How Do I Avoid Gaining Weight On A Cruise?

Are you excited about your upcoming cruise but dreading the thought of gaining weight? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Cruises are known for their delicious all-you-can-eat dining options and tempting desserts, but it’s entirely possible to enjoy your vacation without packing on the pounds. In this article, we’ll explore some simple and practical tips to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle while still indulging in some delectable treats during your cruise. So, let’s dive in and discover how you can savor the flavors while keeping your waistline in check.

During your cruise, you’ll have an abundance of mouthwatering food options at your fingertips, and it can be tempting to go all out and indulge in everything. However, by practicing mindful eating and making smarter choices, you can enjoy your meals without regret. We’ll discuss strategies like portion control, being mindful of your hunger cues, and opting for healthier alternatives when possible. Additionally, we’ll explore ways to stay active on board, including utilizing the ship’s fitness facilities, taking part in fun activities, and even exploring the ports of call through exciting shore excursions. By the end of this article, you’ll have a bagful of practical tips that will empower you to have a fantastic cruise experience without worrying about gaining unwanted weight. So, let’s get started and make sure you’re fully prepared for your upcoming adventure on the high seas!

Choose Healthy Options at Mealtime

When it comes to mealtime on a cruise, it can be tempting to indulge in all the delicious and decadent options available. However, if you want to avoid gaining weight during your cruise vacation, it’s important to make healthy choices. Here are some tips to help you choose healthy options at mealtime:

Opt for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

One of the easiest ways to incorporate healthier options into your meals is by opting for fresh fruits and vegetables. Most cruise ships have a wide variety of fruits and vegetables available at their buffet and dining options. Fill up your plate with colorful veggies and fruits to ensure you’re getting essential vitamins and minerals while keeping your calorie intake in check.

Select Lean Proteins

Protein is an important nutrient that helps you feel satisfied and aids in muscle repair and growth. When selecting proteins, choose lean options such as grilled chicken, fish, or tofu. These options are generally lower in fat and calories compared to fried or breaded proteins like fried chicken or breaded fish. By choosing lean proteins, you can satisfy your hunger without consuming excess calories.

Avoid Fried and Greasy Foods

Fried and greasy foods can be tempting, but they are often high in calories and unhealthy fats. Instead of indulging in these types of foods, opt for grilled, baked, or steamed options. When it comes to sides, choose steamed vegetables or a salad instead of fries or rich, creamy sauces. These small changes can make a big difference in managing your calorie intake and avoiding weight gain.

Watch Portion Sizes

Portion sizes on cruises are often larger than what we need to feel satisfied. It can be easy to overeat when there’s a seemingly unlimited amount of food available. Be mindful of your portion sizes by using smaller plates and bowls, and listen to your body’s hunger cues. It’s okay to enjoy the delicious food, but be sure to stop eating when you feel satisfied, not overly full.

Limit Sugary Drinks

Many cruise vacations offer all-inclusive drink packages, which can be a recipe for excess calorie consumption. Sugary drinks like soda, juice, and alcoholic cocktails can contribute to weight gain. Instead of loading up on sugary drinks, opt for water, unsweetened iced tea, or sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon or lime. If you do choose to indulge in alcoholic beverages, alternate them with a glass of water to stay hydrated and reduce your overall calorie intake.

Stay Active During the Cruise

While a cruise vacation may seem like a time to relax and unwind, staying active is important for maintaining a healthy weight. Here are some ways to stay active during your cruise:

Take the Stairs Instead of the Elevator

One simple way to incorporate more physical activity into your cruise vacation is by taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Walking up and down the stairs can be a great way to get your heart rate up and burn some extra calories. Plus, you’ll avoid the crowded elevators and have more time to enjoy the beautiful scenery as you make your way to different parts of the ship.

Participate in Onboard Fitness Classes

Many cruise ships offer onboard fitness classes as part of their daily activities. Take advantage of these classes and try something new, such as yoga, Pilates, or Zumba. Not only will you get a great workout, but you’ll also have fun and meet new people.

Engage in Recreational Activities

Cruise ships often have a variety of recreational activities available, such as rock climbing, mini-golf, and basketball. Participating in these activities can help you burn calories and stay active while enjoying your vacation. Grab a friend or family member and challenge each other to a friendly competition.

Explore on Foot at Port Stops

When the ship docks at various ports during your cruise, take the opportunity to explore the destinations on foot. Instead of taking a taxi or joining organized tours, walk around and see the sights at your own pace. Not only will you get some exercise, but you’ll also have the chance to immerse yourself in the local culture and discover hidden gems.

