Young Pioneer Tours

Cruising with YPT: what to do during days at sea

You’re considering going on a cruise with us but are afraid of being bored? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

“Soon may the wellerman come, to bring us sugar and tea and rum…” Even if our trips don’t last a whole whaling season, going to Greenland or Antarctica is a long journey. Crossing the entire South Atlantic, even more. The days of activities are fully packed, to make the most of the time we have on those magnificent territories, but what about the sea days? Here’s ten things you can do while waiting for someone to shout “land!”.

Attend a lecture

Our tours are expedition trips, which means that among the crew, there will be a lot of specialists who will give presentations on different subjects. There can be up to 3 or 4 presentations per day (attendance is not mandatory, don’t worry) and the topics are very diverse: the wildlife of the area you’re in (penguins, whales, birds, polar bears…), the history of the territories or/and their exploration, naval battles in the Atlantic, the science behind Northern lights, bathometry, environmental issues, etc. They depend on the trip and the scientists on board and are always very interesting! There are even photography courses for beginners, which will come handy when you spot your first albatross or when Northern lights appear.

Meet new people

Trips with YPT are always a great opportunity to meet open-minded travellers and create new friendships. Those polar adventures are no exceptions and we’ll be surrounded by other passengers with the same interests. Talking with the crew is also always a pleasure, as they have many stories to share. 

Finally read some books

If you’re not a social butterfly, that’s fine. You can simply bring a book or a Kindle and sit in the lounge, or scroll through the books in the ship’s library. NB: from our experience, even on the ship, people are too busy to read as much as they thought they would.

Observe the wildlife

“Dolphins on the starboard side”; “orcas at 3 o’clock”; “whales all around the ship!”: the ocean is a crowded place and days at sea are often punctuated by wildlife sightings. On top of that, you’ll be surprised to see that even hundreds of kilometres from the nearest land, our ship will be followed by numerous birds!

Play games

Alongside books, there are a lot of games you can borrow to play with the other passengers. Cards, board games, and even a Jenga. Yes, the game where you have to remove one block at a time from a tower. The person who thought it would be a good idea to put that on a ship is a genius.

Get a digital detox (or not)

The places where you can get off the grid are becoming rarer every year. There’s North Korea, of course. And the ocean. On the ship, you won’t even notice if you leave your phone in your room for a few hours: there’s no social media to scroll, no notifications to read, no email to answer. Unless you want to: it’s possible to buy Internet cards to stay connected to the world. It’s very expensive and not completely reliable, but it works. The question is: why would you do that? Your boss doesn’t even have to know that this is a possibility.

Eat and drink

The ship’s bar is open for as long as you keep the bartender busy. And the drinks are cheap: there are no taxes in international waters. Coffee, tea and hot chocolate are always available in the lounge, as well as delicious cakes and cookies. If you missed breakfast because you didn’t wake up on time, you’ll be fine!


After all, you’re on holiday. No one will say anything if you decide to sleep all day. If they do, blame it on the anti-seasickness medicine!

Sort your photos

At the end of your first day on land, be it in Antarctica or South Georgia, you’ll have hundreds of photos of penguins. After a few days, possibly thousands. It’s a good idea to use the sea days to sort and edit them all along the trip, so you don’t feel overwhelmed by this task by the time you get home. It’s also a good way to exchange your best pictures with other travellers. There are computers on board to help you do that.

Write a diary

Keeping a travel diary is a personal choice, but for many, it enhances the overall travel experience by preserving memories, fostering self-reflection, and providing a creative outlet for expressing thoughts and emotions. Sharing it with friends, family, or even a broader audience will allow others to experience your adventure vicariously.

Click here for more information on our budget polar cruises

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