Is It Possible to Lose Weight on a Cruise? | Travel Research Online


Is It Possible to Lose Weight on a Cruise?

Susan SchaeferCruises still get an unjustifiable bad rap for making people gain weight.  It doesn’t matter if people have never cruised, or if they’ve been on twenty plus cruises, they all seem to think that cruises are fattening.  Of course, pop culture hasn’t helped.  The first wide-reaching look into cruising dates back to the TV dates of The Love Boat.  Staterooms were unrealistically huge, and food was found everywhere.  More recently, Disney’s movie Wall-E didn’t help, as it seemed to poke fun at the Oasis of the Seas.  Back in 2008, Arnie Weissmann even interviewed Vicki Freed about it.  In the interview Vicki said “The reality is that it [cruising] was like that at one time. It was sedentary and about eating. There was an old joke that you came on as a passenger and left as cargo.”

I just had this conversation with a couple that are Disney World regulars, going a couple of times a year, and always targeting the Food and Wine Festival in the Fall.  They literally eat their way around Epcot’s World Showcase.  They get the dining plan, and then make their dining reservations based on where they can get the most bang for their buck (read: eat the most food for their buck).  They admittedly eat more at Disney World than they do at home.  Yet, when we recently talked about a cruise they balked at the idea, because they didn’t want to gain weight on vacation.  Admittedly, I was speechless for a minute there.  They plan their Disney trips with over eating in mind, but think they’ll gain weight on a cruise?  I couldn’t keep quiet so I asked them about it.  Their logic was that they know they’ll burn off what they eat in Disney World.  The parks are huge and require a lot of walking. They felt justified in eating until they popped while they are there.  But their view of cruising was different.  They’d never been on a cruise ship before.  They only had pop cultural references along with what they’ve read on the Internet (can’t be wrong there, right?) and secondhand stories from co-workers, etc.  They thought cruising would be like the ship on Wall-E; that they’d sit around all day doing nothing but lounging around and eating.

Cruising has evolved over the last couple of decades, and so have the food and fitness options.  Today’s cruises don’t have to be floating gorge-feasts.  Healthy food options can be found today on just about every cruise ship out there.  Even in the main dining rooms and buffets, there are healthy options.  You can also speak with your server about dietary needs, and to get suggestions about healthier choices that you can make.

The fitness options have expanded as well.  Fitness centers are no longer an after-thought, crammed into the corner of the ship with a treadmill or two.  They are now state of the art, taking up a good size area, full of equipment options.  And the cruise lines don’t stop there: they also have jogging/walking tracks, miniature golf, basketball courts, wave runners, swimming pools, and more.  For nominal fees, passengers can also find yoga and spinning classes.  And don’t forget, you’re also getting off in port and walking around.  There is enough activity offered to counteract the overabundance of food offered onboard; really no different than spending a vacation at Disney’s Food and Wine Festival.

Have you run into the “we’ll get fat on a cruise” opposition with your clients?  If so, how have you successfully counteracted their resistance?

Susan Schaefer is the owner of Ships ‘N’ Trips Travel located in Tennessee, and specializes in leisure travel with a focus on group travel and charity fundraisers. Through their division Kick Butt Vacations, she focuses on travel for 18 to 23-year-olds. Susan can be reached by email at or by phone at (888) 221-1209.

  One thought on “Is It Possible to Lose Weight on a Cruise?

  1. Hello, Susan, my friend! In response to the question you posed … YES! Not only is it possible, but, if you are anything like me – very sedentary – you are more likely to lose weight on travel than at home!
    Other than babysitting grandkids in the afternoon, I sit at my computer all day going travel “stuff” or newspaper “stuff.” Aaaaah .. but when I am on a river cruise, I am constantly moving, walking around the destinations we visit at a brisk pace. I probably walk several miles a day while on a river cruise .. and here is the part that makes losing weight reasonable: I do not eat differently when I am river cruising than I do at home — I DRINK more because the booze is FREE but I do not eat differently. About 2/3 of the mornings docked, I skip breakfast so I can sleep a bit later.
    On my last four sailings – in the past 13 months – I lost between two and three pounds on my cruises. 🙂

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