On small ships, activities are limited by the available public space and are usually up to the passengers to organize maybe a game of Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit. There may be a showing of a video or two, and there will typically also be a lecture series dealing with flora, fauna, history, or religion. These enrichment lectures are also popular on larger cruise ships, along with edutainment classes that focus on cooking, art, photography, personal finance, computers and history. Cooking is particularly hot, no pun intended, with certain lines installing purpose-built demonstration kitchens.
Many big and small ships alike will offer beer or wine tastings, often under the supervision of the onboard Sommelier. Bridge, shuffleboard and poolside games are common; on ships with more retired passengers you may find bridge and mahjong, too. And then there are the behind-the-scenes tours that take guests into some of the more typically off-limits spaces, including the ship’s galley, provisioning areas, laundry rooms, and backstage theatre areas. Some of these tours are complimentary; others can run well over $100 per person and can include some special goodies like T-shirts, hats and complimentary photos. A handful of tours may include a supervised visit to the ship’s navigation bridge, though this is far more common on smaller vessels.