sounds of the sea. Megaships offer a variety of spaces to relax including observation lounges, coffee shops, outdoor promenade decks, and even adult-only sundecks.

2. Sleep in

While there are many fun and exciting activities to do on a cruise sea day, it’s also important to give yourself some time to relax and recharge. Sleeping in can be a great way to do just that. A little extra sleep can help you avoid burnout during your vacation. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement, but it’s also important to pace yourself.

3. Order room service

Ordering room service on a cruise can be a convenient and flexible way to enjoy a meal or snack. Whether you want to enjoy breakfast in bed before venturing out for the day, celebrate a special occasion with dinner for two on the balcony, or just relax in the comfort of your own cabin, room service can be an equally great option on a sea day or a port day.

Keep in mind that room service is an upcharge on many cruise lines.

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4. Take a dip in the pool

Another popular activity on a cruise sea day is spending some time poolside. If you want to cool off after lounging in the sun, you can take a dip in one of the ship’s pools. Many ships offer splash zones for kids and adult-only pools as well.

Sometimes, ships have indoor pools or pools with retractable roofs so you can make it a pool day no matter the weather outside. This is particularly important for cooler climates like Alaska or Northern Europe. If all else fails, there are always the hot tubs.

5. Make a splash on the waterslides

In addition to the pools, many newer megaships from the various cruise lines feature waterslides. These slides can be the perfect sea day activity especially during Caribbean and Bahamas cruises. From drop slides to racing slides to tube slides, there are options to suit all levels of thrill. The best part is that these slides are complimentary to all passengers.

6. Enjoy the spa

Cruise sea days are a great time to pamper yourself. You can splurge on a spa treatment or massage. You can get a manicure, pedicure, or a salon service. Or, you could purchase a pass to the ship’s thermal suite. These spaces are the perfect place to rejuvenate, featuring therapy pools, steam rooms, saunas, salt rooms, and more.

Top 40 Things to Do on Cruise Sea Days

7. Hit the gym

If you’re looking to stay active on your cruise, head to the ship’s gym for a workout. Most ships have state-of-the-art fitness centers with cardio equipment, weight machines, and classes like yoga and Pilates. If you’d prefer to spend your time outdoors, many cruise ships have outdoor jogging tracks and sports courts as well for you to burn some of those extra cruise calories.

8. Join a competition

Speaking of sports courts, they can be used for a variety of activities. Many cruise ships offer competitions and free play time for popular games like basketball, soccer, and even the newly popular pickleball. Some cruise lines even offer other games like archery, cornhole, or dodgeball. These activities can be a great way to get in a workout and meet some fellow passengers.

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9. Putt a round of mini-golf

In addition, many contemporary cruise ships have mini-golf courses or putting greens on board. Typically located on the sports deck, these courses are usually complimentary and open throughout the day. This can be a fun family activity during a cruise sea day. When you are finished playing mini-golf, you might want to try some shuffleboard or table tennis as well.

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10. Experience the one-of-a-kind attractions

In addition to all the other sports deck fun, some cruise ships feature unique attractions that should not be missed. Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line, and MSC Cruises feature many of these amusements.

They can include dry slides, ziplines, ropes courses, surf simulators, sky diving simulators, bumper cars, or race tracks. These attractions can get busy on cruise sea days, so do plan accordingly.

11. Watch a movie

Some cruise ships have designated movie theaters on board, where you can catch the latest releases or classic films. Others ships feature movies in the main theater or on the big screen near the pool. Some even offer movies under the stars. So, round up the family and some snacks for this fun sea day activity.

12. Show off your moves at a dance class

If you love to dance, join a dance class on the ship to learn some new steps and get your body moving. Many cruise ships offer classes where you can learn everything from salsa to ballroom dancing. You might even want to get your best Thriller moves ready as you never know where the fun will take you.

Top 40 Things to Do on Cruise Sea Days

13. Try your luck at the casino

If you’re feeling lucky, head to the ship’s casino where you can play blackjack, poker, roulette, slots, and more. Your cruise ship’s casino should be open most of the time you are at sea. So, if it’s raining or you want to escape the sun and crowds on the pool deck, the casino is ready to take your money.

14. Go shopping

Of course, the onboard shops are open and ready to take your money as well. Most cruise ships feature retail shops where you can buy souvenirs, clothing, and more. From high-end watch and jewelry stores, to duty-free liquor, perfume, and handbags, to logo merchandise, there’s plenty of options for a little shopping. It’s even better if you have some onboard credit to spend.

15. Grab some drinks with friends

When you get thirsty from all the activity, there are a variety of bars serving up your favorite cocktails. From martini bars, to pubs, poolside watering holes, champagne bars, sports bars, and even robotic bartenders, you’ll certainly find your ideal spot to pull up a seat with friends. A cruise sea day might be the perfect time to complete your very own bar crawl to put that drink package to use.

