Top 5 Reasons to Spend Your Sea Day on the Lido Deck

The Lido Deck has tons of fun stuff to do on a day at sea.

 

But what is a Lido Deck, you ask? Well, it took me about five cruises to realize that the Lido Deck on pretty much every cruise line is the upper deck where you’ll find all the outdoor pools and fun in the sun. If you’ve booked and inside cabin or have only a window in your room, it’s fair to say you’ll spend most of your time on board the ship on the Lido Deck. But even if you have a balcony in your cabin, there’s no way it can compare to all the action that goes on upstairs.

Check out these five reasons why the Lido Deck is the best place to spend a fun day at sea on any ship, big or small.

1. Food

You never have to walk too far from your lounge chair to find something to eat on the Lido Deck. Typically, it’s on the same floor as the buffet, but there are often several other dining options as well. If you’ve got a hankering for a hot dog, burger, or fries, chances are you’ll find them at the outdoor grill. Often, on sea days, cruise lines will host a seafood BBQ or dessert buffet by the pool. On most ships, you’ll also find free ice cream and several bars on the Lido Deck. You can’t lose!

2. Playtime

If you’re looking to spend the day in the sun—and here’s hoping you’ve got it for your vacation—the Lido Deck is the place where it’s at. The bigger ships will have at least two pools on the open-air Lido Deck. One is designated for adults only, while the other will be for families with children. There may also be an outdoor water park, climbing wall, mini golf course, basketball court, and more up on the Lido Deck.

3. Music

If you love music, the Lido Deck is the place to be. Many of the bigger ships have live bands playing throughout the day. Soul-soothing Caribbean sounds waft up through the air around you as you relax and enjoy the ambiance. On some of the smaller or more budget-friendly cruise lines, a DJ spins tunes in place of a band. This person will often take requests and tailor the music to the people he’s playing for. It sets a great vibe for the day.

4. Entertainment

There is no shortage on entertainment on the Lido Deck on a day at sea. Hairy chest contests, dance offs, ice carving demonstrations, and cocktail competitions are just a few of the fun activities you might find around the family pool. If you’re looking for peace and quiet, stick to the adult-only area because you won’t find it on the Lido Deck.

5. Movies

Dive-in theaters are common on most cruise ships. One of the pools will likely have a massive screen hanging just above it. Often, blockbuster movies play throughout the day and into the evening. You may even find a popcorn machine at one of the bars where you can grab a bag of buttery goodness to snack on while you watch the movie.

I usually make my way up to the Lido Deck bright and early on a sea day. I toss a towel over my favorite lounger and kick back with a good book and a nice cold bottle of water. I put my swimsuit on under my comfy clothes or cover up, pack a tote bag filled with everything I might need for the day, like sunscreen and my camera, and soak up the sun…okay, so I burn easily and most sit in the shade, but you get the gist.

What’s your favorite thing to do on the Lido Deck. Share your ideas with the Wanderlust Wayfarer Facebook group.

5 Fun Things to do at Night on a Cruise

No matter your age, there are plenty of fun things to do at night on a cruise.

 

I can’t tell you how often I get asked what there is to do at night after the ship has set sail from port. So many people think they’ll feel trapped once the ship is out to sea—like they’re stuck on a floating prison. Other people think cruises are for “old people” who want to turn in as soon as the sun sets. But rest assured, that’s simply not the case.

Whether you’re looking for a quiet night of good conversation among friends or to dance the night away, there are tons of great ways to spend your nights on a cruise ship. Young or old, it’s impossible not to have a good time every evening of your cruise.

Here is a glimpse at just a handful of the fun things to do at night on a cruise.

Live entertainment

All of the major cruise lines pride themselves on their live entertainment. Most ships have an entire team of singers and dancers dedicated to bringing you amazing Broadway-style shows every other day. But it doesn’t end there, each ship also flies in special guest performers for the evenings the staff entertainers are taking a break. Their diverse talents range from magic to comedy to acrobatics and more.

But live entertainment on a cruise ship is about more than just stage shows. Each cruise has several singers, bands, or DJs that perform in the bars, lounges, foyers, and other popular spots around the ship. And there is almost always a piano bar where you can request your favorite song and sing along.

Specialty dining

In addition to the usual dining rooms and buffets, most cruise ships also have alternative dining options. For a small fee, you can enjoy a unique dining experience away from the hustle and bustle. Specialty restaurants might include Japanese teppanyaki, a steakhouse, or an Italian pizzeria. Make a reservation and share an intimate evening with your better half or share a bottle of wine—or two—with new friends.

Games

Cruise ships are notorious for their over-the-top renditions of popular TV game shows. Newlywed games, scavenger hunts, quiz shows are just a few of the common games you might find throughout the evening. You’ll get a good chuckle watching fellow cruisers take part in ridiculous competitions. And if you’re up for it, you may even volunteer to be part of the action.

