So many people think that a cruise ship is just a method of transportation that takes passengers from one destination to another. The problem for those people is that most cruise ships don’t spend every day of the cruise in a port. Sometimes it will be necessary for a cruise ship to spend a day at sea when transitioning from one area to another. For example, the Celebrity Solstice leaves from Barcelona, Spain and then docks in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Covering that distance by cruise ship means that passengers will have to deal with 2 days at sea before reaching Dubrovnik. Passengers that like being on board the ship have no problems with the 2 sea days but a large portion of cruise ship passengers consider sea days a necessary evil.
So how does someone that considers sea days a chore go about enjoying themselves? My advice is to use your time on board to discover that the ship is not just transportation but also an essential part of your much larger vacation; complete with some very unique advantages. Here is my list of ten things cruise passengers can do to enjoy a relaxing day at sea.
1. Read a book – This is all about relaxation. In my experience there are few things that refresh the mind more effectively than getting lost in a great book. Sea days are an incredible opportunity to just sit back and do some quality reading. I prefer finding a quiet spot in the outdoor space of a lower deck, so I’m not disturbed. The crash of the waves and freshness of the air provide an ideal environment. If you reach a point where it feels like you are the only person on the ship, you’ll know you are doing it right. I never travel without my Kindle which gives me access to my entire collection of books so I can always find something that fits my mood.
2. Make Friends in the Hot tub – When I’m not reading I’m probably relaxing in the hot tub, relaxing. I’m not the most social person but for some reason I undergo a transformation once I enter the hot tub. It could be an effect of the bubbles, being out in the sun or the Mojitos I more than likely imbibed; whatever the reason it’s just a great place to meet people. I have probably met more people in the hot tub than any other place on the ship.
3. Day drink – In our normal lives we have to be responsible but when on a cruise vacation, why bother. If you want to have a drink at 10 am on a Tuesday (something you would never do in real life), have at it. The ship is doing the work of moving you from point A to point B and there is nothing you have to do; no kids to pick up, or conference calls to take. This opportunity doesn’t present itself all that often so you might as well take advantage of it.
4. Have Lunch in the Main Dining Room – Not all ships serve lunch in the main dining room and even the ones who do typically only serve on days at sea. Take the opportunity of your sea days to extend the same great service you receive in the dining room at dinner time, into the earlier portion of your day. In fact, if you hit the dining room for all three meals in the same day, it really gives you the feeling of staying at an ultra-luxury resort.
5. Take a Nap – How often do you really get to take a nap during your regular life? If you are like me the answer is probably, almost never. The great thing about vacation is the normal rules don’t apply. There is no house work, yard work or errands to run when you are on vacation. In fact, the only job you have while on vacation is to enjoy yourself. So, if you decide you want to take a nap you can do so, free of guilt, since there is nothing else that needs to be done. It’s your vacation, spend it however you want.
6. Walk the Track – Even the most careful cruiser probably takes in many more calories than they would if not on vacation. Doing a couple of laps around the lido deck jogging track can go a long way towards helping you get over (at least) the guilt of that chocolate melting cake you had last night. You don’t have to jog when on the track, walking is just fine. If the Lido deck track isn’t to your liking, sometimes it’s nice to just stroll around the ship, taking the stairs instead of the elevators. The overall effect is the same only the method used is different.
7. Play Trivia – Not that I am very good at it, but I am a confessed trivia-holic. Sometimes it’s fun to find out just how little you know about so many things. Trivia games give me the opportunity to be exposed to ideas that I normally wouldn’t ever even consider. Geography, history, music and just about anything else has entire niches that you may have an intense interest in but have never been exposed to. Also, since you tend to play in teams, trivia is another great place to meet new people. In many cases you may be well-versed in one area and your partners, experts in another. This leads to conversations and stories that collectively go a long way to enhancing your individual cruise experience.
8. Go to a lecture – There are so many special interest lectures that take place over the course of your typical cruise. We get caught up in doing and seeing so many things that sometimes we neglect the opportunities to learn on board the ship. Photography, history, technology, arts and crafts, cooking, wine tasting or even learning to play casino games are all subjects you can learn a great deal about for free. The only commitment you have to make is an hour of your time. I find “days at sea” a great opportunity to expand my horizons.
9. Take a tour of the ship – Cruise ships usually offer a behind the scenes tour on sea days. These tours are a unique way to be exposed to parts of the ship that most passengers don’t ever get a chance to sea. Behind the scenes tours do cost money and are in available in limited supply, but definitely go on my list as something every cruiser should do once.
10. Absolutely nothing – Like I said numerous times, it’s your vacation so spend it however you’d like. In fact, if you just want to sit around and do nothing, it’s perfectly acceptable.