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Best Cruise Ship Games to Pack for Adults and Kids in 2024

Best Cruise Ship Games to Pack for Adults and Kids in 2024

Can you take your own games on a cruise ship? You can, and you should! Here are 40+ cruise ship games to pack for adults and kids.

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If you’re planning a cruise with a lot of sea days, you’re probably wondering what to do for fun during all of that downtime. Cruise ship games like Bingo, trivia contests, and game shows are offered by most cruise lines, but they’re often only scheduled a few times per week.

Although cruise lines offer lots of activities, taking your own games on a cruise ship can be a great idea. I always do! Cruise ships usually have a small library of games for passengers to borrow, but there’s no guarantee which games will be available.

This guide reviews over 40 of the best games to take on a cruise ship for all ages. Some are travel games and some are full-size. Cruise lines don’t have luggage restrictions like airlines do, so if you’re driving to the port, you can take full-size games without worrying that they’re too heavy. Plus, you can take an extra bag (or three!) without any fees.

If you’re flying to the cruise port, you’ll definitely encounter luggage restrictions. I’ve included plenty of smaller travel games for you. I’ve also included the dimensions of each game along with its weight.

Any of these games would also make a great gift for someone going on a cruise!

Dice games to take on a cruise

Left Center Right

Suitable for age 5+, 3 or more players. 3″ x 5.5″ x 1″, 3.2 ounces

What it’s all about

Left Center Right is a fast-paced dice game where players roll to determine which way to pass their chips—to the left, center, or right.

How to play

Each player starts with three chips.

One player starts by rolling three specially-marked dice, with either L, C, R, or a dot on each side.

When a player rolls L, they pass a chip to the left. R means they pass a chip to the right, and C means they put a chip in the center pot. If a player rolls a dot, they keep a chip.

Once the first player completes the actions indicated on the dice, play continues to the left.

If a player has fewer than three chips when it’s their turn to roll, they only roll the number of dice equal to the number of remaining chips.

If a player runs out of chips, they’re not completely out of the game—the players next to them might pass chips to them as the game progresses. However, they can’t roll any dice unless they have at least one chip.

The game continues until only one player has any chips. They are the winner, and take everything in the center pot.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

We play Left Center Right at all of our holiday get-togethers, and it’s great for all ages. There’s no strategy—it’s all luck, so even younger kids can join in the fun with a little help. You can play with the included chips, or switch it up and play with coins or dollar bills.

There’s no reading or math involved, so younger kids who know their letters and left from right (or are trying to learn left and right!) can easily play along with the family.

Pass the Pigs

Suitable for age 7+, 2-4 players. 1.8″ x 4″ x 8.5 , 4.8 ounces

What it’s all about

Pass the Pigs may look like it’s just for kids, but it’s actually a dice game—the pigs are the dice!

How to play

One player is chosen to be the “swineherd” and is in charge of recording scores on the scorepad.

One player starts by tossing both pigs into the air over the table.

The pigs are weighted, and each has a different value depending on how they land (each pig has a dot on one side), and points are won or lost based on the way the pigs land.

At the end of your turn, the swineherd records your score and you pass the pigs to the next player.

A turn lasts until the player either wipes out their current score, loses their entire game score, or decides to stop their turn. If a player chooses to stop, they add that turn’s score to their total score and pass the pigs to the next player. The winner is the first player to reach 100 points.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

In addition to being super cute, Pass the Pigs is seriously addictive. Each game lasts only about 15 minutes, and you’ll have so much fun calling out the different positions the pigs land in—like a “double trotter” or “pig out”.

Advanced players can use strategy to decide whether to roll again or pass the pigs to the next player, or you can simply play it as a game of chance.


Suitable for age 7+, 2-4 players. 10.5″ x 1.5″ x 1.5″, 9 ounces

What it’s all about

TENZI is an incredibly fast and unique dice game that you can play even with very limited time.

How to play

The rules for this game are super simple. Each TENZI player gets 10 dice. Everyone then rolls all of their own dice as quickly as possible.

Players can then choose to re-roll any or all of their dice.

The first player to have all their dice showing the same number (and yell “TENZI!”) is the winner.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

Each game of TENZI only takes about a minute, so it’s great to have on hand when boredom strikes and you don’t want a long, involved game. There are also tons of variations to the game to mix things up a bit.

Yahtzee to Go

Suitable for age 8+, 2 or more players. 5.4″ x 5.2″ x 3.1″, 7.2 ounces

What it’s all about

If you’re familiar with Yahtzee, Yahtzee to Go is just a travel-sized version with the same rules. The game is similar to traditional dice games like Poker Dice, Generala, and Kniffel.

How to play

Yahtzee is played with scorecards that contain specific combinations, much like poker, that players are aiming to roll with the dice.

To choose the first player, each player rolls all five dice from the dice cup. Whoever has the highest total goes first.

Players roll the five dice up to three times per turn, choosing which dice to reroll after the first roll.

A score must be entered in the appropriate box on the scorecard after the final roll of each turn, or a zero is entered in a box of the player’s choice.

Once all the scorecard boxes are filled in, the final tally is added up, and the winner is the player with the most points.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

Yahtzee is easy to learn—the rolls you’re aiming for are right on the scorecard, so there’s no confusion (or arguing over rules!). It’s simple enough to play with elementary-age kids, but adults and teens can enjoy the strategic aspects of the game.

Don’t You Forget It

Suitable for age 8+, 2-6 players. 4.5″ x 1.8″ x 7.8″, 0.8 ounces

What it’s all about

Don’t You Forget It is an exciting dice rolling game where players have the opportunity to match dice to double, triple, or even quadruple their scores. But watch out! Rolling the wrong combination of words can cause a player to lose their turn.

How to play

Players take turns rolling the nine dice, each of which has the numbers 1-5 and one side marked “FOR”, “GET”, or “IT”. Try to get as many dice as possible to match before rolling FOR-GET-IT.

On each turn, certain dice must be set aside on each roll. Word dice must always be set aside. If a player rolls two or more number dice of a kind, they will set aside that number only.

During a turn, a player can choose to keep rolling the remaining dice to try to match the number that was set aside. Or, they can choose to stop at any time and record their score.

At the end of a turn, the face value of the number dice is added up to determine the score. Four of a kind will double the score, five of a kind will triple it, and six will quadruple the score.

Play continues until a player reaches 500 points. The other players then have one last turn to try to beat that total before the player is determined to be the winner.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

Anyone who enjoys Yahtzee and other dice games will love Don’t You Forget It. The twist is the FOR-GET-IT that will suddenly end your turn! There’s a bit of math involved in this game, so it’s a good one for kids (or adults!) who need to practice their mental multiplication.


Suitable for age 8+, 2 or more players. 7.6″ x 3.6″ x 3.5″, 9.6 ounces

What it’s all about

Farkle is a classic dice game where players try their luck to earn as many points as possible in a turn without rolling a Farkle: failing to roll any scoring dice.

