Discover Exclusive Offers and Special Deals on MSC Cruise Deals
Find a cruise and book cruises direct - no booking fee!


What Are the 10 Best Sports to Play on Cruise Ships?

Discover 10 exciting sports you can play on your next cruise vacation, from classic games to thrilling activities like surfing and rock climbing.

By Cruise Booking Team

Book A Cruise Now

A cruise is a complete journey that involves more than just sailing across the ocean; it's a journey into a world of luxury, enjoyment, and unparalleled adventures. Apart from lavish cabins and gourmet meals, cruise ships are the zones of jolly recreation. There are many exciting sports that you can try while the vast open sea is your setting. This article dives into the essence of cruise ship experiences, highlighting 10 outstanding sports that redefine what it means to be leisurely at sea. Everything from the exhilarating action on full-sized basketball courts to the rhythmic rallies of table tennis on the deck combines excitement, friendship, and the calm sea wind to make each activity distinct.

So fasten your seatbelts as we embark on a virtual experience of the thrilling world of sports on cruise ships, where every match is a memory captured against the great expanse of the infinite ocean, showcasing many aspects of the appeal that cruising offers. In this exploration, we'll dive into sports onboard cruise ships, focusing on 10 incredible games that enhance the cruising experience.

List of 10 of the Most Popular Cruise Ship Sports

1. Table Tennis

The two women are holding ping pong rackets

Table Tennis is a game that has been popular on cruise ships and is played both by beginners and those who may have hidden talents for ping-pong. You can find its tables on the deck of a ship or in special activity centers where quick mini-tournaments can be organized. The gentle sea breeze and the repetitive noise of the ball hitting against the paddle generate an inviting ambiance that even amateur players find too irresistible not to participate.

Some cruise lines also provide formal competitions for fans to provoke a competitive spirit among their passengers. These events reflect an individual's skills and create a connection among the participants who unite under this speedy and captivating sport.

2. Basketball

Shaking hands during a basketball game is a sign of fairness and respect between the players

Suppose you are looking for a cruising experience involving high-intensity leisure activities. In that case, full-size basketball courts are available as part of various popular cruise fleets, some of which are Azamara, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and MSC Cruises. These courts, generally in the up-deck areas, make great places for professional tournaments and informal sporting activities with incredible ocean vistas.

These courts are unique because they have nets or fences, which ensure that the basketballs remain in play and allow passengers not to worry about their incorrect shots ending up in such a vast space of water. Cruise ships usually schedule separate periods for different age groups so everyone on board can have a fun experience. 

3. Shuffleboard

An aerial view of shuffleboard from a high angle

Shuffleboard is a game that has stood the test of time and can be enjoyed by all age groups. The shuffleboard courts, usually on the top deck, pave the way for an unobstructed ocean view. This game is a beautiful, family-friendly game with an easy layout. Players take turns sliding discs across the deck to score as many points as possible.

Shuffle boarding is fun for many because of its relaxed atmosphere and is different from other high-intensity activities on cruise ships. It is ideal for those interested in relaxing, enjoying the scenery, and playing a friendly game while doing minimal physical activity.

4. Bocce Ball

A group of elderly friends playing petanque together

On some cruise lines, the lawn sports venture includes bocce ball as a central aspect of its activities, and Viking is among them. Bocce courts, provided for enjoying the game within the natural environments of parks, serve as a fun attraction point on Viking cruise ships.

The object of the game, which originates in ancient Rome, is tossing bocce balls in the direction of a smaller target ball called the "pallino." A game of bocce ball in the natural park setting offers a distinctive and peaceful backdrop, allowing players to engage with nature while enjoying the warm embrace of the sun and the gentle sea breeze.

5. Ice Skating

Young couples enjoying winter time at the ice rink while hugging

Picture yourself having an exciting encounter when you skate around in a realistic rink that would be set up on the deck of your cruise ship. Cruise Lines that offer such a feature often organize open ice-skating hours, allowing guests to wear skates and freely drift with the wind while being on cruise ships with high waves.

Ice skating on a cruise ship is not only about the sport but also builds bonding among passengers. The open-skate sessions provide a unique opportunity to interact with strangers of various kinds united by their passion for this fascinating recreation. 

