Before we took our Caribbean cruise with Carnival Cruise Lines, everyone we spoke to told us to pack an extra pair of stretchy pants. Cruises are notorious for their endless buffets, 24-hour dining options, and fabulous cuisine. But you don’t have to ruin that bikini body you’ve worked so hard for when going on a cruise. There are many ways to stay healthy on board without having to give up the delights that make vacations so much fun.

We were determined to stay healthy on our cruise, and we found that by making a few adjustments to our usual routine, we managed to feel good and stay active on what could have otherwise been a week of overindulging and feeling guilty.

Here are our top seven tips for staying healthy on a cruise.

1. Take the stairs. Cruise ships are huge, and if you take the stairs instead of the elevator to your deck of choice, you’ll accumulate more than enough steps to make your personal step counter happy. Besides, elevators are slow on board, as so many people pack inside to get around. You’ll probably get to your destination faster if you take the stairs anyway.

2. Walk the deck. One of the nicest ways to work on your tan while staying active is to go for a morning walk. Dave and I did several laps around the promenade deck each morning before coffee. We walked in our bathing suits, getting an all-around tan while burning calories, stretching our joints, and having great conversation.

Walk the deck

3. Choose the healthy option. I know the 24-hour pizza and fully loaded burgers are tempting, but you don’t need to eat them every day. Cruise ships offer many healthy options. Instead of eating the greasy choices on the menu, fill up at the salad bar. There are chefs on hand to prepare fresh food items, and there are many lighter options available. Enjoy the burger once or twice, but choose your food wisely the rest of the time.

Viewfinder Tip: Bring your own water bottle on board. There are convenient fill stations in most areas of the ship.

4. Drink plenty of water. Many times I think I’m hungry, but in reality I haven’t had enough water. Bring a refillable water bottle with you and have it on hand at all times. Water will keep you hydrated and curb your appetite. We still try to follow the old rule of drinking eight glasses of water a day, and when we do, we feel energized and tend to crave less junk food.

5. Take a spa break. There’s no better time to pamper yourself than while on vacation, and nothing makes you feel healthier than a deep tissue massage. Cruise lines offer excellent massage packages by professional massage therapists. Work out your tight muscles, indulge in a detoxifying body wrap, or try a cellulite-reducing or detoxifying body mask. There are plenty of treatments to make you look and feel better.

Relax in the spa

6. Book an adventurous activity. Cruise ships offer excellent shore excursions. When you book your day’s activity, try something like snorkeling, a canopy tour, or kayaking.

These adventures are a great way to get outdoors and explore nature. Plus, they are so much fun, you won’t even notice you’re getting a workout while you play.

Choose an active adventure

7. Have fun! You may feel that you have to hit the gym, but there are many ways to get exercise while having fun. Our Carnival Cruise Lines ship had an outdoor gym that was a lot of fun to play on. We hit the punching bag, took a spin on the stationary bikes, and tried our hand at the high ropes.

If entertainment is more your style, go dancing at night. There are nightclubs on the ship and they aren’t just for sitting at the bar. Cruise lines also offer plenty of planned activities like workout classes and line dancing. Check out your cruise itinerary each day to see what’s happening. Then join in, have fun, and make new friends!


Take advantage of deck acitivites

Taking a cruise doesn’t have to be about overindulging in food and drink. Today’s travelers are more active than ever before, and there are plenty of options to keep active and stay healthy. So when planning your next cruise, keep a few of these tips in mind and you’ll come home looking and feeling better than ever!

What’s your number-one tip for staying healthy on vacation?