Top 40 Things to Do on Cruise Sea Days

16. Enjoy a specialty lunch

Most modern cruise ships offer a variety of specialty restaurants in addition to the main dining room and buffet. These venues do come at an up-charge but offer a higher level of service and gourmet cuisine. Popular options include steakhouses, sushi bars, hibachi, seafood-centric restaurants, and Italian trattorias.

On sea days, at least some of these venues will be open for lunch. This gives you a chance to sample the menu at an often reduced cost.

17. Or dine at one of the other casual spots

Of course, if you don’t want to spend the extra money to dine at a specialty restaurant, there are plenty of other casual and complimentary options to enjoy as well. These include burger joints and grills, pizza parlors, Tex-Mex fare, cafes, and more. Some cruise lines also offer sit down lunch or a sea day brunch in the main dining room.

18. Explore the ship

One of our top cruise boarding day tips is to explore the ship. If you didn’t get a chance to walk all the decks during embarkation day, take some time on your first sea day to do so.

By exploring the ship early in the cruise, you can get a general sense of where different venues are located, or you might discover some different spaces that you didn’t know about. This will have you navigating the ship like a pro and staying one step ahead of everyone else onboard!

Top 40 Things to Do on Cruise Sea Days

19. Take an art tour

While exploring the ship, you are bound to notice remarkable works of art from paintings to sculptures and more. If you are looking for a fun cruise sea day activity, we suggest taking a self-guided art tour. Many of these art pieces will have descriptions or even QR codes for you to learn more about the works and artists on display.

Who knows, it might even provide some inspiration for your own artistic pursuits.

20. Attend a wine tasting

Many cruise lines offer wine tastings, where you can sample different varietals and learn about the wine-making process. So, whether you are an aficionado or just starting to explore the world of wine, consider attending a wine tasting on your next cruise to discover the flavors and aromas of the world’s best wines.

If you’re interested in cocktails, cruise ships offer similar mixology classes where you can learn how to make classic drinks or create your own concoctions. While these activities are usually up-charges, they are a fun and engaging way to spend a couple hours during your cruise.

21. Partake in a cooking class

In addition to wine and cocktail classes, many cruise lines also offer cooking classes. These small groups are led by experts who will teach you everything from how to make regional cuisine and sushi to cupcake decorating. Sometimes, these classes are even paired with shore excursions where you will go shopping for locally sourced goods then come back to the ship to prepare your meal.

So, if you are an aspiring chef or just want to enjoy a fun sea day activity with your spouse, you should consider one of the up-charge cooking classes offered on your cruise.

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22. Attend a lecture

Many cruise lines offer various enrichment opportunities. These can include lectures on topics like history, science, and culture. There’s also port talks if you’re interested in learning more about the ports of call on your cruise. If you are cruising through Glacier Bay on an Alaska cruise, a park ranger will even board your ship to narrate your scenic cruise through the area.

These informative talks should not be missed!

23. Play some trivia

Trivia games are a popular activity on many cruise ships, and they can be a fun way to meet new people and test your knowledge. Most cruise lines will offer several trivia sessions throughout the day ranging from general trivia, to music and sports trivia, to even niche topics like Harry Potter trivia.

So, be sure to look over your cruise line’s app or paper daily schedule to find the sessions that interest you.

24. Book a behind-the-scenes tour

Some cruise lines offer behind-the-scenes tours of the ship, where you can see how everything works. If you are a cruise nerd, a behind-the-scenes tour is definitely a perfect cruise sea day activity for you. These tours might visit the galley, the bridge, the engine room, and other spaces normally off limits to passengers.

Top 40 Things to Do on Cruise Sea Days

25. Join in the karaoke fun

If you love to sing, then you should be first in line at a karaoke session. It’s a great opportunity to showcase your vocal talents or just have a few laughs. Even if you don’t plan on singing it’s still fun to watch others perform.

While most karaoke sessions are a communal activity, some cruise ships do offer private karaoke booths that you and a few close friends can reserve for your very own private session.

26. Play Bingo

If you’ve cruised before, then you know that Bingo is a popular game on many cruise ships. It can be a fun way to pass the time and potentially win a prize. It’s especially a good cruise sea day activity when it’s raining outside or you’ve already had a little too much sun.

27. Laugh it up at a comedy show

Many cruise ships have comedians who can keep you laughing with their jokes and humor. Whether your ship has a dedicated comedy club or hosts these comedy shows in the main theater, they are always good for a few laughs.

Do check your daily planner as there will often be family-friendly shows as well as adult comedy shows during the cruise.

Top 40 Things to Do on Cruise Sea Days

28. Learn something new

A cruise is the perfect time to learn something new. Some cruise lines offer painting classes where you can create your own masterpiece with the guidance of an instructor. Other cruise lines offer arts and craft classes where you can create your own keepsakes. If you’re interested in photography, maybe you can learn some tips and techniques for taking better photos.

