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What Is a Lido Deck?

If you’re going on your first cruise, you may be wondering “What is a lido deck?” Every cruise ship has one – although some cruise lines use different terminology.

Here’s the short answer: The Lido Deck is usually the sundeck where the swimming pool is situated. Along with the swimming pool (or pools) comes innumerable sun loungers, multiple hot tubs, and a host of other fun activities, dining options, and bars for guests to enjoy.

The Lido deck can be described as the heart of any cruise ship, where guests most enjoy spending their time throughout any cruise. With something for everybody to enjoy, the lido deck is the perfect place to spend your time, whether on your own or with your family.

What Is A Lido Deck | photo of lido deck on Majesty of the Seas
Majesty of the Seas/E. Warner

What Is a Lido Deck on a Cruise Ship?

A Lido deck is a term synonymous with cruising in contemporary society. The term originates from the Italian term for a public outdoor swimming pool or beach where people could gather to swim and sunbathe.

Over time, the term was adopted by cruise ships to refer to the deck on a ship that features the outdoor swimming pool along with numerous amenities such as bars and dining options. 

Today, not all cruise lines use the actual term “lido deck” even though such facilities exist on their ships. So, for instance, you will often find a “lido deck” on a Princess Cruise ship, but not on a Royal Caribbean ship.

Generally, the lido deck on contemporary ships is almost always located on the top floor of the ship and is usually made up of multiple outdoor sections, each carefully designed to ensure maximum enjoyment for every user, irrespective of the type of experience they might be looking to enjoy. 

Along with the outdoor swimming pool – which may feature a retractable roof to allow the pool to be used during adverse weather conditions – there are usually several hot tubs, sun loungers, and other additions such as water slides and a splash park.

Covered pool deck on Ovation of the Seas. / E. Warner

Naturally, the amenities included on the lido deck of any ship will be dependent on the ship itself, as well as the cruise line with which the ship is associated.

Entertainment is usually a major feature of any lido deck on today’s ships, with the majority featuring a stage for live performances by bands and DJs. There is also often a large movie screen where movies are shown to guests on certain evenings.

Besides entertainment, a lido deck is usually home to a host of varying food options on the ship. There will be several options for casual dining and usually something that provides dessert — like an ice cream bar or soft-serve machine.

On some ships, there are also several cabins overlooking the lido deck, best suited to those guests who don’t mind being part of the action. 

When Was The First Lido Deck Built?

According to the majority of sources, there is no definite date indicating when the first lido deck was built on a ship. It would seem, however, that the trend began with the Italian cruise liners.

These ships traveled what became known as the “Sunny Southern Route” across the Atlantic ocean. Onboard the “Italia Lido Fleet,” there was a new type of deck that was inspired by the outdoor pools and beaches known as lidos.

In order to create an experience on board their ships that was more romantic and evocative than your typical sun deck or pool deck, the Italians created a new set of experiences that combined the benefits of a pool deck, sports deck, and sun deck.

This exciting new space is what became known as the lido deck and has since evolved to become the exciting lido decks that we see on ships today.

Why Are They Called “Lido” Decks?

In Italian culture, a lido was typically an outdoor public swimming pool or beach where people had the opportunity to swim and lounge in the sun.

Children’s water slides on lido deck of Norwegian Bliss/ E. Warner

In Britain, the term lido also referred to an outdoor swimming pool and its surrounding facilities. This was also the part of a beach where you were able to swim, sunbathe, and participate in watersports.

The term also came to be associated with specific places and appeared in the naming of numerous areas renowned for their beautiful beaches. An example of this is the Lido de Venezia, an exceptionally popular holiday destination in Italy, boasting over 7 miles of spectacular beaches.

As time passed, the term “Lido” became the traditional name for the sun and pool deck on most cruise ships across the globe.

The Modern Version of the Lido Deck

Lido decks have changed dramatically in recent years to accommodate the increasing size of cruise ships. Whereas older lido decks were mostly open-air spaces with a few small pools, today’s lido decks are typically extensive multi-level indoor/outdoor areas with multiple pools, hot tubs, bars, and lounges.

The trend in recent years has been for cruise lines to create more unique and innovative lido decks, with the goal of providing guests with a more enjoyable and memorable vacation experience. As the size of cruise ships has increased, so too has the need for creative ways to utilize the available space on the lido deck. In response to this challenge, cruise lines have come up with some truly amazing lido deck designs that are sure to impress even the most seasoned cruiser.

