Cruise Ship Activities

Video: 10 awesome FREE things to do on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship


Royal Caribbean packs its cruise ships with so many fun things to do, and many have no additional cost to enjoy.

In this video, we have a look at some of my favorite things to do on a Royal Caribbean ship that is included with your cruise fare.

And if you love this video, we have lots of other great cruise videos to watch on our Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel!

By the way, have you subscribed yet? Be sure to subscribe to our channel and never miss a single video!

So check out the video and then let us know: What is your favorite free activity on a Royal Caribbean ship?

Video: The BEST thing to do on every Royal Caribbean ship!


Royal Caribbean's cruise ships are designed to be destinations that offer a ton for family and friends to enjoy while onboard. Each ship offers different activities, dining and entertainment, so today we have one must-do on every ship in the fleet.

It is not easy picking just one thing to do, but if you were going to go on any ship in Royal Caribbean's fleet, you will want to make sure you check off one particular onboard offering that we have listed in this video.

And if you love this video, we have lots of other great cruise videos to watch on our Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel!

By the way, have you subscribed yet? Be sure to subscribe to our channel and never miss a single episode!

So check out the video and then let us know: What are your top picks for must-do activities on any Royal Caribbean ship?

Royal Caribbean temporarily shuts down SkyPad for inspection and review


It appears Royal Caribbean has temporarily shut down its SkyPad bungee trampoline experience on its cruise ships pending a review of the safety of the ride.

Guests who recently sailed on Independence of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas reported the SkyPad was closed for the duration of their cruise.  Royal Caribbean confirmed via Twitter that the SkyPad is indeed closed for now.

Photo by Michelle May

Royal Caribbean's review of the experience follows recent litigation that was filed against the cruise line that involved a guest who was injured while on the SkyPad.

The SkyPad is currently available on Independence of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas and Spectrum of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean trademarks name for zip line roller coaster ride


Royal Caribbean filed a U.S. federal trademark registration with the U.S. patent and trademark office for something called the Fly Rider.

The trademark filing was filed on December 18, 2018 and is described as, "Entertainment services, namely, providing an amusement park ride in the nature of a zip line roller coaster ride".

The trademark reveals little details, but does give an indication of what may be announced at a future date.

Video: Royal Caribbean Battle for Planet Z Laser Tag


Introducing Royal Caribbean’s glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience, Battle for Planet Z has families, friends and strangers go head to head for control of the galaxy’s last planet. Guests of all ages can gear up for a stellar time on board with this total intergalactic adventure, complete with state-of-the-art technology and special effects.

Experiences: Izumi sushi making class on Royal Caribbean


For a few years, Royal Caribbean has offered guests the opportunity to try making sushi in a special class.  There is no doubt that making sushi seems like a daunting task, but Royal Caribbean promises a fun and informative experience. 

As an avid sushi fan, I look for any excuse to enjoy sushi on sea or on land.  Believe it or not, there was a sushi experience on a Royal Caribbean cruise that I had never tried before, so I sought to rectify that on a recent Brilliance of the Seas cruise.

The sushi class is offered on most Royal Caribbean ships, but I had resisted trying it primarily because I do not eat shellfish and I knew many of the rolls made used shellfish.  While dining at Izumi on Brilliance of the Seas, my waiter informed me the chef could adjust my offering for something I could eat, so I decided to give it a try.

What to expect

There is no cooking experience required to try the class. In fact, that is the appeal of the class.  

You will arrive to the class and be required to wash your hands prior to doing anything.  Once everyone arrives, an Izumi chef begins the class by introducing what sushi really is, its origins, and what type of sushi you will make.

In our class, we made three kinds of sushi:

  1. Maki (Rice and filling wrapped in seaweed)
  2. Nigiri (A topping, usually fish, served on top of sushi rice)
  3. Temaki (Sushi that has been hand-rolled into a cone shape)

The sushi chef introduces each roll, and goes step by step in showing everyone how to create the roll.

During the class, one of the Izumi waiters will be happy to use your phone or camera to take photos of your progress.

Following creating the various rolls, you get to eat everyting your created.  Considering you we made three rolls and two pieces of nigiri, that was a lot of food.

