Most people gain weight when they go on a cruise. In fact, the average cruiser gains 5 – 10 pounds on a 7 day cruise according to some recent polls taken on a cruise review website. That’s a lot of weight and is not healthy. Some people don’t mind the weight gain and plan to lose it when they get back, but weight gain on a cruise CAN be prevented, or at least minimized.
Here are 6 of the best tips on how not to gain weight on a cruise:
1) Don’t overeat! Ha…hard to follow with 24 hour buffets and a sit down dinner every night. But there are so many choices, and so many healthy foods that it is possible to eat healthy on a cruise, and still feel satisfied. I know a few people who indulge themselves the first few days to enjoy the variety of foods available, then get back to healthy eating after they have had a chance to try the variety. There are plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, salad bars, and fish on every cruise.
There is of also a choice of many types of breakfast foods, like pancakes, french toast and waffles, but there is also cereal, yogurt and most every type of fresh fruit you can imagine that is also available.
2) Use the stairs on a cruise ship instead of the elevators. Using the stairs, especially when ascending, will burn a lot of calories. It’s easier to go down the stairs, but going up stairs instead of taking the elevator will burn more. The more stairs you walk up, the more calories you burn! Try to remember this tip especially before and after a meal to help burn off at least some of the calories from that delicious cruise ship food.
3) Work out! Every large cruise ship that I have ever been on (this includes theHolland America, Norwegian and Princess cruise lines) have wonderful fitness centers with all types of equipment. I have seen everything from stair masters, incline bikes, treadmills, weight machines and free weights. Some even have spin classes, and most have aerobics, yoga and Pilates classes you can also take. There are also at least 2 pools on the larger ships and although crowded during certain times of the day, you can find quiet times when no one is in the pools. This is especially true on port days, and during the dinner rush. The Caribbean Princess, Sapphire Princess and P&O’s Azura Retreat area both have “swim against the current” pools which burn extra calories and give swimmers a great workout.
4) Shipboard recreation areas are full of calorie burning activities such as a basketball and tennis courts. Royal Caribbean lines and the Norwegian Epic have rock climbing walls and many Royal Caribbean ships have ice skating rinks. Some ships have a jogging track on the top level, but if you are prone to seasickness, it’s probably best to stay away from that as the view and height are both incredible but combined with the motion of jogging may upset weaker stomachs. Also, if you aren’t into formal exercise or recreation, you can just walk the promenade deck. Many ships have a mid ship deck that goes all the way around the ship. Promenade decks on both Princess ships the Princess Dawn and the Princess Sun have promenade decks that are 1/3 mile long, so 3 laps around equal 1 mile. It’s often a nicer view too than on a treadmill in the ship’s fitness center. I have seen whales and dolphins while taking fitness walks around the promenade decks on the way to and from Alaska.
5) Dance, dance, dance! Okay, so maybe you don’t want to go the actual “workout for the purpose of getting in shape” route but still want to burn calories. All the larger cruise ships have lounges with dance bands of various types, from jazz to disco to ballroom. Some cruise lines offer ballroom dancing and line dancing classes as well. And they often have special parties, such as a fifties night, dancing to the eighties, country night, etc. You can just eat by day, and dance it off each night! And you’ll have a lot of fun doing it as well.
6) Book active cruise excursions when you have days in port. There are any number of cruise excursions you can take in each port stop. You can see which ones require the most energy ( and will therefore burn the most calories) by a small logo next to the description. The logo will have a description next to it such as easy activity, moderate activity, or difficult or possibly strenuous activity. Obviously to burn more calories you would want to choose the difficult or strenuous choices which usually include hikes, kayaking, canoeing, etc. There are other choices which also burn calories and won’t cause you so much strain such as snokeling, scuba diving or horseback riding. The choice is yours. My advice would be to stay active, but enjoy yourself while doing it.
There you have it…6 tips to help you go on a cruise and not come back with 5 – 10 more pounds than when you left! Enjoy your next cruise!