21 Ways to Cruise at Home

As we are all ordered to stay at home during the current climate, many of us are left wondering how we can curb our cruise habit from our own homes.

With a little creativity, we believe you can! Whether it’s hosting your own formal night or recreating your favourite cruising cocktail, there are plenty of ways to ‘cruise’ at home. Here are 21 ways to feel like you’re back on-board and keep you looking forward to when you can finally set sail again.

1. Create your own spa

One of the big things on a cruise ship is the spa facilities. Wellness has been a leading contributor to ensuring cruisers are relaxed while on-board, with saunas, steam rooms and expertly trained therapists offering the best treatments. Why not treat yourself to a relaxing at-home pamper session and transport yourself to your favourite cruise ship spa?

Woman having spa treatment - Uniworld River Cruises

2. Host your own cooking class

Cruise ships are renowned for their vast dining experiences, from five-course extravaganzas to 24-hour pizza parlours. Aside from fantastic foodie options, many cruise lines allow you to get hands-on in the kitchen. Uniworld’s multi-generational cruises offer fun classes for children, while Scenic offers gastonomy cruises just for foodies!

Whether you’re decorating cupcakes or assembling homemade pizzas, hosting a cooking class with family and friends is a great way to come together and enjoy some delicious food together. Get aprons for everyone or make your own chef hats to wear during the class and set up in the kitchen for some hands-on cooking.

Pizza making - Uniworld Generations

3. Set up a scavenger hunt

Cruises are great places for family-friendly activities and most cruise lines offer these scavenger hunts on a regular basis. Create your own at home by hiding certain items or finding things around the house. Draw up some clues and set your team on a hunt to see who solves it first!

4. Lounge by the pool

The paddling pool that is. There’s no denying we are all dreaming of laying by the pool right now and who doesn’t love a pool day? So, why not have you own (weather permitting) in your garden! Dig out the paddling pool and colourful floats, stick on your favourite poolside tunes and have your own imaginary sail away party!

A woman using the swimming pool on-board Uniworld's SS Catherine river cruise ship

5. Stage your own formal night

What’s a cruise without a formal night? Love them or hate them, there’s no getting away from this cruise tradition and it’s incredibly easy to have your own at home. Simply glam up in your favourite dress or suit and get the family together for fancy fun. Getting your picture taken is an essential part of formal night so why not set up a backdrop, grab some props and take some snaps before you enjoy dinner together.

6. Start a fitness regime

Cruise ships are renowned for having state-of-the-art gyms as well as great workout and fitness classes, many of which are simple enough to replicate at home. From yoga and Pilates to high-intensity workouts and chair exercises for home-workers, there are plenty of online tutorials and video sessions to get those muscles moving.

Woman sat in yoga pose - part of a wellness programme

7. Go to the theatre

… in your living room! Yes, that’s right. To curb your love of cruise ship theatre, many theatres around the world are offering their shows to watch online for free, as well as workshops for children. While it doesn’t offer the same level of grandeur as a cruise theatre, your living room is perfect for doubling up as the place to watch world-class theatre with your family. Here are just some of the theatres offering free content:

  • National Theatre – Join them on their YouTube channel to see some of the best British Theatre, including the online premiere of One Man, Two Guvnors starring James Corden
  • Shakespeare’s Globe – Free content released from their platform ‘Globe Player’ includes six filmed productions, 37 short films, and a new digital series from Sandi and Jenifer Toksvig called Shakespeare & Love in Isolation
  • Hampstead Theatre – In collaboration with The Guardian, Hampstead Theatre is re-releasing live-stream recordings of three past productions including Mike Bartlett’s Wild and Beth Steel’s Wonderland
  • Catherine Wheels – This children’s theatre company is releasing White by Andy Manley ahead of the Easter Weekend, with the show available to watch on their YouTube channel from 10th-13th April
  • Sadler’s Wells – This theatre has announced new productions and workshops to be made available digitally, including activities for younger children

Theatre chairs

8. Have a family Q&A

If you’ve ever been to a Captain’s Corner question session on a cruise ship, you will know it’s a great time to openly ask the Captain and their team something you’ve always wanted to know. From your favourite memories to where you want to go on a dream holiday, this activity is a great option to learn more about your loved ones.

9. Become a cocktail connoisseur

Recreate your favourite cruise cocktails at home with online recipes and tasty ingredients and become your own bartender! Or why not take the time to discover a new cocktail of your own?

Orange margarita with salt on the rim of the glass

10. Learn towel folding

This intricate art is one that is ever popular when cruising, as housekeeping staff leave amazing towel animals in staterooms for guests to find. From swans and elephants to frogs and monkeys, try it yourself at home and see what animals you can fold yourself.

