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Credit: Shutterstock/Royal Caribbean/Princess Cruises

Best cruise ships for sports fans & thrillseekers - from surfing on deck to basketball courts

Author: Harriet Mallinson

Published on:

As the Olympic Games get us all thinking about jumping, flipping and throwing, we look at the best cruise ships for sporting and fitness activities.

Cruise holidays keep passengers well and truly entertained whether through live shows, top-notch dining or thrilling activities.

Some cruise ships excel themselves when it comes to sports and fitness options meaning you don't have to miss out just because you're away from home.

From sports courts and jogging tracks to high adrenaline-pumping experiences, the major cruise lines have you covered.

We've rounded up some of the best cruise ships for those who like to get sweaty.

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Sky Princess - Princess Cruises

It's easy to keep fit and on top of your game (quite literally) on Sky Princess thanks to the ship's jogging track and sports court, set up for basketball and volleyball.

What's more, the onboard fitness centre features a full range of equipment from treadmills, recumbent bicycles and ellipticals to free weights and strength equipment.

- READ MORE: Princess Cruises is offering themed cruises this summer -

In the gym not only can you work out with a view of the sea but the majority of the equipment also feature personal tv screens whilst some also have interactive virtual experience screens such as the bikes so guests feel as though they are actually on the open road with other cyclists.

If you'd rather watch than play, Sky Princess boasts 'Movies Under the Stars', a 300-square foot, 69000-watt movie-theatre screen that shows major sports games live.

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Sky Princess boasts 'Movies Under the Stars', a 300-square foot, 69000-watt movie-theatre. Credit: Princess Cruises

Anthem of the Seas - Royal Caribbean

Cruise guests on Anthem of the Seas are spoiled for choice if they're seeking action-packed thrills.

Try your hand at skydiving with RipCord by iFly or ride the waves on the cruise line’s popular surf simulator FlowRider.

If that sounds a bit daunting, never fear, there's SeaPlex, a sporting and entertainment venue that claims to be the largest indoor activity space at sea.

Here you can find bumper cars, roller skating and more. For more traditional sports, guests can play a multitude of sports in the venue including basketball on a full-size regulation basketball court.

Tonight, Anthem of the Seas will be showing the big game on the huge outdoor movie screen on deck 14. Alternatively, guests can watch the match from the pool bar or from the comfort of a sun lounger.

Book your Royal Caribbean Cruise through ROL Cruise by clicking here!

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Royal Caribbean guest can try their hand at skydiving with RipCord by iFly on Anthem of the Seas. Credit: Royal Caribbean

Arvia - P&O Cruises

This new Excel class ship is arriving in December 2022 and is worth getting excited for.

It will feature Altitude Skywalk, a unique high ropes experience 54m above the ocean. Below this is Altitude Minigolf comprising of nine mini golf challenges, another P&O Cruises first.

Like all P&O Cruises ships, Arvia will have sports courts so guests can play football, tennis, basketball or golf in the driving nets.

- READ MORE: New P&O holidays to Caribbean, Portugal & Canaries announced -

Guests can tick off their 10,000 steps a day on the walking or jogging track, enjoy a sip in the swimming pool or work up a sweat in the well-equipped gym which boasts floor-to-ceiling windows so you can enjoy sea views.

Guests can join in fitness classes too, which include spin, yoga, pilates or Fitsteps.

Book your P&O Cruise through ROL Cruise by clicking here!

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P&O Cruises: Like all P&O Cruises ships, Arvia will have a well-equipped gym. Credit: P&O

Scarlet Lady - Virgin Voyages

Scarlet Lady - the first in Virgin Voyages' - has a way to sweat that suits you. From sunrise yoga to outdoor boxing, meditation to HIIT workouts, and even specifically curated hikes at ports.

There's a gym dedicated to weights, stretching, core exercise and a yoga studio that offers a wide range of group fitness classes - all of which are included in the price of your cruise - and a cycling studio. Personal training sessions are also available.

A running track can also be found onboard as well as a boxing ring.

- READ MORE: Why Virgin Voyages is unique -

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Virgin Voyages: A running track can be found onboard Scarlet Lady. Credit: Virgin Voyages

Disney Magic - Disney Cruise Line

There are fitness and recreational sports activities for all age groups onboard Disney Magic.

The Wide World of Sports Deck offers features basketball courts and ping-pong tables.

Guests can also hit the Running Track - a 1/3-mile lap around Deck 4 from where you'll get stunning views of the sea or gorgeous destinations.

Another option is Shuffleboard - why not play traditional one-on-one "knock off," team up for "Horse Collar" or try the adventurous "Crazy Eight"?

For water fun, there's AquaDunk, an exhilarating waterslide that sees you rocketing over the side of the ship on a 20-foot curvature! The starting position towers nearly 37 feet above the decks below and riders plummet 212 feet through a translucent tube that twists and turns to an unforgettable splashdown.

To keep fit, check out the full-service gym, home to state-of-the-art weight machines, specialised classes and breathtaking ocean views.

- BOOK NOW: Find your next cruise holiday with our Cruise Finder here -

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Disney Magic: For water fun, there's AquaDunk, an exhilarating waterslide. Credit: Disney

Carnival Vista - Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Vista is also packed with sporty fun. Head to SportSquare where you can take on friends at mini-golf, battle strangers at basketball, work off the calories on the jogging track or play football; and volleyball, pool, foosball and ping-pong.

There are also stationary bikes, elliptical machines, weight-lifting equipment and punching bags.

For something a little, well, higher, there's SkyRide at SportSquare - a twin-track suspended bike course - strap in and race around for the win or just cruise for great views. A similar option for those enjoying the high life is the awesome ropes course, Skycourse which features two levels of challenge.

If you fancy getting wet and wild, check out WaterWorks, Carnival's onboard waterpark. Here you'll find towering spiralling Twister Waterslide and Speedway Splash, which features hundreds of feet of racing action to name a few.

For more sedentary kicks, there's SkyBox Sports Bar where you can enjoy sports from the comfort of your seat.

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Carnival Vista: SkyRide at SportSquare is a twin-track suspended bike course. Credit: Carnival

Norwegian Escape - Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Escape also caters for sports fans. The ship is home to a multi-use sports deck where you can enjoy a game of basketball, volleyball, dodgeball, football or bowling.

As for watersports, there's Aqua Park with Free Fall - the fastest waterslides at sea - and also walk The Plank, which extends high feet over the side of the ship.

Alternatively, there's neighbourhood sports pub O'Sheehan's Neighborhood Bar & Grill where great beer and tasty bites are on tap 24/7 along with flat-screen TV's, billiards and darts.

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