Many times when I talk about my love for cruising, I hear by from non-cruisers “Oh, I think I would be so bored on a cruise ship.” I can honestly say that the only people who could possibly be bored on a cruise ship are the people who probably would be bored anywhere they go or the cruise ship activities and entertainment staff were not doing their job properly. Cruise ships have so many different activities and attractions that there is something for everyone.
Most obviously, cruise lines offer spectacular dining, both production and cabaret style shows, pool side and lounge bands, disco and ball room type music. They often have theme events and parties. Cruise lines showcase these types of activities prominently in their literature and advertising. Still, some people think that they might be bored in the confines of a cruise ship, especially on sea days.
The cruise lines have actively worked to keep their passengers happy and entertained with plenty to offer and plenty of choices. In the early days of cruising, the ships were usually converted ocean liners. These ships were built to transport rather than entertain, but the cruise director and his or her staff made up for the lack of amenities with a busy activities program. These activities might have included Bingo, Wooden or Movie Horse Races, Ball Room Dance Lessons, Costume Contests, Talent Shows, and Napkin Folding. With the dawn of the “purpose built” cruise ships, the lines began to build into the design of the ships more and more activities. Probably most notably was the introduction of the Voyager class of Mega ships in 1999. These ships were built to attract active people who might never had an interest in cruising before. The “Mega” ships have the most to offer people who prefer to keep busy with physical activity. The Royal Caribbean Voyager Class and newly introduced Freedom class have rock climbing walls, ice rinks, in-line skating tracks, and mini golf. Carnival has recently upgraded some their ships with “active” amenities (and separate serenity areas.) Many of Carnival’s and Royal Caribbean’s ships now feature pool areas with slides and water features found in land based water parks. These mega ships also feature expansive shopping areas and many dining choices. For cruisers who prefer less “active” activities, Princess Cruise has installed huge movie screens that can run movies and other video programming day or night in the pool area for their “Movies Under The Stars” program. Some cruise lines offer bridge tournaments or chess tournaments. In the computer age, more and more lines are offering software learning courses. Some cruises will feature guest lecturers on subjects as varied as Renaissance Art and NASA Space Missions.
Our family loves to cruise Celebrity and we’ve found that this line offers interesting but not over the top activities. Some activities are offered on almost any cruise. I’ve enjoyed trivia games and Name That Tune on all my Celebrity Cruises. Often I’ll just go to these games by myself and meet others while I’m there. They also have a continuing game of battle of the sexes trivia that goes on all week. My husband likes ping pong and he’s even won a tournament or two on some of the cruise. On nearly all our cruises, Celebrity has offered a variety of pool side or outdoor games such as free throw shooting contests, pool Olympics and King of the Ship Contests. Bingo is also a popular activity. On several cruises the line has offered a Q & A session with the resident comedian. On a few cruises, they had a ship model building contest. Celebrity also offers destination specific activities. They had a Polar Bear swim on the Alaska cruise where they gathered a few brave souls together to have a swim in the ship’s pool. They also offered on the Alaska cruise whale watching and nature lectures with the ship’s naturalist. Our Hawaiian cruise featured hula lessons. That cruise also had an extended number of sea days, (10) , so Celebrity brought on a wine maker to offer an extensive series of wine tasting seminars. Finally, Celebrity, like many other lines, offers some activities to their repeat passengers that are not offered to the general public. The galley tour offered to Captains club members was quite impressive, offering us a glimpse into the massive but intricate operations undertaken by the line to produce high quality and timely meals for all of its passengers. The Chardonnay blending seminar exemplified the way they Celebrity tries to provide activities that not only entertain, but inform.
Do you have a particular activity that you have enjoyed during your cruise? Have you ever been bored on a cruise? If so we welcome your comments and input here at Cruise Talk.