What Are Basketball Cruises?

by Aaron Charles

Serious basketball fans don't have to leave their passion at the dock when going on a cruise. The book "Your First Cruise" notes that basketball courts have been included on many of the largest ships on the sea, and some cruise lines even offer vacation packages centered around basketball tournaments.


One form of basketball cruise involves actual participation, where you can join a tournament, such as a 3-on-3, and turn your vacation into a true basketball event. Norwegian Cruise Lines has offered basketball cruises on what it calls its "Athlete's Fleet." In addition to a 3-on-3 tournament, the cruise offers a free-throw contest and a 3-point shootout. Royal Caribbean is another major cruise liner that has basketball courts on its fleet, while not necessarily set up for an organized tournament. In this case, cruise-goers are free to put together their own.


Other basketball cruises have been more of a casual affair that don't involve actually playing basketball. Theme cruises sometimes focus on basketball and will feature professional basketball players who come on board to mingle with passengers. They may sign autographs, give pointers about how others can improve their game, or just shoot the breeze. One example of this style of cruise is the NBA Basketball Cruise hosted by Norwegian Cruise Lines.

TV Cruise

Another basketball cruise option depends partly on your personal effort -- and satellite television. For example, Princess Cruises does its best to bring satellite TV to passengers, most especially ESPN programming for sports fans. If taking a cruise during the NCAA basketball tournament or the NBA Finals, and if the ship location and weather are cooperating, then you can surely turn your vacation into a real basketball cruise. And if you get a group on the same basketball wavelength, your cruise experience will benefit all the more.

Hoop Safety

If you do choose to participate in a tournament as a part pf your basketball cruise, remember that safety on board is to a large extent your responsibility. The book, "United States Admiralty Law," cites one case of a person playing basketball on the deck of a cruise ship who then fell and hurt himself. The reason, he said, was because there was a wet spot on deck that he slipped on, and he accused the cruise line of negligence. The court reviewing the case, however, ruled that while there could have been improvements in safety on deck (e.g. someone could have been at the ready with a dry mop in case of wetness), the cruise line really couldn't be responsible for hazards a person normally encounters in daily life. Of course, shooting baskets on a vessel plying the ocean's waves isn't the same as playing on a court on terra firma.



  • "United States Admiralty Law"; Gerard J. Mangone; 1997

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