21 Free Things To Do On A Cruise

Cruise ships are also called a world of fun, adventure, and relaxation, but only for those who don’t see the price tags.

Most activities and amenities on cruises are paid, which disappoints budget travelers like me. If you’re also the one, don’t worry. I’ve got your back. 

While sailing from childhood, I’ve gathered dozens of ideas to elevate your cruise game without spending a penny.

Sounds interesting, right? So what you’re waiting for? Keep reading to make the most of your cruise without paying a single penny.

So let’s get started.

21 Free Things To Do On A Cruise

1- Hit The Movies

movies on royal caribbean

Watching the movies is the best thing that you can do onboard. The outdoor lido deck movie screens are especially romantic than the real deal.

These screens offer prime viewing from the pool daily and on snuggly loungers covered with warm blankets at night. Plus, you also get popcorn.

I always take time out for movies onboard to unwind after a day of activities. It always gives me a cozy and entertaining space at no additional cost.

On Princess Cruise, “Movies Under The Stars” adds more to your overall experience by serving chocolate chip cookies with milk, plus other snacks during the show time.

So that’s the best experience you can have with your partner or friends at no cost.

2- Drink

royal caribbean drinks

What can be more amazing than enjoying complimentary drinks onboard? It’s the best way to get refreshments and relaxation without added expenses.

Almost every cruise line offers free drinks catering to every taste. So you can indulge in the free beverage options without worrying about extra charges.

I enjoy my drinks by the pool or while watching the sunset to enhance the experience without spending a penny.

3- Eat

Cruise ships have a lot to offer you free of cost if you’re a food enthusiast.

You can opt for their free buffet, which has many options. It’s undoubtedly the best option for lunch.

So, you can indulge in complimentary dining options onboard to enhance your cruise experience by enjoying various delicious meals without additional expenses.

Royal Caribbean offers complimentary dining in the Main Dining Room, Café Promenade Windjammer Café, or Windjammer Marketplace.

royal caribbean Main Dining Room

I enjoy having breakfast at the buffet when there’s less rush. It’s the best feeling for me, especially with the sea views.

So ensure you’re properly savoring the variety of free dining choices during your cruise.

4- Surf The Internet

In today’s world, who can live without the Internet? Also, keeping in touch with friends and family during cruise vacations is important.

I still remember when the internet was so expensive in my early cruises, but things are improving now. 

Since more people want the Internet on cruises, companies are making it faster and cheaper.

Some cruise lines like Viking Ocean Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Crystal Cruises, Oceania Cruises, and many river cruise lines now offer unlimited internet for free.

However, you might need to purchase an internet package on Carnival cruise and Royal Caribbean.

So, it’s always better to check the policies of the cruise line you’re sailing with.

5- Dine at a Celebrity Chef-Affiliated Restaurant

You can also savor delicious food for free at specialty restaurants run by famous chefs.

While this perk is only limited to a few cruise lines where you can eat fancy food for free.

Like on Carnival Cruise ships, you can try Guy Fieri’s burgers for free. I enjoyed this delightful burger; its taste was out of the world.

There’s the Salty Dog Grill on Caribbean Princess, Crown Princess, and Sky Princess, with free burgers and tacos. Crystal offers one free dinner at Nobu’s restaurant, Umi Uma. 

On Oceania’s Marina and Riviera, you can eat at Jacques, created by chef Jacques Pepin. Seabourn has The Grill by Thomas Keller, where you can try steakhouse food by Thomas Keller for free.

So it’s always better to check the complimentary foods in the specialty restaurant of the cruise line you are traveling with.

6- Catch A Broadway Musical

Catch A Broadway Musical

Cruise ships give you a major perk of watching the Broadway show free of cost. As you might know, getting tickets for this show is usually expensive, but on a cruise, that’s not a big deal.

On some Royal Caribbean ships, you can watch “Grease,” “Mamma Mia!” “Hairspray,” “Cats,” and “Saturday Night Fever” for free. 

On certain Norwegian Cruise Line ships, you can see “Jersey Boys,” “Rock of Ages,” and “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” at no extra cost. All these are included in your cruise fare.

Sounds amazing, right?

7- Join Games, Shows & Trivia

Join Games

If you think you are an expert in something, why not try trivia?

Many cruise lines have trivia games on various topics every day. You can participate in these games and win some cool prizes if you do well.