Towel folding

Photo credit: Prayitno (Flickr.com)

11. Unleash your inner artist

Origami, scrapbooking, collage making, painting – there’s plenty of ways you can express yourself through arts and crafts. Even on a cruise ship, kids’ love taking part in all sorts of fun activities and the kids’ clubs on a cruise are some of the best you will find!

12. Create an obstacle course

Having to stay home means things such as exercise and daily workouts are a little more difficult. Keeping active is important, but you can make it fun too by creating your own obstacle course in the garden. It’s a fun way to get some physical activity in that you and your family can navigate through. You could even make it competitive and see who can complete it the fastest!

13. Spend a cosy evening outside

Set up somewhere comfy on a clear night and watch a film from a laptop or tablet. You could even take up a bit of stargazing and see if you can spot any popular constellations in the evening sky.

Couple gazing out the balcony on-board Emerald

14. Learn a new language

Longing for the time when you can holiday once more? Now if the perfect time to brush up on your French or Spanish ready for when you can finally set sail again! There are plenty of apps and online courses to take up which offer free content and support to get you speaking a new language in no time. Some of the top options include Duolingo, Babbel and Open Culture.

15. Host a dinner party

Another excuse to get dressed up, hosting a dinner party is the perfect reason to get creative at mealtimes and do something a bit different. Much like formal night, going out to a nice restaurant as a family is something we all love doing while cruising. Whether you’re usually heading to sample some of Uniworld’s renowned farm to ship dishes or seeking Riviera Travel’s five-star ships and alfresco dining, recreate that feeling with your own dinner party.

Dining on-board Scenic

16. Read a book

This may already be a way you pass the time but for many having access to a cruise line library is perfect as it offers a breadth of choice you might not have at home! Most cruise ship libraries are open 24-hours a day and some even have board games as well as a bar to keep visitors happy!

Storytime is a great way to unwind when you’re on holiday and at home should be no different. Find time to relax alone with your latest pick or gather your children round for family story time.

The elegant and relaxing library on-board a Viking River Cruises ship

17. Have breakfast in bed

Room service is a treat for many of us while cruising, with some cruise lines offering selected menu items for free. Types of food a cruise line typically includes bagels, pastries, cereal, omelettes, fruit, toast as well as a variety of hot drinks and fruit juices. Stage your own room service for a family member and bring them breakfast in bed for a great start to their day!

Breakfast in bed

18. Explore the world

If you’re left feeling a little stir-crazy and longing to set sail, why not explore these world attractions from the comfort of your couch. Many landmarks and key locations such as museums, zoos and national parks, are offering the experience virtually for people to enjoy online.

From Buckingham Palace to New York’s Central Park, enjoy a little moment of escapism with just a few clicks!

See our full list of virtual experiences here: 31 Virtual Tours Around the World.

Krems - Austria

19. Start a new hobby

Cruises have a fun way of opening our eyes to new hobbies or interests we might have even known we had! Golf, knitting, photography – there’s no end to the hobbies you can try out on a cruise. While we are stuck indoors and have a bit of extra time on our hands, it’s the perfect time to start learning something new. With so much resource and support found online, it’s never been easier to revisit old pastimes or kickstart a love for something new.

20. Have a film night

Whether in your stateroom, on the pool deck or in the cinema, a cruise ship offers incredible movie listings for you to enjoy on-board. While at home, recreate that movie night feeling by choosing a flick to watch together on the sofa. There are plenty ways to stream movies to your TV with options including Netflix, Amazon and the brand-new Disney+. Simply grab the popcorn, stock up on snacks, and press play on your TV remote as you’re ready to snuggle up to watch one of your family favourites.


21. Complete an online course

Whether brushing up on your history or wanting to know more about the environment, there is a diverse selection of courses online to expand your knowledge and understand more about the world. With river cruise lines integrating the local culture with your daily itineraries, there’s always something to experience on-board, whether a musical performance or historical lecture.

Try it for yourself at home with these online resources: FutureLearn, OpenLearn, and the Online Learning College.

Ready to set sail when you are

No matter how you choose to spend your time at home, know that RiverVoyages is waiting to find your perfect cruise when you are. Whether you’re wanting to set sail in 2020 or later, we are ready to plan the perfect cruise holiday you deserve.

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About Emma Smith

Emma has more than seven years' experience as a writer and has been in the travel industry for nearly five years. She loves learning about new places and cruise ships coming to market, as well as discovering fun and exciting activities to do while you sail. She has cruised with Princess Cruises, Cunard, Celebrity Cruises, Virgin Voyages, Avalon Waterways and Royal Caribbean and is looking to get something in her diary for 2024! Her favourite things to see on a ship include excellent entertainment, a delicious cocktail menu and extraordinary dining venues.