A cruise may be the ultimate vacation, but cruises also make great lessons for learners of all ages. Whether you are planning an entire homeschool curriculum, need creative project ideas for a single class, or want to add some enrichment to an exciting getaway, there are great homeschool ideas for every grade level and subject material.
Cruise Lessons for Young Children
Even the very youngest cruisers can enjoy simple lessons that incorporate cruise ships and vacations. Cruise ships can be part of all sorts of basic learning and lessons, such as…
- Practicing colors with cruise ship pictures and drawings
- Letter learning and recognition on cruise ship hulls or signage
- Counting pictures of cruise-related scenes
- Coloring pages of cruise ships to improve hand and finger dexterity
- Spelling words for cruise ships and ship-related terms
- Handwriting practice copying cruise ship names and words
- ABC lists of cruise vacation words and phrases
- Reading picture books of cruise ships and related topics
Cruise Lessons for Older Students
As students get older and develop interests in different subject areas, cruise ships, vacations, and cruise-related travel can become part of any curriculum. Popular options for adding cruise learning into different lessons will vary based on each student’s interests, grade level, and aptitude, but can include a wide range of subject materials.
All the fine arts can be studied with relation to cruise vacations, including how music, dance, and other performances are part of cruises. Many cruise ships have art galleries to view, and different paintings, sculptures, and other art installations around each ship, including hull art, can be fascinating introductions to different art forms.
Students can create their own sketches, paintings, sculptures, and other art forms related to cruise ships, including origami, craft projects, dramatic skits, and more.
Food is a delicious part of every cruise vacation, and cooking students can enjoy a wide range of different tastes on every sailing. Studying how different dishes are prepared at onboard cooking demonstrations or how ingredients are used creatively at different meals are great cooking lessons, or discovering different recipes from popular ports of call are other fun and tasty lessons.
Students could also learn how professional galleys are arranged, or how challenging it is to prepare massive food quantities for thousands of passengers. Food safety lessons can also be part of any cruise culinary studies.
Cruise ships are an engineering marvel, and any student with an interest in engineering can learn a great deal from cruise ship structure and design. Students can also study a ship’s fuel systems and how airflow and ventilation are promoted through a ship.
How cruise ships steer into challenging ports or through canals can be intricate engineering problems, or students can create their own cruise ship deck plans or architectural diagrams to showcase their engineering creativity.
Geography is an easy subject to study with cruise ships. Maps of different itineraries and destinations can create a wide range of geography lessons, or students could study how ocean currents affect geography and cruise navigation.
Learning where crew members are from around the world can broaden geographic studies far beyond just one cruise ship or vacation. Students could also study the physical, political, and cultural geography of individual ports of call, or use ship locator websites to map voyages.
Cruise ships have played many important parts in history, including serving different roles in wartime or other emergencies. Studying that history can help students of all ages better appreciate cruise ships.
Other historical topics include how cruise ships have often carried mail and cargo, profiles of famous ships such as the Titanic and Lusitania, histories of cruise lines themselves, or the overall history of cruise travel and how cruises have changed over the decades.
Cruises have a language all their own, and students can improve their vocabularies by studying cruise-related words such as port, starboard, deck, galley, captain, tender, aft, bow, stern, wake, muster, and more.
Studying the different languages of crew members and different ports of call can also enhance students’ knowledge of languages and language learning. Learning how to say hello, good-bye, please, and thank you in different cruise languages is always a good lesson.
Cruise ships can be amazing settings for many books, plays, and poems for literature students. Students can also write their own stories or poems about ships, cruise travel, ports of call, or even the sea itself.
News stories can also be great for journalism students to learn more about cruising, or students could use the daily cruise newsletter to study how news and activities are shared with passengers or how print media is formatted. They can even make their own newsletters for family cruise fun!
Students can do a lot of calculating on a cruise ship, figuring out miles traveled, the passenger capacity onboard, how much food passengers may consume, and other fun facts.
Cruise ships are filled with geometric architecture that can be studied, and different currencies in different ports of call can be converted to better understand economics. Students could also practice financial literacy by calculating cruise vacation costs and budgeting for an oceangoing getaway.
The science of cruise ships can involve everything from oceanic marine life, seabirds, and ecosystems to how hurricanes work to air purification processes onboard a cruise ship or the environmental impact of cruises on different marine ecosystems.
Astronomy studies can include ship navigation by stars, biology students may study how illnesses can spread on cruise ships and what can be done to keep crew members and passengers safe, and chemistry students could analyze seawater.
All types of social studies subjects – politics and government, religion, psychology, sociology, etc. – can be studied on cruises. Different cultures from different ports of call and crew members from around the world are all great subjects of study, and can foster greater appreciation for diversity and inclusion.
Laws at sea, governments of different ports of call, etiquette of different cultures, and current events involving ports and cruises are all great social studies topics for study.
Worth Reading: 15 Engaging Books to Read About Cruises
In addition to studying individual subjects as they relate to cruises, students of all ages can enjoy hands-on projects featuring cruise ships and cruise travel. These interactive projects can be part of an overall unit about cruises, or could be ideal options for subject fairs, such as a science fair, geography fair, or engineering showcase.
- Create a boat out of commonplace materials and see how long it will float or how much weight it will hold while floating.
- Create tanks with saltwater of different salinities, and determine how salty the water has to be to affect how a buoy or other object floats.
- Cook an entire meal themed to a port of call, or create a formal night dining experience to share even if cruising isn’t possible.
- Design a cruise ship, including deck plans, activity spaces, passenger cabins, and other features necessary for full operation.
- Interview cruise ship crew members about their homes, cultures, and countries, compiling a report about how different cultures work together.
- Plan and map a dream cruise vacation itinerary, calculating the distances between ports and how long the cruise would be sailing.
- Create an advertising campaign for a cruise line, including ports of call, new ships, shore excursions, and other features of the company.
Also Read: 8 Fun and Modern Trends in Family Cruises
Cruise ships can be an amazing learning experience for all ages, no matter what subject areas are of the greatest interest to different students. No matter how many cruises you have taken, there is always something more to learn!