Cruise travel tip: How to beat bad weather blues on board and at port

Carnival Inspiration on a cruise to Ensenada from Long Beach on March 7, 2020.Carnival Inspiration
Carnival Inspiration on a cruise to Ensenada from Long Beach on March 7, 2020.Carnival Inspiration /

There are few things that can be as enjoyable as a cruise but weather can almost always put an end to your plans. So here is a cruise travel tip to beat the bad weather blues.

While the cruise industry continues to ebb and flow without passengers amid the continued COVID-19 situation, eventually, they will be rolling again on the seas once again. That will come with a hip-hip-hooray from cruise passengers who have found themselves stuck at home.

There is excitement to the start of a cruise vacation, especially if it is your first time. The boarding process can be fun even if it seems stressful. Arriving among throngs of people as you skirt around customs and baggage checks and so on but stepping onto the ship is always exhilarating.

Expectations are always high. You have it all planned out. The breakfast buffet or breakfast in the dining hall (highly recommend this), a change into your suits, and off to the deck for drinks, sun, and water. While you will find the pools crowded and the decks cramped with people, you expected this. What you didn’t expect was the big rain cloud that is about to clear the deck.

That’s when the fun begins, fun as in, how are you going to find something to do? Let’s look at a few things here that rain can ruin. Obviously, the sun decks are not going to be used and the pools will empty pretty quickly which always made me laugh. If there is no lightning or thunder why are you getting out of the pool? You are already wet! Still, they all tend to leave the area.

On some ships, quick bite restaurants are located under a cover but the dining area could be outside and on some ships, the line is outside. Many of these don’t open until lunch and close shortly after 3:00. The interior dining areas are open and many find comfort in sitting in those areas while it rains. The shows and bars are not open in most cases during the day and that leaves you with a few options. But you didn’t come on to a ship to sit in your cabin.

Cruise ship: Photo by Mike De Sisti and Jim Nelson/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel /

Casinos: Almost every ship has a casino unless you are on a Disney Cruise ship. They are located on a lower level typically and are perfect for a rainy day as they are open almost all day and night.

Buffet dining halls: While food may not be served all day, the seating is a perfect spot to grab a book or pull out a laptop and just relax near a window and watch it rain. Consider this, you probably had a book you were going to read while you tanned, so does the book become worse if you are sitting near a window while it rained?

Play with the kids: If you have kids, there are places that are designed for children’s entertainment.  Enjoy that time with them, take them to the arcade or play giant chess under one of the deck overhangs, every ship I have been on has a giant chess set on one of the pool decks and they are typically under a canopy of sorts.

Trivia and more: On most ships at the base of the grand staircase you will find a bar and in many cases a live trivia session or something similar. It’s a great place to congregate and wait out the rain.

Shopping: Many cruise liners have their own stores for you to look through. Many wait until the last days of the trip but rain will free you from souvenir duties at the end.

Ports of call: Nothing will ruin your day like a good rainstorm when you have already paid for an excursion. You will get your money back but it still sucks. No snorkeling, no outdoor tours of ancient relics or monuments, shopping is a wet adventure in open-air markets, and there are plenty of those in every port. There is a positive, though you might get a bit wet.

Many passengers will stay onboard the ship when the weather is bad at a port of call. The ships will serve lunch and there will be entertainment but if you don’t mind a little water, or have an umbrella, hit the port because most shops will not have a lot of customers and that means you could be one of a handful on that day. Bargain with them because they know they need to make a sale and you could be the only one to visit them that day. With so many on board, you are a prime customer.

(Photo credit should read BERND WUESTNECK/AFP/GettyImages)
(Photo credit should read BERND WUESTNECK/AFP/GettyImages) /

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This also holds true for shops that are not open-air markets. 

Rain should not ruin your cruise and it won’t if you don’t let it. Explore the ship. Grab a drink and walk around the interiors, find something or someplace that you may want to try out later in the evening. You don’t have to be cramped and in your room when it rains!