Participating in these games can enhance the overall cruise experience by offering engaging entertainment for the whole family.

Aside from the prizes, you can bond with loved ones, meet new people, and enjoy friendly competition onboard.

The games or activities offered onboard depend on the cruise line. Royal Caribbean offers FlowRider for surfing or boogie boarding. Also, you can have a free day at indoor skydiving on the RipCord.

What’s most amazing is that you can access the schedules of these game shows through cruise apps, which makes it much easier to plan and attend them.

8- Laugh Along At Comedy Shows

In addition to Broadway-style shows, there are regular comedy shows suitable for families cruising and later adult-only comedy shows.

These shows on cruises can be hit-and-miss, but they’re generally fun.

 Sometimes, you’ll see illusionists, incredible acrobats, or hypnotists – all included without extra charge on your cruise!

So, if you’re traveling with kids, it’s great to make them laugh without spending extra money.

9- Step up to the stage for karaoke

Got some singing guts? Why not show them in front of the audience onboard?

And even if you don’t know how to sing, you can still enjoy the karaoke nights. These are always a pleasure to attend.

You can watch friends and family singing their hearts out to their favorite songs.

I love to enjoy the group performances. They add a unique element of entertainment and enjoyment to my cruise experience at no additional cost.

10- Attend The Setting Sail Party

sail party

If you’re a party lover, the setting sail party is a perfect way to start your cruise.

The party sets a festive and celebratory tone at the beginning of the voyage to enhance the cruise experience.

You can mingle, meet fellow travelers, and start forming connections right from the start of your vacation.

Not only that, the party allows you to enjoy music, entertainment, and refreshments as well.

So why not celebrate the start of your vacation by listening to music and dancing with your fellow cruise guests?

11- Get Active At The Gym

Get Active At The Gym

Working out while on vacation sounds weird and isn’t everyone’s preference, but I love it.

I take time out from daily activities for my health and hit up the gym. And what’s more amazing than doing a workout for free?

So why not take care of your health for a while without spending a single penny? In this way, your time will be spent well on the cruise.

12- Take part in kids’ club programs

Kids club program is an amazing way to provide children with engaging and supervised activities, allowing parents to relax and enjoy other onboard activities.

The kids are well cared for here, so you would have peace of mind. They provide the kids with fun activities, games, and projects. It’s also the best place for them to make new friends.

Even though I don’t have kids, seeing the kids playing and enjoying themselves was a pleasure. It reminded me of my childhood.

13- Play A Round Of Golf

Play A Round Of Golf

If you’re a golf lover, playing mini-golf on the top deck of a cruise ship can be the best activity for you.

You can find mini-golf courses on Carnival ships, most Royal CaribbeanCaribbean ships, Norwegian Breakaway and some Breakaway Plus ships, and Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.

It’s the favorite activity for families and couples, and most amazingly, it’s also free of cost.

Most courses have nine holes, and you can play them as many times as you like for free.

I go there to practice my swing and challenge my husband to a rematch.

Well, I just play for fun, but if you’re an expert, there’s a mini-golf competition you can enroll in.

14- Grab A Slice Of Pizza

grab a slice of pizza

Almost all cruise ships offer a slice of pizza at different restaurants, all free of charge.

I prefer Pizza Pirate’s thin crust at the carnival while at Royal Caribbean. Sorrento’s cheesy slices are my favorite ones.

Princess cruisers favor Alfredo’s hand-thrown pies, and Holland America passengers appreciate New York Pizza’s offerings.

But one thing that’s the same: it’s all free of charge.

7 Other Free Cruise Activities

In addition to the above activities, let me share my seven all-time favorite cruise experiences that made my voyages unforgettable!

  • Surf, Skydive And SkyRide
  • Wrap Yourself In A Bathrobe
  • Relax in the sauna or steam room.
  • Lie on a Hammock and Catch the Sea Breeze
  • Indoor Fun (Dancing, Gallery tour)
  • Outdoor Fun (Pool, rock climbing, film, water slides, karaoke)
  • Order Room Services

Final Words

If you’ve made it to the end, I assure you that you must clearly understand the free cruise activities that can make your future voyages unforgettable without any extra cost.

So plan these activities, and you’ll be surprised to enjoy them.

Have a safe and enjoyable cruise experience.

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