How to Keep Playing Basketball on a Caribbean Cruise

A real hooper might be afraid to go on a cruise, fearing they won’t be able to train and get shots up as they float away from the mainland.  However, we found a way to do it over 7 days on the second biggest cruise ship in the world, the Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas which holds 5,500 passengers. Let’s just see how much basketball you can plan traveling from Florida through the Bahamas and the Caribbean.

It’s nice to hoop at all hours on a cruise.

Leaving from Stockholm, we had a 3-hour layover in New York at JFK airport.  If you have a 4-hour or longer layover between flights, I recommend taking a taxi to see some famous courts in between flights.  But, seeing the transfer lines on this busy day, we didn’t risk it.

Stay at a hotel with or near a court like the Hilton in Miami the day before departing.

The cruise departs out of Miami. You can use our basketball court finder map to stay at a place close to a court or find a hotel with a court. We did the latter, staying at the Double Tree Hotel by Hilton with an old converted racketball court as the basketball court. But, a wood floor and a gym next to is more than enough.

With a few hours in the morning before the ship’s departure, I searched for a nearby court with that Florida iconic solid stone, curved basketball hoop.  Luckily, just around the corner was the Robert King Park.  With palm trees in the background and a blue sky, it’s a welcomed court before going to the ship.

With the massive ship docked right to the top of South Beach, I sought out the most popular court around.  I thought there might be one on the beach like many famous courts, but in this area of Miami there just aren’t any. 

So, on the Courts of the World Map, I found this 5-star rated Flamingo Park.  So many types of players were on the court, and you could hear Spanish, French, and English spoken. 

Flamingo Park

Once we got on the ship, I was surprised to see the condition of the court.  Both rims are exactly 10 feet and the free throw lines and three pointer line –college distance—are on point!  It was easy to get shots up upon arrival as most passengers are unpacking and exploring the ship.

The court is a little shorter than regulation, but running 3X3 or 5X5 full court games are no problem. Unfortunately, you can’t hoop all day, as there are set times for pickleball, dodgeball, and volleyball. The net is high enough that you can gun 3’s from any area, and the glass and net around the court keeps the ball close.

It takes a bit of time to adjust to the winds and movement on a ship, making deep shots tough to make, but quality hoops and backboards!

On this 7-day cruise, the first stop is promoted as the “Perfect Day At Cococay, Bahamas.” So, on the first full day after boarding, you can hit some courts on this private island only accessable by the cruise lie, and they have amazing views!

After a day of cruising, it is time for Day 3 that will dock at Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas in the Caribbean Sea, U.S. Virgin Islands

And Day 4 is the last day to get off the ship. Philipsburg, Sint Maarten is the stop

Quartier d’Orléans Basketball Court

There is a gym and a running track on board, so when it rains. The ship makes its final doc on Saturday morning, and you get out in South Beach ready to hit some courts on the continental USA.


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