How to play

Players’ names are written on the scorecard, which describes point values for various combinations of dice.

Each player takes turns rolling the dice. Players roll all six dice at the beginning of a turn.

Any dice that score on the scorecard can be set aside (a 1 or a 5, three of a kind, or a straight of six dice). Any of the dice (except for at least one scoring die) can be re-rolled.

You can pass and bank your points, or risk the points earned so far in the turn and roll the remaining dice.

Your turn continues until either you either decide to stop and tally your score, or you fail to roll any scoring dice on a throw—this is the dreaded Farkle. If you get a Farkle, you can re-roll any dice you haven’t set aside, but all your other points are lost.

The first player to score 10,000 points wins, as long as no other players with a remaining turn can exceed that score.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

Farkle is a fun game for just two people to play, but it’s even more exciting to play with a larger group. Do you keep rolling and try to hit that higher score, or do you fear the dreaded Farkle?


Suitable for age 8+, One or more players. 2″ x 4.3″ x 4.3″, 7.2 ounces

What it’s all about

Boggle challenges players to find as many words as possible from a grid of letters before time runs out.

How to play

One player shakes the grid to mix up the letter cubes. Then they lift the lid and flip the timer.

All players have 90 seconds to write down as many 3+ letter words as they can find on the grid before time is up.

Words must be created by using adjoining letters in the order in which they appear on the grid horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. Words can be spelled backward.

Any word that can be found in a standard dictionary may be used, except for proper nouns.

At the end of the round, each word is scored based on its total number of letters. Longer words earn a higher score.

If two or more players find the same word, that word doesn’t count! The player with the highest score wins.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

Boggle is a fast-paced dice game, but with letters instead of numbers. It’s perfect for people who love words and anagrams. Scrabble and Words With Friends players will enjoy this one! You can also play it solo and keep trying to beat your own best score.


Suitable for age 8+, 2-5 players. 5.2″ x 3.8″ x 1.2″, 3.84 ounces

What it’s all about

Qwixx is a fast-paced game played with six colorful dice and matching numbered rows that need to be crossed off to score points.

How to play

The first player rolls all six dice, and all players can (but don’t have to) cross out that number from any one of the colored rows on their scoresheet.

The first player then adds the sum of one white die and any one of the colored dice. Only that player can cross out that number on the corresponding color row on their score sheet.

Rows on the scoresheet can be locked by any player who has at least five numbers in that row and has a sum that matches the number on the right. That color die is removed from the game.

If the first player hasn’t crossed out at least one number, they mark an “X” in the penalty box. The next player then rolls.

The game ends when one player crosses off the fourth penalty box on their scoresheet OR two of the dice are removed from the game.

Each player subtracts five points per penalty from their total score. The player with the highest score wins.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

At first glance, the rules of Qwixx sound complicated, but you’ll get the hang of it quickly. Or should I say Qwickly? (Sorry.) Qwixx is great for anyone who loves dice games but is looking for something a little different than the old favorites.

Card games to take on a cruise

Mahjong Cards

Suitable for age 6+, 1 or 4 players. 2.9″ x 2.5″ x 2″, 4.8 ounces.

What it’s all about

Mahjong cards is played just like traditional mahjong with tiles. The deck has 156 cards: three suites of 36 circles, characters, and bamboo, plus 16 winds, 12 dragons, 8 flowers and seasons, and 12 jokers. (Remove the jokers for traditional Chinese rules.)

How to play

Cards are shuffled, and the players arrange them in the center of the table, 17 cards long and two cards high. After rolling the dice, the dealer deals cards in order to each player.

The goal of the game is to get a mahjong: that’s getting all of your tiles into four sets and one pair of two identical tiles. Sets can be made up of a “pung,” three identical tiles, or a “chow,” three consecutive numbers in the same suit. Play stops after sixteen rounds, or after a pre-determined number of points are scored, or until all the players agree that they are done.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

The classic game of Mahjong, which has roots dating back to 500 BC, is still a favorite pastime today. If you’re packing light, you might not want to take a full set of tiles and racks on your cruise. Plus, a small deck of Mahjong cards will fit on most tables, so you can play just about anywhere around the ship.

Haven’t played before? The game comes with a set of western rules, covering everything from set up to seating to how to play—no previous knowledge is required. You can play with three friends, or even play solitaire.

Phase 10

Suitable for age 7+, 2-6 players. 3.6″ x 0.8″ x 5.8″, 4.5 ounces.

What it’s all about

Phase 10 is a rummy-style game where players race to be the first to complete ten phases.

How to play

One player is chosen to be the dealer. They shuffle the deck and deal ten cards, face down, to each player.

The remaining cards become the draw pile. The top card of the draw pile is flipped over to make the discard pile.

During the first hand, players try to complete Phase 1. A phase is a combination of cards, usually composed of sets, runs, cards of the same color, or a combination.

In addition to traditional cards, the deck also contains “Wild” and “Skip” cards. A Wild card can be used in place of a number card, or can be substituted for any color to complete any phase. A Skip card makes your opponent lose a turn.

As the game continues, each player tries to complete the ten phases. You can only advance to the next phase after a phase is complete.

The first person to complete all ten phases wins the game.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

If you enjoy rummy-type card games, Phase 10 is just that, but with a challenging twist. Each phase you need to complete is specific for each hand dealt. Aiming for a different objective for each phase keeps the game interesting.


Suitable for age 7+, 2-10 players. 6.2″ x 1.3″ x 5.2″, 6.4 ounces.

What it’s all about

Uno is a number and color matching card game where players try to play all of their own cards and earn points from the other players’ remaining cards.

How to play

The dealer shuffles and deals seven Uno cards to each player. The rest of the cards are placed face-down as the draw pile. The top card on the draw pile is flipped over to make the discard pile.

Players take turns trying to match one of their cards with the card that’s on top of the discard pile. You can match by either color or number.

The deck also includes wild cards and action cards like “skip”, “reverse” and “draw two”. The command on an action card is completed by the next player.

If a player doesn’t have a match or they choose not to play any of their cards, they must draw a card from the draw pile. That card can be played or kept, and the game moves to the next player.

The first player to get rid of all of their cards wins the round. Don’t forget to shout UNO! when you’re down to one card!

The winner of a round receives all the other players’ cards and points are added up. The game ends when the first person scores 500 points. 

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

Like a lot of people, UNO was the first card game I learned to play. And I still enjoy it! The official rules say age 7 or up, but younger kids who are learning their numbers can definitely have fun playing it with older kids and adults. Uno’s a great choice to play when you want to involve the whole family.


Suitable for age 7+, 2-6 players. 3.8″ x 8″ x 0.8″, 8 ounces.

What it’s all about

Skip-Bo is a sequencing card game where players try to create stacks of sequentially numbered cards (from low to high) until they have no cards left.

How to play

The dealer shuffles and deals cards face down to the players (30 cards each for 2-4 players, and 20 cards each for five or more players).

