Five Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do On A Cruise Ship

There are a million things to worry about when you’re getting on a cruise ship for the first time. What’s appropriate to pack, and what isn’t? Is it safe to take your valuable electronic equipment, like your laptop computer? What happens if an illness breaks out on board?

Broadly speaking, the answers to those questions are “everything you’d pack for a normal holiday, plus some extra wet weather gear,” “Yes, the rooms are as secure as any other hotel room,” and “there’s a doctor on board, so you’ll be able to get help.” Believe it or not, though, this isn’t the biggest worry people have. A surprising number of people are genuinely concerned that they might get bored while they’re waiting to reach the next stop-off point. 

Anyone who’s been lucky enough to take an exciting vacation on a cruise liner more than once will know there’s nothing to fear in respect of that, but we can see how the worry might occur to an inexperienced traveler. They might have visions of entertainment being limited to a swimming pool, a cabaret theater, and sitting on a deckchair with a good book. You can do all of those things – and for many, that’s enough – but most modern ships have much more entertainment to offer than that. Here are five things you probably didn’t know you can do on board a cruise ship. Please note that not all of them apply to every single cruise liner, so double check before booking and boarding!

Ride A Zip-Line

This is the fastest way to take a tour of a boat, and affords you the kind of perspective that’s normally reserved for passing birds! Royal Caribbean is still the best known of all the major cruise tour service providers, and that’s because they’re constantly seeking new ways to entertain the people who book with them.

src=”×683.jpg” alt=”” width=”1024″ height=”683″ /> MSC Seaside, Zip line

One of their more “off the wall” ideas is to allow passengers to take a zip line trip across the top deck, from one end to the other. While you’d normally expect such an activity to be reserved for an outdoor vacation – and usually the sort of outdoor vacation that features something very tall to zip wire down from – there’s plenty of scale on a Royal Caribbean liner. The Ocean Class ships that Royal Caribbean offer (of which there are currently four) have nine levels above the boardwalk, so you can plunge at high speed from bottom to top, shouting ‘good morning’ to people as you go.

See An IMAX Movie

While it’s probably true that your chosen cruise ship has a cabaret theater onboard (as we mentioned earlier), it’s likely that it won’t be the only form of theater entertainment on board the vessel. The majority of cruise liners have a cinema of some sorts nowadays, and the bigger ones might even have a full-sized IMAX movie theater showing all the latest films.

Carnival Vista Imax Theatre
The Carnival Vista Imax Theatre

We know for a fact that Carnival Vista has one on board, and when one big ship starts offering a feature, it’s only a matter of time before the others follow suit. If there isn’t an IMAX screen in your local area, then this is a real treat – and it comes as part and parcel of your luxury vacation!

Hit The Casino

This harks all the way back to the dawn of first-class cruise experiences. There’s always been an air of sophistication about hitting a classy casino, which offers poker, roulette, and slot games. In 2019 people are more likely to play online UK Slots than they are the traditional bricks-and-mortar casinos kind, but there are some things a virtual casino can’t replicate.

Carnival Horizon Casino Bar
Carnival Horizon Casino Bar

Besides, if you really want to play UK online casino games, there’s nothing stopping you from doing that in your cabin. The majority of cruise liners now have full WiFi facilities! You’ll find full-sized slots casinos open around the clock on the majority of providers. Disney cruises are the notable exception to that rule, which we can understand – it doesn’t really fit with the focus on children that comes with the Disney brand. 

Go Ice Skating

We tend to think of going on a cruise liner as being a hot weather activity. Think of a cruise liner, and the first image that comes to mind is a sun-drenched deck covered in deckchairs, full of people sipping cocktails and champagne. While there’s some truth to the stereotype, that doesn’t mean that the best in cold-weather fun can’t be had on your trip, too! Some cruise liners contain an ice rink, for you to get your skates on and enjoy.

Cruise Compete

It’s mostly Royal Caribbean again who provide this facility, although we have heard that it’s starting to appear elsewhere. Just make sure you bring some thick clothing if you want to give this a try – it’s very cold on the rink; especially when you’re walking into it from the warm air outside. Also, bear in mind that balancing might be a little difficult if the boat is rocking! 

Try Go-Karting

Under normal circumstances, the only time a boat and a car might go together is if you’re driving onto a ferry. A cruise ship doesn’t count as ‘normal circumstances’ though, so if you’ve always had an urge to try motor racing, this is the perfect time to do it! Both Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Encore come with go-karting tracks for you to test your skills on, and race against other passengers. On the Encore, the track has two levels, and extends over the side of the ship. High-lipped walls mean you’re never in danger of falling in, but this is still an activity that’s probably reserved for the bravest among us. 

Norwegian Joy Race Track
Norwegian Joy Speedway is located at the top of the ship and lets riders race in F1 replica electric cars.

There are plenty of other potential activities you can get involved in, depending on which company you book with. Some cruise liners have ice bars of the kind that are popular in Scandinavia. There are fitness classes, and rock climbing, and art galleries. A cruise liner is a whole world of entertainment, floating out on the water under the open sky. If you find it boring, you’re doing it wrong!

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John Shallo
John Shallo
John Shallo is the founder and editor of Cruise Addicts. Since 1999 it has been a leading destination for cruise travelers and self professed Cruise Addicts looking for the latest news, ship reviews and travel tips.

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