There's a fine line between relaxation and boredom, and cruisers on long itineraries might find themselves dangerously close to that line at some point during their vacation. The more sea days there are, the harder cruisers often have to work to fill all those hours with activities that keep them engaged.
If you're got a long cruise planned and are nervous about staying sane with so many sea days on the horizon, we've got a few suggestions to help keep you from going crazy.
Prepare Ahead of Time
There are a lot of unstructured hours to fill in a sea day. A great bet for keeping yourself sane and preventing boredom is to be prepared with things to do. If you're a reader, bring books with you or download more than you think you need on your e-reader. If you're a TV junkie or film lover, download shows into your Netflix or Amazon Prime accounts (or whatever online service you use) because streaming isn't often an option onboard. Make sure you bring some earbuds with you in case you want to sit by the pool or in a public lounge to watch your downloads.
If you're crafty, pack your knitting needles or sketch pad. If you love games, pack cards or travel-sized games to play with your travel companions or new friends, or magazines with crossword puzzles, sudokus or other brainteasers.
Take Advantage of the Programming
Since cruise lines don't want you to be bored any more than you do, they fill up days at sea with a variety of activities from trivia sessions and lectures to arts and crafts and dance lessons. The more you participate, the faster your days pass.
But don't forget to mix it up a bit. If you play trivia every day, you will eventually tire of it -- no matter how much you love trivia. Try playing for three or four days, then going to a lecture instead. Or play morning trivia one day and take a dance class in the afternoon, then switch it up the next day. And don't ignore the outdoor activities. On sunny days, take to the outer decks to soak up some vitamin D while practicing your putting or playing mini-golf, whooshing down a water slide or improving your shuffleboard skills.
With so many activities and shipboard amenities on offer, there's almost always a way to mix it up a bit so you're not doing the exact same thing each day.
Another surefire way to keep tedium at bay is by fighting it with endorphins -- those pleasure-inducing neurotransmitters generated by physical activity. It's virtual impossible to feel blah with endorphins flowing through your bloodstream.
How you get your endorphins pumping is up to you; you can hit the gym, go out dancing, shoot some hoops, take a vigorous stroll around the promenade or learn to salsa. The how isn't important, it's the result that makes the difference between feeling stir crazy and having fun on your 15th or 35th day at sea.
Don't Underestimate the Occasional Nap
With all that said, the intermittent nap can also be a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. There's nothing quite as relaxing as a midday cat nap, especially if you've got a window or balcony and can soak in the afternoon sun streaming in through the glass. Just don't indulge too often, as too much extra sleep can be an energy drain and bring your mood down.