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7 Ways to keep fit on your cruise

8th January 2016

Updated January 2018

 

Maintaining fitness can be hard with a busy lifestyle, let alone on a cruise where you are constantly faced with tempting food and hours relaxing around a pool. With the pressures of making time for fitness in our daily lives, going on a cruise can bring daunting thoughts of putting on weight and no exercise. In fact, the reality can be quite different; staying fit on a cruise can be both easy and enjoyable.

It is said that one of the most important factors considered when people are choosing a cruise, is the quality and quantity of food onboard. From the moment you wake up to the minute your head hits the pillow at the end of the day, there is certainly no shortage of exquisite dishes at hand.

 

 

Although you may think this makes it hard to maintain your health and fitness levels on a cruise, there are actually a number of ways to stay fit onboard. Modern day cruise ships are not just about eating and lounging, they are kitted out with high-tech fitness facilities and provide a fantastic array of activities to stay help you stay healthy onboard.

Having that balance of indulgence (you have to on holiday!) with keeping fit, will ensure you return home happy, healthy and rejuvinated while knowing that you made the most of your time away.

 

Here are our top 6 ways to stay fit onboard:

 

Onboard Gym

Cruise ships are home to some of the most innovative and spacious gyms in the world, and certainly boast some of the best views. Imagine running on a treadmill peering over the ocean, cycling towards an incredible view of a European city, or lifting weights as you watch the sunset.

Onboard fitness centres are increasing in size, and cruise lines know the potential of having a state-of-the-art gym onboard. Included in the price, there is no excuse to not take a trip to the gym during your stay. No need to spend your entire holiday there, but a couple of visits will make you feel less guilty about the extra calories you'll no doubt want to consume! From the latest cardio equipment, an extensive range of weights, and flat screen televisions, you'll wish your gym at home was as good as your gym at sea.

Most onboard gyms come with a running track, sauna, and other fitness facilities. The running track is a great way for you to maintain your fitness during your time away, especially if the gym is not your thing. Most have multiple lanes so you can walk, jog, or run.

Cruise Fitness Fact – The running track on Oasis of the Seas is 0.43 miles long, and features motivational signs reminding you why you're there; 'Tonight’s dessert can be guilt free'.

 

 

Exercise Classes

Whether you're a regular attendant at gym classes, or you want to try one for the first time, a cruise is the perfect place to do this. With choices like yoga, pilates, body balance, and box fit, cruises have an extensive range for you to enjoy.

There is normally an extra charge for classes (usually about $10), but compared to what you would pay for them at home they are reasonably priced and offer great value for money. If you do want to take part in a class, make sure you sign up early as they do fill up quickly. There is limited space, and with high numbers of guests onboard you don't want to be disappointed.

One of the great things about fitness classes during a cruise are the locations. Yoga on a private beach, pilates on the top deck, or boot camp on the outside rock-climbing walls are fitness experiences you will not get anywhere else in the world.

Cruise Fitness Fact - Disney Cruise Line offer yoga classes on their private island, Castaway Cay.

 

 

The Midnight Buffet Is A Treat

One toughie will undoubtedly be 'how to avoid the midnight buffet', when you are confronted with the most exquisite array of food you've ever seen. Don't avoid it completely, but perhaps don’t go every night after you've already eaten a three course meal!

Most cruise lines will have a midnight buffet on various nights of a cruise, and it is a fun event that you shouldn't miss. Usually taking place on the outer decks, accompanied by live music and dancing under the stars, the midnight buffet is the ultimate cruise party.

Unlike buffets you have seen before, there will be a wide selection of hot and cold foods including exciting sea foods, tasty meats, and delicious salads. This is the opportunity for you to go on a culinary journey and try foods you've never tasted…just remember you don't need to go every night.

Cruise Fitness Fact: Cucumber has such few calories, you can eat as much as you like. Dipped in some humous makes a great choice for the buffet.

 

 

Eat Smart

Food glorious food, one of the reasons we love cruising. Some of the most divine menus and famous Michelin chefs are found at sea, and you'll have some of the most delicious culinary experiences in the world during your cruise. 

Even though many of us are guilty of taking advantage of being on holiday, and allow ourselves to indulge on everything and anything that's available, remember to dine in moderation. Yes there is food available to you 24 hours a day but that doesn’t mean you have to eat it.

Most cruise lines now offera  low fat menu, and often the dishes are so tasty you'd never know that they are anything but regular meals. Many of the options are less than 500 calories, but still fill you up with a tiny bit of space for dessert.