These cards create a player’s stock pile. Each player turns over the top card from their own stock pile. The top card of the stock pile is always turned face-up.

The rest of the cards are placed face-down to form the draw pile.

The first player begins their turn by taking cards from the draw pile until they have five cards in their hand.

During their turn, a player can choose to play cards from their hand, from the top card of their stock pile, or from one of the top cards of their own discard piles.

Up to four build piles can be created in the middle of the table at the same time. To create a build pile, a player has to start it with a ”1” card.

Players can only play the next highest card on top of any of their build piles. The goal is to get rid of cards by building piles from 1-12 in sequential order. Skip-Bo cards are wild.

When any of the build piles reaches twelve, the pile is set aside.

If a player plays all five cards in their hand, they can continue their turn by taking five new cards from the draw pile.

When a player has played all of the cards they want to play, they discard one of the cards from their hand into one of their four discard piles. Any card can be placed face-up and in any order into these piles.

Play moves to the next player, who draws from the draw pile if they are holding fewer than five cards.

When the draw pile runs out of cards, all of the completed building piles are reshuffled to replenish the draw pile.

The first player to empty all cards from their stock pile is the winner!

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

Skip-Bo is a fun sequencing card game for young and old alike. The wild cards can really help you win, so use them wisely. If your family likes Uno but is looking for something just a little more challenging, this is the next game you should try!

Exploding Kittens

Suitable for age 7+, 2-5 players. 11.2″ x 16.2″ x 3.8″, 6.4 ounces.

What it’s all about

Don’t let the name fool you—no kittens are actually harmed during the game! Exploding Kittens is a highly-strategic, Russian roulette-style game.

How to play

Players draw cards until someone draws an exploding kitten, at which point the player explodes. (Not really, we’re pretending, just like the kittens.) A dead player is out of the game, unless they have a defuse card. That card can defuse the kitten using laser pointers, belly rubs, and catnip sandwiches.

All the other cards in the deck are used to move or avoid the exploding kittens.

Sounds crazy? Exploding Kittens is the highest-funded game in the history of Kickstarter! It’s actually the most-backed crowd-funded project ever. Plus, it has over 10,000 stellar Amazon reviews.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

Exploding Kittens is a fun and quirky card game for people who are looking for something a little different. The rules are easy to learn, and the whole family will love to play. Plus, the offbeat illustrations on the cards are seriously funny.

There are lots of expansion packs available, so you might want to pick up a compatible hard travel case for up to 400 cards.

Sequence (Travel Edition)

Suitable for age 8+, 2-4 players. 9.5″ x 5.8″ x 2″, 9.6 ounces.

What it’s all about

Sequence is a strategic card game where players try to line up a sequence of colored pegs on the playing board.

How to play

Players take turns choosing a card from their hand and discarding it face-up. They can then place a peg in the corresponding slot in the board and draw another card.

Jacks make the game exciting—two-eyed Jacks are wild, and one-eyed Jacks can be used to remove a competitor’s peg from the board. But playing a one-eyed Jack will end your turn, so use them wisely!

The winner is the first to get the required number of sequences on the board.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

Travel Sequence is a mini-sized version of the game, so it’s great for packing light. It has much of the fun of the original game, with a couple of key changes. Travel Sequence is for 2-4 players, but the regular game can be played by up to 12 players.

The travel version’s gameplay is also much faster. It’s played with one deck of cards (not two), and you only need four pegs of the same color in a row instead of five to make a sequence.

Mille Bornes

Suitable for age 7+, 2, 3, 4 or 6 players. 10″ x 8″ x 8″, 8 ounces.

What it’s all about

Mille Bornes, pronounced “meel born” is French for a thousand milestones, a reference to the cement distance markers on French roads. It’s a classic auto-racing card game, invented in France in the 1950s.

The players are in an auto race that’s 1000 miles (or kilometers) long, hence the name. For two- or three-player games the goal is 700 miles.

How to play

Mille Bornes is played with a special deck of 110 cards. Included are hazard, remedy, safety, and distance cards. Hazards are corrected with a corresponding remedy card. Hazards can also be prevented by using a safety card. The target can be reached by playing the distance cards.

The game begins with the dealer dealing six cards to each player. Play begins to the dealer’s left. Each player draws one card at the beginning of their turn and either plays or discards one card to end their turn.

After drawing a card, a player can play one of four types of cards in their hand:

  1. Distance Cards: These cards get you closer to the finish line. You must have a roll card in your pile to place a distance card, unless you have the “right of way” safety card in your pile.
  2. Hazard Cards: These cards disrupt an opponent’s movement. Hazards include out of gas, flat tire, stop, and accident.
  3. Speed Limit Cards: These cards can be placed onto your opponent’s speed pile to restrict the distance cards that player can use.
  4. Safety Cards: There are four safety cards that grant immunity to a hazard. They can be played during a turn or used as a Coup Fourré, which ends your opponent’s turn.

The game continues until the first player reaches 1,000 miles exactly or the final card is played after the draw pile is empty.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

Mille Bornes is a great family game that can be played by elementary-aged kids through adults. Be aware that you can play with two, three, four, or six players, but five players won’t work. An average game takes about 25 minutes.

The race is exciting—you can trip up your opponents with accidents, flat tires, slowdowns, and other hazards. But just like in real life, a little bit of safety can prevent catastrophe!

Cover Your Assets

Suitable for age 7+, 2-8 players. 2.2″ x 1.6″ x 0.4″, 9.6 ounces.

What it’s all about

Cover Your Assets is a classic strategy card game where you try to make a fortune by collecting matching pairs of asset cards in a stack. But, the set of assets on the top of your stack can be stolen by the other players!

How to play

The dealer shuffles and deals four cards face-down to each player (in a two-player game each player gets five cards).

The rest of the cards are placed face-down to form the draw pile, and the top card is flipped over to make the discard pile.

The player to the left of the dealer starts, and play continues clockwise.

During a turn, players can do one of the four things: play a pair of cards, match the top card from the discard pile, steal cards from another player, or discard a card.

Two cards of the same type can be played as a pair. Only one pair can be played during a turn. One silver or gold wild card can be used per pair.

Each pair of cards played is placed in a player’s asset pile, on top of any previous pairs.

If a card matches the top of the discard pile, that pair is added to a player’s assets.

When stealing the top pair of assets from an opponent, A player must already have at least one pair of assets, plus a card that matches the cards they are trying to steal. If the opponent doesn’t have at least two pairs in the pile, their assets can’t be stolen.

Each time a set is stolen its value increases, so other players will be more likely to try to steal it. As the game’s name warns you, the best way to protect a high-value set is to cover those assets with a new set of assets. 

At the end of each player’s turn, they draw cards to return their hand to its original number of cards.

The round ends when the draw pile is empty and the players have played or discarded the cards in their hands. Assets are totaled for the round, and another round begins as long as no player has reached a million dollars total in all rounds.

