We’re pretty sure that a luxury cruise is on everyone’s bucket list. Who doesn’t want to spend a week or so out on the ocean, enjoying superb chef-created meals, taking their pick of exciting onboard activities, and visiting new destinations all within the same vacation?
If you’re a golfer, you may be thinking, “Sure, that’s nice… But how can I swing my clubs during this holiday?” While taking a break from the golf course isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if you love the game, you might want to get your golf fix while you’re cruising.
Today, we’re exploring the ultimate golf and cruise destinations. These are the places to go if you want the full cruise experience… Plus some amazing opportunities to play at new, magnificent golf courses.
Beautiful Cruise Destinations That Offer Excellent Golf
While some cruise ships offer mini golf or onboard golf simulators, there’s nothing quite like getting out on the fairways and greens of a new course in a never-before-visited country. If you want to do some off-bord golfing while you’re on your cruise vacation, these destinations are the perfect choice.
When you think of the Bahamas, chances are you imagine stunning beaches, clear blue waters, and palm trees. You might also think about swimming pigs, deep blue holes, and sport fishing… But golf is probably not on your radar!
The good news is that you’ll find over 40 spectacular golf courses in the Bahamas, including some world-famous ones, like the Ocean Club Golf Course, Emerald Bay, Abaco Club, and Royal Blue.
Another very popular cruise destination, no matter where you are in Bermuda, you’re always within a mile of the ocean. But that’s not all you can enjoy in this tropical paradise—Bermuda has the most golf courses per capita out of all the countries in the world, so it’s the perfect place to get your golf on while you’re on a cruise vacation.
The Mid-Ocean Club is the most well-known, but wherever you are and however much time you have, there’s a golf course waiting for you to play it here.
It’s not all about beach life, diving, and pirates in the Caribbean! Interestingly, most people assume that the Bahamas and Bermuda are part of the Caribbean. Bermuda isn’t, and although the Bahamas is part of CARICOM, the Caribbean Community, it’s located outside of the Caribbean Sea.
The rest of the Caribbean includes the Dominican Republic, Barbados, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica, and there are plenty of spectacular golf courses across these islands to enjoy if one of these countries happens to be your course destination.
Another well-loved beachy destination, Hawaii features a number of magnificent golf courses. It’s a popular cruise destination, so if you’re planning to cruise over here, then you should definitely get a round of golf in. Do your research, though—some are private courses only.
Golfing Experiences Onboard Cruise Liners
If you like the idea of having a huge array of activities onboard right at your fingertips, some cruise liners offer certain golfing experiences onboard. Of course, you won’t get a full-course golfing experience, but it can definitely satisfy your golfing fix.
Many cruise liners offer a putting-only mini-golf course, which is great fun for a bit of light-hearted golf with the whole family. This is a great way for beginner golfers to have some fun, but can help more advanced players get their fix at the same time.
Those who prefer to really swing their clubs can choose a course with a golf simulator. It’s as close as you can get to playing on the real thing without leaving the ship! They’re more rare than mini-golf courses, so you’ll need to do your research for a cruise liner that fits your needs.
Some cruises offer golf-specific packages that are all-inclusive of a round of golf at an amazing golf club near the port of call. Some even have specific golf-themed cruises!
- Costa Cruises: The Costa Smeralda features a special golf-related itinerary.
- Azamara Club Cruises: Partners with Perry Golf to provide exclusive golfing experiences for guests.
- GolfAhoy: Cruises designed around an excellent golfing experience.
- Royal Caribbean Cruises: A variety of excursions to nearby golf courses can be arranged at certain ports of call.
What to Consider When Booking a Cruise/Golf Vacation
Considering a cruise experience that also includes a round or two of golf? Here are the factors to think about when planning.
Your Golfing Needs
Are you happy playing mini golf for the duration of your cruise, or would you prefer to get out on the real course? This will be the deciding factor when it comes to choosing a destination and a cruise liner.
Not all ships offer off-shore golf excursions, but not all of them offer great onboard golf experiences either. Once you know what kind of golf you want to play, you can go about choosing the right cruise line and ship to meet your needs.
Ports of Call
If you want to visit a course at one of your ports of call, a few things are important to know. One, does the cruise liner offer offshore golf excursions? If not, you’ll need to arrange this on your own, but you’ll need to know how much time you have to spend at the port.
If you’ve got a specific golf course in mind, you’ll need to choose your cruise based on which ones pass by that particular port.
Golf-themed cruises and golf excursions are more expensive than regular ones. Factor this in when planning—if you’re on a budget, you may have to settle for mini golf and a golf simulator session rather than going offshore for a round or buying a golf-themed cruise.
Cruise ship experiences are unique, luxurious, and something everyone should do at least once in their lifetime. While some cruise ships do offer golfing experiences onboard, golfers will be happy to know that many popular cruise destinations offer superb golf courses for your enjoyment.
Choosing one of these destinations means you’ll get the best of both worlds! You can enjoy the fun and luxury of the cruise experience but still tick an amazing round of golf off your bucket list. Plan your destination carefully, and you’ll get to see beautiful sights and swing your golf clubs on the same vacation—the best bang for your buck!
About the Author
Jordan Fuller is a retired golfer and businessman. When he’s not on the course working on his own game or mentoring young golfers, he writes in-depth articles for his website, Golf Influence.