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7 Ways to Stay Active on a Cruise

    Just in time for your next trip, here are seven tips for staying active while on board a cruise. 

    Last month I had the incredible opportunity to sail with Princess Cruises on the Ruby Princess for a four-day California coastal cruise along the Pacific. Recently I gave you a brief overview of my experience but today I want to dive into a topic I am passionate about: staying active while traveling.

    Santa Barbara Sailing Away - The Lemon Bowl

    As a travel blogger, I am on the road a lot. As much as these trips are fun, (trust me – they ARE fun!), they are also exhausting and a lot of work. Staying active not only gives me the energy I need for my long days but it helps me maintain my weight loss and fitness goals.

    Yoga Post 3 - The Lemon Bowl

    When most people hear the word “cruise” they often think of midnight buffets, unlimited daiquiris and 24 hour room service. Believe me – those are all available but there are also plenty of ways to stay fit. To help you make the most of your next sail, today I’m sharing seven tips for staying active on a cruise.

    Walking Stairs - The Lemon Bowl

    Wear a Fitbit:

    You guys know I love my FitBit but I had no idea how motivating it would be while on a cruise walking from deck to deck, floor to floor. Cruise ships are quite large and you often have to do a fair amount of walking to get to various dining rooms, shops and other gathering places. In my opinion, this is the best type of workout because you don’t even realize you’re getting exercise as you’re exploring the ship!

    Fitbit HR Charge - The Lemon Bowl

    My husband recently got me the Fitbit Charge HR which also monitors your heart rate and tells you how many hours per day you are in peak, cardio, and fat burn zone. If it’s in your budget, I highly recommend this one because it’s all-encompassing and provides a more accurate picture of your daily fitness, especially if you’re doing strength training or yoga which don’t involve many steps.

    Briana Liz Sunset - The Lemon Bowl

    Travel With a Health Conscious Friend:

    Who you cruise with is a very important decision and one that certainly shouldn’t be taken lightly. You’re in tight quarters after all! For this particular wine and culinary-focused cruise, I decided to bring my dear friend Briana from college who was also one of my bridesmaids. Briana and I have a similar relaxed and balanced approach to fitness and diet which made us excellent travel companions. We both like to get active every day, we aren’t huge drinkers and we can both easily pass on dessert. Having her with me made it even easier to stick to these good habits.

    Take Advantage of the Complimentary Fitness Center:

    Offering breathtaking views of the blue sea, there is just something fabulous about doing your usual elliptical or treadmill workout out in the middle of the ocean on a ship. Compared to other ships I’ve sailed on in the past, I was blown away by the scale, size and diversity of machines and equipent offered in the Ruby Princess fitness center. It was first class all the way and a huge upgrade from the tiny hotel gyms I’m used to using when traveling.

    Yoga Post 3 - The Lemon Bowl

    Get Your Namaste On:

    After doing sunrise yoga in Cancun last month, I couldn’t wait to do a little outdoor yoga once again. You see, most of the time when I do yoga it is in a small dark room in my gym with noisy boot camp classes next door or weights dropping on the floor overhead. There is just something truly relaxing and rejuvenating about any type of exercise outdoors but especially one as centering and peaceful as yoga.

    Yoga Post 2 - The Lemon Bowl

    It might seem silly to practice yoga in public on a ship but usually in the morning the only people out are those walking, jogging or doing their own workout. Plus, there are tons of little hidden areas to get your yoga on in private. Namaste.

    Running Stairs - The Lemon Bowl

    Walk the Track: 

    If yoga isn’t your thing, the Ruby Princess also offers an outdoor jogging track that was quite popular with guests. Offering several lanes, you can easily walk, jog or run without having to worry about others being in the way. I’ll warn you, it’s not a very long track so it takes several laps to hit a mile. That said, we also discovered that you can walk the Promenade Deck on Level 7 if you prefer to walk the entire length around the ship. We ended doing a little of both during our cruise.

    Bootcamp Courses - The Lemon Bowl

    Take a Fitness Class:

    I’m a class junkie and love sweating it out with loud music and a big group so I was thrilled to see all of the exercise classes offered on board every day in the fitness center. From TRX to yoga to boot camp and more, Princess certainly makes it easy to maintain your active lifestyle while cruising. Sadly, we had a packed itinerary every day with our scheduled excursions so I didn’t get to take a class while on our short four day cruise but you better believe a TRX class is on my bucket list for next time!

