Play Golf on Your Next Cruise on Some of the Best Courses in the World

You Don't Have to Leave Your Clubs on the Dock!

Golf simulator on the Europa 2 cruise ship
Linda Garrison

Those who love to golf do not have to give up their favorite past time when taking a cruise vacation. Golfers and spouses can have a golfing experience as well as find time for exploring the best sites at the cruise ship's ports of call, thus making everyone happy.

Many dual-career couples have a quandary when it comes to vacation planning. He is a golf enthusiast ("nut") and spends all of his free time on the course. She wants to visit the fascinating sites, browse the shops, and relax on the beach or by the pool. They both only have limited vacation time each year. One of the best things about cruising is that it has something for everyone of all ages. Couples or traveling companions can vacation together without spending all of their time together.

You Can Golf on Board a Cruise Ship

For the golf nuts, you don't have to worry about losing your edge when going off on a cruise for a week or more. Most cruise ships offer driving cages and putting "greens" to help keep your skills sharp. Some, like the Radiance of the Seas, MSC Lirica, Jewel of the Seas, and Ruby Princess have elaborate miniature golf courses that are fun for everyone, young and old. The Carnival Dream even has a two-level miniature golf course. 

Some large contemporary cruise ships have elaborate golf simulators that offer guests the opportunity to virtually drive, chip, and putt on some of the great courses of the world. 

Golfing in Ports of Call

Really serious golfers might enjoy a round or two of miniature golf on a ship, but what they really want to do is to play golf ashore. All of the major cruise lines offer you a chance to play golf ashore as part of an organized shore excursion if there is a course nearby. You can bring your own clubs or rent them. Playing at a private club where you are not a member can be very pricey, but will provide a lifetime memory. Plus, all your golfing buddies back home will be very jealous that you've played golf at an overseas course. Every golfer would love to go home and tell his/her golfing buddies about playing golf at some of the world's famous courses in Scotland, Spain, Australia, the Caribbean, or Asia.

Golf is played worldwide, and cruising has become a worldwide vacation opportunity. You can play ashore on almost every continent except Antarctica. If you are traveling to the Caribbean, Mexico, the British Isles, Bahamas, or Bermuda, golf is usually a shore excursion option at least one day on the cruise. New Zealand, Australia, and the South Seas' itineraries also sometimes include a golf package. Some cruises porting in Spain offer an opportunity to play at Valderrama, one of the world's top 50 golf courses. Others offer the opportunity to play at some of Scotland's best courses. Many cruise ships with British Isles' itineraries stopover near whichever golf course the British Open is rotating to each year. Some even have tickets you can buy to attend this special event--definitely a lifetime bucket list item for many golfers.

Carnival Cruises has expanded its golf program to include some marvelous golf courses in the Caribbean and Mexico. Golf Ahoy offers golf cruise excursions on many different cruise lines, as does Kalos Golf and Perry Golf. Premium cruise line Azamara Club Cruises is a very destination-oriented, and the cruise line, offers its guests the opportunity to play golf in Europe and Australia.

Playing golf on a cruise is not limited to those sailing on ocean-going vessels. Avalon Waterways features three golf courses on one of its Danube River itineraries.

Barge cruises also sometimes offer golf-theme trips. European Waterways has "golf barging" on 8 ships carrying 4-12 passengers in 4 countries. You can cruise the rivers and canals (and golf) of England, Scotland, Ireland, and France. On one of the barge cruises, you can even play at Royal St. Georges in England, one of the courses used by the British Open on a rotating basis.

Golf courses around the world are now open for play to the golf/cruise enthusiast. Contact your travel agent or favorite cruise line to start planning that dream trip now!