While some cruise ship activities can come at a modest cost, there are always plenty of free things to do on a cruise. From giggling at comedians to putting your feet up by the pool, there’s never any shortage of activities to make your sea days memorable without spending a dime. 

It’s worth remembering that depending on the type of cruise ship you’re sailing on and what packages you have paid upfront for, different things will and won’t be free on your cruise. 

If you’re sailing with a luxury line like Regent Seven Seas, then nearly everything will be included as you rake the benefits of your hefty cruise fare, whereas on cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, P&O, Carnival and more, depending on your budget, you want might want to be a bit more strategic about what you take advantage of on the ship. 

Here are some of the best free things to do on a cruise to make your cruise experience exciting yet relaxing the whole way through. 

Enjoy the pool

The obvious way to watch the hours go by is to put your feet up by the pool. If you’re with kids you might have to withstand a bit of noise and do some light supervision while your little ones run around, but there’s also generally somewhere more quiet to retreat to if you want to read or sunbake in peace. You can often head up to pools on higher decks of the ship but for a bit less splashing and craziness. 

Catch a show 

The majority of cruise lines include their shows in the price of your fare, meaning you catch Broadway-style shows on your ship. More and more money and production is being injected into cruise ship shows, with them rivaling the worlds best theatres as the best play to see actors and musicians bring productions to life. 

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Theatricality aplenty.

Enjoy live music 

The entertainment definitely doesn’t end at plays, on cruise ships you’ll generally be able to find all sorts of live music happening throughout your stay, whether you’re looking for some crooning jazz at the piano or something to make you get up and dance at one of the ships bars or clubs. If you have a drinks package or already purchased or as part of your fare, you can add getting a bit boozed up to the music to your list of free activities. 

Watch a movie under the stars

Cruise lines such as Carnival, Celebrity, Princess and more will commonly host outdoor cinema nights, putting your favourite flicks up on a big screen by the pool. This way you can enjoy the fresh ocean air and if you’re on a budget, avoid paying for your own Wi-Fi streaming package and rather experience the movie with the cruise community onboard your ship. 


While maybe a preferred option if you have the drinks package to go with it, you can never have a bad time singing karaoke. The majority of cruise ships have karaoke lounges that are completely free. Some cruise lines like Carnival have karaoke with a live band, so you can close your eyes and pretend you’re at Madison Square Garden as you belt out your favourite song. 


Most Carnival and Royal Caribbean ships, as well as a few NCL and Disney ships are equipped with mini-golf courses that are free to try your luck at as many times as you desire. Whether you’re with your kids or just an adult with a competitive edge, mini-golf with ocean views is always a winner.

Cherish the views 

It maybe goes without saying, but half the beauty of cruise lies in the beauty that you’ll sail past. Depending on where you are in the world you could be spotting wildlife, gazing over fjords, admiring bright blue ocean, peeking into coastal towns or so much more. There’s also nothing like a sunrise or sunset at sea, making them peak times for finding a nice spot on the ship and watching nature do its thing. 

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There’s always plenty of room for relaxing on a cruise.

Eat eat eat 

With food included, you’ll want to make sure you eat your money’s worth. Beyond just free pizza and ice cream going on most ships, you’ll have a range of all types of cuisines to choose from. Whether you’re going to known favourites like Alfredo’s Pizzeria on Princess, Guy’s Burger Joint on Carnival, the Windjammer on Royal Caribbean, discovering new bites or anything else, there’s no better chance to indulge than on a cruise. 


If you think you’ve learnt a thing or two in your years on earth, why not test your mettle at trivia? Many cruise lines host trivia everyday on a variety of topics and themes, generally with some exciting prizes to be won if you prove victorious. 

Check out the ship specific free things to do 

Different ships will have different activities for free, as well as different unique activities to enjoy. For example, on Royal Caribbean you can ride the FlowRider to test yourself out as a surfer or boogieboarder, as well as have one free go on the RipCord, to try indoor skydiving. 

Comedy club 

Cruise lines like Carnival have completely free comedy clubs where you can go and catch a few laughs without worrying about any costs. There are generally kid-friendly and non kid-friendly shows so make sure you check before you go. 

Keep fit 

Most ships these days have excellent fitness and wellness facilities, aiming to keep you just as in tip-top shape stepping off the cruise as you were when you stepped on. If you want to burn off some of your buffet treats, then check out the ships fitness facilities.