On our cruise, the sushi making class included a complimentary tour of the ship's galley.  It is always fascinating to see how the ship prepares so many meals for its guests, and to have a galley tour part of the class price is an added bonus.

The sushi making class was just about an hour long (including time to eat the sushi), and the galley tour was an additional 30 minutes.


I really enjoyed the sushi making class, perhaps even more than I anticipated.  Part of the enjoyment comes from the fact the Izumi chef helped us make the sushi so well. Frankly, I was expecting to butcher my attempt at creating sushi, so when the final product actually looked like something I might order, I was impressed.

The pace of the class worked well, and I feel like we all were able to pick up the key concepts quickly. The chef was always quick to walk around and provide assistance where necessary, and offer guidance to improving the techniques applied.

At $33 per person, the price is an excellent value when you consider you are getting three rolls, a few pieces of nigiri and a tour of the galley. I felt that we got a lot for the cost.

Overall, I think the sushi making class is a fun opportunity for anyone to try.  It is great to do alone, or invite friends and family to do it together.  Be sure to come hungry!

Cost: $33 per person on Brilliance of the Seas.

Top things to do on a sea day on a Royal Caribbean cruise


Part of every Royal Caribbean cruise are days spent at sea, which means you have the entire day to enjoy the vast array of things to do onboard.  Sea days provide ample opportunity to see and do many things to do onboard, from dawn to dusk.  

Sea days on a Royal Caribbean cruise are fairly open-ended, with you setting your own pace for what to do.  Some guests elect to do a ton of activities, while others take it slow and enjoy pure relaxation time.  Regardless of what you pick to do on a sea day, there is lots to consider and here are the sort of activities it seems most people opt to try.

Sleep in

Sea days are the perfect day to sleep late, just because there is no port to arrive to and no excursions to be ready to experience.  While sleeping is not the most exciting activity to tell your friends about, it is no less an awesome feeling.

Many guests like to take things easy while on a cruise, and nothing says a laid back kind of day than sleeping into double digit hours!

Pool time

Perhaps no onboard activity is as synonymous with a sea day than spending time at the pools onboard. Whether you choose to sunbathe, swim or just go back and forth, you will find ample opportunity to enjoy pool time on a sea day.

Royal Caribbean ships have more than one pool, with some ships having dedicated pool areas for kids.  These kid-friendly pool areas often feature colorful splash zones, water slides, and of course pools and hot tubs.  While there is plenty of swim opportunities for kids on all Royal Caribbean ships, the newest ships in the fleet offer the latest and greatest choices.  Voyager, Freedom, Oasis and Quantum class ships offer the largest and most extravagant pool facilities for kids.

Royal Caribbean also has a dedicated area on its ships for adults only, known as the Solarium.  The Solarium is the adults-only pool that is open to guests that are at least 16 years old. It is usually located in the front of the ship's pool deck and is often indoors or with a retractable roof. Because of the indoor nature of the Solarium, it tends to be warmer and more humid in the Solarium than the main pool. Royal Caribbean also tends to have cushioned lounge chairs that differ than the loungers available in the main pool.

Lunch at specialty restaurants

While specialty restaurants are not that new an option on Royal Caribbean ships, offering lunch is becoming a new trend.  Typically, specialty restaurants are open for dinner, with lunch overlooked.  These days, more and more specialty restaurants are open for lunch and sometimes at a reduced price.

Advanced reservations for lunch are not normally available prior to your cruise, but one onboard, some restaurants take lunch reservations.

The Cruise Compass will list operating hours, but enjoying lunch at a specialty restaurant can provide an indulgent meal at a restaurant you might not otherwise have time to dine at.

Movies and Shows

Royal Caribbean ships are full of things to do on a sea day, including movies, live performances and competitions. Throughout the day and night, there are regularly scheduled entertainment to enjoy all around the ship.

During the day, you will find lots happening by the pool. Pool games, line dancing, food demonstrations and more occur on each sea day.  Plus, you will find live music performed right by the pool.  There is something so relaxing and enjoyable about hearing a reggae or steel drum band play music on a sunny sea day afternoon.

At night, Royal Caribbean puts on its best performances in the Royal Theater. Broadway shows, original productions and comedy/magic acts are lined up for guests to enjoy each evening.  

