It’s not all lounging around by the pool deck when it comes to cruising. Here we present 22 of the wackier things you can do while at sea.
There’s everything from adrenaline-rush options for thrill-seekers to some more serene offerings for those who prefer going at a slower pace…
1. Climb a mountain. Rock walls rise up above the decks of big Tui ships and gym staff can show you the (safety) ropes so you learn to how to climb with ease.
High life: Rock walls rise up above the decks of big Tui ships where you can learn how to climb with the help of gym staff
On Celebrity Cruises’ Solstice-series ships, guests can enjoy the ‘lawn club’, which features real turf
2. Let the grass grow under your feet. There’s a ‘lawn club’ with real turf on the top deck of the Solstice-series ships with Celebrity Cruises. Picnic, play croquet or lie back and listen to jazz in the park.
3. Read all about it in a floating book club. Selected sailings with Fred. Olsen send reading lists in advance (or order and collect the books as you board). Then join the relaxed on-board discussions.
4. Collect a certificate. Start with a wine-tasting session on a Cunard ship. Then sign up to take an internationally recognised wine and spirit qualification on the company’s Queen Mary 2 and other classic liners.
There are ice rinks on Royal Caribbean ships, where you can rent skates, gloves and helmets
5. Get your skates on. There are ice rinks on Royal Caribbean ships, where you can rent skates, gloves and helmets. Children can take lessons and the whole family can return to the rink at night to see professional skaters put on a show.
6. Start your day with a sunrise yoga class on a Uniworld cruise and ask the fitness staff to reserve you a bicycle or set of Nordic walking poles for an on-shore adventure. If health is your thing, cut calories with the special Travelling Lite menu.
7. Walk the plank. A narrow, 8ft-long plank stretches out over the ocean on the upper deck of Norwegian’s Breakaway ships. Fans say it’s terrifying to walk (especially in choppy seas) but you’ll be wearing a harness, so you can’t fall.
Would you walk the plank on one of Norwegian’s Breakaway ships? The narrow, 8ft plank stretches out over the ocean on the upper deck, but guests choosing to walk it do have to wear a harness
Call the butler on a small ship cruise with Silversea, Uniworld (pictured) or Avalon
8. Call the butler on a small ship cruise with Silversea, Uniworld or Avalon. These fleets of ultra-luxe liners have the industry’s highest staff-to-guest ratios and suites offer on-call butlers ready to bring champagne – or anything else – 24 hours a day.
9. Say goodbye to your children. Every age group has its own kids’ club on big P&O cruise ships. Groups start with two to four-year-olds and go right up to teenagers, who will find a pool table, computer games and a retro arcade in a floating youth club.
10. Race for the sky. Get competitive and climb into a unique ‘flying bike’ on the two-track course suspended far above the upper decks of Carnival’s Horizon, Panorama and Vista ships.
Two guests take to the unique ‘flying bikes’ on the Carnival Horizon ship. It is also a feature on Carnival’s Panorama and Vista liners
On big Royal Caribbean ships, there are free trapeze and tightrope-walking classes in the triple-height sports arenas
11. Run away to the circus (school). There are free trapeze and tightrope-walking classes in the triple-height sports arenas on big Royal Caribbean ships.
12. Shout ‘fore!’ in the golf practice areas and putting greens on Saga cruises. Then iron out your shots in a high-tech simulator.
13. Gaze at the stars. Light pollution is low at sea and Princess Cruises has teamed up with the Discovery channel to offer star-gazing talks on its upper decks. Or head into the planetarium on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 for an expert-led astronomy show.
The croupiers with Holland America give free lessons if you want to sharpen up your blackjack or poker skills
14. Roll the dice. Most big ships have casinos and the croupiers with Holland America give free lessons if you want to sharpen up your blackjack or poker skills. They also host high-stakes poker tournaments if you want to see how real gamblers roll.
15. Dine with the best. Take a seat at the ‘chef’s table’ or one of the new private salons on Scenic ships to hear culinary secrets from the executive chef and enjoy exclusive dinners. On P&O ships you might even see Marco Pierre White at the cookery club.
16. Get snappy. Pose for a family portrait in the ‘Hollywood-style’ photographic studio on Tui ships. Or follow the professional photographer to the deck for relaxed shots in the open air.
In the adults-only Serenity Retreat on big Celebrity ships there’s a relaxing zen-like atmosphere and a full-service bar
17. Snuggle up on a sunlounger made for two on the adults-only Serenity Retreat on big Celebrity ships. There’s a relaxing zen-like atmosphere and a full-service bar.
18. Catch a movie by moonlight. Screens come up when the sun goes down on Princess cruises – and hot chocolate and warm cookies are served alongside the popcorn as the al fresco films begin.
19. Chase the chequered flag on a go-kart race on Norwegian Bliss. There’s a covered pit lane, a viewing platform and heart-stopping moments when the track shoots out over the edge of the ship.
On the ship Norwegian Bliss, there’s a go-kart racing track complete with a covered pit lane and a viewing platform
On MSC’s huge Grandiosa ship, there is a bespoke gallery that features 26 paintings by French Impressionist Edgar Degas
20. Chill out. A snow grotto is an addition to the spa on the Viking Star cruise ship. The ice-cold room is part of the Nordic-inspired wellness experience. Too chilly? You can head to the hot tub, sauna, steam room or simply lie on a heated lounger instead.
21. Start with some fine art. MSC’s giant Grandiosa ship has opened a bespoke gallery to showcase 26 paintings by French Impressionist Edgar Degas. MSC, Norwegian, Princess and others also have regular art auctions and Saga Cruises offers art classes.
22. Get married or renew your vows at sea. Wedding planners can help design your perfect day on P&O cruises. The captain and other staff members can officiate at the ceremony – and you’ll already be in the perfect place for a luxury honeymoon.