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How Not to Gain Weight on a Cruise

Just mention a cruise to someone, and they’ll tell you all about the amazing ocean views, expeditions at the ports of call and the food. Yes, the food. Whatever you’re craving — the smoky flavors of barbecue, perfectly cooked pasta with rich sauces, pizza and tacos with your favorite toppings — you’ll find it all and more on our ships.

With such easy access to mouthwatering meals, treats and drinks, you may worry about coming home with a tighter waistband. We’ve got you covered with these tips for how not to gain weight on a cruise. You may even surprise yourself and lose a few pounds on the open sea. A little planning before you sail goes a long way toward keeping your waistline in check.

couple crossing the ropes course onboard a carnival cruise ship

At the Bar

Whether you’ve got a thing for mojitos or stick with classics like martinis, it’s easy to find a watering hole serving up your favorite libations. Just remember that liquid calories count, so limit the sugary, tropical drinks with umbrellas or sip on a glass of water between alcoholic drinks. This helps you avoid consuming too much alcohol, which sometimes leads to mindless eating.

At the Buffet

Open 24 hours a day, the Lido Restaurant is a quick and easy place to grab some grub whenever you’re hungry. Your first move should be checking out everything that’s available so you don’t find your favorite items after you’ve already loaded up the plate. Although the buffet is the perfect place to try out new dishes, stick to a sample size when you’re feeling adventurous.

couple ordering a delicious salad from the salad bar onboard a carnival cruise ship

In the Dining Room

The Dining Room may serve main courses like roasted duck, scallops and prime rib, but you can still enjoy the fine dining and stay on track. Ask the waiter to bring the bread basket out with your food so you don’t fill up before the meal.

Order the main course as an appetizer so you get all the flavor in a smaller portion. Skip the calorie-laden sauces and courses. Save some room for dessert, and order it with two spoons so you can share with someone at the table.

By the Pool

Even when you’re lounging by the pool, you’re bound to get hungry. Stave off the hunger pains by staying hydrated with still or sparkling water, or fill up on fresh fruit from the buffet. When you need more substantial fare, enjoy your burger with half the bun.

Skip the calorie-laden condiments and toppings like mayonnaise and sour cream. Load up instead with flavorful vegetables to cut the calories.

man carrying his wife as the swim in the onboard pool

In Your Stateroom

There’s no doubt that onboard room service is convenient. Having chicken wings delivered to your room at 3 a.m. is a dream come true for some people. For others, it’s a weight loss nightmare. If you don’t think you can resist the temptation stick to something light Garden salads, turkey sandwiches and diet drinks.

Get Moving

There may be plenty of food on your cruise, but there are just as many opportunities to get moving. Start your day with a quick workout in the fitness center, stocked with treadmills and free weights.

Log a few miles on the jogging track surrounded by cool ocean breezes and spectacular views of the water. This way you can focus on the fun and stop thinking about what you can’t eat on a cruise.

woman smiling as she does yoga at the onboard fitness center with other cruisers

Challenge some friends to a game of basketball or volleyball at SportSquare. Look for subtle ways to get your body moving like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or joining in a dance competition.

Shore Excursions

Half the fun of cruising is the chance to explore the ports of call. At the very least, get off the ship and go for a stroll on land. If you’re ready for more adventure, sign up for one of our active shore excursions. Imagine biking to see the top sites in Key West or explore the Klondike Summit in Alaska.

Give your arms a workout as you kayak along the Chavon River in the Dominican Republic, or tone your core on a paddleboard off the coast of Mexico.

Consider these other shore excursions to stay active:

  • Diving off the coast of Catalina Island, Grand Cayman or Cabo San Lucas
  • Snorkeling in the waters of the Caribbean or off the coasts of Alaska and Hawaii
  • Walking along the historical streets of St. Croix, Cozumel or Boston

friends kayaking during their shore excursions in the caribbean

We want you to bring home memories instead of inches from your cruise vacation. You can do just that — and still enjoy the amazing food available on the ship — with a little planning and commitment to balance while having tons of fun.

Note: Onboard activities, shore excursions, and dining options may vary by ship and destination.