They’ve gone from mostly serving as a place where people could walk around and enjoy the ocean view to becoming a full-fledged amusement park, with waterslides, pool areas, mini-golf courses, rock climbing walls, and more.

The lido deck often hosts fun classes, contests, and other activities.

One of the most popular new additions to lido decks is dedicated water parks. These are areas with slides and pools that are specifically designed for swimming and playing. Some cruise lines have even taken things a step further by adding wave generators and other features that make it feel like you’re swimming in the ocean.

Other recent additions to lido decks include zip lines, miniature golf courses, and rock climbing walls. These are all great ways to burn off some energy and have a lot of fun in the process. 

Examples of Modern Lido Decks

Here are some examples of the versions of lido decks that you’ll find on today’s mega-ships:

  • Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas features an expansive 20,000-square-foot lido deck that includes seven pools (including an adults-only pool), a 12-person hot tub, two FlowRider surf simulators, basketball and volleyball courts, a mini-golf course, and more. 
  • Likewise, Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas features an expansive 3-story “Aqua Theater” with high-dive shows and water acrobatics. 
  • Carnival Cruise Lines’ new Carnival Vista features an immersive indoor/outdoor recreation area called “The Waterfront”, which includes a pool, two whirlpools, a bandstand for live music performances, and several bars and restaurants. 
  • Similarly, Carnival Cruise Line’s new Carnival Horizon features a massive “Carnival WaterWorks” aqua park with waterslides, splash zones, and a giant tipping bucket.
  • Princess Cruises Regal Princess features a massive pool with an on-deck grotto and waterfall, as well as a movie theater, a dance floor, and three Jacuzzis.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway Plus class ships include multi-level “outdoor lawn” areas with real grass and live trees. 

Of course, the lido deck is still primarily a place for people to relax and enjoy the view. So, if you’re looking for a more traditional cruise experience, you’ll still be able to find plenty of chairs and loungers where you can kick back and soak up the sun.

Aerial view of multi-level lido deck on Odyssey of the Seas. / E. Warner

How Many Pools Can You Find On a Typical Lido Deck?

While the lido decks on some ships might feature only one swimming pool, others might boast three or more. There are usually around two swimming pools, as well as several hot tubs, showers, and sun loungers.

Naturally, the facilities will depend on the ship and the cruise line, but the pools on a lido deck are usually relatively small pools with a depth of no more than 6 feet. Swimming laps might prove difficult in a pool of this size, especially when the pools are full of people. 

They are primarily designed for leisure, and some ships have pools designed specifically for swimmers who wish to swim laps for athletic reasons.

Top Tips For Making The Most Of The Lido Deck

While they’re great places to relax and soak up some sun, there are also some things to keep in mind when using a lido deck.

Tips for Courteous Cruise Passenger Behavior

Because cruise ships are not based on any land or country, some guests tend to think that standard etiquette and social norms do not apply. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and cruise ship guests should be aware that staff has the prerogative to remove badly behaved guests from ships.

While it might be okay to leave your belongings on a lounger while you quickly pop down to your room to fetch something, you cannot book out numerous sun loungers for hours at a time. Staff on the ship are usually instructed to remove property left on sun loungers left for longer than half an hour so that the loungers can be used by other guests.

Additional Tips For Enjoying The Lido Deck

While they’re great places to relax and soak up some sun, there are also some things to keep in mind when using a lido deck. 

Here are some tips: 

  • Be aware of the ship’s schedule and plan accordingly. Some activities, like movies or pool games, may be scheduled at certain times. 
  • Make sure to put sunscreen on before going out. The sun can be very strong at sea, and particularly on a lido deck, so it’s important to protect yourself from harmful UV rays. You can easily get sunburned even when it’s cloudy. 
  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes. You’ll want to be able to move around easily and be comfortable in the heat. 
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. It can be easy to forget to drink enough when you’re having fun, but it’s important to keep yourself hydrated.
  • Do try out different activities that are offered on the lido deck, such as yoga or dance classes.
  • Don’t be afraid to mingle and make new friends while enjoying the lido deck.
  • Do take advantage of the sunny weather and spend some time relaxing by the pool. 
  • Try to find a spot near the pool if you want to cool off. 
  • If you’re looking to relax in the sun, find a spot away from the pool area so you don’t have people splashing around nearby. -The bar is usually open during daylight hours, so if you want a refreshing drink, stop by!

Whether you’re looking to relax or have some fun in the sun, the lido deck is the perfect place to do it. Enjoy!


Now that you know precisely what a lido deck is, you will be well equipped to enjoy all that the lido deck has to offer on your next cruise.

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