Sea skills: what you can actually learn on a cruise ship

From onboard language labs and art classes to free fencing lessons, it’s a boom time for cruisers keen to learn new skills.Saturday, 23 November 2019

Get some focus

Small ship photography-themed cruises in remote areas such as the Antarctic, offered by the likes of Lindblad Expeditions and Quark Expeditions, are ideal for honing snapping skills, and capturing landscapes and wildlife under professional tuition. New expert-led options include Aurora Expeditions latest vessel, the Greg Mortimer, sailing its inaugural trip on 31 October from Ushuaia, Argentina.  

Find some space 

Many autumn/winter sailings focus on hunting the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, including Hurtigrutens Bergen, Kirkenes, Bergen — Astronomy Voyage. Dark sky cruising trailblazer Cunard, meanwhile, features both a planetarium and an expert-led lecture programme on Queen Mary 2, with a special seven-night transatlantic crossing celebrating World Space Week departing on 2 October 2020.  

Become more flexible

The May launch of sports, fitness and wellness-themed line Blue World Voyages aims to appeal to active travellers. Star Clippers is among those offering regular yoga-themed cruises while Crystal Cruises Mind, Body & Spirit sailings cover everything from detox diets to Tai Chi classes.    

Cook up a storm

Whether mastering sushi making with Azamara Club Cruises or enjoying MSC Cruises entertaining MasterChef At Sea Experience, there are many ways to cruise to culinary prowess, backed by state-of-the-art onboard learning facilities such as the Culinary Arts Kitchen on Regent's Seven Seas Explorer.  

Embrace nature 

Small ship expedition cruises typically come with a healthy dollop of environmental education and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises trips are no exception. The multimedia Ocean Academies onboard the company’s new expedition-class vessels such as Hanseatic Inspiration, which will be making its maiden voyage in October this year, help passengers discover more about the wildlife and landscapes they encounter, backed by innovative daily, expert-led presentations in the HanseAtrium.

Lines offering more ‘hands-on’ opportunities include One Ocean Expeditions. Passengers on the company’s RCGS Resolute can participate in activities such as animal censuses and work on ‘citizen science’ projects alongside the onboard research scientists, backed by the ship’s research facility, One Lab. 

Published in the Cruise guide, distributed with the December 2019 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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