In addition, Royal Caribbean has added large screens near its pools in recent years, which means you can enjoy the latest films while taking in a swim (or from the comfort of a nearby chair). 

Read a book

A time honored tradition on the beach has always been to read a good book, and being on a cruise ship is no different. Many guests take advantage of their time onboard to finally get to that book (or books) they have been meaning to read.

During a sea day, there are a lot of great places onboard to read a book.  Depending on your style, one or more of these may be just the spot for you

  • On your stateroom balcony
  • By the pool
  • At a table at Cafe Promenade/Cafe Latte-Tudes
  • In a chair on the promenade deck (usually deck 4 or 5 on most ships

Signature activities

Royal Caribbean markets its cruise ships as floating destinations, and you would be remiss if you did not check out some of the signature activities available on your ship.

Royal Caribbean first made a name for itself by adding rock climbing walls to its ships, and these days, they offer much more than just that. Depending on the class of ship you sail on, there are many really fun (and complimentary) activities to enjoy.  Surfing on the FlowRider, ice skating, taking the view in aboard North Star, having a jump in the jump zone trampoline park, going down water slides and much more.

Whichever cruise ship you book, be sure to look into the activities available on the ship.  Sea days are a popular time for many guests to enjoy these activities, but a little bit of research ahead of time can mean you can beat the crowds and get a few turns in.  

Work out at the gym

Whether you go to the gym to maintain your regular exercise regiment, or just want to off set the delicious food you are enjoying onboard, Royal Caribbean's fitness center is a great way to keep fit on your sea day.

The equipment in the fitness center is complimentary for guests to use, and opens very early and stays open for much of the day and evening. There is ample opportunity to work out while on your Royal Caribbean cruise, and a sea day is a great time to stop by.

Royal Caribbean also offers fitness classes for an additional fee, where guests can partake in activities such as yoga, Pilates, spin and more.  There are sign up sheets in the gym, and it is open on a first-come, first-signed up basis.  Your best bet is to sign up early in the cruise for the class(es) you want.

Spa visit

A sea day can be super relaxing with just one visit to the Vitality Spa.  Whether you choose a massage, facial, or another service, there is plenty of choices.

If you are new to the spa, you should consider taking a complimentary tour of the spa facility.  We have found the spa tours to be low sales pressure, and a good way to learn about the services offered.  

Sea days are quite popular for spa appointments, so be sure to book yours early in the cruise.  Better yet, book it ahead of time prior to your cruise on Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner site.

Your thoughts

What is your favorite sea day activity? Did we neglect to mention something you love to do while at sea? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Experiences: Royal Mystery escape room game on Harmony of the Seas


Royal Caribbean recently added a second escape room experience to Harmony of the Seas (as well as some other ships in the fleet), called A Royal Mystery.

Royal Mystery is an onboard activity offered to guests, where they must solve a series of puzzles based on clues hidden throughout the room to help solve a whodunit murder case.  Unlike Escape the Rubicon, Royal Mystery has no cover charge and is held in a public spot (for our game, it was in the On Air Lounge).

Guests participating have a set amount of time to comb over the details provided, as well as clues and puzzles they will discover until they can solve the case.  

What to expect

If you are unfamiliar with an escape room game, essentially it is a timed challenge, where you and those in your group have a set time limit to figure out various puzzles and clues to solve an overall solution that provides the means of "escaping" the room. Royal Mystery was created by Royal Caribbean's partner company, Puzzle Break.

When you arrive, the crew members will instruct everyone in attendance to form teams.  Teams can be between two and six people in total, which often results in teaming up with your fellow guests. Afterwards, a crew member will explain the basics of the game, play a short video introduction and provide the opening clues for all teams. 

Once the game begins, all teams must work to solve the puzzles in order to figure out who the murderer is, with the first team that comes up with the correct answer being the winner.

The puzzle

When you start out, your team will receive a packet full of information.  Some of this information includes puzzles, biographies on all the suspects, and pieces to puzzles that will be important later.  Teams must review the information in their possession, and then try to solve the various puzzles. Once a team has a possible puzzle solution, they bring it to the crew member for review.  If correct, the crew member provides a new clue for the team to use.

