If it’s your first time on a cruise, or on this particular cruise ship or cruise line, it can be a little daunting to figure out where to go and what to do -- especially on a sea day. A "sea day" is a day spent entirely on the ship -- you do not stop at a port of call. Your sea day can be whatever you make it -- full of activity and high energy or sleepy and relaxing or a combination of both. Some of our favorite vacation days are sea days.
You will be amazed at how much there is to do on-board a cruise ship. You can exercise, visit the spa, go to the pool, take a class, play shuffleboard or mini-golf, play trivia or bingo, attend a lecture about an upcoming port of call, meet characters (on Disney Cruise Line), watch a movie or many other options. During the initial boarding process, my family always likes to get on the ship as early as possible and take some time to explore all the decks. This helps us figure out where everything is and lets us see what the ship has for us to experience.
Disney cruise line has a daily printed publication called a “Navigator.” (Most other cruise lines have something similar.) This document is placed under your door or in your stateroom the evening prior. It summarizes all the events going on all over the ship for the next day. You can see start times, end times, locations, etc. The document also breaks out activities by age -- so the adults-only activities are in a separate line from the activities for teens. Our family tries to eat breakfast together each day and on a sea day, we bring along the Navigator for breakfast reading. We talk about who is doing what, when we’re meeting again, and generally plan out our day. Of course, if someone wants to go swimming or just read a book somewhere, that’s fine. But this planning in the morning ensures that if there is something we really want to do, that is scheduled for a certain time, we don’t miss it. Character greeting times and locations are also included in the Navigator.
The Navigator also contains information on the show that night, the drink specials of the day and whether your dinner is “cruise casual” or “formal.” They will also let you know about any special events such as Pirate night as well as arrival and departure times if you are stopping in a port of call that day.
Disney also unveiled a Disney Cruise Line app a couple years ago. This basically puts the Navigator on your phone for handy reference. You can access free wifi on the ship to use the app.