I go on a cruise once a month. New cruisers keep missing out on these 5 underrated things. (2024)

I go on a Royal Caribbean cruise just about once a month, and it provides me with the privilege of experiencing so many different ways to enjoy a cruise.

I go on a cruise once a month. New cruisers keep missing out on these 5 underrated things. (1)

Whether I'm on the newest and biggest cruise ship in the world, or enjoying a classic cruising experience on a smaller, older vessel, it remains my favorite way to travel and see the world.

On any cruise I go on, there's always a majority of cruisers who are brand new to cruising. Or it's their second or third sailing ever, with large gaps of time between each voyage.

New cruisers are fun to talk to, because I get to see their approach to Royal Caribbean, and what they like to do. I try especially hard not to have a jaded "been there, done that" attitude towards cruising, and new cruisers reinforce what makes a cruise a fun choice for a vacation.

Read more: 5 things people that cruise a lot would tell first time cruisers if they could

I go on a cruise once a month. New cruisers keep missing out on these 5 underrated things. (2)

But someone new to cruising could easily overlook some of the best activities that are totally underrated.

I thought of five things to do on a cruise that are worth considering that I see newbies missing far too often.

Eating beyond the buffet

While I love the cruise ship buffet, there are often so many other great alternatives to explore for breakfast or lunch.

The Windjammer is a staple, and I'll go there at least once every cruise. But new cruisers often overlook the other choices they have.

Considering the Windjammer can get very busy, it's a good idea to embrace alternatives. Depending on the ship you're on, there can be other complimentary choices at Solarium Bistro, Aquadome Market, Park Cafe, Sorrento's, or Cafe Promenade.

I go on a cruise once a month. New cruisers keep missing out on these 5 underrated things. (4)

If your ship has them, my top three alternatives are:

  • Solarium Bistro
  • Aquadome Market
  • Park Cafe

Use the Windjammer as a backup, and try out these other places. You might find your new favorite restaurant.

Staying onboard in port

I go on a cruise once a month. New cruisers keep missing out on these 5 underrated things. (5)

If your cruise has a port stop you just cannot find a fun shore excursion that really jumps out at you, consider staying on the ship. On port intensive cruises, a day off from touring may sound like the perfect day.

By staying on the ship, you'll be able to take advantage of a significantly less busy ship. This is the perfect time to hit the water slides, pools, and hot tubs because there will be barely any other passengers around.

When you choose to sail on one of Royal Caribbean's biggest ships that are packed with so many cool things to do, be sure to make time for them all without the crowds.

Read more: 5 best reasons to stay onboard the ship while in Perfect Day at CocoCay

Pickleball

I go on a cruise once a month. New cruisers keep missing out on these 5 underrated things. (6)

While I've never played pickleball, it's become a smash hit among veteran cruisers.

Royal Caribbean has been known for offering lots of activities on its ships, and pickleball has joined the ranks of the rock climbing wall, FlowRider, and ice skating.

Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, ping pong, and badminton.

I go on a cruise once a month. New cruisers keep missing out on these 5 underrated things. (7)

You can find pickleball games ready to go on the ship's sports court in the morning hours. Refer to the Royal Caribbean app for specific hours. There's usually an open play session every morning, where the equipment is provided for you, and it's first-come, first served for court space.

There's no cost to playing pickleball, and it's a fun opportunity to meet other people.

Top Tier event

I go on a cruise once a month. New cruisers keep missing out on these 5 underrated things. (8)

This tip is really for someone that has taken a few cruises, but there may be large gaps between sailings. Maybe you went as a kid and are now trying it again as an adult.

If you're at least Platinum tier (30 cruise points) in Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor Society, you can on attend the Top Tier event on sailings 5 nights or longer.

At the top tier event, you will get a speech from the Captain, Hotel Director, and Cruise Director, while enjoying a complimentary glass of champagne. They recognize new Pinnacle members and top cruisers onboard.

I go on a cruise once a month. New cruisers keep missing out on these 5 underrated things. (9)

The free booze is a nice touch, especially if you don't have a drink package.

But the real value in the event is the cruise line takes time to thank you for your patronage, and the speeches by the ship's Captain and Hotel Director can provide interesting anecdotes and insight into what's happening on the ship and within the fleet.

It's a quick event, usually 30 minutes long, and you could leave at any time if you were utterly bored.

Take a behind-the-scenes tour

I go on a cruise once a month. New cruisers keep missing out on these 5 underrated things. (10)

Royal Caribbean offers behind-the-scenes tours that have an extra cost, but are really worth it.

Referred to as the "All Access Tour", you can book it before your cruise on the Royal Caribbean website.

The All Access Tour is a 2-hour walking tour of many areas of the ship, and costs extra. It's eye opening how much work occurs to keep the ship functional and optimal.

I go on a cruise once a month. New cruisers keep missing out on these 5 underrated things. (11)

You'll visit areas such as the ship's kitchen (referred to as a galley), the bridge, engine room, theater, and more.

This tour showcases how much a ship is more like a floating city than hotel, and it's really interesting to see it all.

Planning a cruise? Start here:

  • 8 cruise tips for first-time Royal Caribbean cruisers
  • What’s included in your Royal Caribbean cruise fare
  • 5 quick and easy tips for finding a great shore excursion on your own
  • Food on a Royal Caribbean cruise
  • Which is the best Royal Caribbean cruise ship?
  • What is the best time to go on a Caribbean cruise?
I go on a cruise once a month. New cruisers keep missing out on these 5 underrated things. (2024)

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