Cruise Tips7 Reasons to Stay on the Cruise Ship When in Port

7 Reasons to Stay on the Cruise Ship When in Port

Would you ever consider your cruise ship the destination? Some cruisers do — and many people at least occasionally prefer to stay on their cruise ship even when it arrives in port.
stay on the ship in port

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Cruisers cite several reasons for why they don’t plan to get off a ship when it reaches a certain destination on the itinerary. Maybe they get too worn down if they go out every day on a schedule that has back-to-back-to-back port days. Or perhaps they are veteran cruisers who have already visited a particular port multiple times. This happens on Caribbean cruises, for example, when it might seem that you are stopping at Cozumel or St. Thomas on every cruise you take.

These are legitimate reasons, for sure. We can add several more cool reasons to stay on your cruise ship when it reaches port.

Spa Discounts — Your cruise ship spa knows that most passengers head ashore. So, you’ll see big discounts on port days. Ships offer savings like 2-for-1 deals, bundled treatments and up to 40 percent off regular pricing to entice cruisers to spend some of their time (and money) on a massage or other spa treatment.

Room to Roam — I love to get off the ship to explore new things to do in port, but I must admit that it is really nice to just stay on the ship and enjoy the calm and lack of crowds. You really notice how jam-packed the high-traffic areas can be on sea days and embarkation day. But on port days, the ship is quiet and you can hit the jogging track to get in a run without the worry of dodging fellow passengers and the numerous lounge chairs that inevitably creep onto the path. The fitness center also will be blissfully free of crowds, so you can perform your workouts at your pace and on any piece of equipment you like.

No Lines at the Buffet – Or anywhere else! No standing around, pushing or shoving at the buffet or poolside grill or pizzeria or soft-serve ice cream machines. You can stroll on up anytime you want and quickly get what you are looking for — with no waiting. This allows you to speedily resume your stress-free day of fun and relaxation.

Peace and Quiet – The lounges and all public spaces are quiet on port days. You can settle in and really appreciate some of the finer details of your cruise ship, which might feature unique art displays on the walls or in statuary or other installations placed around the ship. This is also a great time to enjoy a good book by the pool or in a quiet and calm interior space. You might even find yourself drifting away into a relaxing afternoon nap.

should I stay on the ship in port, cruise

Ship is Your Playground – Does your cruise ship have awesome activities that always seem to have long lines? Now is the time to play mini-golf and get on the waterslides, ziplines, ropes course, surfing simulators and other activities. You can have a blast without having to wait. This way you get much more time playing on your favorite attractions.

Pool Time — The cruise ship pools always are chaotic on sea days. I love the vibe around these spots when the ship is in port. I can always find a sun lounger in a prime location, plop down and enjoy a magazine, island breezes, sunshine and nearly empty pools for cooling off as needed.

Speedy Bar Service – Your favorite bars will be all clear when most everyone else is ashore. This means no frustrating jostling, elbowing in and trying to get a bartender’s attention when you sidle up to get a beer or cocktail.

You’ll also have the chance to engage in friendly conversations with the bar staff and any other passengers who have decided to stay onboard with you. You know, the other smart cruisers.

Why do you like to skip a port and stay on the ship instead? Let us know in the comments.

John Roberts is a freelance writer and operator of He writes about cruising and active travel, highlighting how people can connect with the world and other cultures through rewarding travel experiences.

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John Roberts
John Roberts
John Roberts is a freelance writer and operator of He writes about cruising and active travel, highlighting how people can connect with the world and other cultures through rewarding travel experiences.
Cruise Tips7 Reasons to Stay on the Cruise Ship When in Port


  1. I was on a cruise once that the itinerary changed due to a hurricane. They were diverting all ships to Nassau! If you’ve every been there it’s not very big. There were nine ships in port that day. One ship was only about 15 ft from us. There was no way I was getting off the ship that day considering there was at least 18000 people on that many ships. I enjoyed a quiet day onboard.

    • Agreed. I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve been to Nassau. I love the city, beaches, diving it’s reefs, intermingling with it’s people and especially Graycliff Estate! It would be difficult for me to pass up a day at that historic 500 year-old resort, but if there were a day I’d do it, it would definately be a day when they squeezed in NINE cruise ships!

  2. My favorite thing to do WAS to have lunch on the ship in the dining room on port days. Servers were plentiful. Any thing you wanted, you just asked whether it was on the menu or not. It was a laid back atmosphere with delicious food. And there was always just a few others there. It could turn into an impromptu party with new friends. Sadly, Carnival does not have their dining rooms open for lunch on port days anymore. Mainly just for brunch on sea days. I do miss having an entire dining room almost to myself.

  3. Some of the ports are pretty “seedy” and your bombarded with beggars the minute you walk off the ship.

    • This is a major disadvantage of going into some ports. I have experienced this at several ports, and the onslaught can be brutal. I understand at least one cruise line has dropped a once-desirable and popular port from their inineries for the time being due to the unfortunate behavior of taxi drivers, shop owners, etc in that port. Too much harassment of the line’s passengers.

    • Max, you are not wrong! Do not get off in the Bahamas…Personally I am not willing to die for a straw bag… 14 cruises under our belts and by far the worst port in 12 years of cruising!

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