Related10 Fun Things to Do on a Cruise Ship

6. Surfing

During a sunny day, a male surfer is riding a blue wave on a blue wave

For those who enjoy water sports, surfing on a cruise is a memory you won't easily erase. Nowadays, wave-generating gadgets spray and thrill as riders catch waves on boogie boards or enjoy the sensation of surfing while staying aboard.

Despite the seeming impossibility of surf learning by beginners, tutorials are often provided on cruise ships where they hold instructional sessions right over decks. With the help of professional teachers, passengers can try stand-up surfing and balance on a board during these cruise rides, creating memories for life.

7. Water Volleyball

Player with equipment who is a medium shot in water polo

On a cruise ship, a main pool and a competitive volleyball match create an exciting mix. Played in one of the ship's main pools, water volleyball gives the traditional game a cool new twist. For travelers of all ages, playing under the open sky while surrounded by the endless stretch of an ocean affords a rare and satisfying excursion.

Besides being a great activity, playing water volleyball with other passengers is an enjoyable swim while competing for fun. It is an opportunity to make a lasting mark and build cherished memories with friends, family, and travelers. 

8. Rock Climbing

A young man practices rock climbing indoors on an artificial wall

Many modern cruises have rock climbing walls that allow passengers to climb up high while onboard. In particular, Norwegian cruise lines are known for their strenuous and comprehensive rock climbing activities.

For those who love adventure, these climbing walls provide an adrenaline-filled experience with the tranquil sea as its incredible backdrop. Safety is the foremost priority for cruise ships, which have trained personnel and robust safety protocols to ensure rock climbing enthusiasts enjoy thrills in a safe environment.

9. Croquet

A game of croquet is being played on a green lawn

When on a cruise ship, feel time travel and enjoy the excitement of playing the classic English game sportive croquet. Croquet is an exciting leisure game that has been since the 1850s on an open lawn with natural grass. Even if you don't know the game, ships typically allow people to participate in this old hobby by providing them with all the necessary equipment.

Croquet becomes more than just a game on a cruise ship when played in the sun and against the tranquil backdrop of the water; it's a lovely experience that lets guests enjoy the age-old enjoyment of this timeless pastime.

10. Pool Table

Playing with a ball on a table by a young woman

As the day turns into night, and the ship gently glides through the waves, a different kind of excitement awaits on the deck – the clack of pool balls and the friendly banter of fellow travelers gathered around a pool table. Rounds of this age-old game are ideal, with a bottle of beer, a cue stick in hand, and an eye on the ball.

The cruise ship’s pool tables are specifically engineered to maintain their levelness despite the ship's mild movement. Friendly matches among passengers foster a spirit of relaxation and companionship. It's a carefree way to relax, socialize with other passengers, and end a thrilling day at sea.

Related: Which Cruise Ship Would Be Best For Sports Lovers?


Cruising is not just about reaching destinations; it's about the journey and the many experiences waiting to be discovered on board. Engaging in sports on a cruise ship adds a layer of fun, excitement, and companionship that goes beyond traditional vacation activities. From the fast-paced thrill of basketball to the leisurely elegance of croquet, each sport offers a unique opportunity to connect with fellow passengers, stay active, and create lasting memories.

As you embark on your next cruise vacation, consider packing your sporting gear alongside your swimwear and formal attire. Book your cruise tickets through, unleash the adventurer within you, and try your hand at these sports while on cruise. 

Tags: cruise lines

The Most Beautiful Beaches in Africa

Book Cruise to Africa You might be thinking that Africa is a place where water is significantly less, but that is not true. It is a paradise of hidden beaches that can blow your mind out. To help [...]

September 20, 2022

The Most Beautiful Beaches in Central America

Why only visit the city or country when you can explore the beaches? You might be thinking about those beaches and when you can see them. Thus, here is a small list of the best beaches [...]

March 13, 2024

The Most Beautiful Beaches in Aruba

Book Cruises from Aruba Imagine a place with pristine white sand that meets the turquoise sea can only be possible in Aruba. It is a place with the most beautiful beaches. It offers most luxurious [...]

December 13, 2023

10 Best Beaches in Mexico Where You Can Get Away

Book Mexico Cruises Mexico is a place that gives you unforgettable beaching experience. You can visit it with your friends and families who love to spend their time on beach and in water. Explore [...]

September 05, 2023

Our cruise experts will help you to plan your perfect cruise vacation!
phone number with country code (hyphen allowed)
0 / 500

Cruise Inquiry