Interested in actually learning something? Royal Caribbean offers onboard classes in cupcake making, sushi making for a fee, and complementary Latin dance classes are offered as well. They also have teaching demonstrations of things like towel and napkin folding, ice carving or even a jewelry making class.
For musical entertainment, you can enjoy music and dancing in many of the ships lounges or take in one of many exciting show productions. My favorite was We Will Rock You. I saw the original musical in London, and it was amazing, so I was concerned on how that huge production would crossover to be done on a cruise ship. I was not disappointed. It was incredible and I loved it. They also have Spectra’s Cabaret, which is a musical sensory experience that combines live musical performances and experimental cinema. The Gift is another musical that takes the viewer on a magical journey that mystifies, as well as inspires. All of these productions are complementary, but reservations are strongly recommended because they do fill up fast.
There might be loads of entertainment on the ship, but not all of it is professional. The passengers are also up for entertaining each other. There are many opportunities for karaoke and even a passenger talent contest for those daring enough to get on the big stage. For those without a show worthy talent who would still like to entertain, and maybe even win prizes while doing it, they have various game shows passengers can sign up to be contestants on. They have games like Battle of the Sexes, Love & Marriage and Quest, which is for adults only (do not act surprised when you see your male friend wearing a strange woman’s bra).
Would you rather pursue more relaxing interests? There is plenty to do when you feel like doing nothing. The most popular pastime on cruise ships is just lounging by the pool or relaxing in the hot tubs. Towels are available from stations near each pool. You check out a towel using your SeaPass® Card and check it back in when you are done with it. Waiters come by offering drinks while you relax. Another popular spot on the ship is the Spa &Fitness Center. The Vitality Spa offers messages, facials, wraps and acupuncture as well as beauty treatments and tooth whitening. If you want to look really special for that special evening out, they have a salon to do your hair and nails. Make sure you reserve your spa services early in the cruise or before you leave since appointment times are limited. Also, they offer more openings and even special pricing during days while the ship is in port.
If you want to bring back more than a nice tan from the cruise, check out all of the shopping opportunities available on the ship. They have many fine shops for quality goods and jewelry, plus on sea days they offer great sales on various items. Most goods, including alcohol and tobacco, are duty free in most cases. If you want a truly unique purchase, don’t miss out on the art gallery. They offer some of the most fascinating pieces from artists all over the world.
It is amazing how much goes on at any given time on the ship and the person behind the scenes to make this all happen is the cruise director. A ship holding over 4,000 passengers having all different tastes and needing to be entertained around the clock day after day is no easy task. I spoke with Mitch Merucci, the cruise director at the time for the Anthem of the Seas, to find out a little more what it was like. Mitch has been with Royal Caribbean for over 15 years and loves his job. We spoke about the challenges that cruise directors face, like needing to rearrange activities when the weather changes and outdoor activities are no longer feasible. Cruise directors also need to, at times, change programming on the fly. Even though all of the entertainment is planned out ahead of schedule, there are times that the passengers would prefer something different. A perfect example was when karaoke was scheduled almost every night on a cruise that I took several years ago. The demographics of the passengers on that particular cruise were not participating and were going to bed earlier. So, the cruise director in that case added big band music several of the nights and it was much more attended. When Mitch was asked what he enjoyed the most about his job, the answer was quick and simple, he loves to see the reaction on the faces of his passengers.