Cruises may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you're hunting for holiday entertainment, but there's a growing realisation that cheap cruises can provide some of the best value fun out there. So what exactly do these cruise lines have to offer? We take a look at the entertainment options available on a few lines renowned for their quality cheap cruises.
Carnival specialises in fun cruises - it's their thing. So it's no surprise that this cruise line has an excellent entertainment line up. This is also a line known for their cheap cruises which cater to family vacationers, party animals and ordinary folk who just want to have a great holiday. While the entertainment options available will vary a bit from ship to ship, take a look below to discover some of the exciting things you can do onboard a Carnival cruise.
If you've never been to a screening of an IMAX film, it's difficult to understand just how unique this experience is. If you have, you'll know just how immersive it can be. Who needs 3D when you have an enormous screen that seems to draw you into the action? Carnival boasts the very first IMAX theatre at sea, screening big budget blockbusters, IMAX shorts and recent hit films.
Somewhere between a bicycle and a monorail, the SkyRide is a truly novel experience. This pedal powered contraption allows you to zip around the ship, gaining a bird's eye view of the proceedings below and the wide open sea all around you. There are two lanes, so you can grab a friend and challenge them to a race, or simply be content with gliding serenely around the ship, enjoying the magnificent view.
This one will be a big hit with the kids, but it's not just the young ones who will enjoy Carnival's onboard waterpark. WaterWorks provides the perfect opportunity for fun in the sun - stay cool and explore the many different slides and other watery attractions. From the competitive edge of the Speedway Splash to the thrills and spills of the DrainPipe, hours of fun can be had here, no matter what your age. Don't leave before you try the Green Thunder - the steepest slide at sea. As waterpark thrills go, this one leads the pack. The floor will drop away underneath you and you'll plunge downwards at speeds of up to 65 kilometres per hour - there is no better way to get your adrenaline pumping onboard. While you won't find the IMAX or SkyRide on Royal Caribbean's Australian sailings, WaterWorks is a much loved feature across the RC fleet.
Princess Cruises strikes the perfect balance between class and affordability, and their entertainment offerings reflect this happy balance. While Princess isn't particularly well known for their cheap cruises, they frequently have amazing sales which can bring a wonderful Princess cruise right into your price range. You'll want to check that the entertainment listed below is available on your ship, but these will give you a good idea of the type of things you can expect to enjoy on your next Princess cruise.
The Voice of the Ocean
Anyone who's stepped up to the mic on karaoke night or been drawn into the drama of shows like The Voice will be thrilled to learn that Princess offers an oceangoing singing competition: The Voice of the Ocean. Whether you plan to sit back and soak up all the excitement or step up to the plate and put your own voice on the line, this is a massively engaging event that will treat competitors to rehearsals with musicians and vocal mentors, and bring audiences a spectacular show starring their very own cruisemates.
Discovery at Sea
While cruises are, first and foremost, about relaxing and taking a break from your day-to-day responsibilities, no one ever said amazing learning experiences were off the table. Princess has teamed up with Discovery Communications to bring passengers a dazzling selection of fun and informative activities and excursions that will keep the whole family entertained. Whether you're plumbing the secrets of the night skies with a Princess Stargazing Specialist, learning a few new style and fashion tricks, or (specially designed for younger cruisers) building a rocket or space shuttle, you'll soon discover that entertainment doesn't necessarily mean switching your brain off.
Movies Under the Stars
While a number of cruise lines now offer outdoor cinema screens on their ships, Princess was among the first to do so, and they've continued to push the bounds of entertainment excellence with their Movies Under the Stars experience. The 69,000-watt outdoor screen located on the ship's top deck can play movies both day and night - during the day it serves as a backdrop for the poolside action but it's after the sun sets that the real magic happens. Recline on a comfy chaise lounge while enjoying complimentary treats like popcorn or warm cookies and milk - not to mention the feature presentation itself, playing under a starry sky.
