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How To Be Healthy While Having Fun On A Cruise

I think I know why you guys follow me. I like to be healthy but not at the expense of having fun. Going on a vacation should be something you look forward to from the libations to the celebrations. I recently got back from a 6 day Carnival Cruise to the Eastern Caribbean and felt like I was on Spring Break, except it wasn’t school I was taking a break from, it was being a Mom.

It was seriously so much fun but I also managed to maintain my current postpartum weight loss progress. To show you can be healthy on a cruise, I’m sharing my favorite tips:

1. Workout in the gym on the ship. 

The gym on the ship was beautiful! It was very well air conditioned and right in the front of the ship so the treadmills looked out across the water. I chose to run on the treadmill once and do 2 high intensity workouts on my own in the gym. There were options to workout with a trainer or take a group exercise class as well. It’s easy to sign up and check the schedule when you board the ship.

Sarah smiling in the gym on Carnival Conquest

2. Use the track outside on the deck.

On the Carnival Conquest, there was a track outdoors that went around the back half of the ship. On two of the days we arrived at ports early, and I ran for 30 minutes first thing in the morning. The track was not slippery even though it looked damp and the views were unbeatable. I also love running in warm weather.

Sarah taking a picture of herself in the gym on Carnival Conquest

3. For dessert, order the fruit and have a few bites of something decadent.

Since food is included, you can order 5 desserts if you really wanted. What we did was order the fruit and something delicious sounding like the Warm Chocolate Melting Cake. We would split the rich option and have our own fruit. I’m not against dessert by any means, but if you’re on a ship with 24/7 frozen yogurt for a week, a girl has to set some boundaries.

4. Instead of unlimited frozen cocktails, opt for beer and wine. 

I know, the margaritas at BlueIguana Tequila Bar look amazing but if you’re planning to have more than 1 a day, you may want to rethink your caloric strategy. With the Cheers program on Carnival, it’s essentially an all you can eat and drink buffet. You can have 3 or 4 beers for the same calories as one margarita. This is not to say that I didn’t have a few myself… I had 3 margaritas on the trip in total. I reserved them for happy hour when I was hungry in between lunch and dinner. It was like my snack. The rest of the time, I stuck to light beer or wine. Both have about 100-120 calories per serving vs a margarita that has about 340. I didn’t deprive myself when I wanted a frozen cocktail, but I also tried to be smart about it.

Hand holding up a pink margarita with the pool behind

5. Instead of lying on a beach chair all day, sign up for an active excursion. 

Carnival does a great job at offering a variety of excursion options at each port. You have the option to snorkel, kayak, hike or bike at nearly every stop. If you do not plan to spend any time at the gym while on vacation, an excursion should be your ticket to being somewhat active. If you’re with a group that just wants to chill at the beach, you can rent stand up paddle boards on your own. At Half Moon Cay, I rented a SUP board by myself for an hour. Allegedly it burns about 300-400 calories total for 60 minutes. I had a blast and felt challenged with a slight breeze.

Sarah on a stand up paddle board in the ocean at Half Moon Cay

6. Take the stairs, seriously.

This is probably the most overused “fit” tip, I know, but seriously, take the stairs while you’re cruising. There are a lot of people on the ship and at times the elevator can be a little slow. If you’re well and able, try taking the stairs when you can so others who need it are able to. We were located on the 6th floor and I almost never used the elevator. The pool was on deck 9, the gym 11 and our dinners on 5. By the end of the trip, you might hate stairs but you also burned a lot more calories than you would have if you didn’t.

A set of stairs on Carnival Conquest

7. Don’t be afraid to ask your waiter questions.

Dinner onboard traditionally is served in a sit down restaurants, with a waiter. These guys are pros and so efficient. The menu changes each night but there was always a grilled fish or chicken option that was always a reliable go to. I actually loved the vegetarian entrees but I would recommend asking the waiter how meals are prepared if you aren’t sure. I ordered a stuffed mushroom entree that was delicious but happened to be fried. I probably would have ordered something different if I had known. I ate the meal anyway because it did look delicious and it was but I’m sure you could order something else if this happens to you as it’s all included. You also can order as many sides as you want. We always ordered baked potatoes and broccoli to make sure we were getting in our vegetables.

8. Mix and Match between the buffet and restaurant offerings. 

One of my favorite places on board was the BlueIguana. They had amazing tacos and burritos. I would get a couple tacos and then go over to the buffet and grab a side salad. I did the same thing with Guy’s Burger Joint. I ate a bun-less burger with a side salad on the 5th day. If I had tasted the deliciousness earlier in the week, I would have had a lot more! I loved the salad bar because they had so many awesome options. Don’t be afraid to hop around to make your perfect meal.

9. Bring your own water bottle.

If you drink a lot of water like me, you’ll want to bring your own reusable water bottle. There are huge water bottles in the rooms that you can buy, but the cups in the buffet are small and if you want a water by your pool deck chair that stays cool, bring your own water bottle.

10. Dance the night away at one of the clubs onboard. 

Ok, I have to admit something. This was my Mom Spring Break, but I was in bed by 11 each night! I know, such an early bedtime, but I wanted to get up early to experience the ports and fit in a workout. My younger self would have likely skipped the morning gym and stayed up late dancing the night away on one of the packed dance floors! I danced a little during the day. On days at sea, there is a DJ that plays really good music pretty much all day. I got my boogie on for a little bit and even learned how to do a famous dance!

People enjoying the water activities in Half Moon Cay


This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind. Head on over.