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How Not To Gain Weight On A Cruise


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Anissa Mancuso



Going on a cruise is an exciting and relaxing way to explore different destinations and indulge in a variety of activities. However, it’s no secret that cruises are often associated with overindulgence and weight gain. With endless buffets, tempting desserts, and a seemingly endless supply of drinks, it can be challenging to resist the temptation and maintain a healthy lifestyle while on a cruise.


But fear not! With a little bit of planning and self-discipline, it is possible to enjoy your cruise vacation without packing on unwanted pounds. In this article, we will provide you with valuable tips on how to avoid gaining weight on a cruise and maintain a healthy balance during your time at sea.


From choosing the right cruise to making smart dining choices and staying active onboard, we will cover various strategies to help you stay on track and make the most of your cruise experience. So let’s dive in and discover how you can enjoy your cruise while keeping your waistline in check.


Choosing the Right Cruise

When it comes to avoiding weight gain on a cruise, it’s important to start by selecting the right cruise that aligns with your health and wellness goals. Here are a few factors to consider:

  • Ship Size: Opt for a larger cruise ship that offers a wide range of activities and amenities, such as gyms, fitness classes, and sports facilities. These options can help you stay active and burn off those extra calories.
  • Itinerary: Look for itineraries that involve more physical activities, such as hiking, snorkeling, or biking. These excursions not only provide an opportunity to explore new destinations but also keep you active and engaged throughout the trip.
  • Dining Options: Check if the cruise line offers healthy dining options, such as lighter meal choices, vegetarian or vegan options, and fresh salads. Having a variety of nutritious options available can make it easier for you to stick to your healthy eating plan.
  • Beverage Packages: Consider whether you want to include alcoholic beverages in your cruise package. Keep in mind that alcohol is high in calories and can contribute to weight gain. If you decide to indulge, do so in moderation and opt for lower-calorie drink choices like light beer or wine.

Remember that different cruise lines have different policies and amenities, so do your research and choose the one that best suits your preferences and goals. By selecting a cruise that aligns with your health and wellness needs, you’re setting yourself up for success from the start.


Controlling Port Excursion Indulgences

One of the highlights of going on a cruise is exploring new destinations during port excursions. However, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and overindulge in local cuisine or sugary treats. Here are some tips to help you control your indulgences during port excursions:

  • Plan Ahead: Before arriving at each port, research local dining options and choose healthier restaurants or cafes that offer nutritious and balanced meals. Look for establishments that focus on fresh ingredients and local specialties.
  • Avoid Impulse Eating: Just because a street vendor is selling mouth-watering pastries or savory snacks doesn’t mean you have to try everything. Practice mindful eating and resist the urge to give in to every temptation.
  • Stay Hydrated: Carry a reusable water bottle and make it a priority to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Staying hydrated can help curb your appetite and prevent overeating.
  • Focus on Active Excursions: Choose port excursions that involve physical activities like hiking, biking, or snorkeling. Not only will you get to experience the destination in a unique way, but you’ll also burn calories and stay active.
  • Share Meals: If you’re tempted by local delicacies or larger portion sizes, consider sharing meals with your travel companions. This allows you to satisfy your culinary curiosity without consuming excessive calories.

While it’s important to enjoy the local cuisine and culture during your port excursions, it’s equally important to make mindful choices that align with your health goals. By planning ahead, staying hydrated, and focusing on active excursions, you can enjoy your time ashore while keeping your waistline in check.


Making Healthy Dining Choices

One of the biggest challenges on a cruise is navigating the plethora of dining options while trying to eat healthily. Here are some tips to help you make wise choices when it comes to dining:

  • Explore the Buffet Mindfully: Buffets are a cruise staple, but they can be a breeding ground for overeating. Before grabbing a plate, take a walk around and assess your options. Fill your plate with colorful fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains while being mindful of portion sizes.
  • Choose Grilled or Steamed Options: When dining at specialty restaurants or the main dining room, opt for grilled or steamed dishes instead of fried or creamy ones. Grilling or steaming methods help retain nutrients without adding excess calories.
  • Customize your Orders: Don’t hesitate to modify your meals to suit your dietary needs. Ask for dressings and sauces on the side, request for steamed vegetables as a side dish instead of fries, and opt for broiled or baked preparations instead of pan-fried.
  • Include a Variety of Vegetables: Make it a point to load up on vegetables during your meals. They are low in calories and high in fiber, keeping you full and satisfied. Aim for a colorful array of vegetables to ensure you’re getting a wide range of nutrients.
  • Practice Portion Control: Cruise portions tend to be larger than necessary. Pay attention to your body’s hunger cues and aim to eat until you’re satisfied, not stuffed. If you’re still hungry, go for seconds of healthier options like salads or vegetables.

