There’s a crazy cruise misconception that all cruise holidays are sunshine holidays. Not so. As well as the Mediterranean and Caribbean cruises that will always be popular with the sun-seeking set you’ve also got Baltic, Transatlantic and Alaskan cruises, cruises down the Norwegian Fjords and even cruises around our own British Isles – plus much more.
It’s pretty much a case of, if you can get to it by water, you can cruise to it, with sunshine cruises being only one type of holiday out of the many available.
Of course, no cruise can guarantee wall-to-wall sunshine alongside the all-inclusive dining and West End style shows; even cruises to the Caribbean, Mexico or the Indian Ocean could find themselves hit by unexpected showers, especially during rainy season (hence the name!).
So what is there to do on a cruise ship if the sun loungers and swimming pools are out of bounds?
Don’t worry, you won’t be confined to your cabin with your kindle (unless you want to be) – there’s plenty going on undercover on the average cruise ship, so you can keep busy even when the rain won’t go away. Here are www.CRUISE.co.uk’s top ten ‘no umbrella needed’ cruise liner attractions…
Catch a Movie
Is there anything better on a rainy day than settling down with a bag of popcorn and bucket of cola in front of a new release?
Nope – apart from maybe chucking in the Ben & Jerrys too! Many liners have their own cinemas, including P&O which boasts Hollywood blockbusters on-board each of its ships.
If plain old 2D just won’t do, check out the 3D Thrill Theatre on Carnival Breeze – you’ll be completely blown away by the on-screen action. (Get it? Breeze? Blown away?)
Browse a Gallery
Art lovers don’t need to wait until port days to hit the galleries as many cruise lines have a side-line in collecting art. Pack your readers and sign up for one of the quality art tours on Holland America or Celebrity – you can even meet artists in residence and have a go at creating your own masterpiece.
Who knows, maybe your work will be gracing the walls of your favourite liner in future!
Wear Your Chef Hat
If culinary art is more your thing, you can get your chef on in a cooking class.
Most cruise lines offer classes or demonstrations but real foodies should sink their teeth into the Signature cooking classes on Holland America.
Wine tasting, chocolate tasting and mixology lessons are also available, just in case your appetite for improving your culinary skills hasn’t quite been satisfied (or you just fancy another excuse to eat, drink and scoff chocolates).
Fun At The Fair
It’s difficult to believe that you can actually find fairground rides on cruise liners but the Royal Caribbean megaships are the proof.
The new Quantum class liners, Quantum of the Seas and soon to launch Anthem of the Seas both boast the largest indoor ‘fun zones’ at sea – SeaPlex, where you can race on bumper cars, have a go on a trapeze or strap on some roller-skates.
It’s a great space to take restless kids when the splashpools and waterslides are out of bounds but don’t assume that it’s just for under 18’s (despite the tunes coming from the floating DJ booth).
Go on, join in the fun – we won’t tell (but the photos you’re tagged in on facebook might!).
Gamers will be praying for rain for the excuse to hit the old school video arcades on all Carnival ships. If you prefer new generation console gaming, Norwegian Cruise Lines’ partnership with Nintendo brings Wii U action to the big screen and Celebrity is the line of choice for Xbox 360 Kinect fans (just don’t ask where the Playstations are!).
The entertainment programmes on cruise liners rival the bright lights of Vegas for sheer variety and razzle dazzle.
Whilst Royal Caribbean brings you the ever-popular Broadway at Sea (currently showing Mamma Mia) plus cabarets and virtual concerts, Carnival cruise line is one of the best for all-round rainy day entertainment with Hasbro The Game Show for families, The Punchliner Comedy Club (strictly for grown ups) and even live concerts from your favourite international artists on Carnival Live concert cruises.
Feel the Burn
If you’re one of those crazy people who likes to carry on with a fitness programme even when on holiday, then you’ll find plenty of undercover places to feel the burn on-board.
Carnival bends over backwards to offer an excellent yoga and Pilates programme and you’ll find state of the art fitness centres on Royal Caribbean so there’s no need to brave the running track in the rain or, for a fun way to get fit, try Royal Caribbean’s indoor ice skating rink.
If watching sports is more your thing (preferably with a beer and nachos to hand), hide out in the sports bar. The EA Sports Bars on Carnival are brilliant ‘boy caves’ complete with beers and games consoles on tap!
Norwegian Cruise Line is also great for sports fans with its Sport 24 channel bringing you all the important matches, races and tournaments; either on a big screen or in the comfort of your cabin.
As sea days present a great opportunity to learn new skills – who knows, a quick dabble on a rainy holiday day could spark a lifelong hobby!
Cruise and Maritime runs CMV Super Craft Cruises where you can learn anything from calligraphy to card art to jewellery making.
Should the ‘indoor weather’ continue you’ll soon have enough bead bracelets or decoupage greetings cards to set up your own eBay shop – hey, maybe that’s your next cruise paid for?!
Red or Black
Of course, casinos and cruise ships go hand in hand and there’s no reason why your wheel or reel spinning should be confined to after dark hours only. Why not dabble in some decadent daytime casino action, after all, you’re on holiday. You could even, shock horror, treat yourself to a mid-morning martini! We won’t tell if you don’t.
Norwegian Cruise Line is the proud winner of numerous awards for its Casinos at Sea programme, where table games, slots and tournaments await. If you’re a casino convert, the Casinos at Sea Players Club might be for you, with a deck-full of rewards and benefits and there’s nothing for beginners to fear – Learn to Play sessions mean everyone can enjoy the casino action at their own level and pace.
Now, which to choose, red or black?
If you can’t recline on a sun lounger on the top deck, head to the spa to recline on a lounger there instead!
Cruise liner spas are real havens: with everything you’d expect – and more (race you to the Persian Garden!) – from a quality spa. The Canyon Ranch SpaClub on Celebrity is a particularly special place to let those pre-holiday tensions drift away.
You’ll find saunas, steam rooms, hot tubs, sensory shows and a tempting menu of at sea spa treatments, with everything from acupuncture to couples’ massage to thermal therapies. Be prepared to float away while, well, floating away.
Put all thoughts of ‘wet playtimes’ at school out of your head – rain doesn’t have to stop play (and leave you with nothing but a pack of broken crayons and a stack of computer paper to amuse yourself) on a cruise ship.
You won’t be stuck staring mournfully out of your cabin window (if you have one to stare mournfully out of!) should the skies cloud over. There’s so much to do undercover on the average cruise liner that you could go days without seeing sky at all! So pack the pac a mac and try something new, exciting – and dry – on your next cruise holiday.
Have you ever tried any of these activities before? Do you have any other suggestions about how to spend a rainy day at sea? Let us know in the comments below…// END - About the Author ?>