While you’re likely to be booking your next cruise as a way to unwind, there’s always some time available for cruise ship activities. And with many of the largest cruise ships feeling like communities in their own right, you won’t go short on fun. If you’re wondering what to do on a cruise then look no further, because from the biggest liners to the more fun-size offerings, we’ve got a list of the 10 top things to do on a cruise ready to inspire you.

Pick up some skills

You’d be surprised how many cruises max out the fun factor while also teaching you something new. Princess Cruises’ ‘Discovery at Sea’ enrichment programme allows you to learn about the nature in your cruise destinations from experts.

You can also broaden the mind by attending presentations given by politicians and celebrities across a number of leading cruise lines. For example, travel writer Bill Bryson has become something of a mainstay public speaker onboard cruises by Cunard.

Sample the world’s cuisine

Mealtimes onboard your cruise are about so much more than just sitting down and filling a hole between adventures. Even the simplest of dining experiences is an occasion in its own right, and many cruises are doing plenty to overcome the stuffy posh dinners of yesteryear.

In fact, the variety of cuisine onboard modern cruise ships has never been greater, with Marella Cruises providing open seating across its buffet restaurants and multi-course dinners with waiter service. They also lay on further options for sophisticated evenings at black tie dinners in a la carte venues. Whoever you sail with, expect flavours from Italy, Asia, America and more, as well as a number of more experimental options as top chefs move those flavours forward.

Soothe away your aches and pains

Whiling away your afternoon sunbathing by the pool is definitely a great way to unwind, but for a bit of healing time cruise lines like P&O Cruises have complementary steam and sauna rooms to enjoy. If you’re ready to splash out on some real you-time though, Princess Cruises’ eastern-inspired Lotus Spa has been named Best Spa on a Cruise Ship by Spa finder Wellness 365. There’s a Lotus Spa on every ship in the Princess fleet, each offering a wide range of massages and facials.

Enjoy some downtime

For a different kind of downtime after a busy day exploring, you’ll welcome the chance to sit in the sun and pick up a book, or quietly plan your next day at sea. Many cruise lines provide adults-only spaces where you can lounge and enjoy a drink with minimal disturbance. Marella Cruises’ adults-only Verandah sunbathing area is just the spot to recline on a padded sunlounger or day bed. Alternatively, head inside to the nearby relaxation lounge for ambient music and refreshing drinks.

Dance with some celebs

You’ve seen the glamorous costumes and complicated ballroom steps on the TV, but on P&O’s Strictly Come Dancing themed cruises you get the chance to put your best foot forward yourself too. On AzuraBritannia and Ventura, you’ll have the chance to take part in one-on-one dance lessons with the pros.

For the biggest ballroom at sea – complete with crystal chandeliers – show off your moves in the Queens Room on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2. As well as nightly dancing and regular lessons, themed balls dazzle with formal dress and a live orchestra.

Indulge in a spot of golf

Marella and Princess Cruises are among those who boast mini-golf courses on the deck, and some of the holes are more tricky to complete than you might first imagine. The courses are free, popular with families and also a playful way to settle some scores. That said, the competitive among you should check with your cruise line to see if a mini tournament is occurring during your voyage.

To practise your swing with a nine-iron, golf nets are available for use onboard a number of ships, including Cunard’s Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth. P&O’s Aurora also has a golf simulator, with 30 different computerised courses to play on.

Set a new high score

Most cruise ships will offer guests a games room in which the latest videogame consoles are set up, and sometimes even extend as far as a friendly league between players. However, the video arcades of old are also well represented onboard modern cruise ships, complete with claw machines and racing simulators.

Marella Cruises offers more fun as part of its excellent kids’ clubs, including activity games for little ones, interactive games for older kids, and karaoke booths. To really work your brains together as a family, their escape room puzzles are also both educational and fun.

Let them entertain you

Sometimes the best idea is to just sit back and let your cruise line entertain you. That’s certainly something they’re good at, and it’s much more than tribute acts and magicians. Broadway musicals light up the stage on cruise ships such as Marella Celebration, which boasts an expansive Broadway Show Lounge. Live music and daring acrobatics can be also found on many of the major cruise lines.

Get active

On longer cruises, you might relish the opportunity to work your muscles between ports. Larger and mid-size ships are your best bet for sports and fitness facilities. For example, Marella Discovery has an open-air pool plus one inside, as well as a rock-climbing wall. Even on shorter journeys, a smaller ship like Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ Marco Polo has a swimming pool and a wraparound promenade on the top deck, giving you the chance to stretch your legs with a view.

Movie magic

If you love nothing more than settling in with some popcorn, you’ll be delighted to hear that P&O Cruises has cinemas on all of its ships. The majority of the fleet, such as Aurora, Oriana and Arcadia, run the latest releases and seasonal screenings at their comfy indoor cinemas during the day and evening.

For a cinema with real atmosphere however, try P&O’s larger, family-friendly ship Azura. Its al fresco Sea Screen cinema gives you the chance to snuggle up with a blanket beside the pool, gazing up at the big screen and the twinkling stars.

There are countless activities to try out onboard modern day cruise ships. Take a look at our list of cruise lines to find the perfect vessel for your next adventure.

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