Additionally, don’t forget to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Sometimes thirst can be mistaken for hunger, so keeping yourself properly hydrated can help you make better food choices.


By being mindful of your choices, customizing your orders, and including plenty of vegetables, you can enjoy your dining experiences on a cruise while still maintaining a healthy and balanced diet.


Managing Alcohol Consumption

Alcoholic beverages are often in abundance on a cruise, and excessive alcohol consumption can quickly lead to unwanted weight gain. Here are some strategies to help you manage your alcohol intake:

  • Set Limits: Decide on your alcohol consumption limits before embarking on your cruise. This could mean sticking to a certain number of drinks per day or opting for alcohol-free days throughout your trip.
  • Choose Wisely: Alcoholic beverages can vary greatly in terms of calories and sugar content. Opt for lighter options such as light beer, wine, or spirits mixed with soda water or low-calorie mixers. Avoid sugary cocktails and creamy drinks that are high in calories.
  • Alternate with Water: For every alcoholic drink you have, follow it up with a glass of water. Not only will this help you stay hydrated, but it will also slow down your alcohol consumption and lessen the chances of overindulging.
  • Be Mindful of Port Days: On days when you have port excursions planned, it’s a good idea to limit or avoid alcohol altogether. Alcohol can affect your energy levels and impair your judgment, making it less enjoyable and potentially dangerous for certain activities.
  • Seek Non-Alcoholic Alternatives: If you still want to enjoy a refreshing beverage without alcohol, there are plenty of mocktails and non-alcoholic options available onboard. These can be just as delicious and satisfying without the added calories and risks associated with alcohol.

Remember, moderation is key when it comes to alcohol consumption. By setting limits, choosing lighter options, alternating with water, and being mindful of your alcohol intake, you can enjoy a few drinks onboard without jeopardizing your health and fitness goals.


Staying Active Onboard

Maintaining an active lifestyle is essential for avoiding weight gain during a cruise. While it’s tempting to relax and indulge in leisurely activities, there are plenty of ways to stay active onboard. Here are some ideas:

  • Hit the Gym: Most cruise ships have well-equipped fitness centers with a range of cardio and strength training equipment. Take advantage of these facilities and engage in regular workouts to burn off calories and stay in shape.
  • Participate in Onboard Activities: From dance classes and yoga sessions to sports tournaments and swimming, cruise ships offer a variety of activities to keep you moving. Check the daily schedule and join in on the fun whenever possible.
  • Take the Stairs: Rather than relying on elevators, make a habit of taking the stairs whenever feasible. Climbing stairs is a great way to get your heart rate up and burn calories throughout the day.
  • Walk or Jog on Deck: Many cruise ships have spacious decks where you can go for a leisurely walk or jog. Take in the ocean views while getting some exercise and fresh air.
  • Participate in Shore Excursions: Explore the destinations you visit by participating in active shore excursions. Whether it’s hiking, biking, or snorkeling, these activities allow you to have fun while staying active.

Remember, staying active doesn’t have to feel like a chore. Find activities that you enjoy and incorporate them into your daily routine. By staying active onboard, you’ll not only burn off calories but also boost your mood and overall well-being.


Avoiding Late-Night Snacking

Late-night snacking can be a major contributor to weight gain on a cruise. The relaxed atmosphere and availability of food 24/7 can make it tempting to indulge in midnight snacks. Here are some tips to help you avoid late-night snacking:

  • Establish a Routine: Set a regular eating schedule and try to stick to it. Have balanced meals at regular intervals throughout the day to keep yourself satisfied and prevent excessive hunger later in the evening.
  • Practice Mindful Eating: If you find yourself craving a late-night snack, ask yourself if you are truly hungry or if it is more of a habit or emotional response. Practice mindfulness and listen to your body’s cues to determine if you really need to eat or if you can wait until the next meal.
  • Stay Hydrated: Sometimes, we mistake thirst for hunger. Before reaching for a snack, have a glass of water and see if the craving subsides. Staying hydrated can help control unnecessary snacking.
  • Engage in Other Activities: Distract yourself from the temptation of late-night snacking by engaging in other activities. Take a walk on the ship’s deck, read a book, watch a movie, or enjoy some evening entertainment to shift your focus away from food.
  • Create Healthy Snack Options: If you find that you genuinely need a late-night snack, opt for healthier options such as fresh fruits, a small portion of nuts, or a low-fat yogurt. Avoid high-sugar and high-calorie snacks that can lead to weight gain.