During the course of the game, crew members will share tips, advice and hints with all teams.  Most of these hints are suggestions or manners in which to investigate that aim to narrow down possibilities for teams.

The key to success is for teams to work together, but also delegate the various work.  Some puzzles can be solved by one or two team members, while others may need the whole team's input. Clues are hidden throughout the room, which team members may not take with them, but they can take pictures.  Bringing a phone that can take pictures is a good strategy.

Cost: Complimentary

Spotted: Royal Caribbean offering swim lessons for kids onboard the ship


On select Royal Caribbean some kids can spend part of their cruise learning to swim (better) with some new swim lessons available for booking in the Cruise Planner.

On Harmony of the Seas, two shore excursions listed under the Cruising location offer two PADI Swim School options, for level 1 and level 2. 

A team of professionals teaches beginning stroke techniques and more to little swimmers ages 6-8 and cost $49 per child. Up to 6 children can attend the class per swim instructor.

Level 1: Aqua Stars

Little ones from 6-8 years old can learn safety skills and enjoy water thrills during PADI Swim School’s Aqua Stars course. Within the safe hands of a friendly and highly qualified team of professional instructors, young swimmers can get a feel for the water while learning resting positions and forward movement techniques in a small-group setting. Before the lesson, swimmers will be assessed to ensure they can jump into the pool, completely submerge, recover for air and return to the pool’s wall. They will then learn how to tread water, float, swim, rest and breathe properly. After successfully rolling over to rest and breathe, they’ll be taught side breathing and the survival float. The shallow waters of your ship’s pool is the ideal space for new swimmers to learn the basics — all while having some splish-splash aquatic fun.

At course’s end young swimmers will know how to float, tread water, swim, and rollover to breathe.

Level 2: Splash Pros

Calling all little swimmers, ages 6-8: Here’s your chance to soak up new aquatic skills with PADI Swim School instructors during our Splash Pros course. Enjoy an interactive in-water swimming lesson amid the safe hands of professional trainers and the shallow waters of your ship’s onboard pool. For this small-group, intermediate-level lesson, your instructor will first evaluate your skills to ensure you can jump into the pool, completely submerge and swim at least 15 feet. Then learn how to properly reach, pull and roll to the side for rest and to catch your breathe. You’ll get a feel for the freestyle and backstroke while focusing on maintaining correct techniques for swimming short distances. Not only will you build confidence in the water, but you’ll also have tons of fun along the way.

At the end of the lesson young swimmers will know how to freestyle and backstroke around the water.

If your kids are old enough for the classes, is this something you would consider? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

First time cruiser's guide to Royal Caribbean's onboard activities


When you are onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise, there is a wide array of activities and events taking place every day of your sailing. Any notion of there not being enough to do is quickly dismissed once you take a glance at what is offered onboard.

Royal Caribbean's activities staff plan a variety of events to fill your time onboard the ship. These activities are optional for anyone to enjoy, and first time cruisers will find a great deal of options to pick from.  From trivia contests to dance lessons, exercise programs to dodge ball games, wine-tasting to surfing, there really is something for everyone.

Type of activities

From start to finish, your Royal Caribbean cruise will be filled with different activities to take part in.  Each activity is optional.  Think of them like a restaurant menu: you only enjoy what you want.  

Most of the activities listed for guests to enjoy are complimentary, which means there is no additional fee.  There are, however, certain events that have an additional cost associated with them.  It will be clearly labeled whether an event is complimentary or costs extra. 

In general, Royal Caribbean tries to offer its guests a wide variety of choices.  Having thousands of guests onboard its ships means the staff will try their best to have something for everyone.  The exact activities offered will vary from ship to ship, and sailing to sailing.  Royal Caribbean does not publish its activities prior to a cruise, but if you learn about the most common activities available onboard, it should provide a good idea of what to expect once onboard.

