Cruise TipsHow to Spend a Sea Day on a Cruise: The Ultimate Guide

How to Spend a Sea Day on a Cruise: The Ultimate Guide

Don’t overlook sea days on a cruise.  Some of the best memories you create on a vacation at sea can happen far from land.  Here are 10 tips for making the most out of your sea day.

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Allure of the Seas out at sea
Sea days on a cruise can be the best part of your vacation. (Photo Credit: Cruise Fever)

Many people love to plan their port days while on a cruise. Some plan their cruise for months (or years!), and have excursions they are interested in or particular places to visit.

If you are visiting Cozumel, you may already know that you want to visit Mr. Sancho’s or Nachi Cocom. While in Belize, you may have your sights set on scuba diving. If an Alaskan cruise is on the docket, a scenic train ride could be on your schedule.

On the other hand, many choose to “wing it” on sea days. It can be difficult to plan your sea days, since you won’t usually know the exact schedule before cruising. Don’t underestimate these days on the ship and you will find yourself making memories to last a lifetime.

Related: Top 12 mistakes cruisers make on sea days


1. Study the Daily Schedule

This could be the most valuable piece of information in the entire article. ALWAYS check the daily schedule for the following days’ events.

Cruise lines create a daily schedule, filling your dance card with endless possibilities. Oftentimes, unique activities or special dining options are available on sea days. Extra rounds of trivia, bingo, lectures, or crafts are common on these days. Brunch and afternoon tea are popular options when many are on the ship.

Without a schedule, cruisers would be wandering around the ship, missing out on some amazing opportunities. Be sure to check the schedule often to stay up-to-date on all cruise information for the duration of your trip.

You can also watch the morning show on your stateroom TV or in the theater, if your cruise ship does it that way.  The cruise director and some guests will usually cover what will be going on around the ship.


2. Arrive at the Pool Early

If soaking up some sun is a priority for you, consider waking up early to make your journey to the pool areas. Sun loungers can be a hot commodity while on a cruise and the selection is always better early in the day.

Some cruise lines offer an “adults only” area with plush loungers and other amenities. If this interests you, go to this area directly after breakfast. It is almost a guarantee that these sun loungers will attract a crowd.

Pro Tip: Don’t be a Chair Hog. No one likes a Chair Hog! 

Related: 10 things to never do on the pool deck of a cruise


3. Book a Spa Experience

The spa can usually be pretty busy on a sea day, but this is a great time to schedule a treatment at your preferred time. Sometimes, the spa will offer different packages on sea days and it might be something you are interested in.

If your sea day falls on the same day as an elegant evening, consider booking a beauty appointment, haircut or massage early in the day. This is a great way to relax and get ready for a night full of photo ops, amazing food, and a variety of music.

Ideally, you should book your spa treatment well before that sea day.  As everyone is on the ship it will be the busiest time for the spa and time slots fill up very quickly on these days.


4. Attend a Class

Cruise lines love to offer classes on sea days. Everyone is on the ship and people need options to fill their time. Cruise lines deliver in the form of cooking classes, arts and crafts, napkin folding classes and various activities for kids.

Some classes are very popular and there may be a sign-up or fee required. Be sure to check your daily schedule for detailed information. It is always a good idea to arrive early for any class you choose, as there may be limited spaces.


5. Hide Some Ducks

cruise ducks on a ship

Popular with some (and frowned upon by others), cruise ducks have taken on a life of their own. This exciting activity is great for adults and children. Some cruisers start preparing their rubber ducks months in advance of their scheduled cruise.

If you do enjoy this activity, sea days are a great time to participate. There will be plenty of people looking for ducks and finding the perfect hiding spot for the ones they brought. It doesn’t matter if you have kids or not, seeing the excitement on a child’s face after locating a duck is enough to make your entire day.


6. Show Off Your Competitive Side

mini golf on carnival celebration
Mini golf on Carnival Celebration (Photo Credit: Cruise Fever)

There’s nothing like joining your fellow cruisers for a challenging activity while on your trip. Many cruisers love to participate in trivia and sea days tend to be full of opportunity.

If trivia isn’t your favorite, consider one of the other options that may be available on your cruise. Gather a few friends for a game of hoops or miniature golf. More of a gambler? Consider a slots tournament or blackjack tournament to get your adrenaline pumping.


7. Enjoy the Water Activities

Many popular cruise lines include a wide variety of outdoor activities. Water activities are always a great option and may include water slides, an AquaPark, or FlowRider.

Be sure to check your daily schedule for availability and operating hours. More than likely there will be extended hours on sea days, since everyone is on board.


8. Explore New Culinary Options

On port days, many cruisers will be participating in shore excursions or other scheduled activities. Sometimes, your lunch will be provided or you will eat at a location off the ship. Sea days are the perfect time to really explore everything the ship has to offer. More than likely, all casual dining venues will be available on sea days, especially the lunch locations.

Some ships will offer a sit-down lunch in the dining room on sea days. Others offer brunch that won’t be available while the ship is at a port. Utilize these days to try new dining options that you may not have tried before.

Related: 15 most popular cruise ship restaurants ranked in order


9. Check out the Discounts

Do you need to take home souvenirs to family members? Maybe you want to do a bit of shopping for yourself.

Cruise lines will offer discounts and sales throughout the trip. Sea days are usually full of sales in the shops and the cruise line may offer special deals exclusively on these days. Raffles are held in some locations, so be sure to check your daily schedule for these opportunities.

Related: Cruising on a budget: 12 money saving tips


10. Consider Some Nap Time and RELAX

Cruise packing: Sun setting on back of Sky Princess cruise ship
Photo Credit: Cruise Fever

This list started with the most important piece of information we could suggest. This suggestion very well places second in that race.

Be sure to leave yourself plenty of time for sleeping-in and lots of napping opportunities. Vacations are for relaxing and enjoying your time away. Consider having a daily afternoon nap before getting ready for dinner. You will wake up refreshed, ready to take on the evening.

Try not to take sea days for granted. Cruise lines offer plenty of activity options that will suit a variety of tastes. Sea days are the perfect time to participate in new things, meet new people and create new, unforgettable memories.

Read more: Top 12 mistakes cruisers make on sea days

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Kristi Sellers
Kristi Sellers
Kristi took her first cruise when she was 12 years old and is currently planning her 20th. When she isn’t cruising, she loves to visit the Smoky Mountains. Kristi lives in Alabama with her husband and fur baby, Chico.
Cruise TipsHow to Spend a Sea Day on a Cruise: The Ultimate Guide

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