Even if you love to hit port towns, the days spent at sea on your cruise can bring fun, food and relaxation.

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When you are deciding on the perfect cruise, it’s easy to overlook the importance of sea days in the itinerary. Should you choose a cruise with one, two, three or zero sea days?

A lot depends on your travel temperament. Will you enjoy a go-go-go cruise more or a lounging-by-the-pool-with-a-bucket-of-beer cruise? Either way, here are a few things to love about leisurely days spent at sea.

Sleeping late

This may be the No. 1 reason to include more sea days in your itinerary. First-time cruisers are often surprised by the fact that so much takes place so early on port days. There’s a rush to throw open the curtains and look out at a new port, followed by a dash to breakfast to get your feet on shore as soon as possible, sometimes as early as 8 a.m. That morning rush goes away on sea days. There is rarely anything pressing to get you out of bed. Sleep the whole day away, if that’s your thing.

Staying up late

Counterpart to sleeping late is staying up late the night before a sea day. Enjoy drinking, dancing, eating or gambling well into the wee hours, because tomorrow is sleep-late day, remember?

Stay up late the night before a sea day at the ship’s clubs or casinos, like this one on the Norwegian Cruise Line. (Norwegian)
Stay up late the night before a sea day at the ship’s clubs or casinos, like this one on the Norwegian Cruise Line. (Norwegian)

Second breakfast

For natural early birds, one of the joys of a day at sea is a quieter breakfast thanks to all those sleepyheads. And then sometime between early breakfast and early lunch comes second breakfast. On most ships, you can choose something entirely different for your second breakfast, like maybe sausage and beer (which is a traditional Hungarian second breakfast, by the way), or just hit the pastry bar for a snack to hold you over.

Casino tournaments

For competitive types, sea days are filled with anticipation of black jack and slot tournaments. Trophies, cash prizes and T-shirts are doled out as the winners are crowned. These are usually scheduled shortly after lunch so as not to interrupt your sleeping late or your afternoon nap.

Movies

Ships of all sizes often show movies on sea days. Screen locations run the gamut from roof-top terraces found on some Celebrity ships to the poolside screens of Princess ships. Other ships have indoor theaters, some even with 3-D capability. And if you don’t feel like getting out of bed, most cruise ships offer movies on the TV in your stateroom.

More time to dress for dinner

While port days are filled with the excitement of exploration, they often are capped off with a frantic dash to clean up from all that fun and dress appropriately for dinner. Bring on the sea day where you can take all the time in the world to primp and polish. Enjoy a trip to the salon or spa, or just take that long shower you never seem to have time for at home.

Spending a sea day at the pool, like on this Disney cruise, is almost a requirement. (Disney)
Spending a sea day at the pool, like on this Disney cruise, is almost a requirement. (Disney)

Pool time

If pool lounging is your thing, this is your big day. Stake out a lounger, slip on your shades and sip your favorite beverage for what could be the best day of the cruise. Even on cool-climate cruises, gathering around the pool on sea days is like a mandatory ritual that only high winds or rain can interrupt.

No stress

No matter how you decide to spend your time onboard during a day at sea, the stress level will be way lower. There’s no worrying about schedules, transportation, meals or activities. Sea days are a day for unwinding, recharging and maybe spending time doing absolutely nothing.