Ways to Enjoy Cruising When You Can’t Take a Cruise

We've got you covered if you can't take a cruise and still want to enjoy cruising. What to do at home and nearby to feed that cruise vacation addiction!

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We can’t always take every cruise we want, but whatever the reason for staying home, there are still fun and creative ways to enjoy cruising without ever setting sail!

Why Stay Home?

There are many reasons why you may not be able to cruise when you want to get away. Work, school, or family obligations can keep you land-bound, or you may not have the budget for the perfect cruise vacation you want.

You could have different health concerns, illnesses, or injuries that curtail your cruising, or worldwide health problems such as epidemics or pandemics might bring cruising to a halt. Civil unrest could cancel cruises, hurricanes can shorten a cruising season, or any number of other reasons can mean you can’t say bon voyage quite yet. But even if you have to stay on land, you can enjoy the spirit of the sea.

Enjoying Cruises at Home

It’s easy to get creative with an at-home cruise, and you can create fun for all ages with a cruise-theme without ever leaving an embarkation port.

Cruise-Themed Movies

Many great movies have incorporated cruises into their scenes and settings, from horror and thriller films to disaster movies, romance flicks, comedies, and family movies. Even if the movie might be about a sinking ship or other problem, you can still enjoy seeing glimpses of elegant restaurants, cozy staterooms, and public decks that can make you feel you’re right onboard each seagoing set. Some of the most popular cruise-related movies include:

  • Romance on the High Seas (1948)
  • Poseidon Adventure (1972)
  • Titanic (1997)
  • Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)
  • Out to Sea (1997)
  • The Parent Trap (1998)
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2011)

To really give your cruise movie night an onboard feel, consider playing it outdoors on a larger screen while lounging in the open air, just as you would on a ship’s pool deck for movies at sea. Don’t forget the popcorn!

Books About Cruises

If you’d rather paint pictures of cruises with your imagination, there are many great books about all aspects of cruising. You could go behind-the-scenes of the cruise industry with insider insights, historical accounts, or famous ship profiles, or visit your favorite ports-of-call with travel guides and historical accounts. Best of all, however, can be cruise-themed fiction, such as romances, mysteries, and thrillers set on cruise ships. Great cruise titles include:

Make the most of your cruise ship reading by enjoying each book outdoors on a sunny day, lounging in your favorite chair with tasty snacks at your side, just like you’re on your favorite lido deck.

Mixology Mastery

You don’t have to be onboard a cruise ship to indulge in the liquid libations of the high seas. Instead of calling on a bartender to mix your favorites, try stirring, shaking, and pouring your own cruise drinks. Different cocktail recipe books feature many familiar cruise drinks, and some cruise lines even publish their own featured recipes online. You can also seek out similar recipes from different websites, and experiment with each concoction to meet your own personalized tastes. Some of the most popular cruise drinks to mix up include:

  • Frozen margaritas
  • Martinis of different types
  • Fun Ship Special (Carnival Cruise Line)
  • Coco Loco (Royal Caribbean)
  • Kiss on the Lips (Carnival Cruise Line)
  • Mai Tai
  • Pina Colada
  • Bahama Mama
  • High Tide (Disney Cruise Line)
  • Rebellious Fish (Norwegian Cruise Line)

To give your homemade drinks that cruise ship vibe, use fun drink glasses, add slices of fresh fruit to the rims, and don’t forget the paper umbrellas!

Cruise Ship Dining at Home

You don’t need a cruise to enjoy the elegant meals of the main dining rooms, specialty restaurants, or your favorite poolside fare. Think about the most memorable meals you’ve had onboard, and look online or in cookbooks for similar recipes such as warm chocolate melting cake, beef wellington, vegetarian lasagna, tiramisu, and other sweet and savory dishes. Taking time to learn the recipes can be rewarding when you have to stay home, and you can even tweak the recipes to your own tastes and preferences.

For more tasty fun, consider other culinary adventures, such as learning how to cut and carve fruits and vegetables, or how to plate different dishes in elegant and amazing ways. You can even theme a meal to your favorite destinations, such as adding key lime pie as dessert in celebration of Key West, turning Taco Tuesday into Cozumel Cuisine, or slow-roasting meats in spicy rubs for a Jamaican specialty.

Design a Cruise Slideshow

You’ve taken plenty of photos on every cruise, why not enjoy those photos again even if you can’t be on a new cruise at the moment? Create a cruise-themed slideshow, Powerpoint presentation, or video mashup to relive your favorite cruise memories and recall all the good times you’ve had onboard. You can even mix up photos from different ships and voyages to create your own custom dream itinerary.

With your presentation, don’t forget the cruise-themed music, such as Kokomo, Beyond the Sea, or Hot, Hot, Hot to add an audio component to your cruise memory fun.

Enjoy Cruise Activities

It doesn’t take a cruise director or entire staff of entertainers to create cruise-themed activities you can enjoy at home. You can create trivia contests (with prizes!) about your favorite television shows, books, and movies, or create a playlist for your own at-home dance party, complete with online instructional videos to learn crazy new moves.

Want a bigger challenge? Create a scavenger hunt like you’ve done on cruises, or use your own pool for a fun belly flop contest. You can create life-size board games the whole family can play, or enjoy cruise-themed crafts such as making scrapbook pages for your next cruise vacation, decorating photo frames for your favorite cruise photos, or designing your own silly sun hat.

Take Local Shore Tours

You may be surprised at how many unique and interesting options for tours and excursions exist in your own home town, and you can enjoy those cruise-like outings with no ship involved. Some quick research might reveal unique and quirky museums or monuments in your area, or you can visit zoos, aquariums, or wildlife sanctuaries.

Many communities have ropes courses, escape rooms, miniature golf courses, small waterparks, splashpads, and other activities to try. You can even find local tour companies that offer Segway, bike, or walking tours of your community, which can be a fun way to learn more about your home. They may even have themed option such as foodie tours or ghost walks.

Local kayak rentals, airboat rides, indoor climbing walls, horseback rides, ATV rentals, and other options might also be available much closer than you think, and you can enjoy every one of them without a cruise vacation.

The Best Option of All

When you can’t take a cruise, the very best solution could be booking your next cruise getaway! Research different ports of call and itineraries, study different cruise lines, and discover what features are coming up on new and renovated ships to plan your next seafaring vacation.

Also Read: How Will Coronavirus Affect My Future Cruise?

Even if the cruise must be months away, or even further, you can happily plan the getaway and have the fun anticipation that you will be setting sail again in the future.

Melissa Mayntz
Melissa Mayntz
Avid, enthusiastic cruiser (35+ cruises and counting!), having sailed on multiple cruise lines, 25+ different ships in a variety of classes, and visited ports of call in more than 6 countries, including Caribbean, Mexican, Alaskan, and Hawaiian ports. Widely traveled on multiple continents and homeported from Port Canaveral, as well as a professional freelance writer and editor with more than 20 years' experience and thousands of articles published. Find out more about us here.


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