Sea Days: How Cruise Experts Avoid Boredom

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15 Ways To Spend A Sea Day

Are Sea Days Boring? 15 Ways To Spend A Sea Day

Sea days on a cruise ship used to be a little boring for me. Don’t get me wrong, a boring sea day is still way better than a day at work, but I still would rather be out on an exciting excursion. After the pandemic shutdown, my views changed about sea days on a cruise. I started thinking more about ways to spend a sea day and thinking of things to do on sea days.

The truth is, there are tons of things to do on a sea day. In this episode, we are going to go through a list of 15 ways to spend a sea day. It’s not an exhaustive list by any means. In fact, we left off one of my favorite things – Carnival sea day brunch (so yummy!), but if you’ve been wondering “what’s a sea day like” then this article should give you a good idea.

Are you one of those people that gets totally bored on Sea days? Well, then – read on because we have 15 great ideas for how to spend a sea day.

Get prepped

The number one tip we have for you is to start planning the night before your sea day. Get out the newsletter, open up the ship’s app, and start looking at things you might want to do. If you’re looking at the old fashioned newsletter (the printed kind!) take a highlighter pen and highlight things that interest you. If you’re using the cruise line’s app, just save those ideas to whatever schedule it is that you have on your app. Notes or the calendar work fine on your mobile device too!

Sea days - Fun Times
Sea days – Fun Times

Enjoy the good life

Our next tip – don’t rush out of bed on your Sea day!

Hey, even if you are the type of person who cannot sleep in….try it! Linger for just a few more moments in bed or better yet, go get a coffee and then crawl right back in bed and just enjoy that luxury cruise life affords you.

Coffee with a view

New cruisers are often amazed that you can get free room service coffee on a ship!

This is absolutely one of my favorite tips. One of those things that we just don’t get to do in everyday life, right? Like, WHEN in life can you enjoy the majestic ocean washing past your balcony, all while sipping complimentary caffeine! Try it…call room service, and place that order for coffee, tea, or maybe even some hot chocolate, then, take that little beautiful little carafe and enjoy it in bed, or on your gorgeous balcony, as the sound of the waves remind you that you are NOT at home, and you do NOT have to report to a 9am video conference!

Did we mention…It’s complimentary. Enjoy your room service coffee, maybe some breakfast out on your balcony!

Fine dining in the morning

Another thing we love to do is have a leisurely breakfast in the main dining room, instead of the buffet. You don’t have to rush up to the buffet if you don’t want to. In fact, many cruisers never visit the buffet all cruise long! Take a look at the main dining room open hours, and go to the dining room and be served. There’s no need to dress up, or make reservations. Just show up, and the staff will seat you. It’s a wonderful luxury of cruising and we highly recommend you take advantage of it. Forget about the hectic buffet. Go get pampered in the main dining room instead.

Explore the ship

Another thing that’s awesome to do on a sea day is to explore the ship. When I say explore the ship, I don’t mean try to figure out where everything is. Just put on some comfortable walking shoes and roam around aimlessly. These days ships can be huge. There’s so much to see that sometimes you miss a few things on those first days of the cruise. Wander around the ship without a plan, and explore areas of the ship you haven’t been to yet. You never know what you’ll find, and you’ll get a little exercise as a bonus.

Here are some examples of cool places you may discover. On certain Royal Caribbean ships, at the front of the ship, just off the promenade deck, you’ll find a helipad. The helipad is generally empty and offers great photo opportunities! On other ships, there are sometimes viewing areas on TOP of the bridge. Head as high as you can, and forward on the ship, and see if you can find an entrance to a deck atop the navigational bridge.

Photo safari

Another thing we love to do is to wander around the ship taking photos. We call this our photo safari. We like to take a camera (usually that’s our iPHone) out and go look for unique things, or fun areas on the ship to take photos of. We’ve been doing the “photo safari” pretty much as long as we have been cruising. We end up with a lot of silly photos, but it is so much fun and creates lots of different memories.

Bonus tip: head out during “magic light”, that glowy time just before and after sunset for the most flattering photos, and avoid high noon as the light will be harsh. If you’re an early riser, sunrise offers the same glowy benefits as sunset and the ship will be nearly empty.

Sea days - "Photo Safari"
Sea days – “Photo Safari”

Rest up for shore day fun

This may be a given for some of you on a Sea day, but it’s worth mentioning. Use your sea day time to take a nap. Not only should you take a nap, but you should plan to take a nap, take a long nap, take two naps. You follow me. Embrace the naps friends. You’re on vacay!

