16 Mistakes Cruisers Make on Cruise Ship Sea Days

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Cruising is one of the most spectacular ways to see the world and achieve maximum relaxation. You only have to battle through one or two travel days to get to your port of call, and then the cruise ship does the rest. You can indulge in a short, three-day cruise to nowhere or embark on the destination of a lifetime through the fjords of Norway and beyond.

Relaxation comes into play during those lovely cruise ship sea days. These are the moments when you don’t have to do anything more than read a book, enjoy a delicious meal, and hang beside the pool. During this time, your options abound more than you may realize. Here are 16 mistakes to avoid, ensuring the smoothest of sails.

1. Skipping Breakfast

breakfast buffet
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Without question, the temptation to sleep in will be enticing on a sea day. And, why not? You’ve earned it. If possible, don’t forego room service or a stroll to the breakfast buffet. Some of the most amazing spreads on board a ship are their breakfast buffets. If you fuel your body just right, you can set yourself up for a magical day.

2. Overindulging In Alcohol

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This is another legitimate temptation that no one could fault you for. Just try to temper the mimosas at breakfast with the margaritas at lunch. It could dampen your day if you’re passed out by one o’clock and missed all that pool time. Plus, alcohol has a dehydrating effect and if you’re out on the deck all day, you could bring on a small bout of dehydration, resulting in a minor headache.

3. Avoiding the Spa

hot stone massage
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Sea days are the best days to indulge in luxurious spa treatments — and some of the best treatments of your life will take place on board a cruise ship. Book these well in advance for your sea days because other people who like to plan ahead will have the same idea. Imagine walking out of a 90-minute massage only to luxuriate the day away beside the pool. Now that’s paradise.

4. Overpacking the Day

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This sounds counterintuitive on a sea day, but there are still plenty of events to enjoy on board the ship during a sea day. Between spa services, meals, and entertainment events, the whole day could fly by in a flash. Although you might be tempted to pack all your on-board fun into a sea day, remember this is also your moment to be purposefully lazy. Leave plenty of room to read a book, sketch a drawing, or lay out somewhere and watch the clouds go by.

5. Forgetting to Apply Sunscreen

sunscreen lotion
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Speaking of laying out and watching the clouds go by, don’t forget to apply sunscreen before you leave your room. Being on a cruise ship feels so much like being at home. But, an hour or two out in the Caribbean sun (or any type of sun) can really put a damper on things if you show up for dinner bright red and in a good deal of pain.

6. Neglecting Your Hydration

man holding a water bottle
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When you’re splish-splashing in the pool, diving into a romance novel, or dancing to the music, it’s easy to forget to drink your six to eight glasses of water. Top that off with some healthy sweat from your dancing and a few sips of that margarita, and you’re really working your way toward dehydration. No matter how you’ve planned your day, be sure to take advantage of all that bottled water throughout the ship.

7. Forgetting Your Seasick Meds

woman taking a pill
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If you know you’ll suffer from the effects of seasickness, this is the most important day to take your meds. Like applying sunscreen or forgetting your water, it’s easy to get washed away in all the on-deck activities. But, don’t overlook this first thing in the morning because the reality is, this is the day your captain will be looking to clock a lot of nautical miles.

8. Not Exploring the Ship

cruise ship deck
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Some cruise liners will blow your mind with their offerings. The Holland America line, for example, features refurbished on board libraries. If you want to get a little bit of work done one day, why not do it in a lesser-known space like this? There are also hidden lounges to be discovered, countless stores, quieter wine bars, solariums, and other areas with fewer crowds. These are the spaces you might like to occupy during the day before you dance the night away.

9. Missing a Mixology Class

row of cocktails
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We just agreed not to overdo it on the alcohol. But, excess within control is the name of the game on any vacation. The bartenders on your cruise ship will be some of the best bartenders in the world. There’s probably not a single drink they can’t make. On sea days, you’re more than likely to find a mixology class taking place that you can mix right into.

10. Ignoring Your Neighbors

friends by the pool
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Okay, no one would really do this. But, keep your eyes peeled for lifelong friends when you’re aboard the ship. While everyone’s relaxed and living their best life, it’s going to be easy and natural to make new acquaintances. You’ll find couples or solo travelers like yourself to connect with, enjoy some meals with, raise a glass to, and maybe even stay in contact with when the magical week is over.

11. Forgetting About the Cruise Planner

man reading a newspaper
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Newspapers can never go out of print, thanks to cruise ships. Every night, someone from the staff will deliver a printed sheet to your cabin with a full list of the next day’s activities — many of which are free! Be sure to review this over breakfast so you can make a loose, relaxed plan for the day.

12. Overlooking the Walking Track

ship deck
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Those waterpark slides are certainly the jewels of the crown on deck. But, most ships also have a walking track somewhere in the midst of all those pools. If this is your preferred way to get exercise, find out where the track is on your ship and treat yourself to a stroll, especially in the early morning hours when people are probably still sleeping off the night before.

13. Missing Out on Small-Scale Events

students at a lecture
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If you’re a bit more academic, you’ll be pleased to know several cruise liners plan special lectures and short classes for people who want to stimulate their minds as much as their bodies. Sometimes, there are sessions about local history and lore. Other times, there are fascinating maritime lectures. Keep your eyes peeled for these smaller, special events. And now you’ll know where to find them — in your daily activity sheet!

14. Skipping the Slot Machines

slot machines
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Did you know your ship will most likely have to close the casino when it’s docked? There are all kinds of rules and regulations surrounding the world of gambling. That means, if you want a high-stakes round of poker, you have to get in on the action during a sea day. If you win big, you might be able to counteract out all the shopping you’re doing on board, and in the local towns and villages.

15. Ignoring the Boutiques

jewelry on a tray
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Some people make the mistake of thinking the onboard shops are full of overpriced souvenirs. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Those shops and boutiques are prime real estate that artisans will pay top dollar for. You’re more likely to find high-quality, handmade, unique gifts on board the ship than anywhere else in the world. Take your slot machine winnings to the shops and indulge yourself a little.

16. Forgetting About the Whales

whale breaching
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Whether you’re up in Alaska or down in the Caribbean, you’re likely to spot some magnificent maritime life on board a ship. We all remember the scene from Titanic when Jack and Fabrizio watched the dolphins race the ship. You’re also likely to come upon some really exciting whale sightings, as well as plenty of other marine life when you’re cruising through the passageways.

Make the Most of Your Floating City

cruise ship
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Being aboard a luxurious liner can feel a bit like its own floating city. With shops, restaurants, stores, and plenty of secret spaces to explore, it’s easy to fill a day at the sea.

Make the most of it with these tips and tricks and, when you’re ready for your next adventure, scroll through our destination guides. We’ll help you get there in effortless style and class, and make the best memories of your life.

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