Cruising is a great way to get away from all the cares of daily life at home. However, some people are concerned about missing out on some of their beloved sports activities, all aspects of home are not lost while on vacation, they still occur just at sea. Aside from enjoying lots of good food while at sea, you can participate in many sporting events and even participate in many other activities competitive and non-competitive alike while on the cruise. Some of these are individual sports while others are team sports. These sporting activities can be just for the fun of it or competitive in tournaments that last just a couple hours or thru the entire cruise.
As mentioned there are all kinds of activities involving contests and many that don’t. Sporting activities are just part of the mix, many non-active events are available for cruisers who like to be more sedentary or who are otherwise unable to be active. Activities for those who like sporting events range the gamut depending on the ship. Less active activities are plentiful and varied as well.
Often there will be shuffleboard tournaments, mini-golf tournaments, table tennis tournaments, volleyball tournaments, and at times dodge ball tournaments. Many cruise lines offer daily or weekly mass walks around the ship, sometimes to benefit various charities. Royal Caribbean supports Make a Wish and Princess supports breast cancer programs.
To some extent what is offered is partly based on the demographics of the passengers aboard the cruise. I find on cruises with younger overall populations the team competitions are more intense and frequent. The cruise director and activities manager often look at the cruise ahead when planning activities. They even in some cases take specific feedback from passengers and add more activities for the remainder of the cruise. One such instance was on Island Princess when passengers wanted daily bridge playing sessions, the cruise director added them beginning the very next day thru the end of the two week cruise.
Most cruise ships offer a casino (one notable exception is Disney which uses the space for more family oriented activities). Many offer various sessions of arts and crafts for all ages, lectures about upcoming ports or regions in which the ship is traveling, and even general enrichment lectures. Some ships work around a specific theme such as culinary arts when they bring aboard extra demonstration chefs. Many ships offer some form of demonstration cooking on virtually all cruises, some are more exciting than others. Disney offers an iron chef competition where guests help cook and others are chosen as judges (which I know from personal experience is a blast).
On Royal Caribbean in particular I’ve seen competitions for speed climbing the rock wall as well as surfing competitions. Rock walls are aboard all of their ships while the “flow-riders” are only on Freedom Class and larger ships. Allure and Oasis are equipped with two each allowing one to be just for stand-up riding with the other dedicated to lay down surfing. (I really enjoyed it when I tried it in July 2011.)
Aside from the physically demanding sports competitions you will find other competitions aboard the ships. Trivia competitions occur often and may be individual or team, usually team and the cruise staff are good about matching up teammates. These competitions are often they are a great place to meet other cruisers. Aside from trivia there may be sign making contests, karaoke contests and many other ways for both individuals and teams to win particular events. These are all set up to be fun for both the participants and spectators. Karaoke in particular is set up to be entertaining for large gatherings of people, not just the participants.
The competitions are typically all free to enter and often have trinket prices given to the winners. Thus, it is worth trying one out yourself and seeing if you really enjoy them. When you find one you like, use it as an ice breaker on future cruises to meet someone new. Ultimately it is all about creating fun for all passengers aboard the ship.
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