The first player to reach a million dollars in assets is the winner.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

Cover Your Assets is fast-paced and competitive. You can make a fortune, or lose it, in just a few turns. You’ll never really be sure who’s going to win until the last card is played.

If you enjoy the ruthless competition of a good game of Monopoly, this is a much faster game that may just satisfy your need to amass a fortune and take all you can from your family and friends!

Loaded Questions on the Go

Suitable for age 8+, 4-6 players. 3.6″ x 0.8″ x 5.5″, 3.2 ounces.

What it’s all about

Loaded Questions poses various questions, challenging rotating players to guess which other player is responsible for each answer.

How to play

The question cards are placed face-down in the middle
of the table, and each player writes their name at the top of their score sheet.

Players take turns picking a card and reading their favorite question aloud. The other players write down their answers on their sheets.

The Reader then collects the sheets, shuffles them, and reads them aloud. The player who read the question then tries to guess which answer belongs to which player.

For each correct guess, that player can fill in one bubble on their score sheet.
The first player to fill eight bubbles (for a four-player game) or ten bubbles (when playing with five or six) is the winner.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

Loaded Questions on the Go has a mix of serious and silly questions. There are definitely some conversation starters here!

If you already have the original game, you’ll be happy to know that this version has different questions than the original.

Loaded Questions is perfect for cruising with a multi-generation family. It’s a great way to get everyone involved. Plus, you might just learn something new about your family members that you never expected!

Five Crowns Mini Round

Suitable for ages 8+, 2-4 players. 2.1″ x 2.1″ x 1.1″, 0.32 ounces.

What it’s all about

Another rummy-style game, Five Crowns Mini Round is a shorter, faster version of the original game.

How to play

Five Crowns has a unique double deck with 5 suits: spades, clubs, hearts, diamonds, and stars. This makes it easier to arrange your entire hand into books and runs. Plus, a rotating wild card keeps the game interesting.

Play begins with three cards and threes are wild. The next round has four cards and fours are wild, continuing until the sevens are wild. The first player to go out wins: whoever is able to arrange all their cards into books or runs with only one card remaining.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

This miniature version of Five Crowns still has the fun features of the original game. Play lasts just five rounds (the full game has 11), so each game takes 15 minutes or less. It fits in a 2” tin, perfect if you’re packing light for your cruise.

Monopoly Deal

Suitable for age 8+, 2-5 players. 0.8″ x 3.6″ x 5.6″, 0.32 ounces.

What it’s all about

Monopoly Deal is a simplified, quick-playing version of the classic property building Monopoly game.

On each turn, players pick up cards and play action cards to steal other players’ cards, charge them rent, or demand money for their birthday.

How to play

The dealer gives each player a quick start reference card, shuffles the rest of the cards and deals five to each player.

The remaining cards go face-down in the center of the table for the draw pile.

The first player takes two cards from the draw pile and plays up to three cards in front of them. They can put money or bank cards into their own bank, place property cards into their collection, and/or play an action card into the center.

At the end of each turn, players discard any extra cards in their hand to the bottom of the draw pile to bring them to the maximum of seven cards.

Play moves to the next player. If a player has run out of cards at the start of a turn, they draw five before beginning their turn.

The first player to collect three full property sets of different colors wins the game.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

If you love the competitiveness of Monopoly, but don’t want to start a three-hour (or longer!) game, you’ll love Monopoly Deal. Game play lasts just 15-30 minutes!

Plus, the game is super-small. You won’t need to worry about a game board with lots of little pieces, plus piles of cards and paper money filling up a large table—that’s not very practical on a crowded cruise ship.

This game is just as competitive as the original Monopoly, but faster and easier to play on the go.


Suitable for age 8+, 2-6 players. 0.8″ x 3.6″ x 5.6″, 3.2 ounces.

What it’s all about

Rook is similar to bridge, with tricks and trumps. But Rook is played with a special 57-card deck containing four suits: red, green, black, and yellow. Cards are numbered from 1 to 14. The Rook card is a high-value card that you can use as an extra trump.

How to play

The game comes with both beginner and advanced rules, but basically you and your partner (the game is usually played in pairs, but there are variations for two or three player games) try to score as many points as possible with the cards in your hand.

During each hand, players bid for trump. The team that wins the bid must make at least the amount of points they bid in the hand.

The card that’s led must be followed by a card of the same color. A player may play a trump color if they have none of the right color. The highest card played wins the trick—unless the trick is trumped, and then the highest trump wins. The Rook card can be played at any time, and always wins the trick.

The first team to reach 300 points (or another amount that you choose) is the winner.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

If you like whist games like Bridge, you’ll enjoy Rook—the play of each trick is similar. But there’s a twist. The amount of tricks isn’t important, but certain cards (fives, tens, fourteens, and the Rook card) in tricks are worth points, which is how the game is scored.

Rook is a fun game to bring along if you’re traveling with couples, or an even number of card-loving friends!

Sushi Go!

Suitable for age 8+, 2-5 players. 4.2″ x 5.8″ x 1.5″, 8.5 ounces.

What it’s all about

In Sushi GO! the goal is to pick the best combination of sushi dishes. Players can score points for making the most maki rolls or for collecting a full set of sashimi. You can even triple a score by dipping your sushi in wasabi!

How to play

The dealer deals a certain number of cards to each player, depending on how many people are playing. The rest of the cards go in a pile face-down in the middle of the table.

At the beginning of each round, all players choose one card from their own hand to keep, and place it face down. Everyone then reveals their chosen cards.

Then the remaining hands are passed to the left for the next turn, where another card is chosen. Play continues until each player is handed a single card, which is kept with the other chosen cards.

When scoring, each type of food item is worth a different amount of points. Some are worth more if a player has collected multiples. The score from each of the three rounds is added together at the end of the game.

After the third round is scored, it’s time for dessert, and the scoring of the pudding cards. The player with the most pudding receives six points, and whoever has the fewest pudding cards loses six points. The player with the most total points wins.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

Sushi Go! is a fast-playing card game. Each game only takes about fifteen minutes! The concept and the cards are really cute, but it also helps teach younger players strategic thinking and probability.

If you have a larger group, the larger Sushi Go Party! version of the game can be played by up to eight players.

Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza

Suitable for age 8+, 3-8 players. 3.5″ x 2.5″ x 1″, 3.2 ounces.

What it’s all about

Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza is another quirky game that first blew up on Kickstarter. But this game is as unique (much like its name). The game is played with a single deck of 64 cute illustrated cards including a cute taco, cat, goat, piece of cheese and slice of pizza (the smiling narwhal is my fave).

How to play

The dealer distributes the cards evenly among the players. The player to the dealer’s left puts a card into the community pile face-up, and says “taco”. The next player to the left then puts their card face-up on top of the pile, then says “cat”.

This continues in order until a player puts down a card that matches the word they call out. Then all players slap a hand on top of the pile as quickly as possible. The last player to slap their hand has to take all of the cards in the pile.

