17 Amazing Sports You Can Play On a Cruise Ship

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Cruises are designed to be fun for everyone.

Where else can we indulge in the numerous culinary experiences, late-night partying, and drinks poolside?

Aside from exploring new countries and climates and taking in the onboard entertainment options, a cruise can be the perfect vacation for those looking to experience new sports and activities within a short distance and time.

17 Sports You Can Play on a Cruise Ship

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Cruises offer many sports for those of us who crave a little bit of competition, meet new people, or those looking to try new sports and activities.

We’ve put together a list of unique sports you can find on a cruise ship. So whether you are looking to work up a sweat or meet new people, this list has something for everyone.

Here are 17 sports you can play on a cruise ship:

  1. Rock Climbing
  2. Surfing
  3. Bungee Trampolining
  4. Soccer
  5. Sky Diving
  6. Table Tennis
  7. Shuffleboard
  8. Basketball
  9. Volleyball
  10. Running
  11. Golf
  12. Boxing
  13. Swimming
  14. Croquet
  15. Bocce Ball
  16. Pool
  17. Ice Skating

Rock Climbing

Rock climbing walls are an iconic activity that you will find on most cruise ships.

Popularized by Royal Caribbean, rock climbing has made its way to many popular cruise lines, such as the Norwegian Cruise Line. The grips are often color-coded by the route’s difficulty, which allows you to navigate your climbing path for your skill level.

A rocking ship is enough to make even the most effortless route a challenge.

But don’t worry; plenty of safety features are in place to ensure you won’t get hurt while climbing.

And if you aren’t afraid of heights, look over the horizon once you reach the top; the view is unparalleled.

Surfing

FlowRider surfing simulators are available on numerous (you guessed it) Royal Caribbean ships.

The 32-foot by 40-foot FlowRider pool uses constant water flow to offer an incredible experience for passengers to surf and bodyboard. The activity is available at no extra cost. For a fee, they even offer private lessons to improve your surfing skills.

Bungee Trampolining

A sport for kids and adults who aren’t afraid to channel their inner child, bungee trampolining is an excellent activity for passengers of all ages.

There are different interpretations of trampolining across cruise lines.

Royal Caribbean’s SkyPad uses virtual reality in the experience. And Carnival Cruise Line boasts the Sky Zone trampoline park.

Soccer

Passengers can usually find soccer matches on the ship’s upper decks.

Small nets are set up at each end of the course where passengers can participate in organized tournaments or friendly pickup games.

Sky Diving

RipCord by iFly, a heart-pounding skydiving simulator experience for guests on board Spectrum of the Seas
(Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean International)

Ok, you caught us! While it may not be a sport in the traditional sense, sky diving is just way too cool not to include in our list.

Another exclusive to Royal Caribbean, the RipCord by iFLY simulator, gives passengers the experience of sky diving without ever leaving the deck of the cruise ship.

Table Tennis

Virtually all cruise ships offer table tennis.

You’ll find the tables near the main pool or on an upper deck. Guests can participate in friendly games between family or create a game with fellow cruisers.

If you’re really looking for competition, some cruise lines host table tennis tournaments during the cruise. If you are up for a little friendly competition, this may be the sport for you.

Shuffleboard

A cruise ship classic, you can find shuffleboard on most cruise ships you sail.

Like table tennis, you can usually find shuffleboard near the main pool or on one of the ship’s upper decks. It’s a relaxing game made better by the incredible view of the horizon.

It can be a great way to add a little friendly competition to your vacation while enjoying the incredible ocean views.

Basketball

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Many large ships feature versatile sports courts equipped with a half-sized or even a regulation-sized basketball court.

The netted courts prevent balls from flying off of the ship. Depending on your cruise schedule, you can often drop in for a tournament or spend some time practicing your free throws.

Volleyball

Volleyball is one of our favorite sports to play on vacation.

And on a cruise ship, you can play it on land or in the water.

Depending on your cruise, you may have both options, with scheduled volleyball tournaments on the sports deck or in the main pool at some point during your cruise.

Running

Woman running on a cruise ship jogging track

Enjoy your run with a remarkable new view, as cruise ships offer outdoor jogging tracks on the ship’s upper decks.

The tracks frequently run around the exterior decks and provide spectacular views of the ever-changing scenery as you navigate the track.

Some ships have better tracks than others, and serious runners might be disappointed by the crowded paths, odd curves, and short track lengths. You can find the best running tracks on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class ships.

These ships feature a semi-enclosed track far away from the crowds and shield you from the sun, wind, and rain. 

Most cruise ship running tracks share space with public areas of the vessel. In other words, you will share the track with other passengers as they stroll around the vessel.

If you’re a serious runner, you’ll want to run early in the morning or late at night when the top deck is less crowded.

Golf

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Nearly every new cruise ship features an outdoor mini-golf course which is perfect for kids and adults alike.

Some ships also promote practice putting greens, enclosed driving ranges, or virtual golf simulators for avid golfers. High-end cruise ships are more likely to feature these activities, but if your cruise ship has one, it is an excellent opportunity to practice and meet avid golfers worldwide.

Boxing

First debuted on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas was the first cruise line to introduce boxing rings to its cruise ships. Boxing lessons are available, although usually for an extra fee.

Swimming

Pool deck of the Norwegian Cruise Line Pearl

Cruise ships typically have multiple pools on board.

There are adult-only pools, kiddie pools, and the main pool.

They are great for getting in a couple of laps or having fun with your family. And if you are in the mood for some friendly competition, many cruises will have a belly flop competition as part of the daily program.

The belly flop competition is always a big event, with hundreds of spectators celebrating the biggest flops!

Croquet

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Although playing croquet on a ship may seem out of place, Celebrity Cruises ships in the Solstice-class offer croquet on the sports deck. Join family and friends at the club, complete with a natural grass lawn, to participate in a friendly croquet game. 

Whether or not you know how to play, natural grass, shimmering sun, and ocean swaying make it a fun and relaxing onboard activity.

Bocce Ball

Like croquet, bocce ball is a popular and widely played lawn sport.

Viking Cruises and Celebrity Cruises Solstice-class ships offer bocce sets so passengers can play on the natural grass lawns on one of the upper decks.

Pool

With the rocking of the sailing cruise ships, you would think you have to start accounting for the movement in your game.

As you can see in the video above, the pool tables on cruise ships use self-leveling and stabilizing technology. In other words, the billiard balls aren’t affected by the ship’s rocking.

The stabilizers allow the balls to remain idle so you can enjoy a few rounds of pool with friends, family, and fellow passengers.

Ice-Skating

Royal Caribbean Ice Skating
Photo Credit (Royal Caribbean)

Have you ever dreamed of ice-skating on the ocean? How about on a Cruise ship sailing through the tropics?

The dream has become a reality. Royal Caribbean has introduced ice rinks to many of their newest cruise ships.

Of course, it is real ice!

You can visit the rink for their open-skate times and enjoy a few laps. And don’t worry about skate rentals; they are free!

But if skating isn’t for you, Royal Caribbean has a popular ice skating show, where you can witness amazing jumps, lifts, and spins performed by professional skaters.

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Marcello

I’ve been cruising since I was 11 years old. I love the freedom that cruising provides, meeting new people, and exploring amazing new ships. I love to share my passion for cruising and travel with readers.

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Dont Miss the Boat

Get the latest travel tips, news, and advice to get the most out of your next cruise vacation.

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Dont Miss the Boat

Get the latest travel tips, news, and advice to get the most out of your next cruise vacation.

Vector Image of a Cruise Ship