Cruise Fitness Fact: The average cheeseburger has 1100 calories, meaning you would have to do two hours of running at 5mph to burn it off.

 

 

Active Excursions

Whether you go away to relax or explore, staying fit can still be achieved even when you're not thinking about it. Taking part in an active excursion is a great way to do a full day of exercising without really realising it.

Simply wandering around is often the best way to truly experience a city, so if you're up to it, try a walking tour rather than a coach or bus tour. If you spend a day exploring on your feet, you'll not need to go to the gym or worry about what’s for dinner later.

If walking isn’t your idea of active fun you can try zip-lining, water-rafting, rock-climbing, or other active explorations in many fascinating cruise destinations.

Cruise Fitness Fact: You burn around 310 calories on a 10 mile city walk, walking at an average speed.

 

 

Take The Stairs

Many cruise ships are considerably big, and sometimes the easiest way to get around is via the central staircase. With no more than eighteen decks, cruise ship facilities are spread out, so you're likely to be walking between different floors a lot of the time. There are both stairs and elevators on either end of a ship so you have the choice.

When going from one venue to another taking the stairs is a great way to be active, and in fact is often quicker than having to wait for an elevator.

Cruise Fitness Fact: One flight of stairs is said to burn 15 calories and taking an elevator will burn 0.

 


Try Something New

Modern day cruise ship design has taken the experience of cruising to a whole new level, and you can now spend a sea day learning adventurous new skills if you fancy it.

Royal Caribbean made waves when they introduced their hugely popular FlowRider surf simulator. Keen surfers can learn tips and tricks from the highly skilled surf instructors monitoring the attraction. Other adventures available onboard with Royal Caribbean include the climbing wall and Ripcord by iFly sky diving simulator – the very first at sea!

Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Escape is packed with fun thrill factors for anyone who wants to get their adrenaline pumping. Check out their extensive ropes course, zip line plank (over the open water), and fun water slides and Aqua Park.

Cruise Fitness Fact – Testing your limits (within reason) can cause an adrenaline rush, this increases your heartbeat and can maximise your workout.

 


By Sally Grimes 


One night on Norwegian Escape

29th October 2015

Updated July 2019

Norwegian Cruise Line promise that guests can ‘Escape completely’ onboard their Breakaway-Class Ship, Norwegian Escape. Some of our staff were invited along to be a part of the inaugural overnight sailing from Southampton, and returned with much to say about the ship! Read on to find out what they thought.

It’s safe to say that on this incredible vessel you can certainly escape from the outside world, with endless activities, dining choices and bars to keep you entertained.

 

 


We embarked in time for lunch, and made a beeline straight for Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, boasting ‘the best burgers on your way to paradise’. We refuelled on cheesy chicken Quesadillas, lime slaw and key lime pie, ready to explore the vast ship and all of its exciting facilities.

Between the huge high ropes course, the insane aqua park (one slide has a loop the loop!), mini golf course and sports court, we were all amazed at the variety of fun-filled activities there are to keep active on board. Our only regret was not having the time to try them all out on this short itinerary.

 



After a quick walk around it was time to meet for the muster drill, before heading to our stateroom for a pre-dinner outfit change. We stayed in a large balcony, and were really impressed by the size and layout; a large sofa made great use of the space between the bed and the wardrobe, and the bathroom was extremely spacious, with a nice big shower too.

O’Sheehan’s Bar & Grill was our choice for a casual drink before dinner. Located just off the atrium, the atmosphere was alive with energy here as everybody mingled at the beginning of the evening. We then dined in one of the main restaurants, Savor, where a traditional menu offered a choice of Maine lobster, succulent steaks, beef wellington, and much more.

With the wine flowing, and the night young, we thought it only polite to trial a few of the bars on offer. First on our list - the District Brewhouse, serving a fantastic variety of craft beers. With bluesy rock classics being played live by one man and his piano, we stayed a while soaking up the ambience. Next, a drink at the outdoor Waves bar gave us time to appreciate the stunning look of the ship lit up after dark.

 

 

Our bar crawl then settled in Mixx bar, where two pianists performed incredible covers. With requests from the crowd ranging from The Spice Girls to Depeche Mode, their showmanship kept us captivated for the rest of the evening, with plenty of dancing to work off those indulgent three courses at dinner. In search of one last night cap, we found ourselves finally in Tobacco Road, a liquor bar harking back to the good ol’ days at Miami’s most famous dive bar, serving a fantastic selection of bourbons, whiskeys, and speciality cocktails.