The action cards (gorilla, narwhal, and groundhog) each require players to make a specific funny gesture before slapping the deck.

The winner is the first player to slap the deck after getting rid of all their cards.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza is fun for all ages. It’s a super-competitive party game for families or even a group of adults. Its rules are simple, so it’s easy to learn. But it’s harder than it looks to win!

As simple as it is, the game requires concentration to take the right action at the right time. Your mind will play tricks on you, and you WILL make silly mistakes, so be prepared to laugh a lot!


Suitable for age 9+, 2-3 players. 4.8″ x 3.5″ x 1.5″, 7 ounces.

What it’s all about

Cribbage is played with a deck of cards as well as a pegboard and pegs. It’s a two-phase game, with the opportunity to score points during both parts. Cribbage begins with card play, and then players score the points in their hand.

How to play

You collect points by combining cards together to make runs, or by scoring combinations.

The object of the game is to advance your pegs around the two tracks, completing the circuits before your opponent. With each point you score, you advance one space. A player needs 121 points to finish and win the game.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

For those who aren’t math whizzes, the math in a game of cribbage is simple, but your tactics and strategy are key to winning. Every game is a little different—sometimes you’re focusing on scoring points, but suddenly you’ll be working harder to stop your opponent from scoring.

Texas Hold’Em

Suitable for age 10+, 2-10 players. 11.5″ x 7.4″ x 4.8″, 3.75 pounds.

What it’s all about

Texas Hold’Em is a variation of poker, but is very different from the traditional game, with different strategies and methods of winning.

The most obvious difference is the number of cards that are dealt to each player at the beginning of the game. In Texas Hold’Em, each player gets two cards instead of the traditional four. You can then choose whether to use one or both of those cards in combination with the community cards.

How to play

After the cards are dealt, you check to see if you have a playable hand. Then each player can either call the blind, raise it, or fold if their cards aren’t playable.

After the first round of betting, three community cards are dealt face up. Another round of betting, then the turn card is dealt.  After the next round of betting, the final community card is dealt face up. Three out of the five community cards can be used by all players to make their poker hand. Then the final round of betting happens, and the player with the best five-card hand wins the pot.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

Ships’ casinos sometimes have Texas Hold’Em tournaments, but if you want to play wherever and whenever you want, this portable set is for you. Plus, you can play with friends, and not have to worry about the casino taking their cut!

On a few of my recent cruises, the casino canceled Texas Hold’Em because not enough players had signed up. So if you know you want to play, it’s a good idea to pack your own set.


Suitable for age 10+, 2-8 players. 2.8″ x 6.3″ x 9″, 1.25 pounds.

What it’s all about

Codenames is a word game, but with spies! There are two rival spymasters, and only they know the secret identities of 25 agents. Teammates only know the agents’ codenames. Each team competes to be the first to make contact with all of their agents.

How to play

Spymasters give their teammates one-word clues, trying to get them to guess words on the table. Players try to guess words of their own team’s color while not guessing the opposing team’s words.

There are other cards in the mix as well: a double agent card, seven innocent bystander cards, and the dreaded assassin card. Avoid the assassin!

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

Codenames can be played with just two players, essentially two people playing together against the game itself. (Codenames Duet, a variation on the original, is much more fun for two). A group of four players also works—the non-spymasters will guess words without help from a teammate.

But, Codenames is best played with a group of six or more. So if you’re cruising with a group of family or friends, this is a lively and exciting game of spies vs. spies!

Apples to Apples

Suitable for age 12+, 4-8 players. 6.8″ x 2.8″ x 4.1″, 1 pound.

What it’s all about

Apples to Apples is a party game where players try to make the most appropriate, humorous, or even bizarre match between an adjective and several nouns.

How to play

Apples to Apples has two types of cards: things and descriptions. Players are dealt seven red things cards, and everyone takes turns being the judge and reading the next green description card. Everyone else tries to pick the thing that best matches the description from the cards in their hand.

If the judge likes your choice the best, you keep the description card. The first player to collect the total amount of description cards specified in the instructions for the size of the group wins.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

Apples to Apples is a family-friendly card game that will have everyone laughing. If you like Cards Against Humanity but you want a less-risqué game to play with younger players (or your parents!), then this is the game for you.

Is the judge a bit kooky, or are they literal-minded? The better you know each player, the more likely you are to guess how they’ll pick their favorite combinations. But watch out! Some people will surprise you!

Unstable Unicorns

Suitable for age 14+, 2-8 players. 5.8″ x 4″ x 2″, 12.2 ounces.

What it’s all about

Unstable Unicorns is a strategy game where players try to complete a stable of seven unicorns while trying to destroy their opponents’ unicorns. Magic, Instant, Upgrade, and Downgrade cards make sure that the game is exciting and unpredictable.

How to play

After setting up a nursery and draw pile, each player gets one baby unicorn card for their stable. The dealer deals five cards to each player. The player wearing the most colorful clothes goes first. Each turn is made up of four phases:

  1. Beginning of your turn: If any card has an effect that happens “at the beginning of your turn”, use that effect now.
  2. Draw Phase: Draw one card from the draw pile.
  3. Action Phase: Play one card from your hand or draw one more card.
  4. End of your turn: Discard any cards you’re holding over the seven-card limit.

The first player to complete their unicorn army is the winner.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

Unstable Unicorns won the 2019 People’s Choice Award for Toy of the Year, and is one of the top 100 most-backed Kickstarter projects of all time.

The game takes only 30-45 minutes to play, and is competitive fun for teens and adults. Slightly younger kids can play as well, if they can handle having their stables destroyed!

Make it even more travel-friendly with a colorful rainbow travel case to continue the unicorn theme.

Cards Against Humanity

Suitable for 17+, 4-20+ players. 7″ x 3.5″ x 4.5″, 2.25 pounds.

What it’s all about

Much like Apples to Apples, Cards Against Humanity challenges players to make the best match, but with questions and answers.

As the makers of the game say, Cards Against Humanity is “a party game for horrible people”. That pretty much sums it up, but it’s lots of fun to play.

How to play

The rules of Cards Against Humanity are super-simple. The game comes with 100 black question cards and 500 white answer cards.

At the beginning of the game, each player draws ten white cards. One player is chosen as the Card Czar (this job rotates each round) and reads a question out loud from a black card. Everyone else chooses the funniest answer from one of their white cards.

Players answer the question by passing their chosen white card, face down, to the Card Czar.

The Card Czar shuffles all of the answer cards and reads the question with each answer to the group. The Card Czar then picks the funniest result, and whoever submitted it gets one “Awesome Point”.

The rules don’t say how to win the game. Just have fun until you don’t feel like playing anymore, or make up your own rules on how to win!

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

Cards Against Humanity can be played with small or large groups, and it’s easy to learn. There’s no game board or complicated scoring system to worry about.

However, his game can be pretty vulgar. There are swears. There are “inappropriate” topics. Lots of them. Don’t expect to be able to play this game with kids or anyone who is easily offended. I recommend that if you play this on a cruise, find a spot away from where any children are gathered.

