What to Do on a Sea Day

What to do on a cruise sea day P&O Cruises MV azura

Hey Owlets,

It’s definitely not a secret that I love cruises, and given half a chance I’ll convince anyone who’ll listen that they should give it a try, but one of the biggest things I hear is “I don’t want to be stuck on a ship during sea days”. I get it, even I thought this before my first cruise. In an age where technology keeps us occupied 24/7 disconnecting, even for one day, can seem a little daunting. Even though my favourite thing to do on a sea day is nothing, here’s some tips to get you through in case the thought of a day disconnected terrifies you.
What to do on a cruise sea day Cruise and Maritime Voyages MV Columbus

Choose the right cruise for you

If you’re reading this then maybe it’s already too late for you to take this advice, but if you’ve not already booked then this is going to be a huge factor on whether you enjoy sea days. If you know you’re the kind of person that likes being kept constantly busy then you need to choose a more active cruise line like Royal Caribbean, Carnival or Norwegian Cruise Line that offer a full programme of things to do even at sea - there's even themed cruise lines like Disney Cruise Line if you're a lover of all things fairytale! If you’re more content with sitting down, watching the world go by and getting into a good book then Fred Olsen or CMV are probably more the way to go - P&O are a great middle ground. When you’re going on a cruise the ship is part of the holiday, not just the transport method and choosing the right cruise line can make your holiday.

What to do on a cruise sea day Cruise and Maritime Voyages MV Marco Polo

Learn to slow down

I know this can be really difficult for some people; I’m one of those people that’s used to being on the go all the time and it takes me a while to slow down when I’m on holiday. I find that the first sea day of the holiday flies by because you’re still exploring the ship, but day two is always the hardest because you’ve looked around the ship and you have to entertain yourself on board. I haven’t really got a foolproof way to help you slow down because it’s one of those things that’s different for each person. What you do with your sea day also majorly depends on the weather - if you’re taking a fly-cruise you’re probably already in good weather so you’re more content to swim or sit by the pool. If you’re sailing from the UK or going to a cold destination the weather might not be as good which is when I get a bit of cabin fever. If it’s a cold day treat it as a duvet day - if you want to spend time in your cabin watching TV then do that, if you like reading then find a cosy corner and bring a good book. It takes a few days to settle in but once you do you’ll find you relish the rare quiet moments in between busy ports.

What to do on a cruise sea day Cruise and Maritime Voyages MV Columbus

Take Distractions

Even though slowing down is the best option for enjoying a sea day, it takes some time to adjust so make sure you bring plenty of things to do with you if you’ve opted for a more quiet cruise line. I usually download several episodes of my favourite TV programmes to watch, bring a few magazines or a book and bring my laptop so I can do some work if I’m feeling inspired (although I know this is specific to being freelance). I might watch a few episodes on the first few sea days but as soon as I slow down my laptop stays firmly in the safe for the rest of the holiday.

What to do on a cruise sea day Cruise and Maritime Voyages MV Columbus

Explore the Ship

You’ve probably already spent the first day exploring your floating home, but if you haven’t then a sea day provides the perfect opportunity to do this. All cruise ships have maps dotted around the ship (some cruise lines even give you a deck plan when you board), so take a look to see what’s on board then go explore. Even the smallest cruise ships have enough to see on board that hours will have flown by and you won’t have realised it. Just remember to check the drinks package options if you plan on "exploring" the bars in great detail! They're not always worth it, but it's worth checking. Here's a great post on P&O's drinks package.

What to do on a cruise sea day Cruise and Maritime Voyages MV Columbus

Make the most of the Facilities

Even though you’ve paid to be on board a cruise ship rather than flying straight to a location and staying in the same place, most people never make full use of the ship’s facilities, often opting to stay in just a few locations around the ship like the pool and the same bar throughout the trip. Make sure you take time to spend time in each location; from your initial walk around the ship you probably found a few locations that you liked the look of so visit those and see what’s going on. Cruise lines often put different singers, bands or talks in each location so there’s always something to appeal to everyone so make the most of it and see what’s around. 

What to do on a cruise sea day P&O Cruises MV azura

Check the Ship’s Programme

If you’re one of those people that needs to be entertained on a cruise then make sure you look at the daily programme - it’s like an onboard newspaper that tells you what’s going on each day and where. Even on the quieter cruise lines you’ll often find talks from guest speakers, singers and events put on by the entertainment team to help you enjoy your day at sea.

I understand being worried about feeling “stuck” but I really wouldn’t let it put you off booking a cruise - the crew want you to enjoy your holiday so they’re always going to make sure there’s something for you to do and the ship’s are big enough that you can go for a walk and find somewhere new to sit so you don’t get cabin fever while you’re at sea. I know that getting bored on a sea day was one of the biggest reasons you stated for not booking a cruise, but if you’re in the other camp that’s worried about sea sickness I have you covered too - click here to read my guide to dealing with sea sickness.

Love and Feathers, 
 The Owlet 💜 
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