The Best Things To Do On A Cruise When It Rains, According To Passengers

When you think about cruises, you think of sunny skies, warm breezes, and endless days of outdoor adventure. However, sometimes life gives you rain, and it's up to you to make a splash. While a rainy day at sea may seem like a setback, it can offer a unique chance to uncover hidden gems and experience aspects of your cruise that might go unnoticed on sunnier days.

Indoor attractions and activities on board come alive when it rains, offering an abundance of experiences to keep you entertained and engaged. Whether you're seeking relaxation, entertainment, or enrichment, there's something for everyone to enjoy when the weather isn't cooperating. From art galleries to spas and casinos to culinary delights, rainy days at sea can be surprisingly fulfilling. So, when the raindrops start to fall, don't let it dampen your spirits. To make sure that your adventures continue no matter the weather, we dived deep into cruise forums and websites to curate the best things to do when rain interrupts your voyage on the high seas.

Join a fitness class

Cruise ships offer a range of activities to keep you moving, come rain or shine. One fabulous option to stay active is to join a fitness class. Whether you're a yoga enthusiast, a pilates pro, or looking for high-energy cardio, cruise ships have classes for all fitness levels. These classes not only help you maintain your exercise routine while on vacation but also provide an opportunity to try something new and exciting.

Check your cruise itinerary for the classes they specialize in. For instance, Cunard is renowned for ballroom dancing activities, offering complimentary classes followed by evening balls. Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean, on the other hand, provide state-of-the-art fitness classes from TRX to indoor cycling.

Participating in a fitness class when it's raining can have additional benefits beyond physical exercise. The endorphins released during exercise can uplift your mood, countering any feelings of gloominess and lethargy that the rain might bring. Moreover, exercising with a group can also be incredibly motivating, plus you might even make new friends on board.

Enjoy live shows

Cruise ships offer a captivating and dazzling array of entertainment options, even though they are often overlooked and eclipsed by other fun cruise activities. Those rainy days on a cruise offer the perfect opportunity to unwind and devote your time and attention to exploring these captivating performances. From Broadway-style musicals to comedy acts, live music to acrobats, there's something for every taste.

Even when you're confined indoors due to the rain, live shows have the power to transport you to different worlds. The elaborate set designs, along with the ambiance created by music and lighting, create an immersive experience that could easily become a highlight of your voyage.

Moreover, the intimate nature of cruise ship performance often allows for a more personal connection and interaction with the performers and fellow audience. Whether you're moved by a touching musical performance or find yourself laughing at a comedy act, these moments can become cherished parts of your vacation. Who knows, you might even discover a new favorite performer that you wouldn't have encountered otherwise.

Learn a new skill

Just because you can't physically explore doesn't mean you can't expand your horizons by learning something new. Cooking lessons and demonstrations, led by professional chefs or even guest chefs from renowned restaurants, are among the most popular classes on cruise ships. Whether you're mastering basic cooking skills or diving into elaborate ethnic fares, these classes offer a hands-on experience that's both educational and delicious.

Some cruise lines, like Princess Cruises and Holland America, offer photography classes for all levels, from beginners to advanced. The best part is you can immediately practice what you learn and capture stunning vacation images to remember the journey. Another skill to pick up to make the most out of your vacation is learning a new language. Some cruise lines offer classes that teach basic phrases and greetings, perfect for getting up to speed ahead of your next destination. On a broader scale, Crystal Cruise has a comprehensive enrichment program offering everything from arts to business courses. No matter which class you choose, learning a new skill is a fun and rewarding experience that will definitely keep you excited even when the weather is less than ideal. You might even discover a new passion that will stay with you long after your cruise ends.

Make it a spa day

The weather may be gloomy, but your mood and wellness don't have to be. Embrace this opportunity to indulge in a spa day that will leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. Treat yourself to a massage, facial, or body treatment, and let the hands of a professional melt away any tension. After all, even the most enjoyable vacation days can take a toll on your body, and a pampering day might be just what you need, even if you didn't realize it beforehand.

Most cruise lines feature a thermal spa with heated beds and saunas that can be particularly comforting during rainy weather. In addition to traditional spa treatments, many cruise ship spas offer unique experiences, from Balinese-style treatments to Ayurvedic therapies, boasting anything from arctic showers to exotic steam vapors.

