How to cope with the cruise industry suspension for the cruising-obsessed

by - January 13, 2021

While you may not be able to go on a cruise right now, here are some ideas on how you can recreate the experience at home for the ultimate staycation: 

For anyone who has been on a cruise before, you know how addictive it can be. Once you have experienced what it is like to see a number of exotic destinations from the same floating resort with unlimited food, great service and world-class entertainment, not planning or fantasising about your next cruise is close to impossible. If you’re one of those people who has really been missing your favourite form of vacation since the suspension of the cruise line industry as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, you are definitely not alone. As the light appears at the end of this many-month-long no-cruise tunnel, here are some tips to help you hang in there just a little bit longer:

How to cope with the cruise industry suspension for the cruising-obsessed

In an effort to recreate the cruise experience at home you could:

  • Throw yourself a formal night party. 
It’s not a cruise without a Cruise Elegant Night. Why not throw on that evening gown you’ve been dying to wear and snap some pics? Of course, some cruise lines have stricter dress codes than others, so if you prefer a more freestyle option like Norwegian Cruise Line, you could just wear whatever you want anyway! Then, if your partner refuses to wear a tie, no one will deny him dinner!

Dress Up or Not Night
Cruise formal night: How to recreate the cruise experience at home

  • Throw yourself a Glow Party or a White Hot Party. 
While we may have to wait a little while to see if Jerusalema is going to make the playlists of our favourite onboard DJs, our other dance moves could probably do with some practise. Why not throw on some neon or white, snap a glow stick and cut a (living room) rug? 
Suggested soundtrack: Kelly Clarkson and Pitbull. As godparents (people of honour involved in the christening of the ship) to the Norwegian Encore and Norwegian Escape respectively, you know many onboard dance parties have been rocked by their music.

NCL Glow Party: How to recreate the cruise experience at home


  • Practice your towel-folding. 
Seeing which creative towel creature your stateroom steward has created for you, is one of the many highlights we look forward to each day on board. I always promise myself that when I go home I’m going to learn how to make them. And then I don’t! Now is the time! There is a YouTube tutorial for everything! Think of the friends you can impress!

Cruise ship towel folding: NCL Glow Party: How to recreate the cruise experience at home
Nailed it!

  • Learn how to play shuffleboard. 
Shuffleboard courts are the ‘Where’s Wally’ of cruise ships. It seems that every ship has one and they’re often hidden away in strange corners. As a South African, before cruising I had never heard of shuffleboard before and I still don’t know of any South Africans who know how to play it. If table tennis is not your game and you’re determined to win one of those cruise-line branded ‘coozies’ (those little foam things that keep drink cans cold), this is the time to prepare. There will be a tournament in your future, victory may be yours!

Cruise ship shuffleboard court
Photo credit: Jenny Marvin 

I don’t know why I don’t have any pictures of this common ship feature, but this is the only related stock photo I could find. I’m going to assume this lady is South African because that is definitely NOT how you play shuffleboard. Pro Tip: It involves a shuffleboard stick and some pucks!


  • You can sing the Washy-Washy song to the people who sanitise your hands when you go to the supermarket. 
If you have been on an NCL cruise before, the experience of having someone spray sanitiser at your hands as you enter a space would not have been new to you when COVID-19 came along. While these measures may be new to us landlubbers, NCL has been practicing this high standard of hygiene and sanitation to prevent outbreaks on board for some time now. The difference is when someone sprays hand sanitiser at your hands as you enter an NCL ship gangway or the onboard buffet area, the person with the spray bottle often sings a song. While the ‘Washy-Washy’ song comes in various forms with somewhat differing lyrics, it has become a quirky and valued onboard tradition across the fleet. I’m interested to see how NCL takes the new safety protocols and turns them into something else that is all part of the fun! In the meantime, the next time I go to buy bread I would really like to hear the Washy-Washy song. In fact, I hope it becomes as viral as the thing it’s trying to protect us from!


Video credit: Cruising With Wheels

  • And finally, just because you're not on board doesn't mean you can't enjoy world-class cruise line entertainment. 
One of the most exciting things about cruising is getting to see Broadway and Westend-quality shows at sea. Well, now you can enjoy them at home too!  NCL has recently launched a docuseries called ‘EMBARK - The Series’ to document the process of their relaunch. The first two episodes, already available online, showcase some of their entertainment offerings as performed by members of their production casts. From London’s historic West End Garrick Theatre, the first episode brings you The Choir of Man as seen on the Norwegian Escape and the Norwegian Encore (with some staging changes to make it social-distancing friendly). The second episode filmed in Broadway, brings you a selection of songs performed by (sometimes Tony-nominated) NCL cast members from shows such as Jersey Boys, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Footloose, Million Dollar Quartet, Kinky Boots and others, all of which can be found on board different NCL ships. 

EMBARK - The Series: How to recreate the cruise experience at home
Photo credit: NCL


Watch 'Embark: The Series' online here

However you decide to experience your ‘cruise to nowhere’, don’t forget to commemorate the start of it with a conga line around the pool deck (or kitchen) to the tune of ‘Hot Hot Hot’!

Bon voyage!

Girl on ship balcony - Cruising Pre-COVID and now
Photo credit: The Sharonicles and Anastasia Shuraeva


My lockdown travel recreations have now made the news in 30 countries. 
For more, see my Instagram



This post was sponsored by Norwegian Cruise Line. Opinions are my own.




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