15 Ways To Spend A Sea Day - sleep
Sea Day Nap

It’s okay to indulge a little

While we’re talking about decadence and really giving into it, my husband’s favorite tip for a sea day is to get ice cream or gelato. There’s not a single cruise ship out there where you couldn’t find some ice cream on a sea day. Indulge in the middle of the day. Why not?

Hot tip: Princess cruises offers the only authentic gelato at sea, and it’s fabulous!

15 Ways To Spend A Sea Day - Ice-cream
Carnival’s Swirls Ice Cream

Get pampered

The next tip we have for you is to visit the spa. I know, I know… you’re not going to get the best deals in the spa on a sea day, but we still recommend that you consider it. You’ll have more time to enjoy everything the spa has to offer, and can show up early to chill and wind down. While I love port day spa deals, I also love to have a nice relaxing spa experience. Maybe you want to get a massage, a nice facial. Maybe even get your hair done for formal night. You can do all of those things. Trust me, it’s so nice to book yourself into the spa on a sea day!

Sea days - Spa time
Sea days – Spa time

Get physical (or not)

Looking to make the most of your cruise dollar? Whether you’re looking for something active or relaxing, sea days are the perfect time to take advantage of the shipboard activities. Catch a movie! Go shopping! Catch an enrichment seminar on how to use your camera. Hit the sports court. Play some basketball, go do the belly flop contest, play mini golf. There’s so many things to do!

Sea days - Physical activity
Carnival Sports Court

Ready for your close up?

Don’t forget to look at your photos in the photo gallery, whether your cruise line still prints ’em off or they’re just on one of those little computers in the photo gallery, go check out the photos that you’ve been taking all week with the staff.

Get tubby

Our next tip is a little controversial, cuz some people don’t like to do this, but we recommend hitting the hot tubs. You could do this on a relaxing afternoon before dinner or better yet, visit a hot tub in the morning before it gets crowded. This is my favorite thing to do on an Alaska cruise when they tend to be less crowded and it’s cold outside.

Sea days - Hot tub

Just chill

Our next tip is to take your time getting ready for dinner. There’s just no reason to put unnecessary pressure on yourself. It may sound strange especially to people who don’t like to get dressed up, but enjoy the process of getting ready. Have a glass of Prosecco or champagne. Pack a small travel speaker so you can listen to music while you’re getting ready, or watch some TV. Take 45 minutes to put on your makeup. Relax, enjoy the process. Make a ritual out of getting ready for your formal night dinner. It’s something we love so much.

Sea days - Dinner Prep
Sea days – Formal Night Prep

Work up an appetite

Another one of our favorite things to do is to take a pre-dinner stroll on the promenade deck. If it’s a formal night, this is a great time take photos. The light is usually really good around dinner time, and you’re wearing your fancy garb, so capture that memory! We like to go out just before sunset. Like we mentioned earlier, it’s the time of day photographers call magic light.

You may have to experiment with the time a little bit to get the most beautiful light, but that sunrise and sunset timing every day is absolutely a photographer’s dream. If you want to go out and capture your best looking self with very little effort, all you need is your smartphone with a decent camera and a nice sunset or sunrise.

15 Ways To Spend A Sea Day - walk
Pre-dinner stroll on the Promenade

Get ready for action

Our last tip for you today is a good one. If the day following your sea day is a port day, get ready for your shore excursion during your quiet sea day. Gather your sunscreen,water bottle, shore excursion tickets, towels and whatever other items you need, and pack up your bag. Get that stuff into your shore day bag so you don’t have to worry about it in the morning. This diminishes the shore day rush and ensures you won’t forget anything!

We hope you’ve enjoyed these 15 ideas, and that you’ll never be bored on a sea day again.

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Sheri and her family are California based cruise content creators focused on providing practical tips and advice to new and seasoned cruisers. CruiseTipsTV’s audience enjoys following Sheri and her family as they travel the world by ship creating travel films. Sheri has visited destinations like Japan, Mexico, Alaska, Europe and the Caribbean, and has experienced 33 cruises on 6 cruise lines. She was named one of Porthole Cruise Magazine’s 10 Travel Influencers Changing How We Vacation in 2018 and 2019. Sheri has been quoted in the New York Times, CNBC, Forbes, Prevention, and Business Innovator Radio. Her YouTube Channel, CruiseTipsTV has over 87,000 subscribers and 17 million views.