Games you can Play with Friends while on a Cruise

If your friend’s idea of ‘going on a cruise’ conjures up images of old folk blowing in the sea breeze, they’re living in the past. These days, cruising appeals to all generations -everyone is invited to the party- and as a result, it’s never been more popular. 

The volume of passengers cruising in 2023 is already 106% more than in 2019; for reference, that’s 31.5 million people. But why has there been an explosion in the popularity of cruises?

There are several factors at play here, let’s take a quick look.

  • Cost: The general opinion is that cruises are prohibitively expensive, but that’s just not true. Sure, back in the 70’s a seven-day cruise would cost the equivalent of $3000, these days you can set sail for as little as $800. 
  • All-inclusive: These days many cruise companies offer you everything for one price, including accommodation, food, drinks and entertainment. And your travelling expenses are taken care of by the cruise itself!
  • Facilities: There is something for everyone on a cruise, whether you’re young, old, travelling with kids or on a solo trip. Modern technology has made cruising an attractive proposition for everyone, whatever their circumstances.
  • Entertainment: One of the best things about cruising is the entertainment for the kids during the day and for the adults in the evening. There’s so much to do and see, but sometimes all you want to do is relax, and this is where we come in.

One of the most popular activities on a cruise is to play games with friends or family. Now, if you’re wondering why, what with all that other fun stuff there is to do, allow us to explain.

MSC Seashore Liberty Plaza
This 13 ft. high replica of the Statue of Liberty at the heart of the casino and a newly designed expansive retail and entertainment area, aptly named Times Square.

For a start, not all cruises are equal, some have more entertainment options than others, besides and not everyone likes the same thing. Secondly, the relaxed, laid-back nature of cruising is the perfect environment to get lost in a game -this is why they’re so popular. 

All well and good, but what are the best games to play on a cruise? Below we’ll list a few options to get the ball rolling.

  • Cards: A pack of standard playing cards is the most obvious place to start because of the sheer number of games that you can get out of one or two decks. Classics like rummy, blackjack, poker even patience, say, can be enjoyed alone or with two or more players.

It’s also worth noting the portability of a deck of cards over, for example, board games, but it’s their sheer versatility that makes them a must. And don’t forget, there are other genres of card games too, like Uno, Dobble or Cards Against Humanity.

  • Board games: We suggest you begin with the classics, games like chess, chequers and backgammon can be played repeatedly. And, like card games, they are inclined to be more portable than a full-sized Monopoly board, for example.

Also, some board games (like Monopoly) have many components which can be easily lost or, depending on your location, blown away! This is a case in point, think about the practicalities of your preferred board game. 

Last word on this, some board games can be card games too. There are card versions of Battleships, Cluedo, and even Monopoly!

  • Smartphone/Tablet/Console Games: There’s a huge variety here, and for many passengers -especially kids- playing games on their phone won’t require a second thought. 

But invest a bit of time before you go, and you can download a host of games to keep you company for weeks. Think ahead, though, you may well get more mileage with multiplayer games as sharing them can make them more compelling. 

Just bear in mind that this category of gaming requires chargers. And smartphones/tablets don’t take too kindly to seawater or being dropped. 

  • Wide Games: You’re on a cruise ship, there is no way off so why not get into a game of hide and seek? This can be done with as many or as little as you too, so it’s a versatile option. 

Some cruise companies organise proper scavenger or treasure hunts. If you’re keen on some organised wide-game action, check with your cruise operators before setting off. 

  • Scrabble: That’s right folks, the ultimate word game could be your best option after a deck of cards. Its only drawback is the game is limited to 2, 3 or 4 players.

But you can play it as a board game in a variety of incarnations, which include a travel version and you can even play it online too. 

Finally, do remember that not every friend wants to get stuck into a game of Cluedo while cruising. We suggest you all have a chat about the games you’re bringing, and who is up for playing, way before setting sail.

Bon Voyage!

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