Bored on a cruise?! Not when you cruise with Princess!
For some, vacation is all about relaxation. For others, vacation is an opportunity to try new experiences. The mixture of relaxation combined with the adventure of waking up in a new destination each day is what makes cruising one of my favorite ways to travel. While everyone is excited about port days spent exploring the beach or city, I often hear people concerned that they will be bored on the ship. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth! Having just come back from a week on board the Caribbean Princess, I'm here to tell you about some of the onboard activity options (and not just the spa or nightclubs) you and your family can take part in while on your next Princess Cruise.
Festivals of the World
One of the things unique to Princess Cruises is their Festivals of the World, which offer onboard activities that allow you really explore the things that make your itinerary's destination special. The cruise I took was an Eastern Caribbean itinerary, so our festival was the Caribbean Festival. In addition to dance classes and parties, there were traditional arts and crafts (painting and mola needlework) classes, and my absolute favorite, a class where you could learn to play the Steel Pan drum. I love music, but I had no idea what to expect from this. How in depth can you really learn an instrument on a cruise ship? Would I sound like an idiot learning to play it? The answers to those questions are more than I thought and unfortunately, yes. But this experience turned out to be one of the highlights of my cruise. Over the course of three classes, our instructor Wilson (a Steel Pan drum performer on the ship) taught us to play "When the Saints Go Marching In" and "Ode to Joy", culminating in a performance in the the large open lobby area, called the Piazza, for our fellow cruisers.
What festivals can you experience? That depends on where you go! While cruising in Hawaii, you'll get to experience Hawaiian music and language classes or even learn to dance the hula. On a cruise to Mexico, you'll have a chance to decorate marzipan skulls while learning about the Mexican celebration for the Day of the Dead or try your hand at Aztec flower making. On a European cruise to the British Isles, you can take Celtic dance lessons, carve turnips (an Irish tradition much like how we carve jack-o-lanterns, intended to ward off unwanted visitors) and learn to play the Celtic penny whistle. These fun, interactive activities really help enhance your cruise experience and best of all, they're all included with the price of your cruise vacation.
Discovery at SEA
Princess has exclusively partnered with the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet to offer immersive activities the whole family can share both on and off the ship. While exploring in port, Discovery and Animal Planet Exclusive Tours offer unique adventures only available through Princess Cruises. These optional port excursions provide enriching and immersive once-in-a-lifetime experiences, while Animal Planet Recommended Tours get you up close and personal with creatures on land and in the sea. However they also bring this program onboard their ships through special activity offerings like stargazing from the upper deck, where a star gazing specialist will teach you to spot constellations in the sky. Coming soon on their Alaska sailings, you'll be able to compete with fellow guests in a survival-style game show celebrating some of Discovery's top survival tales, called "Can You Survive?" Are you a fan of Shark Week (okay, who isn't)? All summer long, Princess celebrates Shark Week with a variety of activities and games that will challenge adults and kids alike on the myths and interesting facts about sharks.
On my sailing, I was super excited to participate in the Discovery at SEA programming, my favorite of which ended up being the High Seas Heist with Detective Joe Kenda. I'll admit, I had absolutely no idea who Joe Kenda was, or what we'd be doing, but I was surprised when I arrived at one of the lounges and was given a flyer for a lecture on Peruvian Jewels - not what I had signed up for at all. I quickly learned this was the first of an immersive experience, much like a murder mystery, but centered on a jewel heist. As we left, we were given an evidence packet with background information on the suspects and what we could do to help solve the heist. Each day there were new clues to find - either through participating in activities or watching the daily programming on my stateroom tv to listen for clues, culminating in a final reveal on the last day at sea. This was one of the best activities I've experienced on a cruise ship and something totally unique to Princess Cruises.
The Voice of the Ocean
Unless you've been living under a rock, you know the hit TV show "The Voice" where contestants compete in a singing competition to be the next big thing. Princess Cruises has taken their own spin on this for their nightly live entertainment show offerings, called (appropriately) "The Voice of the Ocean." The show comes to life throughout your cruise with karaoke auditions (yes, kids can participate - two teenagers were chosen on my sailing), mentor rehearsal sessions with musicians and ship performers, the iconic "I Want You" chairs that spin around, three charismatic team coaches and ultimately a live finale performance where you get to choose the winner with special voting remotes in the audience. It was fun to be part of a show that was interactive and for those that can sing, a chance to be on stage and perform.
Are you ready for all the fun onboard a Princess Cruise? Let's start planning your next adventure!