If you already have the game and some expansion packs, bring them along in a compatible travel case.

These Cards Will Get You Drunk

Suitable for adults, 2-8 players. 3.6″ x 2.6″ x 1.2″, 3.2 ounces.

What it’s all about

Unsurprisingly, These Cards Will Get You Drunk is a drinking game. It doesn’t have any points or scoring (which is good after a few drinks).

How to play

Essentially, players take turns reading the instructions on a card, and following the directions.

Some examples of card instructions are, “Tell a joke. If no one else chuckles or laughs, you drink.” Or, “Everyone wearing a shirt with buttons drinks”.

You can play with whatever drink you choose—alcoholic or not. Keep playing until you run out of cards, or whenever you want to stop.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

This game’s easy rules and fun challenges will have everyone laughing hysterically. It’s great for a cruise with an open bar or when you have an unlimited drink package.

Make some new friends and use the game as an icebreaker! It’s best played with a bunch of people.

Domino and Tile Games

Qwirkle Travel Size

Suitable for age 6+, 2-4 players. 5.5″ x 6″ x 2″, 5.3 ounces.

What it’s all about

Qwirkle is a tile game that’s similar to Scrabble and Rummikub, but with shapes and colors instead of letters or numbers.

How to play

The travel size version of Qwirkle is played with 108 wooden tiles. The top side of each tile has one of six shapes in one of six colors.

The game is easy to learn: players build lines by matching tiles by color or by shape. A played tile must share the same color or shape as the adjacent tile, and must be placed in the same vertical or horizontal line.

Players each draw six tiles from the bag, and the rest of the tiles remain in the bag.

During each player’s turn, they can do one of two things:

  1. Add one or more tiles to the grid and take that many tiles from the bag (to again be holding six tiles)
  2. Trade some or all of their tiles with tiles from the bag.

Players score one point for each tile in a line when creating or adding to that line. If a tile is part of two lines, it will score two points.

When a player completes a line of six tiles, it’s a Qwirkle! Six bonus points are scored.

The first player to use all of their tiles gets a six-point bonus and the game ends. The player with the highest score is the winner.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

Even young kids can play Qwirkle, as long as they can recognize shapes and colors (or they’re learning!) It’s still lots of fun for older kids and adults.

The travel version of Qwirkle comes in a zippered bag that’s used to hold tiles during the game. It’s easy to set up and pack up again after each game.

Rummikub on the Go

Suitable for age 8+, 2-4 players. 14″ x 1.8″ x 5.2″, 1.61 pounds.

What it’s all about

Rummikub is a rummy-style game played with 106 numbered tiles. The goal of the game is to place all of your tiles on the table as part of a set.

How to play

Players begin by scrambling all of the tiles on the table, face-down.

Each player draws fourteen tiles from the table and places them on their rack. On everyone’s first turn, the goal is to make a set of one or more groups or runs that add up to 30 or more points.

Groups are formed when three or four tiles of the same number are played together. Runs are formed when three or more numbers of the same color are put together. Playing a group or a run makes a set.

If a player can’t make at least 30 points on the first turn, they can take a tile from the pool. That tile can’t be played until the next turn, but then they’ll have another chance to get in the game.

In subsequent turns, players try to add tiles to a run or a group.

The first player to get rid of all the tiles on their rack shouts, “Rummikub!” All the other players add up the value of the tiles on their racks, and their scores are written as negative numbers. The winner’s score is the total number of the other players’ tile values.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

If you like the original Rummikub game, Rummikub on the Go includes the same full-size racks and tiles, but in a canvas travel bag instead of a bulky box.

Rummikub is a fast-moving game that’s easy to learn. With a combination of luck and strategy needed to win, you never know who will achieve victory until the very end.

Tile Lock Scrabble

Suitable for age 8+, 2-4 players. 10.8″ x 2″ x 11″, 15.5 ounces.

What it’s all about

Scrabble is the classic crossword-style game, played with a game board, 100 letter tiles, and a rack for each player that hides their tiles from the other contestants.

How to play

The object of the game is to fit high-scoring words onto the grid, connecting with or adding to the other words on the board.

All words played must appear in a dictionary that the players agree on beforehand (make sure you download a Scrabble word checker app that works offline to avoid any arguments!) Words that are never allowed include words that are always capitalized, abbreviations, prefixes and suffixes, and words that contain a hyphen or apostrophe.

Players draw seven letters from the included pouch and arrange them on their rack. The first player’s word can be made horizontally or vertically on the board, just as long as it passes through the center square.

Turns continue, with each player using the tiles from their rack to fit words on the board. Each new word must connect to at least one letter in a word that was already played.

Words are scored based on the value of each letter, plus any bonus points earned from placing a letter on a premium square in the grid.

After each turn, players draw new tiles from the bag, (as long as the bag still contains tiles) to again have seven tiles on their rack.

The game ends when a player uses their last letter, or when no more possible words can be made. The player with the highest score wins.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

Scrabble can be played by elementary-age kids through adults, and it’s great for reinforcing spelling and building vocabulary (I like to add to the rules when playing with kids: each player has to define words aloud as they play them).

Tile Lock Scrabble comes with a 10.5” square board, slightly smaller tiles than the original game, and four tile racks.

The tiles don’t actually lock into the board, but each tile sits inside raised nubs that surround each square. If the board gets bumped, the tiles will stay in place.

If you’re a Scrabble nut like me and tiles that aren’t arranged neatly drive you crazy, you’ll love this feature!

Mexican Train

Suitable for age 8+, 2-8 players. 5.5″ x 6.5″ x 2″, 1.75 pounds.

What it’s all about

The object of Mexican Train is to be the first player to get rid of all your dominoes. When the first player goes out, the tiles left in the other players’ hands count against them. So be strategic and play your high-numbered tiles.

How to play

The game starts by placing the double-12 tile in the center of the hub to make the “engine”. The rest of the dominoes are shuffled face-down on the table to make the “boneyard”.

Players then take the appropriate number of dominoes from the boneyard (as few as eight, but up to twelve depending on how many players) and stand them up so the others can’t see their values.

The first player begins to build a single row of dominoes (a “train”), starting from the center domino and moving toward themself. The end of the domino placed near the engine must match the engine’s number.

When any player can’t start a train on their first turn, they can draw from the boneyard. If they choose the right domino, they can play it immediately. If they don’t pick the domino they need, they place a marker where a domino would have gone. Any player can play a domino on a marker in a future turn.

The round continues until a player has one last domino, which is announced by shouting, “Uno!”. The round finishes when one player has no more tiles to play or no more tiles can be played at all.

To determine the scores, any player with an empty hand scores zero points. The other players add up the total number of dots on the dominoes remaining in their hand. Whoever has the lowest number of points wins the round.