    Ensenada Vineyard - The Lemon Bowl

    Book a Shore Excursion:

    Hands down, I had the most steps in my day whenever we were busy on a fun excursion. Of course, we were just touring vineyards and sampling wine but we were still getting lots of steps in walking around and taking in the scene. Depending on your specific itinerary and destinations at sea, Princess offers a wide variety of excursions that make it easy to stay active during your cruise. Whether it’s dog sledding in Alaska, touring the Great Wall in China or simply going on a hike, Princess offers no shortage of ways to stay active while on your cruise adventure. In fact, I enjoyed our leisurely walks through the wineries in Ensenada, Mexico and can’t wait to tell you more about that soon.

    What is your favorite way to stay active on a cruise? I would love to hear from you. 

    Disclosure: Princess Cruise Line has compensated me for my time to share my recent experiences on board the Ruby Princess. Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Lemon Bowl possible. All thoughts are my own.

    Need more Fitness tips? Check out my Pinterest page!

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    Liz DellaCroce

    Liz Della Croce is the creator and author of The Lemon Bowl, a healthy food blog. Since 2010, Liz has been sharing delicious recipes that just so happen to be healthy. By using real ingredients with an emphasis on seasonality, Liz has built a growing audience of loyal readers who crave good food for their families. Click Here To Subscribe to my newsletter:

    29 Comments

    1. All great tips! One of the things I do when I’m on a ship is to always take the stairs instead of the elevator. It’s a great way to get a little exercise in while on board and there’s never any traffic jams on the stairs or waiting.

    2. Yes, it is so important to stay active while traveling, especially when there are so many good things to eat too! I actually love to travel to places where I can stay active. Despite the fact that you are on a boat, a cruise is a great way to stay active for many of the reasons you mentioned. Each port is a great excuse to get off the boat and explore too!

    3. I did yoga classes on the cruise when I did the Princess Cruise to Alaska earlier this year…love having my fitbit to track my steps all over the cruise ship as well! Great tips!

    4. This is such a great point – staying ACTIVE on a sedentary cruise ship! Great post and tips! Maybe it’s because I just had a nightmare last night about a family member falling overboard on a cruise ship (seriously, just last night!), but I got a little nervous looking at the pic of you by the railing, yikes!! ;)

    5. I connected with everything you’re saying here! When I travel, the number one thing I’m worried about is if I’m going to be able to get in any exercise!! I went on a river cruise a few weeks back, and it was HARD to get in exercise. No gym on the boat, and the walking track was extremely small. I basically had to take the week off and hope that I was getting in walking time on the excursions. I’ve never done yoga, but it seems like it would be a good option when you’re stuck without a lot of exercise options! Great write up and tips!

    6. I’ve never been on a cruise, but these look like great suggestions. I love the walking and the yoga tips, I’m travelling soon and I will definitely include somes asanas in the morning and walk eveywhere! Hope you had tons of fun, Liz :)

    7. With all the access to delicious food on Princess Cruises, this cannot be understated: it is so important to burn some of those calories! Not only will it make you feel better, but you won’t feel so weighted down and have more energy during the cruise. Great suggestions!

    8. As you mentioned these ships are quite large, so walking (especially up and down the stairs) is big for us. When re-entering the ship, the long elevator lines become my inspiration to walk all the way up to the top level of the ship. I use the track around the ship for my early morning walk, it’s peaceful and the views can’t be beat. I also take advantage of any free class, love the zumba!

    9. My favorite way to stay fit on a cruise ship is to totally eschew the elevators. The only time I take the elevator is if I’m sick or extremely tired from some activity to the point where I have no energy left at all. Since we do long cruises (mostly the 4-month around the world ones) using the stairs all the time is a life-saver. We’re headed out on another one in January, and I’m really glad I’ll have my Fitbit One. It doesn’t do heart rate, but it is a really great motivator, and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants just a simple pedometer-type device. I also like that it monitors my sleep, another aspect of staying healthy. When we’re on cruises we also do on deck walking, and choose our excursions at least partly based on the level of activity (the worst ones are the ones that mostly stay on a bus, which are to be avoided at all costs, because the people who take those are really slow, at least on our favorite cruise line…). I may consider doing a little weight training in the gym this time, but I’m not sure I’m that disciplined, not to mention that I hate having to fight to get what I need in the way of weights or machines.

        1. I’m excited, too, but there’s a lot to be done for a long one. We send out email updates, and I can put you on the list if you would like. Let me know.

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