Use the Ship’s Gym Facilities

Most cruise ships have onboard gym facilities with a range of cardio machines, weights, and exercise classes. If you enjoy working out in a gym setting, take advantage of these facilities. Whether you prefer running on the treadmill, lifting weights, or joining a group fitness class, incorporating regular exercise into your cruise routine can help you burn calories and stay fit.

Control Your Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol consumption is often a significant contributor to weight gain on a cruise. While it’s common to enjoy a few drinks while on vacation, it’s important to control your intake to avoid excess calorie consumption. Here are some tips to help you control your alcohol consumption:

Moderate Your Intake

Moderation is key when it comes to alcohol consumption. Instead of drinking throughout the day, limit yourself to a few drinks during specific times, such as happy hour or dinner. Set a personal limit for how many drinks you’ll have each day, and stick to it.

Alternate Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Beverages

To reduce your overall alcohol consumption, alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. For example, have a glass of water or a mocktail in between each alcoholic drink. This can help you stay hydrated, reduce your calorie intake, and pace yourself throughout the day.

Avoid Sugary Cocktails

Many cocktails are loaded with added sugars, which can quickly increase your calorie intake. Opt for drinks that are lower in sugar, such as a vodka soda with lime or a light beer. If you prefer sweeter drinks, ask the bartender to use a sugar-free mixer or reduce the amount of added sugar.

Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking water is essential for overall health and can help you maintain a healthy weight. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially if you’re consuming alcohol. Not only will this help you stay hydrated, but it can also help you feel more satisfied and reduce the urge to snack on unhealthy foods.

Be Mindful of Snacking

Snacking can be a source of additional calories on a cruise if you’re not mindful of what and how much you’re eating. Here are some tips to help you make smart snacking choices:

Choose Healthy Snack Options

When it comes to snacking, opt for healthier options such as fresh fruits, raw vegetables, nuts, or yogurt. These snacks are packed with nutrients and can help keep you feeling satisfied between meals without adding excessive calories.

Avoid Constant Grazing

Rather than constantly snacking throughout the day, try to stick to designated meal and snack times. Grazing can lead to mindless eating and make it difficult to keep track of your calorie intake. By sticking to a structured eating schedule, you’ll be more aware of what and how much you’re eating.

Listen to Your Body’s Hunger Cues

It’s essential to listen to your body’s hunger cues and eat when you’re truly hungry. Pay attention to physical hunger signs, such as a growling stomach or light-headedness. Eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full can help you maintain a healthy weight.

Practice Portion Control

Whether it’s chips at the snack bar or desserts at the buffet, it’s important to practice portion control when snacking. Instead of mindlessly eating straight from the bag or plate, portion out a reasonable amount and put the rest away. By being mindful of your portion sizes, you can enjoy your favorite snacks without going overboard.

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is crucial for overall health and can also help you manage your weight on a cruise. Here are some tips to ensure you stay hydrated:

Drink Sufficient Water

Water is essential for proper hydration and can help you feel fuller, which can prevent overeating. Make sure to drink at least eight glasses of water per day, and more if you’re spending time outside or engaging in physical activities.

Avoid Excessive Consumption of Sugary or Carbonated Drinks

Sugary and carbonated drinks can be both dehydrating and high in calories. Avoid excessive consumption of sodas, fruit juices, and other sugary drinks. If you’re looking for a flavorful option, try infusing water with fruits or herbs for a refreshing and healthy alternative.

Stay Away from Energy Drinks

While energy drinks may provide a temporary boost, they’re often high in caffeine and sugar. Instead of relying on energy drinks for a pick-me-up, opt for natural sources of energy such as regular exercise, getting enough sleep, or enjoying a healthy snack.

Limit Alcohol Intake

As mentioned earlier, alcohol can dehydrate the body. Limiting your alcohol intake not only helps control calorie consumption but also helps you maintain proper hydration. If you do choose to drink alcohol, make sure to balance it out with plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout your cruise vacation.

Make Smart Dessert Choices

Desserts can be a delightful indulgence on a cruise, but they can also contribute to weight gain if consumed excessively. Here are some tips for making smart dessert choices and practicing moderation:

Opt for Fresh Fruits

Fresh fruits are a great option for a healthier dessert. They’re naturally sweet and packed with vitamins and minerals. Most cruise ships offer a wide variety of fresh fruits as part of their dessert options. Choose a colorful assortment of fruits to satisfy your sweet tooth without the added calories.

Choose Lighter Dessert Options

If you’re craving something a bit more indulgent, look for lighter dessert options. Many cruise ships offer healthier alternatives such as sugar-free or low-fat desserts. These options can satisfy your cravings while keeping your calorie intake in check.