The verdict: the perfect ship for those who want stylish bars, energetic nightlife, and adrenaline-fuelled fun throughout the day. There’s so much to do, you’ll struggle to fit it all in!

Browse our Norwegian Escape cruise deals

 


What happened to the cruise industry in 2014?

16th December 2014

As the end of 2014 approaches and we frantically panic prepare for next week, let's take a moment to reminisce on all of the things that made this year one of the most memorable for cruise.

With the cruise industry rapidly growing, it is now one of the fastest growing sectors in the travel industry. 21.3 million people cruised in 2013 and this number is expected to significantly increase for the end of 2014.

It wasn’t only the growth that made this year so phenomenal, 2014 saw us enjoy new ships, new destinations, incredible refurbishments and a host of breaking cruise news.

So, was 2014 the year for cruise? Let’s take a look…

January

'Kicking off the year in style'

As everyone packed away their decorations and set their New Year’s resolutions, the cruise industry wasted no time in starting the new year.

In time for the New Year festivities, P&O’s Arcadia revealed her multi-million pound refurbishment. Showcasing a host of new amenities, newly designed staterooms and the addition of a new 'East' restaurant, the adult-only ship was ready to excite guests once again.

In other news MSC Cruises announced they will sail to Asia and Australia for the first time in 2015, P&O Cruises revealed they will be adding a large union jack to the hull of all their ships and Carnival Cruise Lines released details on their new 'Concerts At Sea' programme.

My January highlight: Oceania’s first world cruise sold out in eight hours.

February

'Britannia starts to unveil'

The resolutions were already broken and everyone started to think about their 2014 summer holiday. As cruises were booking out fast and it was looking to be another busy year for the industry, the cruise lines kept whetting our appetites with more news.

It was announced the world’s largest cruise ship, Allure of the Seas will be coming to Europe in 2015, P&O Cruises opened their upcoming Strictly Come Dancing cruises and Fred Olsen released details that Julian Lloyd Webber will perform onboard Braemar.

The most exciting announcements were those made by P&O Cruises as they finally revealed details about new ship, Britannia. Unveiling the 'Food Heroes' concept and the five celebrity chefs would be working together onboard.

My February highlight: The first plate of steel was cut for Carnival Vista.

March

'A race to be the best'

As temperatures started to rise and Spring was in sight, it appeared the cruise lines wanted to heat things up early and a host of cruise news came flooding in.

Although we were still in the first quarter of 2014, many of the lines started to release their big plans for 2015. It was announced 2015 will see Norwegian Cruise Lines largest ship, Norwegian Epic based year-round in Europe, Cunard will celebrate their 175th anniversary with their entire fleet docking in Liverpool together, Fred Olsen will explore the Arctic and Disney Cruise Line will sail from the UK.

It was also the month for Royal Caribbean to start revealing plans about their new Quantum-class ships, announcing they will have no main dining room and Jamie Oliver will have his first restaurant at sea.

An exciting milestone for Norwegian Cruise Line was met as the first piece of steel for Norwegian Escape was cut.

My March highlight: Sir Richard Branson confirmed he will enter the cruise industry with the launch of 'Virgin Cruises'.

April

'Five years since Oasis'

Spring arrived and it was the busiest month for booking as families, couples and singles put their deposits down on their yearly cruise. The Mediterranean was again a popular choice for families, however Asia and Australia bookings were also proving more popular.

Royal Caribbean announced new ship Quantum of the Seas will be based in China, as well as the news CATS will replace Hairspray on Oasis of the Seas.

My April highlight: Carnival Cruise Lines launched their new children’s programme.

May

'Confirmed rumours of new ships'

As the flowers were starting to bloom and we were in touching distance of summer, the cruise lines made some announcements to remind us once again why this industry is a constant excitement.

Royal Caribbean announced they will build a fourth Oasis-Class ship and MSC Cruises confirmed plans to build two revolutionary new ships.

After celebrating the Royal Rendezvous, Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth began her multi-million pound refit. After her 16 day refurbishment in Hamburg, she returned with new single cabins, new restaurants, a newly designed casino and new sun awnings on the top deck.

My May highlight: Princess Cruises announced they will feature in a new documentary on ITV called 'The Cruise Ship' portraying what life is like onboard.

June

'Quantum details revealed'

Summer was in full swing and as thousands of us departed on our summer cruises, Royal Caribbean ensured the only think we were talking about was Quantum of the Seas. Throughout the month they released details of what can be expected onboard.