If there's one thing you can say about P&O Cruises, it's that they know how to seize the moment. Whether you choose to carefully balance fun with relaxation or dive into a non-stop entertainment extravaganza for the duration of your trip, P&O provides you with a plethora of entertainment options that will have you spoiled for choice when it comes to onboard amusements and activities. The highlights below can be found on most, if not all, P&O Australia ships but make sure to double check that any entertainment options that catch your eye will be available on your particular cruise, just to be safe.
Other cruise lines host big shindigs, of course, but it's hard to beat a P&O party - you see, throwing amazing themed parties is somewhat of a specialty for the P&O team. Start things off on the right foot with a Sailaway Party before getting glammed up for a Vegas Pool Party or experiencing a blast from the past with their Back to School Party. If your cruise goes for 3 nights or longer, you'll find the cocktail night transformed into a roaring twenties-inspired Gatsby Party. And then of course there's the classic party that no one wants to miss: Bianco, The P&O White Party. This is a firm favourite among Aussie cruisers and is included on all P&O itineraries, except for cruises departing from Auckland - for these sailings, the party gets a Kiwi twist and transforms from an all white affair to an all black night!
Sometimes you just need to escape from reality for a while. Jumping into one of P&O's revolutionary V8 racing simulators will give you all the thrills of the racetrack without leaving the comfortable environs of your cruise ship. Challenge yourself on some of the most famous racing circuits in the world including Mount Panorama, home of the famed Bathurst 1000 road race. Ideal entertainment for all ages, both kids and adults will be tempted while away hours conquering track after track.
Nightclubs & Bars
You don't have to wait for P&O's official parties to get your groove on. The Dome is the perfect venue for those keen to get their dancing shoes on - the resident DJ's are expert in creating the perfect party atmosphere. Those who are content to sit back and enjoy the entertainment provided to them should head over to Connexions. Live music, quizzes, pub trivia - there's plenty here to keep you engaged late into the night. If it's a chic cocktail scene you're seeking, Mix Bar is the venue for you. Meet up with friends for an elegant night out, sample some of Mix's cocktail classics or challenge the P&O crew to mix something new up for you - the choice is yours.
This is a cruise line that has really gone the extra mile when it comes to onboard entertainment. Rather than limiting themselves to passive entertainments like movies, stage shows and the like, Royal Caribbean has built many of their activities into the ship itself, transforming parts of the vessel into something very close to a floating amusement park. Royal Caribbean is a firm favourite with family cruisers for just this reason. Of course, there are more low key options available as well, giving you ample relaxation opportunities while ensuring that you'll never be bored on your RC cruise. Below are just a few of the entertainment opportunities you might be presented with on your next cruise.
Unique to Royal Caribbean, FlowRider is one of the cruise line's most popular activities. Giving cruisers the chance to catch a wave without even leaving the ship, FlowRider is a brilliantly engineered 12 metre long surf simulator. Sampling the surf on the FlowRider is included in the cost of your cruise and you don't even have to reserve a spot (although you can, if you don't want to risk having to wait a little). Even if you've never stood on a surfboard in your life before, this is a great way to break yourself in - private lessons are even available for a nominal fee.
If you're lucky enough to find yourself on a Royal Caribbean Quantum Class vessel, a visit to SeaPlex is an experience that you won't want to miss. SeaPlex is the largest indoor active space at sea, incorporating an exciting array of entertainment activities that will provide kids and adults alike with hours of fun. Basketball, bumper cars and roller skating are all on the cards - there's even a circus school! SeaPlex is especially good for families looking to spend some quality time together.
A special feature of the Oasis Class vessels, the AquaTheater boasts the deepest pool at sea and 9-metre diving platforms that set the stage for spectacular aquatic acrobatics. The scale of these productions is truly incredible, going far beyond the standard Broadway-style shows that are common on cruise ships. Uncover an ancient submerged civilisation, witness the captivating beauty of dreamlike acrobatics and laugh along with the antics of Dreamworks' Madagascar characters - AquaTheater hosts singularly impressive extravaganzas that you'll be talking about long after you disembark.
These highlights are just a fraction of what's available aboard cheap cruises - so for your next vacation, why not opt for something that merges travel and entertainment for the ultimate affordable holiday!