Nine great ways to spend days at sea on a cruise

It’s all well and good visiting fantastic places and enjoying bucket list experiences, but what to do on those days when there’s literally nothing to see on the horizon except the actual horizon?

If you’ve been filling your days ashore with unique activities, you might welcome the chance to get serious about the Egyptian cotton sheets in your cabin. Or if you prefer to stay active, why not keep a whole timetable of marine diversions?

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

For the artist

If you shy away from creative pursuits at home for fear of encountering judgmental neighbors, art classes at sea could be just the ticket. Cunard offers watercolor lessons, organized by its own artist in residence. Materials are provided, all skills are welcome and there’s even an exhibition at the end of your trip to show off your new masterpieces.

Cunard offers watercolor lessons, organized by its own artist in residence

Cunard offers watercolor classes organized by its own artist in residence – Getty

Cunard (0344 338 8641; has the seven-night voyage to the Norwegian Fjords (aboard the new Queen Anne ship) from £799pp, with plenty of time to discover your inner Picasso. Departing from Southampton on June 23rd.

For the golfer

Would you like to perfect your golf skills during your holiday? Crystal is the only luxury cruise brand to have a PGA professional on board every sailing. With drift nets and a putting green, guests can take part in daily onboard golf lessons (twice a day on sea days), private lessons and a round of golf in a harbor (at an additional cost). You don’t even have to pack your own clubs; everything is provided.

Crystal Cruises (0808 175 0340; offers the 14-day Mombasa to Mumbai cruise aboard Crystal Serenity from £5,995, including flights and six days at sea. Departure April 4, 2025.

For the student

Enrichment programs and guest lecturers are always popular on sea days, and Viking’s Culture Curriculum is one of the best. Listen to 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 stay in the Hawaiian Islands from £5,190 pp, including flights, transfers, meals and 10 days at sea. Departure November 28, 2024.

For the culture lover

In terms of full cultural immersion, Windstar wins the race, with each cruise tailor-made to embrace the destination. For example, sea days on routes to Tahiti include ukulele and drum lessons, Polynesian language, dance and cooking classes and various craft sessions, including making a Polynesian headdress (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; offers the 11-day Tahiti and Tuamotu Islands cruise from £6,476 pp. Includes return flights from the UK and a one-night preliminary stay in Tahiti. Departure November 18.

Beautiful for the body

Want to feel like a new person when you get home from a cruise? How about looking significantly different too? From teeth whitening to cellulite reduction to body sculpting and everything in between (aside from actual cosmetic surgery, but never say never), spa treatments are taken to the extreme on cruise ships. At Oceania you will find pain management therapy, Biotech laser line therapy, Restylane dermal fillers, Dysport wrinkle treatments, Thermage skin tightening and even a 50 minute facelift.

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

For the big kid

It’s official: toys aren’t just for kids. Boutique cruise companies like Emerald Cruises make the most of a fantastic range of water toys, including stand-up paddleboards, inflatable kayaks, snorkel sets and thrilling watercraft sea bobs. 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 first open free-fall water slide from a cruise ship on the world’s largest cruise ship, Icon of the Seas.

Emerald Cruises (0161 516 8456; offers the eight-day Grenadines and Windward itinerary from £4,379pp, including return flights, transfers, meals and use of all sea toys. Departure on February 8, 2025.

For the fitness curious

The word ‘gym’ may not be part of your national language, but the new generation of cruise ships offers a much wider range of options than the standard treadmills and dumbbells. In addition to yoga, pilates and fitness classes, Virgin Voyages offers bungee lessons, barre workouts and a 250-metre running track. Virgin’s intimidatingly titled MyBeast facilities also offer oversized games and seesaws for adults. Maybe relax somewhere after a visit to the tattoo parlor on board?

There is a 250 meter running track on board Virgin VoyagesThere is a 250 meter running track on board Virgin Voyages

There is a 250 meter running track on board Virgin Voyages – Virgin Voyages

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

For the novice chef

Cooking classes offered on cruise lines are usually about adding one pre-cut thing to another and shaking it up, rather than really useful lessons. Not so with Regent Seven Seas Cruises. The Epicurean Spotlight voyage offers wine pairings, mastering knife skills, and classes to prepare for the cruise’s various cuisines.

Foodies flock to Regent Seven SeasFoodies flock to Regent Seven Seas

Foodies flock to Regent Seven Seas – Regent Cruises

Regent Seven Seas (023 8082 1390; has a 10-night Epicurean Spotlight Voyage from Athens to Barcelona from £7,829pp, with stops in Istanbul, Sicily, Sorrento, Capri, Rome, Cannes and Provence. Departure August 14.

For the adventurer

Finally, if you’ve perfected your golf swing, learned knife skills and paddleboarding, had your teeth whitened, and watched countless Ted talks and movie premieres (offered on Disney Cruise Line), a helicopter ride can be the icing on the cake. When Scenic yachts are docked en route to destinations, passengers can use the onboard 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 (0161 516 0016; offers the 11-day Discover the Kimberley Coastline: An Ancient Wilderness cruise from £8,423 per person, including flights from all major UK airports, transfers, gastronomic experiences and a butler. Departure on July 9, 2024.

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