When I recently asked for blog topics, someone asked for a granular breakdown of how I spend time on cruises. This is actually something I get asked about once in a while, so I figured I’d answer even though it’s fairly niche.
Plus the general idea translates to land-based travel, too.
The question is probably asked because the activities on the ship tend to be pretty lame. Today there was, for example, a lecture on which British celebrities had good American accents, plenty of bingo, and an art auction specializing in truly terrible art.
But, like life in general, you have to use a cruise as a blank plot of land and build upon it what you want.
Today I woke up around 9am on the ship. I rarely use an alarm in real life, and I never do on the cruise ship. I laid in bed for about an hour doing my crossword, answering messages, and checking up on a few sites.
Then I took a shower and prepared tea for my friends. We sat around for a couple hours drinking tea and chatting. A lot of why I like cruises is isolating some friends from the rest of the world, as it gives us time to hang out, catch up, and joke around.
After tea we went to lunch. Service was exceptionally slow, so we spent two hours there. More conversation, and we got pulled into doing chess problems on one friend’s phone.
The meat of the cruise is between lunch and dinner. I typically use all of that time to work. This cruise ship (NCL Bliss) is particularly good because it has lounge chairs that face the ocean. Holland America always has something similar.
During work hours my friends and I generally don’t talk at all. Maybe we’ll stop by to say hi on our way to get water or tea, but we are all here to work so we don’t interrupt each other.
Karaoke starts at seven, and I will obviously go to that. I always work out at least every other day in the gym, but sometimes I’ll do a mini-workout on off days like today before dinner, just to get the blood moving a bit.
We’ll eat dinner at 7:45, and it will last a couple hours. At home I tend to power through Chipotle for dinner, so I like having a slow comfortable dinner to hang out with my friends. Afterwards we’ll go back to our rooms and I’ll finish up my work if I have any, do crosswords, read, watch UFC fights, etc. I’ll probably be in bed by midnight or one in the morning.
This ship also has a lot of activities that look fun. They have some crazy looking waterslides, laser tag, and a go kart racing track. My favorites are when they have surf waves and rock climbing, on which I’ll usually spend an hour or so per day. In the beginning of the cruise (today is the first full day), I tend to focus more on work to make sure I get a strong start and build momentum.
The real advantage of cruises is the forced focus. There are no errands or chores to do, so your day can be very focused. Even though I really only work four hours or so per day on them, it’s very high quality work time and I tend to get a lot done. I also like dividing a task up by the number of days and guaranteeing that I get a big win out of the trip. That’s how I’ve written all of my recent books.
Internet is getting much better on cruises. It’s still expensive, but the speeds are finally really good. I still prefer work like writing, but even friends who need lots of internet connectivity are able to work effectively. Check out my site CruiseSheet.com and find a great cruise. But don’t do the hairy chest contests—get a lot of work done and spend time with your friends.
Photo is of the crazy waterslides on the NCL Bliss. I’m back from the cruise now.