After all rounds are completed, the player with the fewest total points is the game winner.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

At just under two pounds, this travel Mexican Train set is not the lightest game on the list. But if you’re not flying (or you’re otherwise a light packer), it’s a fun game to take along on your cruise.

Mexican Train is great for families as well as adults. The cute train markers and colorful dominoes make it more appealing than traditional dominoes for younger players.

This game can become addictive, so you’ll want to play multiple times during your cruise!


Suitable for age 8+, 2-4 players. 1″ x 1″ x 3.1″, 14.2 ounces.

What it’s all about

Lexicon-Go! is a super-fast word game where players race to get rid of their tiles by creating words, swapping letters, and attacking opponents’ words.

How to play

To start the game, players shuffle the letter tiles face-down on the table to make the draw pile. Each player draws ten tiles and places them face down in front of them.

One player shouts “Lex-Go!” and all players then flip over their tiles. The race is on to get rid of all your letter tiles.

Players can get rid of tiles in several ways:

  1. Make a word: Place letter tiles on the table face-up in rows.
  2. Build on another player’s word: Add a letter or letters to another player’s word, changing the word. New letters can be added to the beginning, middle, or end of a word.
  3. Replace a letter: You can replace a letter from another player’s word, but you must then take the replaced letter tile.
  4. Swap a tile: You can replace one of your letter tiles for one in the draw pile, but you need to shout “Swap!”. You can only make another swap after another player has swapped out a tile.

When a player has used all of their letter tiles, they shout, “Lexicon!”. If all of their words are valid, they win the round. If any of their words are invalid, they don’t win the round, and play continues.

Players repeat playing rounds until the first player takes five rounds to win the game.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

If you love Scrabble but want to try something new (or you don’t have room to pack even a travel-sized game board), Lexicon-Go! is the cruise game for you.

For those familiar with the card game Lexicon, this is a speed version with tiles. The biggest differences are that this game isn’t turn-based, and the letters don’t have specific values. But, you could play the original game with the tiles as well. Just be sure to bring your instructions along.

This game won’t take up much room in your luggage—the cute L-shaped travel bag is small and light for a tile game, weighing in at less than a pound.

Carcassonne Travel Edition

Suitable for age 8+, 2-5 players. 7.9″ x 1.6″ x 7.9″, 14.2 ounces.

What it’s all about

Carcassonne is a medieval-themed civilization game that’s played by building a game board with square land tiles that depict various types of terrain and landmarks.

How to play

To begin, the start tile is placed in the center of the table, and the scoring track is placed near the edge of the table. All of the other tiles are shuffled and placed face-down in a stack.

Each player takes eight ”follower” pieces of the same color and places one of them on the number zero on the scoreboard.

One player goes first, and turns pass clockwise around the table.

During a turn, players complete the following steps in order:

  1. Draw one land tile and place it adjacent to an existing tile.
  2. Place one follower on that tile, if desired.
  3. Score any completed roads, cities, or cloisters (farms continue to grow, so they are scored at the end of the game).
  4. Return followers from completed elements in step 3 to the player.

When placing land tiles, players must do so according to some basic rules:

  • The new tile must be placed with at least one side joined to the side of an existing tile.
  • The side of the new tile that’s joining to an existing tile must match in terrain type (road, field, or city)
  • If it’s impossible for a tile to be placed, the player returns the tile and draws another.

When placing followers, players must follow these rules:

  • Only place one follower per turn.
  • A follower can only be placed on the tile that player just placed.
  • The follower must be clearly placed on all or a portion of a road, city, cloister, or field.
  • Followers can’t be placed on a terrain feature that’s already claimed by another follower.

When a player has deployed all his followers, he continues to play tiles each turn.

A player is never allowed to retake one of his followers from a tile, although they are returned when roads, cities, or cloisters are finished.

Play continues until all land tiles have been placed. Scoring then is done for all of the farms, as well as for any incomplete terrain types.

The player with the highest score is the winner.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

If you like map-based games like Risk or Civilization, you’ll enjoy this one. Game play is only about 30-45 minutes, so you won’t be sucked into a complicated hours-long game on your vacation.

This travel version of Carcassonne plays just like the original, but the components are slightly smaller to make it more travel-friendly.

The cloth carrying sack stores all of the tiles and followers, and has the scoring track printed right on it. The land tiles create the game board, so there’s no extra board to bring along.

If you’re interested in learning to play Carcassonne, I highly recommend this two-part YouTube video that demonstrates how to play for beginners.

Bananagrams Party Edition

Suitable for age 10+, 2-8 players. 22.5″ x 8.5″ x 8.5″, 14.1 ounces.

What it’s all about

Bananagrams is a crossword-style word game where players race to make words in their own grids and use up all of their letters.

How to play

Players shuffle all the letter tiles face-down on the table to create the ”bunch”. Each player draws the appropriate number of tiles from the bunch, depending on the number of people playing.

After each player draws, the party tiles are added to the bunch. Party tiles have a symbol on them that corresponds to an action.

To start the game, one player yells, “Split!”. All players then turn over their tiles and arrange them to form words in their grid.

A player can discard an unusable letter, but they must then take three tiles in exchange.

If you draw a party tile from the bunch, you have to use it immediately. Some tiles require a single action, but others continue until the end of the hand. When the action has been completed, the party tile is taken out of play.

When someone uses the last of their letters, they shout, “Peel!” and everyone takes another tile from the bunch. If there aren’t enough tiles in the bunch for each player to take one, the player instead shouts, “Bananas!”.

After bananas is called, the other players have the chance to inspect that player’s grid. If it contains any invalid words, like a misspelling or a proper noun, the players shout, “Rotten banana!”. The rotten banana is out of the game and their tiles are added to the bunch.

Play continues until someone else calls “Bananas!” If all of their words are acceptable, they become the ”Top Banana” and win the game.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

Bananagrams Party Edition is an exciting alternative to traditional crossword games. With its 14 party tiles including The Re-Gifter, The Thief, Switcheroo, and Pouch Head, you never know what’s going to happen!

Bad spellers beware, though. One misspelled word and you’re out of the game. This is a fun game for word fanatics, from late-elementary age to adult.

Its cute banana-shaped travel pouch makes Bananagrams easy to throw in your luggage, and it weighs less than a pound.

Other types of games to take on a cruise

Connect 4 Grab & Go

Suitable for age 6+, 2 players. 1.9″ x 6.3″ x 9.2″, 7.2 ounces.

What it’s all about

Connect 4 is a classic match-four strategy game that’s played on a vertical grid. Players drop colored checkers Into the grid to try to be the first to match four in a row of their color.

How to play

Players begin by assembling the board, which has a round base with slots that the grid fits in, so the grid stands upright. Place the grid between the two players.

One player then takes all of the black checkers, and the other takes the red checkers.

Players alternate turns, dropping checkers through any of the seven slots at the top of the grid.

The first player to make a line of four checkers in their color, horizontally, diagonally, or vertically is the winner.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

If you like no-frills strategy games like tic-tac-toe, Connect Four is a slightly longer-playing version. It’s an easy game to teach younger kids, and they can develop strategy with practice.

