Preconceptions: everybody’s got them.  Even if you try to keep an open mind and like to be surprised.  Here are some things I really didn’t expect to find in the cruise ship industry.

1.A sense of adventure

If you think cruising is a little, well, *tame*, then think again.  You can bring your sense of adventure via your destination, whether it be Antarctica, the Mekong river, hugging the Norwegian coastline, Iceland or a trip up the Amazon.  Itineraries are getting much more adventurous, and there ‘s plenty of scope to get your adrenaline on.  There are also a lot of smaller cruise ships that can reach out of the way ports.  So when you’re considering things to take on your cruise, don’t forget to allow for all these adventures in your packing list.

2. Sails

Two former business colleagues have been on a tall ship cruise and just loved it.  Imagine working the sails with the crew, lying in the nets at sundown, and even climbing to the Crow’s Nest (perhaps that’s not one for me…).  Think of those tiny ports off the beaten tracks that these ships visit, and hear the theme from Robinson Crusoe all over again.  You can also be part of a flotilla in the Greek Islands if you want the full “pretend it’s my boat” adventure.

3. An education

From the inner workings of MI6 to the intricacies of chocolate production and the different tastes of cacao from different locations, it’s surprising what I’ve learned on board.  Some of the best things to do on a cruise can be the unexpected ones.  You can be trained by RADA, become part of a choir, learn any number of crafts or how to dance ballroom.  There’s even an opportunity for students to take a semester at sea.  No danger in wanting to play hooky on that one.

4. A love of art

From actual artist’s studios at sea all ready for your participation to a vibrant collection of art on board, you’d be surprised at the feast for the eyes to be found, and one that can rival the scenery.  I’ve even watched glass blown on the top deck of a ship, and seen museum exhibits in a fascinating display of the work of Corning Museum of Glass.  If you were wondering what to do on a cruise, you’ll be amazed at the amount of options available to you.  If you’re going on a cruise for the first time, don’t forget to check out the daily news to see all the options that are open to you.

Corning Museum of Glass on board Celebrity Eclipse

Definitely a highlight of my trip: the team from the Corning Museum of Glass showing glass blowing techniques on the top deck of Celebrity Eclipse.  Beautiful work, entertaining and informative banter.

5. The Mouse and his mates

If you bring your children, you’d be surprised at the range of characters prowling a cruise ship.  From Dreamworks to Disney and even Noddy, they’re all doing the rounds to entertain you.

Even the adults are due for a few surprises.  We had a memorable night watching the masked ball on one trip.  Dancers dressed in full Louis IV regalia complete with wigs, gowns and buckled shoes were traveling up and down in the glass lifts beside the atrium.  Somewhat surprised passengers heading to dinner got an invite to dance from a bewigged noble, while the string quartet thrashed out an assertive version of Hong Kong Garden.

6. Healthy Living

It’s not all about the gourmet indulgences….well, it can be.  But you could actually leave lighter and fitter than you embarked.  I still maintain that I spent the best 147 calories ever on an arugula and almond salad with raspberry dressing on the Queen Mary 2.

The spa cuisine onboard is magnificent, the gym facilities are superb, there are plenty of pools, and there are all kinds of free activities to get your adrenaline flowing and your calories burning.  Plus, if you’re anything like us, your step counter will be getting a serious workout in port.  You can read more about our first cruise on the Queen Mary 2 here.

7. Time on your own

I have not yet failed to find solitude on a cruise ship.  Whether it’s an undiscovered lounge, a stray chair on a deserted deck, or a secret corner of the library, there’s always a little quiet place with your name on it.  There’s nothing better than finding that secret spot to curl up with a book.

And finally: Loading A Cruise Ship

Some of the things you did expect to find are right here.

Loaded: What the Celebrity Eclipse eats and drinks for fourteen nights
Loaded: What the Celebrity Eclipse eats and drinks for fourteen nights

Here are the store supplies on the Celebrity Eclipse for an average 7 night cruise (as quoted in the onboard newsletter in 2010):

  • 15,400 pounds of beef
  • 2,500 pounds of lamb
  • 3,100 pounds of pork
  • 2,050 pounds of veal
  • 1,900 pounds of sausage
  • 3,000 pounds of chicken
  • 2,200 pounds of turkey
  • 5,380 pounds of fish
  • 900 pounds of lobster
  • 18,000 pounds of fresh vegetables
  • 8,400 pounds of potatoes
  • 20,000 pounds of fresh fruit
  • 3,000 gallons of milk
  • 320 quarts of cream
  • 240 gallons of icecream
  • 4,000 dozen eggs
  • 3,500 pounds of sugar
  • 2,600 pounds of rice
  • 1,200 pounds of cereal
  • 400 pounds of jelly
  • 1,000 pounds of coffee
  • 1,400 pounds of cookies
  • 40 pounds of herbs and spices
  • 2,950 bottles of assorted wines
  • 175 bottles of champagne
  • 150 bottles of gin
  • 350 bottles of vodka
  • 290 bottles of whiskey
  • 175 bottles of rum
  • 40 bottles of sherry
  • 570 bottles of assorted liqueurs
  • 7,800 bottles/cans of beers

It fails to say how many cans of iced tea were loaded, but reader, I assure you, I drank most of them.

Why not pin this for later?

7 Things You Didn't Expect To Find On A Cruise Ship

Author: Bernie

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4 thoughts on “7 Things You Didn’t Expect To Find On A Cruise Ship

  1. That’s an impressive list of provisions!! If I ever take a cruise, I’d like it to be one of the adventurous ones, or one to an area I am very familiar with, like the Caribbean, so I can just lounge, eat and use the facilities all day long. Good to know that it is possible to remain or become fit onboard.

    I just met a couple who used to give presentations on cruise ships, so your number 3 did not come as a surprise. And, when we were sailing on our own boat for eight years, we did see plenty of cruise ships and tallships with sails in different Caribbean and Pacific harbors. We were actually invited aboard one last summer, in New England.

    Great blog topic!!

    Posted on July 11, 2017 at 9:39 pm
    1. I love the tall ships; that’s definitely on my list. Your adventures sound wonderful; I’m looking forward to brewing some decent coffee and settling down for a proper read.

      And yes, the provisions list is massive. We were parked waiting to drop off bags, and saw the trucks pulling up to deliver their wares. I think they were down one case of red wine on that trip though, as there was definitely a wine-smelling puddle on the quayside at Southampton. 🙂

      Posted on July 11, 2017 at 9:44 pm
  2. I’d really like to go on a cruise, but my husband is a bit afraid of the idea of being on the water for so long.

    I’m going to show him this post, hopefully it will convince him. It got me excited!

    Posted on July 14, 2017 at 4:06 am
    1. I really hope he’d love it; it can be great fun.

      If you can find a short cruise that’s convenient for you, then that’s probably a good starter option. Every cruise line has a very different vibe, so it’s about finding the right one for you. For the most part, you genuinely don’t know you’re afloat, particularly on the bigger ships. We must have done about 90 days plus at sea now, and I think we’ve only felt the boat move on two of them. One was in the Bay of Biscay, which is well known for being a bit frisky.

      Hope you find something that suits you both to try it out. If it’s a cruise line I’ve been on (NCL, Cunard, Celebrity, CMV, P&O), I’ll happily share what I remember. There’s a post on here about our first weekender on the Queen Mary 2, which might give you an idea what to expect.

      Posted on July 14, 2017 at 9:30 am