Best cruise activities to discover on board

Going on a cruise will take your family to exciting places, but you can have just as much fun onboard with these epic onboard activities.

The cruise can take you to the pristine beaches of the Bahamas, historic towns along the Mediterranean coast or the spectacular fjords of Alaska.

But before you can reach these destinations, you may need to spend several days at sea.

So many travellers, especially those traveling for the first time with their children, might be a bit apprehensive. What if the kids are bored?

From kids’ clubs to relaxing spas for parents and great family-friendly dining options, here are the top activities on board the top cruise lines.

Carnival Cruise Line Australia

Carnival offers more than 45 daily activities aboard its ships for adults and children.

Of course, there are swimming pools, night shows, casinos. Some of the unique activities include:

  • Seuss at Sea, featuring a parade of your favorite Dr. Seuss characters, interactive stories and character breakfasts
  • WaterWorks, with several slides
  • Diving movies by the pool
  • Serenity Adults Only Retreat
  • Skycourse and Skyride ropes course, where you pedal along a track above the ship

Disney cruise line

Much like its theme parks, Disney Cruise Line is a popular option for family cruisers or kids at heart.

Adding a touch of Disney to nearly every element of your vacation, the iconic cruise line brings families together to enjoy live musical entertainment, spectacular fireworks at sea and other activities, including:

  • Theatrical performances of Disney favorites like Beauty and the Beast, Frozen and Aladdin
  • Many character experiences like Pirate Night and Pixar Pals Party
  • Disney Oceaneer Club, where kids ages 3-12 can interact with iconic Disney characters such as Snow White, Mickey Mouse or Peter Pan and explore multi-themed ship areas.
  • AquaDuck water coaster

Some Disney ships host “Special Days at Sea” where popular characters join in the fun. For example, Marvel Day at Sea will feature the appearance and performance of the Avengers – Captain America, Spiderman, Thor, etc.

Meanwhile, teens can join the Vibe Club where they can watch movies, play games, enjoy arts and crafts, and more.

For the adults on board, unwind in the spa, cool off in an exclusive pool or simply unwind in one of the onboard bars.

Celebrity Cruises

Young or old, the whole family will have a multitude of opportunities to occupy their hours at sea, in particular:

  • Camp At Sea, the onboard program designed for children aged 3 to 12
  • Award-winning entertainment, like unique versions of Shakespeare
  • Learn new skills like glass blowing
  • Unique nightlife like Silent Discos

Other activities include a movie night under the stars, fitness classes and live music. Kids can spend more time on the beach while teens can experience thrilling shore excursions.

As the name suggests, the Teen Club is a space where teens can make new friends and participate in events such as Xbox competitions, cooking classes, and parties.

Norwegian cruise line

A finalist in Travel Weekly’s Readers Choice Awards, Norwegian has something for everyone on board, including the “greatest thrills at sea”, with its ThrillPlex activity areas. Here are some examples of what you can discover on board:

  • One of the largest racing tracks at sea, augmented reality laser tag and the largest ropes course on the water in the ThrillPlex
  • The Waterfront, NCL’s 400-meter seafront promenade on board
  • Tony Award-winning performances like Kinky Boots, Footloose and Jersey Boys
  • Theatrical dining experiences including Cirque Dreams

From decorating cupcakes to dodgeballing, there’s plenty more to do on your cruise with NCL. Kids can learn to juggle at Splash Academy’s circus school and teens throw the coolest themed parties at Entourage, NCL’s onboard youth club.

Royal Caribbean

Every ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet offers special family activities, fabulous entertainment and enjoyable dining options for all ages. The ship offers epic experiences during sailing days, such as:

  • Glow-in-the-dark laser tag battles
  • Dive into water rides such as the FlowRider surf simulator, Tidal Wave, the unique seamed boomerang slide, or the Typhoon and Cyclone slides.
  • Broadway shows at sea including Grease, Cats, Hairspray and Mamma Mia!

Princess Cruise Line

Princess has already been named “Best Cruise Lines for Onboard Entertainment” in the Cruise Passenger Reader’s Choice Award, so you’ll find plenty to do on its ships.

  • Discovery at SEA Enrichment programs, filled with activities inspired by Discover Channel programming like shark week and Deadliest Take
  • Get a taste of some of the world’s most colorful cultures with Festivals of the World, including Rio Carnival and Oktoberfest
  • Unique Broadway-style performances such as Rock Opera, which also incorporates American Sign Language into its performances

Family-focused onboard programs, immersive travel experiences, Animal Planet and Discovery shore excursions also earned Princess the distinction of “Best Cruise Line for Multi-Generational Family Travel” in Porthole Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards. Cruise 2018.

Meanwhile, great backyard games in the all-ages Play Zone will set the stage for some good-natured family competition.

P&O Cruises

One of “Australia’s Most Trusted Brands” (Readers Digest) and “Best Family Cruise Line (Out and About Kids Magazine), P&O has a lot to offer cruise passengers of all ages:

  • The Edge Adventure Park allows adrenaline junkies to zipline, rock climb, and even boardwalk
  • Adults-only entertainment options, including shows like LOVE RIOT and comedy clubs
  • Classes at sea can teach you how to dance or make cocktails

Of course, you’ll also find the usual cruise ship entertainment options like swimming pools, casinos, spas, and four kids’ clubs, depending on their age group.

MSC cruise

Like other cruise lines offering family activities, MSC Cruise Line offers a wide range of onboard entertainment, shore excursions and dining options.

  • Onboard LEGO® Experience, a special event on every MSC cruise with a full day dedicated to fun LEGO activities for the whole family.
  • “Degas, Danse, Dessin” exhibition, complete with 26 original drawings by Edgar Degas (only on board MSC Grandiosa)
  • Bowling and mini-bowling on board
  • F1 simulator where you can participate in races in virtual reality

Of course, kids’ and teens’ clubs are also available for those under 17, filled with age-specific activities such as music and rhythm activities, arts and crafts, sports tournaments, competitions dance, etc.


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Richard V. Johnson