I’ve been on one cruise before to the Dominican Republic, but that was much smaller than regular cruise ships. When Princess Cruises asked me to come aboard their new route to cruise the Panama Canal, I was in right away!
I have friends who go on cruises and mainly eat and hang out at the pool. You can do that anywhere, so I didn’t see the glamour in that. Once I boarded, I was surprised at how much there was to do on the cruise. Here are 15 activities to do on a cruise.
Get a Spa Treatment
If you’ve needed to get a spa treatment done, this is the place. You can get everything from your nails to your hair done. The Coral Princess ship I was on had a luxurious spa where you could get facials, massages, acupuncture, and go in aromatherapy rooms. They even had a pass where you could go into the saunas and relaxation rooms every day of the cruise. I’m getting that next time I go!
The first full day on the boat, an astronomy lecture was going on. I got to spend 45 minutes listening to a man who’s been obsessed with space for over 30 years. He even gave three more lectures on space throughout the tour. They also had plenty of talks where you could learn about the countries we were visiting.
Take Workout Classes
Another thing people always talk about is gaining weight on a cruise. I completely understand it when they have a pizza bar and ice cream bar open every single day (tempting!). The days we didn’t have excursions on land, multiple workout classes were offered. They had TRX, yoga, Pilates, and cycling classes offered.
Learn Card Games
They had a small casino with tables and slots, but also taught a new card game each night. I only know Blackjack and some Poker, so it was fun to be able to learn new card games for free. At the end of the cruise, they had tournaments so you could test your skills and win money.
Watch Live Events
When I was on the cruise, the Final Four basketball games were going on. I was able to root on Gonzaga in their game versus North Carolina. I sat right out on the pool deck cheering with others as our boat sailed from Colombia to Panama. I often miss events like this when I travel, so I loved that I was able to see it live.
Golf With a View
I was delighted to find a nine-hole putting course! I love mini golf, and this one had a view of the Caribbean Sea. They even had tournaments going on some days. It was a great way to pass the time on days we were at sea.
Try Food From Famous Chefs
I was told on the first night if I saw “Chocolate Journeys” next to any dessert, I needed to order it. The world famous chef Norman Love designed several chocolate desserts for Princess, and they were delicious. I always thought cruise food would be equivalent to the food found in a high school cafeteria, but the majority of the food I had was much better.
Drink Champagne on Your Balcony
I like being around people, but sometimes I need a break. On the first day, I had a flute of champagne on the balcony while reading my book. I also enjoyed ordering room service one night for dinner without having to go up to get my food. If you get a balcony room, take advantage of the quiet time out there.
Head to the Theater
On the second full day at sea, I started wandering around to see what else there was to do. I stumbled upon their full sized theater, which was playing La La Land. I spent two hours engrossed in the movie, completely forgetting I was on a Panama Canal cruise. They also had dancing and comedians in the evening.
While I really did try to eat healthy, sometimes there’s nothing better than reading a good book with a cup of soft serve ice cream. The ice cream bar was open every day in addition to the burger grill and pizza station. Princess’ pizza is rumored to be the best out of all the cruise ships, and I can confirm it was amazing.
Relax in the Adults-Only Section
On the Coral Princess, there’s a section called The Sanctuary. It’s a quiet place at the back of the boat where only adults are allowed. It was so relaxing to start the morning off with a view of nothing but ocean as I sipped coffee. There are plush chairs to lay out on and even a small pool to take a dip in. I’d highly recommend going there for at least half a day.
Dance Your Heart Out
Almost every day, there was some type of dancing available. This included Zumba classes and line dancing, both of which were packed when I walked by. They also had nightly dancing in different lounges to current music, which a ton of people in my group took advantage of (not me – I’m old and was in bed by 10 PM most nights!).
Experience the Chef’s Dinner
At the chef’s dinner, you’re taken downstairs into the galley of the ship to see how the kitchen operates. I worked at a pizza kitchen in high school, but this was 20 times the size of that. The head chef said they could make about 1,000 meals in 30 minutes! People are assigned to very specific tasks, such as boiling noodles or chopping vegetables for part of a meal.
We had over a half dozen different appetizers while down in the galley, and we even had a demonstration of the proper way to open the champagne. After that, we went upstairs to our table where we had so many courses, we all lost track of what number we were on. There was blood orange sorbet, risotto, lobster tails, scallops, and many, many more dishes. It took me the good part of the next day to even feel hungry again, but it was such an amazing experience.
While there was a pool outside, sometimes it got way too hot and too noisy for me to enjoy reading out there. That’s where the indoor section came in. Almost every afternoon we were at sea, I found myself on a lounger chair by the indoor pool. I loved that it was something you could do if it rained, too (although it didn’t on our cruise).
Hit the Courts
In addition to golf, they had a large basketball court on the top deck. I couldn’t believe they could fit that up there. They also had several shuffleboard decks, which were pretty popular. Several tournaments were even held for those who were feeling brave.
Cruising is a new concept for me. I love traveling by myself and taking as much time as I want in each city. I’ve heard many travel bloggers say cruising isn’t “really traveling.”
After this trip, I’d have to disagree. No, you won’t spend enough time in each city to get fully immersed in the culture. You will be able to take a peek into multiple countries in one trip to see where you’d like to go back in the future, though. I didn’t have to unpack the entire ten days and visited five different countries! Now that’s convenient.
Take advantage of all the excursions offered and try to get off the boat each day you’re in port. I loved everything I did, from exploring the streets of Cartagena to river rafting in Jamaica. I already know I want to go back to Colombia to visit more of the country, but now I have an idea of what it’s like.
Have you been on a cruise before (and if so, where did you go?)
This post was sponsored by Princess Cruises, but all opinions are my own.
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