If you’re a cruise fanatic, the fact that most of us can’t take a cruise right now is a tough fact to deal with.

Although much of the cruise industry is currently on pause, there are lots of fun ways to recreate the excitement of a cruise vacation at home.

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Have a DIY spa day

One of my favorite things about cruising is having the free time to indulge in a spa treatment or two. During the pandemic, many of us have a lot more free time but many land-based spas are closed.

Self-care is so important to our mental health, so why not take a few hours to have your own DIY spa day at home?

Some ideas for your own home spa treatments:

  • Give yourself a manicure or pedicure (or file and buff your nails if you don’t want to use polish)
  • Relax with a face mask
  • Give yourself a foot massage
  • Soak in a hot bath with a bath bomb
  • Trade back massages with a family member
  • Use a deep-conditioning treatment on your hair
  • Exfoliate your skin with a simple sugar or salt scrub before showering

If you need a few inexpensive recipes for your DIY spa treatments, one of my favorite blogs, Living Well Spending Less, has four easy homemade spa treatments you can make with ingredients you probably have around the house.

Make a cruise-inspired meal

With most of us doing a lot more cooking at home these days, preparing a cruise-inspired meal is a fun way to remember one of your favorite reasons to cruise – the amazing food!

Set up a buffet-style breakfast

You don’t even have to prepare a fancy dinner to have a cruise meal at home. If you’re quarantining with a few family members, why not set up a cruise ship-style breakfast buffet?

  • selection of cereals
  • omelette station with pre-cut fillings
  • pastries
  • toast and English muffins
  • scones or muffins
  • bacon and sausage
  • fresh-squeezed juice (maybe break out that juicer you never use?)

Have a cruise formal night at home

Are you missing the elegance of formal nights on board? Have your own formal night at home! Encourage your family to pick out their best outfits for dinner and help prepare a special meal.

Some of my favorite main courses for an at-home formal night are individual Beef Wellingtons, Chicken Cordon Bleu, or steamed lobster (Pro tip: ask at the fish counter if they’ll steam the lobsters for you to make dinner prep even easier).

More cruise recipes

Carnival Cruise Line actually publishes recipes for some of their most popular dishes on their website (including their amazing Melting Chocolate Cake). Take a peek at their cruise recipes page for even more yummy inspiration.

Watch a cruise-themed movie

Make some popcorn and have a movie night featuring a cruise-themed movie or two! These films all take place on a cruise ship, and you can rent them on Amazon for just a few dollars each.

Does it feel like you’ve run out of things to watch on Netflix? These cruise-themed movies are currently available to stream on Netflix as of the time of writing.

  • Yucatán (2018)
  • Like Father (2018)

Read a book about cruising

Curling up with a good book might be just the escape you need right now. Here are a few of my favorite books about cruising that are available in multiple formats.

The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje

This coming-of-age novel is based on the author’s own childhood experience aboard an ocean liner from Ceylon to England in the 1950’s.

Michael, the novel’s narrator, is a solo 11-year-old boy on board the Oronsay, a liner bound from Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) to England via the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean.

Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys

A fun piece of historical fiction with a bit of romance and a lot of mystery, Dangerous Crossing is set just before WWII broke out in Europe.

Lily boards an ocean liner in her native England, bound to make a new life for herself in Australia. Amid the glamorous setting, she begins to discover some long-hidden secrets.

Cruise Confidential by Brian David Bruns

Bruns, a former Carnival Cruise Lines employee, chronicles the year he spent working on a cruise ship. If you’ve ever wondered what life is really like for the crew when they’re out of sight of the passengers, this is a must-read.

The first installment in a multi-part series, Cruise Confidential is a no-holds-barred look at life below decks.

Don’t feel like reading an entire book? David Foster Wallace’s hysterical Harper’s essay about his first cruise, “Shipping Out” is online for free.

Make some of your fave cruise cocktails

Cocktails are always freely flowing on a cruise ship, so why not practice making your own favorites at home? Even frozen drinks are easy to replicate with an ice-crushing blender (I love the Ninja blender for making frozen concoctions).

Some cruise-inspired cocktail recipes that my friends, family and I enjoy are:

If it’s warm where you are, why not enjoy your “cruise” cocktails outside while relaxing on a lounger in the sun? Just close your eyes and pretend you’re on the Lido deck!

Learn how to make towel animals

Admit it, you love coming back to your stateroom and finding that your steward has made you an adorable towel animal. I know I love them!

If you’re even remotely creative, you can easily make really cute cruise-ship-style towel animals to surprise your family with. Check out the beginner’s video below for a step-by-step guide to making easy towel animals.

Watch videos of favorite cruise entertainers

Do you love going to shows after dinner on a cruise? Me too! From comedians to magicians, Broadway-style musical productions to rock bands, there’s no shortage of entertainment options on board a ship.

Thanks to YouTube, you can watch recordings of lots of your favorite entertainers for free at home. Just search for “cruise production show”, “cruise magic show”, or whatever your favorite type of cruise entertainment might be.

When my daughter and I were on board Royal Princess in 2017, we were blown away by the magic show put on by the husband-and-wife team Hawley Magic. We love watching videos of them performing on America’s Got Talent – we’re still in awe of that show (and half-convinced that there was some “real magic” going on there).

Check them out, or search for videos of your own favorite cruise ship entertainers.

Have an at-home comedy night

Are there some budding comedians in your family? Have a stand-up showdown! Each family member gets to take the “stage” for ten minutes of joke telling. Bonus points if they include humor about cruising or travel.

Read my 10 Funniest Cruise Jokes That Will Make You Laugh for some cruise comedy inspiration.

Plan a future cruise vacation

Although it may feel far off right now, cruising will be back. Why not plan a cruise vacation for the future? Now’s the perfect time to brainstorm and update your bucket list of cruise destinations!

Pinterest is a fantastic tool for researching ports you’d love to visit in the future, plus it’s a great way to find travel bloggers you might not be already following. Check out my Pinterest boards if you need some inspiration for new places to visit on your future cruises.

Cruise lines are reporting that future cruise bookings are on the rise for 2021, even in the midst of the pandemic. If you’re ready to book your future cruise, my travel resources page has all the links you’ll need to save time and money when planning your next vacation.

Wondering what will change about cruising once we can board a ship again? Read my predictions about the future of cruise travel.

Tip: Make sure your cruise deposit is fully refundable before booking your future cruise. You can have the excitement of planning your vacation along with the peace of mind that you won’t lose money if you choose to cancel.

Are you dreaming of your next cruise vacation? Let me know in the comments below!

If you liked this post, I’d love it if you’d share it on your social media channels. It really helps my blog to grow so I can keep bringing you free cruise tips, ideas, and reviews. Thanks so much for reading!

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About the Author

Carrie Ann is the founder of Should Be Cruising and a lifelong travel fanatic. A former flight attendant, she now prefers cruise ships over airplanes and spends several months each year cruising and exploring cruise ports. Facebook | Instagram

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