Pro Tip: Bingo is a big deal on cruise ships. In fact, you can find one or more sessions per day. Jackpots are usually pretty lofty, so it attracts a broad range of ages.

Movies

Most cruise ships have a massive screen above one or more of their swimming pools. Each evening, they show popular movies on the big screen, which you can watch from a nearby lounger or while floating in the pool. Some ships even offer free bags of popcorn, and if the weather is brisk, they just might bring you a blanket to wrap up in. If your ship doesn’t have an outdoor cinema, there will likely be an indoor equivalent in one of the theaters.

Pro Tip: When a Disney movie premieres on land, it also debuts on the ship. You can see a brand new movie at sea.

Dancing

If you really want to pain the town—ship—red, put on your dancing shoes and head to one of the many dance spots. Most ships have at least one nightclub with a rocking DJ. Most nights there will be a late-night dance party in the club or under the moonlit sky on the Lido deck. There will likely be dancing in the main foyer and other live music clubs around the ship. If dancing is what you like to do, you won’t be disappointed.

Pro Tip: On most ships, the cruise staff host a 30-minute dance class highlighting a popular line dance or ballroom dance.  It usually aligns with the theme of the evening dance party so you can put it into practice later that night.

So, still don’t think there are any fun things to do at night on a cruise? Didn’t think so. Want to share your ideas? Post them on the Wanderlust Wayfarer Facebook group.

 

7 Ways to Make Your Cruise Even More Special

For a few extra bucks, you can make your cruise even more special.

 

Everything you need to have a good time is already included in the price of your cruise. You don’t need to spend one extra cent if you don’t want to. But you may want to budget for a few extras once you’re on board. Here are some of the main ways you can upgrade your experience as you sail the seven seas that will make your cruise even more special.

1. Specialty Dining

Every cruise ship has places you can dine for free. There is usually at least one dining room and a buffet. But most ships also offer alternative dining options. For a small fee, you can eat at a sushi bar, steakhouse, teppanyaki house, or pizzeria, for example. Prices usually range between $10 and $30, depending on the restaurant. Many ships also have a full-service cafe, where you can buy specialty coffees and pastries for a few bucks.

make your cruise even more special

2. Beverage Packages

Water, coffee, and tea are always available on typical cruises. Most also offer free juice at breakfast and some sort of water-based beverage, like iced tea or lemonade, throughout the day. But if you’re thirsty for a pop, bottle water, or anything with alcohol, you will need to open your wallet. But there’s a loophole. You can buy a beverage card that lets you drink as much as you desire, and it usually costs much less than you would spend overall buying one drink at a time. You can get either alcoholic or nonalcoholic versions of the card so the entire family can take advantage.

make your cruise even more special

3. Spa Treatments

Ships of all shapes and sizes have an on-site spa. But beware, the prices are typically well above anything your would spend on land. A massage typically costs at least $120 but can be close the $300 if you’re in the mood for a something more specialized, like a seaweed wrap. If you’re really looking to treat yourself, you can even get acupuncture, Botox, and cellulite treatments on many ships. But relax, there are a few affordable ways to pamper yourself on a cruise, such as a scalp massage, haircut, or manicure.

make your cruise even more special

4. Shore Excursions

If you’re not sure what you want to do when your ship docks at each cruise port, fear not. There are plenty of tour options available through the cruise line. They would with the best local tour companies and guides to make sure you have the best experiences on land. Whether you’re into adventure, culture, shopping, or history, they’ll have something for every taste. Parasailing over the open ocean, horseback riding on the beach, a cooking class at a local restaurant, a visit to the outlet malls—you’ll find it all and more at every scheduled stop.

make your cruise even more special

5. Celebrations and Gifts

Are you celebrating a special event during your cruise? For a small fee, you can arrange to have your room decorated with flowers, balloons, special signs, desserts, wine, and more. You can choose from a variety of themes, including birthdays, anniversaries, and bon voyage. Even if you’re not sailing, you can surprise a friend or loved one by contacting the ship in advance. You can also purchase cruise merchandise and other gifts in advance of sailing so that they’re waiting in your room when you get on board. I’ve secretly hoped someone would surprise with a celebration or gift, but alas…maybe they’ll read this post and get the hint.

