Nine great ways to spend days at sea on a cruise

It’s all very well visiting amazing places and enjoying bucket list experiences, but what to do on those days when there’s nothing in the sky but the actual sky?

If you’re packing your days by the shore with once-in-a-lifetime activities, you might welcome the chance to experience Egyptian cotton sheets for your cabin. Or if you prefer to stay active, why not let us know a full timetable of sea day diversions?

The options are truly endless – we’ve curated the best below.

For the artist

If you avoid creative pursuits at home for fear of getting in the way of your judgmental neighbors, art classes at sea may be just the ticket. Cunard offers watercolor lessons hosted by its own resident artist. Materials are provided, all abilities are welcome and there will even be an exhibition at the end of your trip to showcase your new masterpieces.

Cunard offers watercolor lessons hosted by its own resident artist

Cunard offers watercolor lessons hosted by its own artist-in-residence – Getty

Cunard (0344 338 8641; has a seven-night Norwegian Fjords cruise from £799pp, with plenty of time to find your inner Picasso. Southampton will leave on June 23.

For the golfer

Fancy improving your golf skills whilst on holiday? Crystal is the only luxury cruise brand to have a PGA professional on board every sailing. With driving nets and putting green, guests can participate in daily on-board golf classes (twice daily on sea days), private lessons and a round of golf at port (at an additional cost). You don’t even need to pack your own clubs; everything is provided.

The 14-night Mombasa to Mumbai cruise aboard Crystal Serenity is from £5,995 at Crystal Cruises (0808 175 0340;, including flights and six days at sea. Departs April 4, 2025.

For the learner

Enrichment programs and guest lecturers on sea days are always popular, and the Viking Culture Curriculum is one of the best. Hear guest lectures from authors, archaeologists, former diplomats and news correspondents, chat with historians on board, and watch Destination Insights films and Ted Talks such as “10 ways to have a better conversation” and “The surprising science of happiness “.

Viking (0800 458 6900; has the 17-day Hawaiian Islands Sojourn from £5,190pp, including flights, transfers, meals and 10 days at sea. He will leave on 28 November 2024.

For the culture vulture

In terms of total cultural immersion, Windstar wins the race, with each cruise customized to embrace the destination. On sea days on itineraries to Tahiti, for example, there are ukulele and drum lessons, Polynesian language, dance and cooking classes, and various craft sessions, including Polynesian headdress making (beats a game of pickleball any day).

Immerse yourself in Polynesian culture with WindstarImmerse yourself in Polynesian culture with Windstar

Immerse yourself in Polynesian culture with Windstar – Getty

Windstar (0808 258 7943; has an 11-day Tahiti and Tuamotu Islands cruise from £6,476pp. It includes return flights from the UK and a one night advance stay in Tahiti. Departs November 18.

To the beautiful body

Do you want to feel like a new person when you come home from a cruise? How about looking significantly different, too? From teeth whitening to cellulite-reducing body sculpting and everything in between (aside from actual cosmetic surgery, though that’s never said), spa treatments on cruise ships go above and beyond. On Oceana, you’ll find pain management therapy, Biotechnology laser line therapy, Restylane dermal fillers, Dysport wrinkle treatments, Thermage skin tightening and even a 50-minute face lift.

Oceania (0345 505 1920; from Athens to Miami is a 24-day Euro-Atlantic Explorer with 11 days at sea from £6,059pp. November 11 leaves.

For the big baby

It’s official: toys aren’t just for kids. Boutique cruise companies like Emerald Cruises make the most of a great range of water toys, including stand-up paddleboards, inflatable kayaks, snorkel kits and fun jet skis. At the other end of the scale, the more budget-friendly Royal Caribbean offers the largest water park at sea, including the Pressure Drop, the world’s largest cruise ship open water slide , Icon of the Seas.

Emerald Cruises (0161 516 8456; has an eight-day Grenadines and Galway itinerary from £4,379pp including return flights, transfers, meals and use of all marine toys. It will depart on February 8, 2025.

For the fitness-strange

The word “gym” may not be part of your land-based vernacular, but the new generation of cruisers offers a much wider range of motion than the standard treadmills and dumbbells. As well as yoga, Pilates and fitness classes, Virgin Voyages offers bungee classes, barre exercises and a 250m (273-yard) running track. Virgin scare facilities called MyBeast also feature oversized games and saws for adults. Somewhere to relax after visiting the tattoo parlor on board, perhaps?

Virgin Voyages has a running range of 250m (273-yards).Virgin Voyages has a running range of 250m (273-yards).

Virgin Voyages has a running range of 250m (273-yards) on board – Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages (020 3003 4919;, with three days at sea, has the 11-night Barcelona to Civitavecchia cruise from £2,702pp. Disappears November 3.

For the young chef

Cooking courses offered on cruise lines are usually about adding one pre-cut thing to another and giving it a stir, rather than actually useful lessons. Not so with Regent Seven Seas Cruises. His Epicurean Spotlight voyage offers wine pairing, mastering knife skills and classes in preparing the cruise’s various cuisines.

Foodies go to Regent Seven SeasFoodies go to Regent Seven Seas

Foodies go to Regent Seven Seas – Regent Cruises

Regent Seven Seas (023 8082 1390; has a 10-night Epicurean Spotlight Cruise from Athens to Barcelona from £7829pp, calling at Istanbul, Sicily, Sorrento, Capri, Rome, Cannes and Provence. Departs August 14.

For the adventurer

Finally, if you’ve perfected your golf swing, learned knife and programming skills, had your teeth whitened and watched umpteen Ted talks and movie premieres (offered on Disney Cruise Line), your a helicopter flight could be the icing on the cake. When Scenic yachts are en route to destinations, passengers can use the on-board helicopter, Zodiac speedboat and mini-submarine for undersea adventures.

Hop aboard a submarine for underwater explorationHop aboard a submarine for underwater exploration

Hop aboard a submarine for underwater exploration – Scenic Cruises

Scenic’s (0161 516 0016; 11-day Discover the Kimberley Coastline: Ancient Wilderness Cruise is priced from £8,423 pp, including flights from all major UK airports, transfers, fine dining experiences and butlers. Departs 9 July 2024.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *