Last Updated on January 1, 2024

Cruise holidays and vacations are a wonderful way to escape, get some much-needed relaxation, explore new destinations, and indulge. Keeping the waistline down though, and staying fit and healthy whilst still relaxing and enjoying a cruise, is a challenge for many of us.

12 tips to stay fit and healthy on a cruise ship

So how can we get a balance and enjoy a cruise but stay fit and healthy? With a bit of planning and some creativity, you can enjoy your time onboard while still prioritizing your well-being. Here are 12 effective strategies to stay fit and healthy on your next cruise trip.

1. Take the Stairs

Something I do not just do on cruise ships but also when at work, and that can be so easy to start doing and that helps to build up stamina and daily step counts is to take the stairs.

On a cruise, there are plenty of times when you would otherwise take a lift (elevator in America) and just by taking the stairs and doing little else, you will already make quite a difference to your fitness plan.

I do take the lift/elevator at the end of an evening after a couple of glasses of wine but the other 10 or 12 times a day, why not take the stairs?

2. Participate in Onboard Activities

Not only are onboard activities a fantastic way to socialize and meet other people on a cruise, but it gets you moving!

There are normally numerous opportunities to join onboard activities that involve some form of activity and these can include:

  • dance classes
  • aqua aerobics
  • rock climbing walls
  • yoga or pilates classes

Even the activities that tend to be less physical such as mini golf or ping pong, still at least get you moving too.

3. Use the Running Track

Just about every cruise ship that is medium or large in size, has a running track on the outside area of the ship.

Normally on one of the higher levels of the ship (where you’ll find the pool area), you will find a running track that goes the full way around the cruise ship, enabling you to go jogging every day and get a few kilometers run in.

4. Use the Onboard Gym

I have to admit that on the last two cruises, I went on, Valeria and I packaged all of our gym kit to wear in the onboard gym but then we only went once.

It is not easy to gather the motivation when on a cruise to go the gym, but it can and should be done (at least if you are reading this post because you want to do fitness on your cruise trip).

The main equipment such as weights, cross-trainer, running machines, and weights machines are normally free to use.

It tends to be the classes such as yoga and pilates where some cruise lines charge for the classes.

Even if you use one of the running machines to walk for 30 minutes each day, it is worth considering doing.

5. Mindful Eating

While cruises offer an amazing and wide array of culinary delights, practicing mindful eating to maintain your health goals is worth trying.

Try to get away from the mentality that everything on the food buffet must be tried! See it as a great opportunity to choose tasty and healthy foods.

Try and choose foods that you know offer nutritional value, and be sensible with the portion sizes.

Also try and opt for grilled proteins, fresh fruits, and vegetables when you can.

Do not rush to eat and enjoy each mouthful and bite of food. Learn to savor the food.

6. Enjoy Active Shore Visits or Explore by Foot

When exploring ports, seek out activities that keep you moving.

Consider guided walking tours so that you get to have time to see the local area whilst also getting a couple of kilometers walking in.

Another option is to hire a bicycle to explore the city at your own pace.

Why explore the local port, paying for transportation, when you can easily explore it by foot? (Make sure to read our post about 12 ports that you can explore by foot).

Walking allows you to immerse yourself in the local surroundings, discover hidden gems, and burn calories simultaneously.

7. Use the 7 App

I am not sure if you have ever heard of the ‘7 App‘ but this brilliant fitness app creates a 7-minute fitness plan for you each day, based on your physical ability and what you want to achieve.

Just by dedicating 7 minutes to doing the exercises that are set for you each day, you can build strength, cardio, and improve your balance without too much effort.

You can set a daily alarm and just find somewhere on one of the upper decks (or in your cabin if you want) and get your 7 minutes of exercises done each day.

You can also click on each exercise and it gives a clear explanation of how to do each exercise.

Example 7 minute fitness plan
Example 7-minute plan but it changes every day.

8. Hydrate Regularly

Staying hydrated is crucial for your well-being and this includes when traveling.

I recommend buying a nice 1-litre water bottle before the cruise and packing it for the trip. Then use this bottle to carry and drink water throughout the day and your trip.

Proper hydration supports digestion, metabolism, and overall vitality.

9. Enjoy the Pool

Swimming is both a fun and a great physical way to stay healthy and fits in with the relaxing vibe of a cruise.

Whether you’re swimming laps, treading water, or simply enjoying a leisurely dip, the pool is a great place to stay active while cooling off.

10. Walk the Decks

If jogging is not your thing, make use of the ship’s promenade or designated walking track to enjoy a brisk walk with stunning ocean views.

Set aside time each day to get your steps in, and invite fellow passengers to join you for a refreshing stroll.

11. Stretch and Relax

Cruises are about relaxation as much as exploration.

Participate in onboard yoga or stretching classes to improve flexibility and release tension.

These sessions also provide mental clarity and contribute to your overall well-being.

12. Skip Sugary Drinks Onboard

Why not limit your consumption of sugary cocktails and soft drinks?

Opt for healthier drink choices such as water infused with fresh fruits, herbal teas, or light and refreshing beverages.

Final Thoughts

No matter how you decide to keep fit and healthy while cruising, the key is to remember that it’s all about balance. Having a few treats here and there doesn’t mean you can’t also stay active and make good dietary choices – just be mindful of your wellness goals!

Paul Symonds