10 Ways To Stay Fit & Healthy on a Cruise

Aug 15, 2021 | CRUISE TIPS | 0 comments

How to stay fit & healthy on a Cruise

Stay Fit & Healthy on your Cruise

According to some reports, the average weight gain on a 7-day cruise ranges from 5 to 10 pounds, depending on your activity levels, how much you eat and how much alcohol you consume.

If, like most of us you are concerned about putting on a few extra pounds, you really need to have a plan for your cruise and eat a healthy balanced diet, avoid too much alcohol and do some exercise such as using the swimming pool, gym, spa or just walking around the deck.

So here are our Top Tips to help you stay fit & healthy plus avoid gaining too much weight on your cruise. You aim should be to stay fit & healthy plus disembark in better shape than when you got on board!

1. Eat at least one healthy meal each day

Most cruise lines provide an abundance of food choices, and it is very easy to get carried away with all that is on offer. Staying fit and healthy can be a challenge. Try to stick to your home food schedule as long as it is healthy, keeping things simple and structured.  A recent study highlighted, it is better to consume your main meal at lunchtime and eat less in the evening. Most cruise lines have light/healthy options on the main dining room dinner menu. Some have fantastic Spa Cafés, and speciality restaurants focused on healthy food choices.

2. Burn calories on your Shore Excursions

Don’t fall into the trap of doing nothing and just lazing around the ship. Get off and discover all those wonderful destinations you came to see. Cruise Shore excursions are an excellent way to keep moving by walking and exercising.

Book active tours that involve cycling, kayaking, or hiking. If you are in a city, such as Rome or Barcelona, skip the bus tour and explore on foot: An hour of brisk walking burns about 300 calories and is all part of the regime that helps you to stay fit and healthy on a cruise.  Our advice: Carry a pedometer or use a Fitbit to help you track your progress and keep you motivated. Aim for 10,000 steps or more every day.
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3. Be Careful with Drinking Alcohol

When you are on a Luxury Cruise it’s easy to get caught up in free-flowing alcohol all day and well into the night. Be sure to set your limits in advance and perhaps have a couple of days when you give your liver a rest. Resist guzzling juices and fizzy soft drinks, and instead fill up on water and tea, which are complimentary all day on most ships. If you do need to splurge, make this at lunch so you have time to burn off the calories before bedtime.  Always drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

4. Don’t pretend the ship doesn’t have stairs.

Try the strategy of only using the lift or elevators on the first and last day of your cruise, when you have luggage to contend with.The rest of the time always use the stairs and if you are sailing on a large ship you are in luck.

With some ships nowadays having 13 decks you can easily burn those calories by clocking 30 minutes a day up and down the stairs, especially if you are on a mega ship. Aim to do 10,000 steps a day and use a Fitness Tracker to check on your progress!

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5. Use the fitness facilities

Many of the best cruise ships have state-of-the-art fitness centres. If yours does, use it. Try to plan at least 30-minutes a day of cardio, strength training, and stretching. You don’t have to work out all day every day to see an improvement.  On days when you are in port, try to take a pre-breakfast walk/jog around the deck.


6. Stretch on Deck

Weather permitting, if adequate exercise facilities are not available, or you simply don’t like gyms, find and make space in which you can do your workouts.
If the fitness facilities are not up to par (but most are), use your stateroom or the boat’s decks to walk or jog your way to fitness.
Some ships have amazing promenade decks where joggers and walkers are encouraged to burn off those excess calories. A great way to record your daily step count is to invest in a Fitbit or similar.  We aim for 10,000 steps a day minimum.

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7. Try the Classes

Most cruise ships offer various classes to help you keep fit. Some can provide a maximum cardio calorie-burning workout, whilst others could be a gentle stretch and low impact workout. It is a great way to get your joints moving and the blood flowing. Other cruises offer many types of group workouts. If you cannot motivate yourself to work out on your own, join the organised classes.

8. Swim

If your ship has a pool, be sure to actually swim some laps. Don’t just jump in to cool down or just for fun. Avoid taking drinks in the pool.


9. Avoid Snacking – If you can!

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This is a tough one as there is so much food on offer on every type of Cruise you go on. Buffets are the worst for overeaters.  You could literally eat all day and all night.

Try to limit the number of times a day you eat and avoid snacking if you possibly can.

Afternoon tea can be a killer, but you can always just have a cup of Tea! If you do need a snack have this in the late afternoon around 4 pm.


10. Watch your Hygiene

With so many guests on board, it is easy to forget about the hygiene issues of being on a cruise ship.  The last thing you want is the dreaded Norovirus, so take simple steps to stay healthy whilst on board. Always use the hand sanitisers provided on almost all ships; don’t just walk past them as if they are there for someone else.  When using the toilets on board please be sure to wash your hands thoroughly and try to avoid touching door handles as many folks don’t bother to wash their hands and hey presto, they may give you an unpleasant gift!
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FAQ’s – Frequently Asked Questions

How to stay fit on a cruise
  1. Cruises are more health-focused than ever; take advantage of this.
  2. Make sensible food choices, even upping calorie intake on physically demanding port days.
  3. Use the ship’s top-of-the-range gym facilities.
  4. Try other on-board activities to keep fit, such as a surf simulator.
Which cruise line is the healthiest?

Viking Ocean Cruises took top marks in cleanliness. With the health crisis and the suspension of sailing, you should know that cruise lines are serious about cleanliness.

How much weight do you gain on a 7 day cruise?

The average weight gain on a weeklong cruise ranges from 5-10 pounds. That’s quite a bit depending on your size. 10 pounds on a 150-pound person is 6.7% of total body weight which can have a significant effect on blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood lipids.

Last update on 2024-07-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API



Mike & Anita

Welcome all cruise enthusiasts!
We’re Mike & Anita, your spirited guides to cruising the high seas (and Rivers), and we’ve clocked in over 600 days at sea.

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A passionate cruiser and photographer with more than 600 days at sea, and just a few, but growing number of Luxury River Cruises. Our expereince as hotel inspectors for a prestigous French brand help us uncover all the good things about luxury cruising. All-Inclusive Food and Wine Cruises always attract our attention!
Mike King - About Luxury Cruising Blog

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