A spa day can also be a wonderful way to bond and spend quality time with your travel companions, whether it's your partner or the whole family. Many cruise ship spas offer couples' romantic treatment or group packages, allowing you to enjoy the pampering together for an unforgettable holiday.

Watch a movie

When it rains on your cruise, grab some snacks, settle into a comfortable seat, and let yourself explore the cinematic universe. Cruise ship cinemas offer a quality experience that rivals your local theater, with state-of-the-art sound and projection systems. For example, Carnival Cruise Line has IMAX theaters that play Hollywood blockbusters, documentaries, and more, while Disney Cruise presents the Buena Vista Theatre, a glamorous, classic, art-deco-style cinema.

Even if your ship doesn't have a cinema, or if you simply prefer a more intimate setting, you can still enjoy a movie in the comfort of your own cabin. Most cruise ships are equipped with in-room entertainment systems with various channels and movies on demand. This is a perfect time to catch up on or rewatch some classic cruise-themed movies like "Speed 2: Cruise Control" (1997), "An Affair to Remember" (1957), or "Out to Sea" (1997). If you have a specific taste or can't find a movie you like, you can always connect your own device to the in-room TV. This way, you can create a personalized movie marathon that suits your mood.

Try a new restaurant or bar

No matter which cruise line you're aboard, food is undoubtedly going to be one of the highlights of the experience. Cruise ships offer an abundance of gastronomic options for passengers, from casual joints to upscale fine dining. When the weather takes a turn, it's time to channel your adventurous spirit into your meals. After all, one of the joys of traveling is trying new experiences, especially ones of the flavorful kind.

Even if the weather is good, exploring the dining options your cruise offers is a must, as many cruises feature specialty restaurants you can't find anywhere else. For instance, Disney Cruise boasts Remy, a luxurious adult-only restaurant inspired by the animated film "Ratatouille," in collaboration with French celebrity chef Arnaud Lallement. Similarly, Royal Caribbean's passengers can indulge in Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, which offers omakase-inspired dining experiences with hibachi theatrics and teppanyaki specialties. Whether you're craving a casual bite or a gourmet meal, the diverse dining options onboard promise a culinary adventure that will tantalize your taste buds and transport you to different cultures.

Explore the ship's behind-the-scenes

If you've enjoyed your cruise experiences so far, you might be curious about what goes on behind the scenes. Many cruise lines offer guided tours that take you to areas that are typically off-limits to passengers, and a rainy day presents the perfect opportunity to explore these unseen parts of the ship. Signing up for a tour of the ship's behind-the-scenes areas can enlighten, educate, and inspire a newfound appreciation for the whole experience — of the technology, history, and even the crew.

One of the most common areas for a tour is the galley, the cruise ship's kitchen. Here, passengers can observe how dishes are prepared and learn how the kitchens are organized. Other tours may take you to the engine room and navigational bridge, where you can see the equipment and machinery that power and operate the ship. Some tours even cover areas like the laundry room, medical center, and waste management facilities, which can be surprisingly fascinating.

Go to the solarium

If the rain is falling and you crave a panoramic ocean view, the solarium is your go-to spot on the ship. A solarium is like the porch of your ship, except it's enclosed by glass walls, making it a perfect escape during wet weather. This space offers a serene ambiance, particularly when the soothing sounds of the ocean blend harmoniously with the gentle pitter-patter of raindrops on the roof.

The solarium is typically located near the spa or pool area, making it an ideal spot to indulge in some self-care. Whether you choose to unwind on a heated lounger or take a dip in a thalassotherapy pool, there are many ways to stay warm and comfortable regardless of the weather. If that wasn't enough self-pampering and rejuvenation, the solarium is also where you can find some of the healthiest meals on the ship, including smoothies, salads, and fiber-rich bites. Furthermore, many solariums are dedicated adult-only areas, providing a peaceful retreat for those seeking some quiet relaxation away from the hustle and bustle of other onboard activities.

Hide and find cruise ducks

Hiding and finding rubber ducks has become a beloved tradition among cruise passengers. This whimsical activity adds an element of surprise and excitement to the cruise experience, especially on rainy days when other activities may be limited. The premise is simple: Participants hide small rubber ducks throughout the ship for others to find, or they try to find the ducks hidden by others. These ducks can be creatively decorated and equipped with a tag that explains the tradition, or they may include the name of the person who did them and the date the duck was initially hidden.

