17 Ways to Relax on a Cruise and De-stress

how to relax on a cruise

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A cruise vacation is the perfect way to unwind after months of hard work. However, some cruise passengers say that they struggle to truly relax while on vacation.

Combine a bit of FOMO with difficulty de-stressing from the fast pace of regular life, and this can be a challenge!

However, a cruise vacation is different than other vacations. While there’s so much to do on cruise ships, from onboard attractions to a variety of activities, there are also many opportunities to relax, rejuvenate and de-stress on a cruise vacation.

17 Ways to Relax on a Cruise

1. Relax on Your Balcony

If you have a balcony cabin, relaxing on your balcony is a great way to unwind and destress. Whether it’s reading a book, having a glass of wine, or just listening to the waves, it’s hard to beat the feeling of relaxing on a cruise ship balcony.

Having tried various stateroom types, including interior, oceanview, and balcony cabins, I can confidently say that balcony staterooms are in a league of their own when it comes to relaxation.

Waking up to the sight of the waves from your balcony is a unique pleasure only a balcony cabin can offer, making it one of the best aspects of a cruise vacation.

2. Stay on the Cruise Ship on a Port Day

cruise pool sea day

This one may be controversial, but staying on a cruise ship while in the port of a call is a great way to relax!

On a port day, most cruise passengers will get off the ship. This means you will have the cruise ship to yourself, which is very relaxing.

While others are exploring the port, you can enjoy a quiet lido deck, skip the lines, and experience fast service. Yes, you might miss out on the cruise port’s attractions, but the unique benefits of staying on a cruise ship during a port of call are worth considering.

3. Relax in the Adult-Only Areas

cruise adult pool

If you’re on a cruise that caters to families, consider hanging out in the adult-only areas. Sure, the lido deck may have more going on. However, the adult-only areas will be much quieter and more relaxing.

I admit I don’t enjoy the sound of kids yelling, so adult-only areas are one of my favorite parts of cruising. Having a designated area designed for adults to relax in a peaceful and quiet atmosphere is a great way to unwind and destress.

Related: 20 Do’s and Don’ts for Sea Days on a Cruise

4. Watch a Sunset

Holland America cruise ship sailing into sunset

Watching a sunset at sea is a unique experience unique to cruising. When you’re on a cruise, you’re surrounded by the open ocean, which offers panoramic views of the horizon.

The unobstructed views allow you to witness the full sunset. Watching the sun dip behind the horizon is extremely calming.

Whether you’re watching the sunset from your balcony, on the lido deck, or at an outdoor bar, this is a magical way to unwind on a cruise ship.

5. Walk (or Run) on the Jogging Track

Walking along the jogging track is an amazing way to relax while staying active. There’s no better feeling than walking outdoors on the jogging track with the stunning ocean views surrounding you.

A leisurely walk around the jogging track can be incredibly refreshing. Feel the ocean breeze, listen to the sound of the crashing waves, and take in the ocean view as you walk around the track.

6. Read a Book by the Ocean

It’s hard to beat the relaxation you get when you read a book by the ocean. Reading a book while you feel the sea breeze is a therapeutic feeling and something many cruisers love to do.

When I want to relax on a cruise, I like to take a lounge chair, face the ocean, and read a book. This way, I can enjoy my book while fully taking in the environment around me.

7. Breakfast on Your Balcony

cruise balcony breakfast

If you’re fortunate enough to have a balcony stateroom, consider the privilege of ordering room service breakfast and enjoying it on your private balcony. This unique experience is one of the many perks that make cruise vacations so special.

Imagine waking up, stepping out onto your balcony, and enjoying a leisurely breakfast. Sipping a warm cup of coffee, enjoying your breakast, and staring out into the ocean it’s a moment of pure tranquility that’s hard to beat.

For me, breakfast on my balcony is a ritual I do on every cruise. The freedom to eat at my own pace, the soothing sound of the waves, and the comfort of my balcony make it one of my favorite parts of a cruise vacation.

Related: 10 Things to Never Do on a Cruise Ship Balcony

8. Join a Yoga, Meditation, or Stretch Class

Many cruise ships offer yoga, meditation, or stretch classes. Oftentimes, these classes are offered in scenic locations with beautiful views of the ocean.