It was announced that there would be a revolutionary new entertainment venue called 'Two70' that will feature floor to ceiling windows that change from day to night. The Broadway show will be Mama Mia and a twenties Gatsby’s themed venue will also feature.

My June highlight: P&O Cruises revealed more about the dining features onboard Britannia, including cheese expert Charlie Turnball will join the five other celebrity chefs onboard.

July

'..and more new ships'

Soaring temperatures hit England, however this did not stop people setting sail for their ultimate summer getaway. Southampton saw thousands of cruisers boarding their ships for Mediterranean adventures and airports were busy with people flying to the likes of Florida and New York to join their ship.

Royal Caribbean continued to create intrigue around Quantum and Anthem of the Seas as they revealed more news about phenomenal technology onboard. Releasing videos about the new WOWbands, interactive screens and virtual balconies, they branded everything "this changes everything".

Cruise & Maritime announced they will introduce new ship Azores to the fleet in 2015. Norwegian Cruise Lines also revealed plans for two new ships and Princess Cruises revealed their plans for a third Royal-class ship.

My July highlight: Fred Olsen launched a Poison, Murder & Mystery cruise where guests can fully immerse themselves in a murder mystery at sea.

August

'The return of The Love Boat'

The month that sees the most sunlight, August had everyone is good spirits. While thousands of us were sipping cocktails on the pooldeck, the rest of us were enjoying days in beer gardens and family BBQ’s.

Princess Cruises revealed new ship Regal Princess will be named by the original cast of hit US television show, The Love Boat. After completing her summer season in the Mediterranean she will return to Fort Lauderdale for her naming celebrations.

P&O Cruises and Cunard launched world cruises. For the first time three Cunard ships and three P&O ships will set off on world voyages in 2016.

My August highlight: P&O Cruises announced Aurora will undergo a £26 million refit.

September

'Hello to the Northern Lights promise'

As we slowly started to wave goodbye to summer, we were not the only ones with chilly temperatures on our minds. Hurtigruten announced their 'Northern Lights Promise'. Never before offered, they launched a promise no other tour operator has ever offered. If guests do not see the Northern Lights, they will be given a free cruise.

Norwegian Cruise Line agreed a multi-million deal to acquire Prestige Cruises, parent company of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

My September highlight: Cunard revealed their latest line-up of guest speakers to include Ann Widdecombe and Michael Howard.

October

'LEGO, Hollywood Rocks and Elvis'

The heating was on and summer appeared a distant memory, luckily the cruise lines had a whole host of announcements to stop us feeling anxious about the winter.

Fred Olsen launched an Elvis Presley 80th birthday cruise, MSC Cruises partnered with LEGO and Cunard were commended for their incredible feedback on Queen Victoria’s performance of Hollywood Rocks.

Princess Cruises launched their new honeymoon registry system as well as announcing details for their 50th anniversary celebrations in November.

My October highlight: Princess revealed plans to bring their 50th anniversary celebrations to the whole fleet and will host celebratory parties on all ships.

November

'This changes everything'

As the mild winter continued and everywhere started to set up for Christmas, the cruise industry prepared for one of the most memorable moments of the year – the arrival of Quantum of the Seas.

After months of speculation and anticipation she arrived into Southampton ready for us to finally put pictures to life. She did not disappoint and living up up to her motto "this changes everything". With robotic bartenders, an indoor skydive, bumper cars and revolutionary dining – she received a thumbs up from all.

Shortly after Regal Princess was named in Miami following her successful season in Europe, Cruise and Maritime announced the addition of new ship Magellan and Fred Olsen revealed plans to refurbish three of their ships.

My November highlight: Norwegian Cruise Lines announced Norwegian Epic will debut new entertainment aimed at the European market as well as a Beatles Cavern Club.

December

'It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas'

As we put up the tree, search for gifts and indulge on the first mince pie, at the blink of an eye Christmas has arrived once again.

The month started with more new ship announcements. Luxury line Seabourn confirmed the order of another new ship set for delivery in 2018 and Celebrity Cruises revealed plans to build two new ships under the project name 'Edge' set to debut in 2018 and 2020.

Sir Richard Branson launched 'Virgin Cruises' and said he will "shake up the cruise industry" with two new purpose built ships.

My December highlight: P&O Cruises released 'The Great British Beer & Ale Menu' to feature on Britannia. It will be the largest selection of British beers at sea.


By Sally Grimes


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