Pro Tip: If your travel agent lets the ship know about your special day when you book the cruise, you may get a little something special for free. That’s right…I said free. On my last sailing, I got a gift card for a bottle of wine and a free photo of my choice from the photo studio. It was lovely.

make your cruise even more special

6. Photo Packages

Wouldn’t it be great if life were like the movies and every minute of your special getaway was captured on film (or digital thingamabobs)? Well, every cruise ship has a photo studio to do just that. Every time you get on or off the ship, a team of photographers will be on standby, ready to snap a shot of you at each port. At night after you’ve dressed for dinner, they’ll have impromptu portrait studios set up in strategic locations around the ship. You can even hire a photographer to follow you around for the day.

make your cruise even more special

7. Shopping and Sales

If you love to shop, you don’t even need to step off the boat to do it. Designer handbags, fine diamonds, and couture cosmetics are just some of the upscale items you can purchase in the ship’s boutiques. You’ll also find duty-free tobacco and alcohol, candies and chocolates, costume jewelry, cruise merchandise, cheap tees, and knick knacks. You want it, they got it. And they have special sales every evening. One night you might get a deal on scarves and sunglasses, while the next night there may be a special offer on earrings or t-shirts. The deals are often amazing.

make your cruise even more special

Pro Tip: You can purchase just about everything on this list in advance of your sailing by contacting your travel agent or accessing your online itinerary. You can even buy gift cards to make purchases in the ship’s shops. This way, you still don’t have to spend any extra money once you set sail.

These are some of the main ways you can make your cruise even more special. What other ways can you think of? Share them on the Wanderlust Wayfarer Facebook group.

5 Reasons Why You Should Take Cruise Vacations

It’s no secret that I love cruise vacations. But I didn’t always.

 

At first, I thought cruising was cheesy and only for people who didn’t really care about seeing the world “for real.” Now, I know that notion is completely ridiculous. There are so many benefits to cruise vacations, especially if you have limited time and a shoestring budget.

So Many Stops

cruise vacation

I want to see as much of the world as I can, and I want to do it now. The great thing about a cruise vacation is that you can sample all sorts of places and decide which ones to come back to later. Most longer cruises stop at several ports. Some are awesome, and others not so much. If I really love a port, I plan a trip there later so I can spend more time exploring the area.

All-inclusive

cruise vacation

Cruise vacations are all-inclusive for all intents and purposes. Once you’ve paid for your cabin, you don’t need to pay a penny more if you don’t want to. There are typically a handful of free places to eat on a cruise ship, and you can always get water, juice, tea, and coffee for free. Don’t forget about the Broadway-style shows, dance parties, competitions, sports, and more. Oh, and the ice cream. There’s always free ice cream!

If you want to splurge for extras, like alcoholic beverages, shore excursions, massages, and upscale dining, you can even pay for them in advance. This way, you have no surprise extra charges when you disembark.

Pro tip: Be sure to pre-pay your gratuities before your cruise vacation. There’s really no way to get out of the daily fee, so you might as well take care of the tab in advance. This will leave you in the free and clear so you don’t have to worry about blowing your budget later.

Super Safe

cruise vacations

After the sun sets in a foreign land, I’m always a little concerned about hitting the streets for a night out. On a cruise vacation, you always have lots of safe places to go at night. And again they’re always included in your cruise fees. You can sing along at a piano bar or karaoke, have cocktails in the atrium, or watch a stage show. The likelihood of something untoward happening to you on a cruise ship is pretty rare. You’re not likely going to be pickpocketed or fall overboard. Unless you’re acting inappropriately–like sitting on the balcony railing in your cabin, you don’t need to worry.

Home Base

cruise vacation

One of the things I appreciate most about a cruise vacation is that I have a home base for my entire trip. I can unpack and stay for a while. I don’t need to worry about coordinating trains or booking tours. The captain will take me where I need to go. And when I get there, people will be waiting to help me find my way. Sometimes you simply don’t want to lug your bags from one place to the next. Bus tours also take you to several places in one trip, but you have to pack up every few nights and move on. On a cruise ship, you can kick back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

Cost Conscious

cruise vacation

Cruise vacations can be very inexpensive. If you’re willing to stay in an interior cabin with no windows, you can get a steal of a deal. I just took an 11-day NCL cruise to the Canary Islands for under $950 per person. That works out to $86 per night. Where can you get a better rate than that for all you can eat, transportation to another place, above-average accommodations, and tons of entertainment?

These are just a few reasons why cruise vacations can be a great way to travel affordably. What are your reasons for cruising? Head to the Wanderlust Wayfarer Facebook group and share your ideas.

Things to do on a Cruise: A Fun Day at Sea

If you’re like me, you’re worried about being stuck on a ship for days with nothing to do. Fear not, there’s plenty of things to do on a cruise.

 

I remember the first time I stepped foot on a cruise ship. I was so concerned about being bored once we set sail. The thought of being trapped on a floating island terrified me. When I realized we would be spending an entire day at sea, I was sure I would die of boredom. Those of you who have been on a cruise are likely laughing hysterically right now because you know how ridiculous this is. There are so many things to do on a cruise that it’s virtually impossible to fit them all in.