This travel version plays just like the full size, but it’s more compact to easily fit in a bag.

Packing and storing the game is convenient, as all of the checkers can be stored in the grid, and the checker trays fold for portability.


Suitable for age 6+, 1 or more players. 5″ x 11.3″ x 7.6″, 2.15 pounds.

What it’s all about

Jenga is a block-stacking game where players try not to be the one who makes the tower topple over.

How to play

Players begin by building the Jenga tower. Three blocks are placed side-by-side on the table. Three more blocks are placed on top, with the ends of the blocks facing the opposing direction.

Continue stacking until you’ve used up all of the blocks and you have a rectangular tower.

Players take turns trying to remove a block from the tower without touching any other block. This can be done by carefully pushing or tapping a block from one side, and pulling it out from the stack.

Once a block is removed, it’s placed on top of the tower, using the same pattern used to build the tower. The game continues until the tower falls, or a block falls from the tower that wasn’t removed.

If you’re playing with three or more people, there’s no clear winner, but the loser is the last person to touch the tower before it falls.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

Jenga is such a simple game—it’s just wooden blocks! But being really good at it requires a very steady hand, patience and concentration, and a bit of strategy.

Jenga can be played as a solitaire game (just keep trying to build higher towers), one-on-one, or with a group.

Be prepared to have lots of cheering onlookers if you’re building a teetering tower on the Lido deck!

This is the full-sized Jenga game, although Mini Jenga does exist. The mini version is much harder to play because the blocks are smaller and lighter.

Battleship (Travel Size)

Suitable for age 7+, 2 players. 1.9″ x 6.3″ x 9.2″, 6.2 ounces.

What it’s all about

Battleship is a two-player naval-themed game where each player tries to guess the location of their opponent’s warships to sink them.

How to play

Both players get an upright game board with both horizontal and vertical grids to record shots fired and to hide their own ships.

Along with the game boards, each player takes an assortment of red and white marker pegs and one each of the five ship types (Carrier, Battleship, Cruiser, Submarine, and Destroyer).

Players sit facing one another at a table and position the game boards so players can’t see one another’s grids.

The two players should be positioned so they face each other across a game table. Their target grids back up to one another vertically so that neither player can see his opponent’s ocean grid and ship locations.

Each player starts by positioning their own ships by slotting them into the holes on the lower grid. Ships must be placed horizontally or vertically on the grid. Once the game begins, the ships’ positions can’t be changed.

The players take turns firing shots by calling out coordinates (a letter and number that corresponds with rows and columns on the grid), trying to hit their opponent’s ships.

After a shot is fired, the other player checks their lower grid to see if the coordinates match a spot that is occupied by a ship. They respond “hit” if there is a ship in that location, and “miss” if there isn’t.

When a player’s ship is hit, they place a red peg in the top of that ship. If all of the holes on the top of a ship are filled with a red peg, the ship is sunk, and the player who lost a ship must announce that.

When a player fires a shot, they mark the coordinates they called out on their own upper grid with a white peg for a miss and a red peg for a hit. As the game progresses, each player will have a better idea of the location and size of the other player’s ships.

The first player to sink all of their opponent’s ships is the winner.

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

The Grab & Go version of Battleship plays just like the original, just with smaller components. The game units hinge closed, and all of the pieces store neatly inside.

It’s a good game to teach younger players strategy, logic, and how to identify coordinates on a grid.

More seasoned players will enjoy playing the game using the Salvo variation‘s alternative rules where multiple shots are fired in each turn.

Mad Libs

Suitable for age 8+, 2 or more players. 7.4″ x 0.8″ x 10.4″, 14.9 ounces.

What it’s all about

I couldn’t possibly make a list of games to take on a cruise without including Mad Libs, the quintessential travel game!

If you’ve never played, a Mad Libs book has mini-stories with some of the key words left out. The missing words are replaced by a line, as well as an indication of which part of speech (noun, adjective, etc.) is missing.

The players fill in the words without seeing the text, and create completely hilarious (and often absurd) stories.

How to play

Players take turns being the reader, who is the only one to see the story before it’s filled in. The reader calls out the missing parts of speech.

The other players pick any word that comes to mind for the reader to write down, as long as it’s the correct part of speech. The reader then writes the chosen word on the appropriate line.

When the story is filled out, one of the players (it doesn’t have to be the reader) reads the completed story back to the group.

There are no winners or losers in Mad Libs, but I guarantee there will be plenty of laughter!

Why you’ll love this game on a cruise

Although Mad Libs was originally a kids’ game, there are now versions for all ages and reading levels.

It’s a great tool for helping kids learn their parts of speech while having fun. Adults will enjoy how funny an innocuous story can become when random words that they chose are inserted!

Plus, Mad Libs is super-portable, part of the reason why it’s been a favorite travel game for decades.

More posts you’ll love:

Have you enjoyed any of these games while traveling? Do you have any other favorites that you like to pack for a cruise? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

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Carrie Ann Karstunen

Medha Verma

Monday 16th of December 2019

Wow, you've really put some thought into this! And I like how you've described every game in detail. These games sound like a lot of fun on a cruise but also in a house party, which I have very often. So maybe I can take inspiration from here and organise it in the next house party I host! Uno is a common fav but sometimes we need to get creative and play something different. I like Boggle, I love word games, not so sure if my friends will though, haha.

Carrie Ann

Monday 16th of December 2019

Thanks, Medha! I agree, these games would also be great to play at a house party. I like to bring out a game when I have guests that don't know anyone else - it gets everyone laughing and really breaks the ice.


Sunday 15th of December 2019

What a great idea! I always had a pack of cards packed and scrabble! Scrabble was our favourite.

Carrie Ann

Sunday 15th of December 2019

I love Scrabble, too! We tend to get very competitive with it :D Thanks for reading!


Friday 13th of December 2019

I have never heard about a lot of these games before. It is completely awesome, thanks for the tip, I think they are good to play not only on a cruise but in multiple occasions.

Carrie Ann

Friday 13th of December 2019

We play a lot of these games at home, too. Lots of the games I listed are great to take along on car or plane trips, or when you're camping - lack of electricity always makes me want to play a game! :D


Thursday 12th of December 2019

What a cool idea for a post! I love playing board games and can’t wait to try a few on this list :)

Carrie Ann

Friday 13th of December 2019

Thanks, Claire! Hope you enjoy the games!

Derek Hartman

Thursday 12th of December 2019

Wow, such a great round-up of awesome games! Travel size games are so important for any trip. I tend to take L-C-R with me almost everywhere I go. I'm also obsessed with The Bean Game right now but this list is astounding.

Carrie Ann

Friday 13th of December 2019

I love L-C-R too! Except that my daughter ALWAYS wins (not quite sure how, since it's almost a pure chance game). I'm going to have to try the Bean Game. Glad you liked the list!