Physical activities

  • Rock climbing wall
  • Mini golf (not available on all ships)
  • FlowRider surf simulator (not available on all ships)
  • Sports court activities (basketball, volleyball, soccer, etc)
  • Water slides (not available on all ships)
  • Zip line (not available on all ships)
  • Ice skating (not available on all ships)
  • Fitness classes
  • Skydiving simulator (not available on all ships)


  • Trivia contests
  • Napkin folding demonstrations
  • Towel animal folding
  • History and port lectures
  • Dance lessons
  • Wine/alcohol tasting
  • Escape rooms (not available on all ships)
  • Culinary classes
  • Behind the scenes tours


  • Bingo
  • Casino gaming lessons


  • Poolside games
  • Theatrical performances
  • Live music
  • Comedians
  • Acrobatic/dive shows
  • Karaoke

Family activities

  • DreamWorks character meet opportunities
  • Parades
  • Movies
  • Teens-only events
  • Dance parties

Cruise Compass

If you are wondering how to find out which events will happen and when, then you will want to consult the daily publication provided each day to guests, known as the Cruise Compass.  

Each evening, your stateroom attendant will deliver a paper copy of the Cruise Compass to your stateroom.  Inside, you will find a list of the next day's activities, shows and entertainment.  It also lists the times venues such as restaurants, shops, bars and the spa will be open.  There is even a weather report and information about the port you will be visiting.

Most importantly, there is a chronological listing of events from the early morning to the late evening. Each event has a time, event name, location and possibly brief description listed.  There will also be an indication if this event costs extra.

As mentioned earlier, Royal Caribbean does not provide a copy of its Cruise Compass in advance of a cruise, but we keep an archive of past Cruise Compass' on this website, so that you reference them.  While a past Cruise Compass will not provide an exact list of events for your cruise, it does serve as a "ballpark overview" of what to expect.

On Royal Caribbean ships that offer the Royal iQ smartphone app, a copy of the Cruise Compass can also be referenced there.  In fact, the app provides the ability to select events from the Cruise Compass and add them to your own personal calendar.  Royal Caribbean also announced that it is working on a new smart phone app, which should debut later this year.

Tickets and shows

Most activities and entertainment on a Royal Caribbean cruise require no reservations or tickets in advance.  Guests simply show up at the designated time and location and an activities crew member will be present to coordinate the function.

Certain events do offer advance tickets for the performances.  Oasis and Quantum class ships will even offer tickets for its theatrical products prior to the cruise, via Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner website.  Tickets are complimentary, and guarantee a seat in the show, but not a specific seat.  Royal Caribbean also requires guests with tickets arrive to the show a certain amount of time before show time or risk losing that guarantee.

Activities such as exercise classes, wine/liquor tastings, or culinary demonstrations may require and/or offer advanced tickets to secure a spot.  The nature of these events are that there is a limit on how many guests may attend. You can certainly show up at the given time and hope for a spot, or speak to a crew member about reserving them.  Tickets to certain events are even available online via the Cruise Planner, where guests may purchase the tickets before getting onboard. 

If tickets are available prior to a cruise for an event, we generally recommend guests take advantage of the option to secure a spot for them.  Once onboard the ship, admission to certain events gets quite competitive, so taking advantage of pre-cruise reservations is a good practice.

Pools and water slides

During the daytime, the pool deck tends to be a hub of activity for guests of all ages.  Depending on the ship, guests will find a variety of pools and even water slides to enjoy.  Royal Caribbean designed their pools to be fun, relaxing and most of all refreshing experiences. Whether you are there for the ambiance, the cooling effect or the activities, time at the pool is a great idea.


Royal Caribbean's pools are a hub of activity on most cruises.  It is where the activity staff will hold many events and you will find by just spending time at the pool, you will encounter a lot of the ship's going-on's. 

Nearly all the events happening at a pool will occur at the main pool. Exact activities differ depending on your ship and sailing but here are some common ones 

  • Belly flop competition
  • World's sexiest man competition
  • Scuba classes
  • Fitness classes
  • Poolside bingo
  • Dance classes
  • Poolside movies

Water slides

In recent years, Royal Caribbean has begun adding water slides to its cruise ships.  Guests of most ages can enjoy the slides, which are complimentary and the kind of activity guests can enjoy as many times as they want.

Currently, water slides are available on

  • Harmony of the Seas
  • Symphony of the Seas
  • Liberty of the Seas
  • Adventure of the Seas

Some other ships feature slides for kids, such as the Radiance Class ships, as well as Majesty of the Seas.