Lounging

things to do on a cruise

If you’ve been following my blog, you know I like to cram as much as I can into every vacation day. I have one exception to this rule. I like to spend at least one day lounging around when I’m cruising. In fact, I’ve mastered the art of doing absolutely nothing on a “fun day at sea.” But it’s not as easy as it sounds. To relax well, you need to follow these simple tips.

As soon as you wake up on the morning of your day at sea, grab a lounge chair in your favorite part of the ship. Do this even before you have breakfast. In fact, you may even want to set an alarm for 8 a.m. to be sure you get the spot you want. You can nap later…poolside. I love, love, love lounging in the adult-only area. No children are allowed here, so it’s much quieter, and you don’t have to worry about being splashed by a kid doing a cannonball. But spaces fill up fast in the adult-only section because it’s smaller than areas dedicated to family fun.

Save Your Space

All you need to do to save a lounger is toss a towel on each chair, along with a personal item, such as a sweater or book. This will ward off others and ensure you have a place to lay your head for the rest of the day. Once you’ve saved your spot, you can dash back to your room to finish getting ready. And don’t worry about your stuff. No one is going to take it.

Pack everything you need for the day in a tote bag. This includes a book, games, a laptop, a phone, a hat, sunscreen, and anything else your heart desires. Wear your swimsuit and a pair of flip-flops or whatever you’re most comfortable in. I love a good muumuu as a cover-up. The goal is not to have to worry about going back to your cabin if you don’t need to. Once you’re comfy on deck, all you need to do is kick back, relax, and enjoy. Aside from a dip in the pool, the most exercise you’ll get is waving your hand for drink service or a quick walk to the buffet for a bite to eat.

Food and Drink

things to do on a cruise

They say the average person gains 5 to 10 pounds on a cruise. It’s easy to see why. Almost every cruise ship boasts multiple restaurants, even older, smaller ones. Let’s see, there’s the buffet and at least two main dining rooms. These are free of charge, and you can have as much food as you want. Even in the sit-down restaurants you can ask for seconds. They won’t say no. It’s gluttonous in the best possible way.

In addition to “free” food options, most ships also have a number of specialty restaurants. For an additional fee, you can dine in style at one of these upscale establishments. You can find a gourmet steakhouse or sushi station on just about every ship. Other options include Teppanyaki or French fare, for example.

Most cruise ships offer room service and 24-hour snack stations where you can get pizza, fries, and other finger foods. There is also free ice cream and a café where, for a few bucks, you can get a made-to-order cappuccino or espresso.

Drink and Be Merry

And I would be completely remiss not to mention that drinks are free-flowing all day and all night in every corner of every cruise ship. From poolside service to wine with your meal, the cruise staff are more than happy to bring you any type of beverage you desire. If you can think it, you can drink it.

Pro tip: Before boarding the boat, be sure to purchase an all-inclusive beverage package if you plan on having more than one or two alcohol-infused drinks each day. With one of these packages, you can order all you can drink at no extra charge. Without a drink package, you’ll pay $9 to $15 per drink, which adds up fast.

Entertainment

things to do on a cruiseDay or night, there is no shortage of entertainment onboard a cruise ship. When your cabin steward turns down your bed each night, you’ll get a copy of the itinerary for the next day on your pillow (or next to your towel animal). Be sure to pop it in your tote so you don’t miss out on any of the fun. It’s likely the cruise director will announce major events over the intercom throughout the day, too.

On a day at sea, you’ll find tons of things to do on a cruise. Often, there’s an entertaining cooking class with cruise staff, ice or fruit sculpting displays, silly competitions, dance classes, and more. And of course, every night at sea, you can dance the night away in one of the clubs, listen to live music at various venues, see a theatrical presentation, catch a movie on a big screen, or more.

Some ships offer Broadway caliber performances. Others have a circus at sea or even an ice rink. Acrobatics, fireworks, themed parties, and other events occur every night on cruise ships. After your relaxing day at sea, you’ll be ready to let loose with a night of fun and shenanigans.

Activities

things to do on a cruiseWaterslides, spas, bowling, and mini golf. These are just a few of the things to do on a cruise ship. You’ll find everything from bingo and chess to rock-wall climbing and video arcades on your cruise vacation.

Of course, the bigger the ship, the more outrageous the options. But even the smaller ships pack in plenty of fun. If you get tired of lounging around, just leave a sweater on your chair and wander off for a while. You’ll likely stumble upon a shopping extravaganza, a name that tune game, an art auction, or even a wine tasting. There’s something for everyone.

What’s your favorite way to spend a day at sea? Share your ideas for things to do on a cruise on our Facebook page.