Remember, late-night snacking can become a habit that is hard to break. By being mindful of your eating patterns, practicing self-control, and creating healthy alternatives, you can avoid the pitfalls of late-night snacking and maintain a balanced diet while on a cruise.


Prioritizing Sleep

While it may not seem directly related to weight gain, prioritizing sleep is an important aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle during a cruise. Here’s why:


Getting enough sleep plays a crucial role in regulating your appetite and metabolism. When you’re sleep-deprived, your body produces more of the hunger hormone ghrelin, which can lead to increased cravings and overeating. Lack of sleep can also disrupt your body’s insulin sensitivity, potentially leading to weight gain and an increased risk of developing health conditions like diabetes.


Here are some tips for prioritizing sleep during your cruise:

  • Stick to a Schedule: Try to establish a consistent sleep schedule even while on vacation. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day to regulate your body’s internal clock.
  • Create a Soothing Sleep Environment: Make your cabin as conducive to sleep as possible. Keep the room dark, use earplugs or white noise machines to block out any disturbances, and adjust the temperature to a comfortable level.
  • Avoid Stimulants Before Bed: Limit your intake of caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine, especially in the evening. These substances can interfere with falling asleep and disrupt the quality of your sleep.
  • Wind Down Before Bedtime: Establish a relaxing bedtime routine to signal your body that it’s time to wind down. Take a warm shower, read a book, practice deep breathing exercises, or listen to soothing music to help relax your mind and prepare for sleep.
  • Avoid Electronic Devices: The blue light emitted by electronic devices like smartphones and tablets can interfere with your sleep cycle. Avoid using these devices right before bed to improve the quality of your sleep.

By giving sleep the attention it deserves, you will not only support your overall well-being but also help regulate your appetite and maintain a healthy weight during your cruise. So make sure to prioritize getting enough rest each night.


Packing Smart

When it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle during a cruise, packing smart can make a significant difference. Here are some tips to help you pack wisely for your cruise:

  • Workout Gear: Pack comfortable workout clothes, including athletic shoes, for exercising onboard or participating in active shore excursions. Having suitable attire will encourage you to stay active and engage in physical activities.
  • Reusable Water Bottle: Staying hydrated is essential, so bring a reusable water bottle to fill up throughout the day. This will minimize the need to rely on single-use plastic bottles and make it easier to stay hydrated.
  • Snacks: Pack a selection of healthy snacks to keep in your cabin or take with you on excursions. Options like granola bars, dried fruits, nuts, and protein bars can be great alternatives to high-calorie, sugary snacks available on the ship.
  • Resistance Bands: Resistance bands are lightweight and versatile exercise tools that you can easily pack in your luggage. They provide resistance for strength training exercises and can be used in the comfort of your cabin or during workout sessions on the ship.
  • Travel-Sized Toiletries: Opt for travel-sized toiletries or decant your favorite products into reusable containers. This will help you maintain your normal hygiene routine without carrying unnecessarily large and heavy bottles.

Additionally, consider packing any personal items that help you relax and unwind, such as a favorite book, journal, or essential oils. These items can contribute to your overall well-being and help you decompress while on your cruise.


By packing smart, you’ll be equipped with the essentials to stay active, hydrated, and nourished while on your cruise. Planning ahead and bringing the right items will support your efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle even when away from home.



A cruise vacation should be a time of relaxation, exploration, and enjoyment. By implementing these strategies and tips, you can avoid gaining weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle while on your cruise.


Start by choosing the right cruise that aligns with your health goals and offers a variety of activities and dining options. Control your indulgences during port excursions by planning ahead and making mindful choices. When it comes to dining, make healthy choices, practice portion control, and stay hydrated.


Manage your alcohol consumption by setting limits, choosing lighter options, and alternating with water. Stay active onboard by utilizing the ship’s fitness facilities, participating in activities, and exploring active shore excursions.


Avoid late-night snacking by establishing routines, practicing mindful eating, and staying hydrated. Prioritize sleep to regulate your appetite and support overall well-being. Lastly, pack smart by bringing workout gear, reusable water bottles, and healthy snacks.


Remember, the goal is to enjoy your cruise while also taking care of your health. With a little planning and self-discipline, you can create a balance that allows you to indulge in the cruise experience without compromising your well-being.


So set sail with confidence, knowing that you have the tools and strategies to enjoy your cruise while keeping your waistline in check. Bon voyage!