Fitness Center and Gym

One popular onboard activity is staying physically fit while onboard.  Whether you love spending time at the gym, or are just looking for a way to work off the delicious food served onboard, Royal Caribbean's fitness center is the right place for you.

The fitness center is usually located near the ship's spa, and is open for most hours of the day.

Fitness center aboard Harmony of the Seas

Inside the fitness center are a variety of choices, ranging from cardio to strength-training equipment.  The equipment in Royal Caribbean's fitness center are complimentary and available on a first-come, first served basis.  There is no cost to use the machines and free weights at the fitness center.  In fact, Royal Caribbean tends to stock its gyms with top equipment for guest use.  

In addition, there are spaces for fitness classes, such as spin, yoga, and Pilates. These classes have limited capacity, and there is usually a sign up sheet near the entrance to the fitness center where guests can write down their name and stateroom number for a particular class they want to attend. Guests are charged for each class they attend, so you can attend as few or as many as you like, provided there is space available.

Family and children's activities

The heart of things to do on a Royal Caribbean ship for kids is centered around the Adventure Ocean program.  Adventure Ocean is the supervised children's program, which is kind of like camp, where parents drop the kids off and pick them up anytime while Adventure Ocean is in operation.

Adventure Ocean is available for children who are at least three years old and fully potty trained, all the way through the age of seventeen.  Counselors lead the Adventure Ocean programming while the children are in attendance, and activities are age appropriate.  These activities include art, dance parties, games, scavenger hunts, supervised play and more. Adventure Ocean is complimentary, unless your child stays in Adventure Ocean past 10pm, at which point an hourly charge is assessed. Kids may remain in Adventure Ocean until 2am during the after-hours time.

Children are split up into groups based on their age.  Older children and teenagers will find their own dedicated areas of Adventure Ocean that include lounges and teen-only events listed in the Cruise Compass.

On sea days, Adventure Ocean usually is open

  • 9am - noon
  • 2pm-5pm
  • 7pm-10pm
  • 10pm-2am (Extra cost after hours)

During port days, Adventure Ocean will be open as long as the ship is docked in port, allowing parents to leave their children in Adventure Ocean while they enjoy a time on shore.

Royal Caribbean publishes a special daily version of the Cruise Compass, just for kids and teens.  Your stateroom attendant will deliver a copy of this if there are kids in the room, and it lists Adventure Ocean programming for the coming day.  The regular Cruise Compass will also list teens-only events as well.

For children younger than three years old, Royal Caribbean's Royal Babies & Tots Nursery offers infants and toddlers supervised care for an hourly charge. 

The nursery has limited space, and it is recommended to make reservations for the times you wish to bring your child.  You can always call the nursery and inquire if there is open space to drop off at the time, but ideally you will want to make reservations. Like Adventure Ocean, the nursery is has set hours, and opens in the morning, going late into the night.  If it is a port day, the nursery can open earlier to match the time the ship is in port.

Beyond Adventure Ocean, many of the activities listed in the Cruise Compass are open to kids, as well as adults. 


After the sun sets, Royal Caribbean ships are filled with lots of evening activities. 

Music is a big part of Royal Caribbean's nightlife.  Guests will find live performances around the ship (primarily at bars), along with the opportunity to dance at many of them.  Dance parties on deck and in select venues are common as well, with usually a music event lasting well into the early hours of the next morning.

Each evening, there will be theatrical performances offered in the Royal Theater, as well as other venues such as Two70, the AquaTheater and/or ice skating rink.  Depending your ship, the variety and scope of nighttime entertainment will vary, but there will be something going on each evening that is clearly the primary performance.  In addition, there will be alternate times provided for most of these productions, to allow guests time to enjoy dinner without having to sacrifice seeing the show.

Royal Caribbean's shows are its signature activity, with some ships even offering full Broadway shows.  The shows are included in your cruise fare, and seating is provided on a first-come, first served basis.  We recommend arriving to any show at least 15 minutes early to secure a (good) seat.

Royal Caribbean will also regularly show feature-length films near the pool, provide sing-along music at the pub, offer karaoke performances, and much more.