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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 

Relaxation & wellbeing on Royal Princess

2nd October 2015

Updated May 2019

Princess Cruises host some fantastic cruises in the Caribbean and all over the world, but what is it like to holiday with them? Often on location, our expert cruise team are busy bringing you their first hand experiences and documenting life at sea. Read all about Millie from Marketing's experience of the utterly rejuvinating ship - Royal Princess

After a recent cruise on Royal Princess, I was impressed by a lot of things; the superb food, the friendly service, the elegant interiors, the list could go on. But, more than anything, I was struck by an overwhelming air of relaxation. With more spa therapies, fitness facilities, and tranquility areas than I've seen on any other ship, I couldn't help but feel this was one of the most relaxing cruise liners at sea.



The epicentre of it all is the Lotus Spa and salon on Deck 5, which was awarded the accolade of 'Best Spa on a Cruise Ship' by SpaFinder Wellness 365TM. As soon as I got close, I knew I was in the right place thanks to the soothing aromas of oils and lotions. I was offered a tour of the facilities, and it's a good job too as there are a massive 10,000 square-feet of spa facilities!



Countless therapy rooms line the softly lit corridors, each offering a tantalising menu of facials, scrubs, massages, body wraps, and even Botox and Acupuncture. A full-service salon offers a host of hair, nails, and beauty treatments - the perfect place to head before a formal night. Men aren't forgotten either, with a fantastic barbershop offering an array of fabulous treatments.


In two beautiful, private Couples Villas, treatments can be enjoyed side-by-side in a serene setting, complete with a hot tub, soothing music and Champagne to toast your holiday. But the real jewel is The Enclave - a stunning thermal suite with a cascading rain shower, hydrotherapy pool, heated loungers, and sensory showers.


Even after just walking through this part of the ship I left with a feeling of tranquility, and headed out on deck to explore the adult-only areas. The Retreat Pool is an area exclusively for adults to relax and unwind in the sunshine, with Retreat Pool Cabanas available at an additional cost for even more comfort.

Just beyond this, at the front of the ship the private Sanctuary is an extension of the Lotus Spa, and is truly stunning. This hideaway is situated under a distinctive white canopy, with atmospheric lighting and plush loungers. Space in this luxurious area can be reserved at a daily or half-daily rate, and can be made even more special by choosing one of the Sanctuary Cabanas or Lotus Spa Cabanas.


Next, a mention must go to the exercise facilities, which are perfect for anyone wanting to keep fit on their cruise. It may not be the first thing on your mind when you book a cruise, but for one reason or another many passengers find themselves seeking out exercise on board. For me, it was the extra serving of afternoon tea and Champagne that I'd indulged in that took me in search of the gym. And I couldn't have been more impressed by the facilities that met me.

On arrival, I was offered a free foot consultation to check for any problems with my arches. This involved a pressure sensor checking whether the weight is evenly distributed across my feet, and whether any problems and pain could arise from this in the future. Offering heavily discounted foot supports to passengers that need them, this is a great touch to ensure that everyone is able to explore ashore in comfort.



Having previously sailed on smaller ships, I found the gym facilities modern, extensive, and supervised by a team of helpful and attentive staff. A huge selection of cardio equipment faces onto a large oceanview window, and a large room at the back offers all the fitness classes you could wish for - including the popular Zumba and TRX training.

On a couple of mornings I made my way to the jogging track on the top deck. What better way to start the day than drinking in the sea air and admiring the views of the approaching port. Scattered along the track there are even gym facilities for those who prefer to work out in the great outdoors.



An emphasis on rejuvenation and wellbeing is evident from bow to stern. Offering spacious areas to completely unwind, soak away your aches and pains, and balance out the indulgences of fine wine and gourmet dining, Princess Cruises really manage to make looking after yourself at sea effortless. Meaning you can say yes to that extra slice of cake, completely guilt free! Relax and unwind with a cruise on Royal Princess.

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