These classes are a wonderful way to stretch your body and clear your mind. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced, taking these classes is a unique experience and a great way to destress on a cruise ship.

9. Walk on the Promenade Deck

If your cruise ship has a promenade deck, going for a morning or after-dinner stroll is a great way to relax and destress. Take in the 360-degree ocean views and feel the gentle breeze through your hair, without the direct sun of most jogging tracks.

If your ship doesn’t have a full wraparound promenade, you’ll still likely find a partial promenade deck complete with deck chairs to sit and take in the view.

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10. Go Offline

One of the best ways to truly relax on a cruise ship is to unplug from technology. Turn off your phone and take a break from social media to make the most of your cruise vacation.

Instead of spending time on your phone, disconnect and enjoy your surroundings. This can be a great time to talk to other passengers or relax on your own with a nice book.

Disconnecting at sea is one of the greatest perks of cruising, and it will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed.

11. Book a Spa Treatment

If you’re looking for the ultimate way to relax on a cruise ship, consider booking a spa treatment. Most cruise ships offer various spa services ranging from massages to facials and acupuncture.

Many cruise ship spas also offer thermal suites with steam rooms, heated loungers, and saunas.

When I cruise, I love to book a spa treatment. Spending an hour at the spa and getting a massage is the ultimate way to disconnect, relax, and rejuvenate.

12. Listen to Live Music

If you’re looking for a way to relax and unwind, consider listening to live music. Listening to live music is a great way to relax, whether it’s a live band at the pub, a pianist at the piano bar, or a singer in the atrium.

I like relaxing on a cruise ship by going to the piano bar, listening to live music, and drinking a cocktail. This is the perfect way to unwind after dinner and enjoy the cruise ship experience.

13. Take an Afternoon Nap

One of the benefits of the cruise is that your cabin is always nearby, so you can easily take a nap when you want. Taking an afternoon nap is a great way to relax, catch up on sleep, and make the most of your cruise vacation.

One of my favorite things after a day in port is to return to the cruise ship and take an afternoon nap before dinner. This is the best way to destress, recharge, and enjoy the relaxing parts of a cruise vacation.

14. Book Your Excursions in Advance

Ketchikan Alaska Harriet Hunt Lake canoe excursion

Booking your excursions before the cruise is a great way to avoid a stressful situation once onboard. Popular excursions are booked quickly, so booking them in advance is best.

If you wait until you’re on the cruise to book your excursions, you risk missing out on an experience you may have wanted to try. Book your excursions before the cruise to avoid the stress of booking them once you’re on board!

15. Stargaze at Night

After the sun goes down, head to the top deck and enjoy the beauty of the night sky. Since you’re far from the land, the stars will appear brighter.

Stargazing at sea is a fantastic experience and a great way to relax.

16. Enjoy the Quiet Parts of the Cruise Ship

Although cruise ships can hold thousands of passengers, you can always find a quiet place to relax. If you want to destress on a cruise ship, find a quiet area and relax.

Whether you prefer the sun deck, the promenade, or a cafe, the cruise ship offers a variety of quiet areas for you to unwind and destress.

17. Arrive Early on Embarkation Day


Your vacation starts as soon as you board the cruise ship. Arriving early on embarkation day will make the process stress-free, and you can relax immediately.

If you want to relax, arrive early on embarkation day, prepare travel documents, and enjoy a smooth boarding process.

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Final Thoughts on Ways to Relax on a Cruise and De-stress

Whether you decide to disconnect, book a spa treatment, or read a book by the ocean, there’s no denying the many amazing ways to relax on a cruise ship. At the end of the day, cruises are a great way to travel because you can relax, distress and visit new destinations.

What’s your favorite way to relax on a cruise ship? Please let me know in the comments below.

Happy Cruising!


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Author Bio: Ethan Schattauer has been cruising with his family since he was four years old and has been on more than 30 cruises. As a frequent traveler, Ethan shares his unique perspective on what cruising is like from a young person’s perspective. Ethan also writes about men’s fashion, travel and college advice on the website WhatToWearMen.com.


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