24 Things You Can Do on a Cruise on a Sunny Day At Sea

There are people who think cruises are boring. They rationalize you are confined by the railings on the ship. Here are plenty of things you can do, especially on a sunny day. It helps to have some imagination.

This article is not ship specific. You can’t say: “There is no water slide” or “They don’t have a golf simulator.” You should be able to do all of these on any ship, large or small, ocean going or river cruising. Let us also assume WIFI is not an option and phone service is poor. Put the Smartphone away.

  1. Have breakfast on your balcony. You paid to have your own balcony, but they are often underutilized. It is your own private space in the sun or shade, your choice. Order a full breakfast the night before. Get showered and changed (or wear your robes) when the steward knocks on your cabin door.
  2. Secure a great space on deck for your deck chair. My wife does this better than anyone. She finds a spot under a lifeboat in the shade. We mark our territory with books, slippers or whatever. I will ask: “Why have you picked chairs in the shade?” She explains “In a little while, they will be chairs in the sun, sheltered by the shadow of the lifeboat.”  We avoid the early morning competition for deck chairs in the sun.
  3. Checkout the hot tubs. Find out when they open and when they are shut down. Put on your swimsuits, grab your robes and head up before other people get the same idea. You can do it twice a day, every day if you want!
  4. Get your laundry done. This may sound dumb but think about it. You can pack less if you plan to do your washing during the trip. On a sunny day, everyone will be on deck or around the pool. No crowds on lines.
  5. Have lunch on your balcony. What are your plans when you go ashore tomorrow? You are going to find a nice sidewalk café and enjoy a delightful lunch. Do not overlook the room service menu in the desk in your cabin. There should be plenty of selection, ideally almost all included in your cruise fare. Don’t go for the burger and fries – you can have that at home. Do they have a Salade Nicoise or an antipasto platter? Pull out that nice bottle of white wine you brought, chill it and enjoy a leisurely lunch on your balcony.
  6. Enjoy a Long Island Iced Tea by the pool. This is a favorite activity of outs. We find loungers near the pool with the retractable roof. We stretch out, destress and order a couple of cocktails. This is our favorite poolside choice. Beware – they can be strong! The most dangerous thing I’ve done is trying to stand up after finishing one!
  7. Sit in the shade, doing the crossword puzzle. This keeps the brain going. It’s also a great way to meet other people. “What’s a five-letter word for love beginning with A?” They helpfully suggest “Amore.”  Even if you are on your own, it is a pleasant way to pass the time. The daily quiz should be available at the ship’s library.
  8. Find some live music. Ships have many venues. There is always music somewhere. You can dance. You can sit and listen. You can contemplate. It all depends what type of music you seek out. This should be spelled out in your daily program.
  9. Read about upcoming voyages. Book your next cruise. Ever notice how the onboard booking office is always busy? That is a mystery to me, but many people are having such a good time they are already putting down a deposit for their next cruise. Here’s an advantage: The staff in the booking office know their ships thoroughly. (Ed. Note: Ask about transfer of your booking to your travel advisor.)
  10. Get in your 10,000 steps. You like walking. You have a Fitbit or similar device. Hopefully it works onboard. Somewhere there is a Promenade Deck, completely circling the ship. Here is the cool thing: When you walk towards the bow, you are walking into the wind. When you walk towards the stern, the wind is at your back. You will have plenty of company.
  11. Find a secret, secluded corner. You like people but enjoy your privacy too. There are times you want to think about future life plans and don’t want to be disturbed. At the same time, you don’t want to feel confined, so your cabin or balcony isn’t the right choice. Ships have plenty of secluded private spaces, indoors and outside, waiting to be discovered.
  12. Spend time getting to know your wine steward. The ship’s main restaurant can be quiet at lunchtime because many people choose to eat by the pool. The upside is dining can be quite leisurely. Your wine steward may be on duty, if not today, then tomorrow. Ask for them by name. They will engage with you, learn what you like, suggest wines to try and tell you about specials.
  13. Read up on the next port of call. I think everyone should approach a new destination as someplace they might only see once. Take advantage of the opportunity. Decide what restaurants you want to check out. What are the best stores? Where are the best beaches? What are the must-see sights? How are you going to get around? Have a plan when you step ashore.
  14. Look for dolphins off the side of the ship. If you don’t see dolphins, maybe you will see birds or other ships. Enjoy time scanning the horizon. As am FYI, if you are about 100 feet above sea level, you can see about 11-12 miles.
  15. Have you tried all the outdoor dining venues? Your ship has many. Every time we sail, I realize there are restaurants and bars we never discovered during the voyage. They often serve different cuisines. Why would they only offer identical dining options? Look over the deck plans. See what dining venues you have missed.
  16. Swim in the pool. This option sounds so obvious, but it still should be listed. The sun is hot. The breeze is cool. Swim a bit and enjoy the water.
  17. Read a good book. Your ship has a library. Regardless of if your interest is fiction, non-fiction, mysteries or travel book, there should be something of interest. Check out a couple of books, find a shady corner and relax while reading.
  18. Work on your suntan. We all know the sun isn’t good for you. Using common sense you can use sunscreen, cover up and alternate between the sun and shady spots.
  19. Meet up with the other singles. Please don’t do this if you are married. You might be traveling with a group. There may be regular gatherings organized by the ship for affinity groups. Take advantage of the situation. Make some new friends.
  20. Study the dinner menu. It should be posted near the dining room but is probably also available online. Do you like this evening’s selections? If not, what are the alternative dining venues available to you? This may be a good time to book early before other people get the same idea.
  21. Enjoy a glass of champagne while gazing out to sea. This is one of those images often seen in the cruise brochures. Try it for yourself. Find a perfect spot that isn’t too busy. Call over one of the bar personnel. Order a glass or two of champagne and have it charged to your stateroom.
  22. Stroll hand in hand with someone you love. This is something you should be doing! Spend time with the person who provides you with encouragement and support all those other weeks of the year. Holding hands sounds very simplistic, but it makes a big impact.
  23. Enjoy outdoor cocktails before dinner. You are dressed for the formal night. You are strolling the deck at sunset. There is an open table poolside. You don’t need to be anyplace for the next half hour. Enjoy a round of cocktails. Your server will likely bring canapes too.
  24. Write letters to friends back home. Who writes letters anymore? Isn’t everything done online? That’s why letters stand out. Your ship should have stationary available at the Purser’s Office. After you write your letters, bring them back to the counter. The Purser’s Office staff can mail them for you, charging the postage to your shipboard account. I would do this often, sending my Godson letters from almost every port we visited.

Cruises aren’t boring. This list only scratches the surface of things you can do!

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Cover photo ©Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Dennis Cox is All Things Cruise Writer and Official Photographer


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