Share Indulgent Desserts

If there’s a decadent dessert that you absolutely can’t resist, consider sharing it with someone else. This allows you to enjoy the treat without consuming excessive calories. Sharing desserts not only helps with portion control but also adds a fun and social element to your dining experience.

Practice Moderation

The key to enjoying desserts without derailing your healthy eating plan is moderation. Instead of eating multiple desserts in one sitting, choose one treat that you truly love and savor every bite. Enjoying a small portion of your favorite dessert can bring satisfaction while still maintaining a balanced approach to your overall diet.

Prioritize Physical Activity

Regular physical activity is crucial for maintaining a healthy weight and overall well-being. Here are some ways to prioritize physical activity during your cruise:

Participate in Ship’s Fitness Activities

Many cruise ships offer a variety of onboard fitness activities, such as yoga classes, dance lessons, or group exercise sessions. Take advantage of these activities and participate in ones that interest you. Not only will you burn calories and stay active, but you may also discover new fitness routines that you enjoy and can incorporate into your daily life.

Explore Activities at Port Stops

When the ship docks at various ports, it’s an excellent opportunity to get active and explore the destinations on foot. Plan activities like hiking, walking tours, or water sports to make the most of your time on land. Engaging in physical activities during port stops not only helps you burn calories but also allows you to fully experience the local culture and natural beauty.

Take Regular Walks Onboard

Walking is a simple yet effective way to stay active during your cruise vacation. Take regular walks around the ship or on the deck to enjoy the scenery and get your body moving. Instead of taking the closest route between locations, take a longer, more scenic path to add extra steps to your day.

Try Water Sports or Dancing

Many cruise ships offer water sports activities such as snorkeling, paddleboarding, or kayaking. Engaging in these activities not only provides a great workout but also allows you to enjoy the beautiful ocean. Additionally, joining dance classes or taking part in dance parties onboard can be a fun and enjoyable way to burn calories and stay active.

Maintain a Balanced Diet

Maintaining a balanced diet is crucial for overall health and weight management. Here are some tips to help you maintain a balanced diet during your cruise:

Include a Variety of Food Groups

A balanced diet includes a variety of food groups, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Aim to include a variety of these food groups in each meal. This will ensure you’re getting a wide range of nutrients while keeping your meals interesting and satisfying.

Pay Attention to Macronutrient Ratios

Balancing your macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) is important for maintaining a healthy weight. Aim to include a source of protein, a healthy fat, and a complex carbohydrate in each meal. This combination helps keep you feeling full and satisfied while providing essential nutrients.

Avoid Excessive Consumption of Sugars and Fats

While it’s okay to enjoy treats in moderation, excessive consumption of sugars and fats can contribute to weight gain. Be mindful of the amount of added sugars and unhealthy fats in your meals and snacks. Opt for healthier alternatives whenever possible, and be aware of portion sizes when it comes to indulgent options.

Opt for Whole Grains

Whole grains are an excellent source of fiber and nutrients. Instead of refined grains like white bread or white rice, choose whole grain options such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, or quinoa. Whole grains provide more sustained energy and help keep you feeling fuller for longer, which can help prevent overeating.

Seek Support and Accountability

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be challenging, especially when you’re on vacation. Seek support and accountability to help you stay on track. Here are some ways to find support during your cruise:

Travel with a Health-Conscious Friend

If possible, travel with a friend or family member who shares similar health goals. Having someone to encourage and support you can make sticking to your healthy habits much easier. You can hold each other accountable and motivate one another to make mindful choices together.

Join Onboard Fitness or Weight Loss Programs

Many cruise ships offer fitness or weight loss programs tailored to passengers’ needs. These programs often include classes, workshops, and individualized support. Joining these programs can provide you with the guidance and motivation you need to stay on track during your cruise vacation.

Stay Active with an Exercise Buddy

If you’re not traveling with a health-conscious friend, look for opportunities to meet like-minded individuals onboard. Find someone who shares your passion for staying active and make plans to exercise together. Having an exercise buddy can be fun and motivating, and it can help you stay accountable to your fitness goals.

Find Online Communities for Motivation

Through various social media platforms and online forums, you can connect with individuals who have similar health goals. Joining online communities can provide you with a sense of support and accountability, even when you’re thousands of miles away from home. Share your journey, seek advice, and celebrate your successes with others who understand the challenges and triumphs of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.


With these strategies in mind, you can avoid gaining weight on a cruise while still enjoying yourself. By making mindful choices when it comes to meals, staying active, controlling your alcohol consumption, being mindful of snacking, staying hydrated, making smart dessert choices, prioritizing physical activity, maintaining a balanced diet, and seeking support and accountability, you can prioritize your health and enjoyment during your cruise vacation. Bon voyage!