Cruise ducks can be hidden anywhere, from stairwells to lounges and decks. However, there are some unofficial rules, such as avoiding the pools, gift shops, food preparation areas, spas, and anywhere they can be blown off or fall overboard. Hunting for ducks is also a fun way to explore different nooks and crannies of the ship that are otherwise overlooked. When you find a duck, you can either keep it or hide it for others to find. You can also take a selfie and post it on the Cruising Ducks group on Facebook, which already has over 240,000 members.

Play some games

Trivia and bingo have long been popular indoor activities on cruise ships, offering a chance to have fun while socializing with fellow passengers and potentially winning a prize. These games are often held in comfortable lounges or bars, creating a relaxed and social atmosphere that's perfect for a rainy day.

If you're in the mood for something more interactive, many cruises offer video game areas and arcades. These spaces are not just for kids; they cater to all ages and provide a range of games to suit different tastes. Whether you're into classic arcade games, sports simulations, or feel challenged to enter a friendly tournament, there's something for everyone. Many cruise lines also have a comprehensive board game collection to choose from.

Want to take it up a notch? The casino is another thrilling option available on most major cruise lines. With a variety of games, from slot machines to table games, you are welcome to test your luck and skill to win some money or even a free cruise.

Appreciate art

Going to an art gallery may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a fun cruise experience, but many mega boats are surprisingly rich in impressive artwork. Major cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Princess, Cunard, and others have invested millions in museum-quality artwork. These collections often include a diverse range of styles, from classic to contemporary, providing something to suit every taste. Boasting remarkable paintings, sculptures, installations, and more, these art galleries are not to be missed.

Exploring the art onboard during rainy days can also be particularly soothing, providing a peaceful retreat where you can really take your time to admire and ponder. Not only that, you can also attend an art auction onboard to simply observe the lively event or even bid for a chance to acquire a unique piece. Whether you're a seasoned art enthusiast or just curious, exploring the art onboard can be an enriching experience, adding depth and culture to your cruise vacation.

Read a book

Rainy days can be the perfect opportunity to indulge in one of life's simplest pleasures — curling up with a good book. Cruise ships often have well-stocked libraries with a wide selection of books to choose from. Whether you prefer novels, biographies, or travel guides, there's likely a book in the onboard library that will pique your interest. You can even keep up the cruising spirit by reading an ocean-themed book, such as "The Woman in Cabin 10" by Ruth Ware or the classic "The Old Man and the Sea" by Mark Twain.

Many cruise lines also offer book exchange programs, allowing you to trade your finished book for new ones. Not only making sure you have something fresh to read, this new book can also be a unique souvenir to take home when the journey ends. Most ship libraries allow you to check out the book, so you can either pick a cozy chair in the library, lounge in the solarium or even enjoy it in the comfort of your own cabin. There's never a bad time to enjoy a good book.

Go shopping

Whether you're looking to treat yourself or find gifts for loved ones back home, the onboard shops offer a wide range of options to suit every taste and budget. While you'll find well-known luxury brands, there's also a curated selection of merchandise reflecting your journey and the destinations you're visiting. From local artisan crafts to unique souvenirs, you're sure to find something special to remember your cruise by. Shopping onboard can also be relaxing because the shops are typically less crowded, allowing you to browse at your leisure. In addition to the shopping experience, many cruise ship shops host lively events and promotions. From trunk shows featuring local designers to jewelry sales and fashion events, there's always something exciting happening in the onboard shops. Don't forget to check out the duty-free shops for a chance to find a bargain on highly-taxed items like liquor and luxury goods.

Even if you're not in the mood to make a purchase, window shopping can be a delightful pastime. You can browse the items on display for inspiration, perhaps finding something you'd like to purchase later in your destination or hometown. Many cruise ship shops host lively events and promotions, be it a trunk show or jewelry sale, which is a fun activity in itself.

How this list was created

We scoured forums like Quora and Cruise Critic to identify activities mentioned and loved by passengers. Then, we search cruise websites and reviews to find stories and more specific information about these activities. Rest assured, we only select activities that are available on most cruise ships.