Cruise Ship Fitness: 10 Expert Tips for Fitness and Health

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

So you want to cruise? Enjoy a relaxing holiday at sea with sunbathing by the pool and all-inclusive dining … but worried about putting on weight and losing fitness? No need to worry, you can have your cake and eat it, too …


Depending on your general activity level and food intake, ashore and on board, you can maintain weight and fitness by following one or more of these excellent and proven strategies (most work at home, too).

Cruise ship pasta dish

Too much of this?

Cruise ship dance lesson

You need much more of this!

10 Cruise Ship Fitness Tips

1. Enjoy! Get the most out of your cruise. Think happy thoughts (stress and worrying is very bad for health and weight maintenance) and relax; breathing deeply and slowly (inhale through the nose) helps.

2. Eat with mindfulness. Do not feel ‘guilty’, rather savour every mouthful. Eat with all of your senses, eat slowly and with maximal enjoyment.
It is better for your digestion and you will be satisfied sooner.

3. Stand and move about more. If you plan to do a lot of sitting by the (ice cream) bar or lying around in deck chairs, get up and walk about at least once every hour. Grab every chance to ‘run an errand’. It all adds up to more calories expended.

4. Walk (or run) more. Go to shore and do some sightseeing. Walk every where you can and see more (it will shape up your cells, grey and others, too). On board; walk around the ship to see all of it, the passageways (corridors) go on for miles: Not only exercise, an adventure.

5. Dance. Most cruise ships offer many different styles of dance lessons every day, from fitness ‘dance’ aerobics and ZumbaFitness over disco, latin and salsa to ballroom dancing. Dancing is an optimal way of exercising; it does not feel like exercise, but fun.

6. Take the stairs. Large cruise ships have endless flights of stairs. Use them at every opportunity. Do not take the elevators. Stair walking is excellent for cardiovascular fitness, tones your legs and will help maintain weight.

7. Participate in sports games. Large cruise ships have tennis and basket ball courts, table tennis and more. Find something you enjoy at home or try something completely different. Playing a game is great for mental and physical (and social) fitness and health.

8. Do some fitness exercise. It is holiday, so make it fun! Usually there is a dance exercise floor, where you can do bodyweight or free weight exercises. Or use the cardiovascular and resistance training machines; if you are not used to exercising, it is a good chance of trying something new, if your are a fitness buff, work out in a new way with different exercises for variety.

9. Do high intensity training. If you really want to keep fit, while on your cruise, interval training and circuit training gives you maximal results in minimal time … so you can spend more time holidaying.
Perform total body exercises and lift heavier weights for functional fitness.
Video below show a couple of exercises as basic preparation for this.

10. Get quality rest. Recovery is all-important after workouts, but also after long periods of working hard. Using the wellness facilities, the jacuzzi, sauna or steam bath or even having a massage, will increase fitness, health and wellness.
Recovery tip # 1: A good nights sleep is paramount for fitness and performance and weight loss or weight maintenance.

A short video with a couple of workout suggestions for beginners:


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