29. Play a game

A cruise sea day is the perfect time to break out a board game or a deck of cards with friends. Some cruise passengers bring their own games; though, many cruise ships have classic games and puzzles for cruisers to enjoy as well. Further, some ships will even have organized games like bridge.

30. Listen to live music

Many cruise ships have live musical performances with a variety of genres and styles. From rock bands, to piano music, to country hits and Latin beats, there are several performers in the various bars and lounges throughout the ship. These musicians will play at set intervals throughout the day, so grab a drink and your dancing shoes.

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31. Participate in a scavenger hunt

Scavenger hunts are a fun way to explore the ship and compete with other guests to solve clues and find hidden treasures. This is actually a great family-friendly activity and may even be organized by the kids and teen clubs.

If your ship doesn’t offer scavenger hunts, you could create your own. Or, many ships also offer escape rooms for a similar type of sea day fun.

32. Challenge the kids at the arcade

Most cruise ships have video game arcades on board as well, so you can challenge the kids to a game of air hockey or skee-ball. Of course, these activities will cost you extra money.

Some cruise lines even have high-tech VR complexes with state-of-the-art games and attractions like XD cinemas, car racing, and more. The Galaxy Pavilion on NCL and the Hall of Games on MSC are among the best at sea.

33. Catch a sports game

If you’re a sports fan, you may want to catch your favorite team’s game while at sea. Luckily, many cruise ships now feature sports bars with televisions broadcasting several sporting events. These venues usually also serve up a wide selection of beer and classic pub food at a la carte prices.

So, grab some friends and some brews and cheer on your home team.

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34. Sip Afternoon Tea

Akin to more luxury cruise lines, more and more mainstream cruises are offering Afternoon Tea. Served by white-gloved waiters, this experience typically occurs in the main dining room and is usually complimentary for all guests. You can enjoy a selection of teas (or coffee) along with some small sandwiches, scones, and other desserts.

This can be an enjoyable cruise sea day activity or a fun way to unwind after a day ashore.

35. Participate in a game show

Cruise ship game shows can be equally fun to watch or to participate, depending on whether you just want a few laughs or want to earn bragging rights.

These can include full-on productions of shows like the Price is Right on NCL Prima or Deal or No Deal on Princess Cruises. Then, there’s more adult-oriented game shows like Majority Rules, Love and Marriage, Battle of the Sexes, and even Royal Caribbean’s Crazy Quest scavenger hunt.

36. Admire the serenity of the ocean

One of the reasons we love cruising is the serenity of sailing the open ocean. We always take time to enjoy the beauty of it all on a sea day and suggest you do too. Whether you pull up a seat at an aft-located bar to admire the wake views, go for a stroll along the promenade deck or waterfront area, or simply just sit out on your balcony, you’ll be glad you did.

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37. Dress up for formal night

Another reason I love cruising is the ability to enjoy an elegant night out. It’s true that several cruise lines are starting to forego many of the classic cruise traditions, but most still offer at least one “formal” night that typically occurs on a sea day.

This is the perfect time to don your chic attire, take a few photos, and feel fancy for the evening. Whether you enjoy some lobster in the MDR or dine at a specialty restaurant, make it a memorable night.

38. Watch a production show

After dinner, catch a Broadway show. Yes, some cruise lines actually feature Broadway and West End productions like Grease, Hairspray, Six, and even Beetlejuice coming to the new Norwegian Viva this summer. Even if your cruise ship doesn’t feature such shows, there’s still plenty of nightly entertainment to enjoy including revue shows and headliner acts.

Many cruise lines even feature additional entertainment venues beyond the main theater, like Royal Caribbean’s stunning Aqua Theater.

39. Dance the night away

Now, it’s time to kick off the heels and dance the night away. Whether you choose to listen to some live music or join in on the action at the resident nightclub, it’s sure to be a good time.

Further, many cruise ships have themed parties, like the popular white parties or silent discos. There’s also 80’s night or 70’s night. These events are a great way to dance and socialize with other passengers.

Top 40 Things to Do on Cruise Sea Days

40. Book your next cruise

With all the fun you’re having on your cruise sea day, you might be ready to plan your next cruise. If so, you can head to the future cruise desk to discuss your options with the staff. They can provide info on itineraries, ships, special offers for booking onboard, and more.

Most times, you don’t even have to pick a particular sailing; you can simply put down a deposit and receive a future cruise certificate.

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How many of these activities do you enjoy on cruise sea days? Do you have anything else to add to our list? Drop us an anchor below to share how you like to spend your time while cruising between ports of call.

Heidi is a physical therapist by profession, cruise enthusiast at heart, and Princess all the time! She is a self-confessed thrill seeker, obsessive planner, and over-packer. She is always looking for the latest and greatest adventures onboard and ashore, enjoys researching top things to do in ports of call, and loves dressing up for formal nights.
Heidi Bucolo
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