The beauty of stepping on a cruise ship is that you’ll have everything you need for an amazing holiday. Most cruise lines offer all-inclusive fares, allowing you to get the most out of cruise amenities, activities, and facilities without the need to spend another dollar. You already know about the destinations and your comfortable cabins to call home, now let us tell you about the exquisite food, onboard fun like the adrenaline-fuelled waterslides, sports decks, discovery classes and spectacular Broadway-style shows at night – and there’s so much more that you can do onboard a floating resort at sea.
Here’s the top 10 free things that you can do for FREE while you’re on a cruise.
Food is already included within your cruising experience, from the elegant dining of the Main Dining room through to breakfast buffet’s and BBQ lunches – catering to every taste and tempt even the fussiest of eaters. There are also restaurants that can cater to your cravings while you’re onboard – make sure to check out light bites at Princess Cruises’ International Café, Carnival Cruises’ Blue Iguana Cantina for Mexican, hot dogs from Royal Caribbean’s Boardwalk Dog House and late-night snacks at Norwegian’s O’Sheehans. We are talking gourmet pizza, BBQ pulled pork, free-flowing soft serve ice-cream and frozen yoghurt by the pool deck, and more.
If you would like to eat at a Michelin-starred chef inspired restaurant, for a few extra dollars you can do that too! Are you celebrating an anniversary or birthday, or just looking for a way to spoil that someone special – check out the specialty restaurants on your ship, or ask your Cruise Specialist for advice – they have all the info at their fingertips.
Broadway-style Shows and more
Start with all the spangles and frills of a Broadway-style show most nights, comedy acts, blues bands and orchestras, ice-skating dance performances, even aqua-acrobatics – depending on your chosen cruise. You will be hard pressed to choose from destination-specific traditional songs and cultural dance shows to the all singing, all dancing performances like Rock of Ages, Cats, Queen of the Desert and Saturday Night Fever, to crowd favourite musicals like Grease and Mamma Mia.
As well as a selection of top-rated productions, you can join in the fun of trivia nights, family game shows, karaoke and more – all mentioned on your daily shipboard newsletter.
Pools, Waterparks & Waterslides
Every ship has a pool to splash about in, or serene Adults-Only pool decks, bubbling spa’s to relax in, and, if you have kids, one of the most family-friendly of attractions onboard a cruise ship is the waterpark and waterslide. This awesome attraction will see you splashing, slipping and sliding to your heart’s content on the most scream-worthy of slides, enough to make your kids – and the kid in you – feel on top of the world.
Apart from the waterslides and pools, you can also take on other sporty and active (yet fun) stuff onboard. Challenge your fellow passengers to a game of table-tennis, soccer or basketball, test your strength on a rock-climbing wall, improve your putting with mini golf, scramble through ropes courses, walk the plank, bounce yourself silly on trampolines, test your stamina on a surf simulator or fly high on an I-fly experience – and there’s more, depending on your style of holiday and your ship, you can do as much or as little as you choose.
Catch a movie
Is there an outdoor cinema onboard your ship so you can sit under the stars, cocktail in hand and popcorn on the side while you watch the latest flick or a golden oldie? Some cruiselines offer an IMAX theatre to fully immerse yourself in a destination or wildlife program. Or take time to relax in your cabin after a hard days play – most cruiselines offer onboard tv and movies.
Nature is all around you when you are onboard a ship, from island destinations, tropical lagoons, dense jungles and fascinating ports to see. While cruising keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and whales and make sure to see at least one glorious sunrise over the vast blue ocean. Sunsets are always colourful, and at night, the vast velvet sky creates a carpet of stars and shimmering moon-trails of light just perfect for romance.
Stick to your exercise regime and experience fitness centres at sea that rival any on land. Everything from bikes and treadmills, steppers and kettlebells, running tracks, dance floors, yoga, tai chi, aerobics, running tracks – Crystal Cruises even offers a Nordic Walking program! Your chosen ship may even have more active port excursions like hiking, bike riding, scuba and more that’ll keep your heart pumping and the calories burning!
If you’re on the lookout for discounts and specials, you’ll see “embarkation-day” sales, end of cruise sales, and more in the onboard shops and the luxury spas when you go onboard. Although not free, you can grab a bargain and get pampered at the same time.
Let’s get Learning
Learning something new is always an enjoyable, as well as an enriching experience, so while you are onboard why not discover a new hobby or new skills? Crafting like scrapbooking, card making, quilling, knitting, quilting and embroidery are all available. Learn a new language, or get cooking in Holland America’s Culinary Art Centre, learn navigation, go star gazing or on a photo shoot with National Geographic Lindblad Expeditions, expand your knowledge about the environment, health and well-being, and Princess Cruises, Cunard, Crystal Cruises and Holland America all offer computer skills programs.
You could even learn how to fence onboard! You could study how to parry and riposte with the best of them with Cunard’s fencing classes, open to anyone 18 and up. Whilst there may be a small cost for materials, just make sure you sign up beforehand so that you can secure your spot!
Don’t forget the kids!
Cruising is one of the best experiences for any family to spend quality time together, playing, having fun and exploring new destinations. Many cruise lines offer family friendly activities, parades and the chance to meet with popular cartoon characters like Royal Caribbean’s Dr Seuss or SpongeBob onboard Norwegian Cruises, meet Barbie and Star Wars characters or Disney princesses and Shrek.
There will also be times when the kids just want to be kids and make new friends, play games and sports, have fun in the pool, do science experiments, watch movies and more. So, if you’re travelling with kids, you’ll be happy to know that the free onboard Kid’s Clubs are places where the kids will be supervised, can do all the things that kids want to do, and give you some bonus time to relax and enjoy some well-deserved “alone-time”.
PRO CRUISING TIP: You are on holiday, so consider some of the added perks on offer too, sure they may add a few dollars on to the cost of your holiday, but you are here to enjoy yourself, right? So, consider upgrading your cabin to a Balcony so you can relax outside in your own personal space and feel the cool sea breezes. Make sure to investigate what extra perks a Suite will offer like upgraded amenities, a butler, VIP-only lounges, tickets to exclusive shows, dinner at specialty dining restaurants and more. Your Cruise Solutions Specialist will be able to give you the best options for your cruise holiday – just ask!
Inspired to travel?
Vacation Rewards® is a member-only travel program that offers a Best Value Guarantee on all your travel needs. Not a member? Sign up FREE and receive $250 Travel Savings Credit to use instantly on your next trip.