Staying Fit While On Board A Cruise Ship

MS Statendam San Diego Sailaway

For anyone who has ever been on a cruise ship, you will know there is almost an endless supply of good food. Which likely is part of the reason why so many people come home from a cruise with just a little extra weight.

If you are willing to make an effort though there is no need to go home with any extra weight. Possibly you could even find yourself losing weight in the right circumstances.

My Last Cruise

I recently spent ten days cruising the South Pacific on board the Sun Princess. While I stick to my regular walking routine every day. I did manage to come home from the cruise with a couple of extra kilograms on. Mostly due to enjoying maybe a couple too many desserts.

The primary exercise that I did while on board was walking and stairs. On a daily basis, I currently walk 15,000 steps which I continued while cruising. At the same time, I made an effort whenever possible to choose to take the stairs over the lift.

I must say the stairs were the most difficult part. I cannot be certain exactly how many I did each day, but 40+ flights would be a low estimate I think. Four flights between my cabin and the buffet. Seven flights between the main Promenade Deck and the Buffet Deck.

How To Keep Fit On A Cruise Ship

There are some different options for how you can approach fitness on a cruise ship. Unlike a regular hotel while there are more options, at the same time there are some restrictions.


Fit and Healthy Cruise Travel - Treadmill

Unlike many traditional hotels, many cruise ships have a fully fitted gym. There are treadmills, bikes, weights, and various other machines. The actual facilities will vary between ships, but at least you have options.

In addition to the traditional gym equipment, you will also generally find numerous options for fitness classes. The fitness classes might include Yoga, Spin, or Tai Chi, just to name a few. But of course, again may vary between different cruise ships.


When it comes to getting around a cruise ship, it ends up being a lot less walking than you might imagine. There is something a little deceptive about the long narrow hallways between cabins.

One day onboard I put in minimal effort until quite late in the day and found that I had only walked around 4,000 steps. I had to find a way to get in some walking, and it came down to a prolonged visit to the Promenade Deck.

On the Sun Princess deck seven (The Promenade Deck) is an open deck that encircles the ship. One full circuit of this deck is around 530 metres, or three laps is 1 mile (1.6 kilometres). Some 20 or so laps later (I lost count along the way) I had made my daily 15,000 step target.

If you are on the ocean and have the opportunity to walk with the ocean breeze, it is recommended. Although the conditions are not always ideal and I would not advise going out on the deck in high winds or rough seas. But watching the ocean pass by while walking is just magic.

Get Moving In Port

Another great way to see a port that the ship is visiting is to get out and take a walk. All too often the process is relaxing all day in a deck chair and then once in port walk off the ship and onto a tour bus.

In some ports, you might find this unavoidable, but there is often some time where you will get a chance to walk. Most tours I have been on in some way offer free time to explore either a village, town or historic site. I take full advantage of this and have found all to often spots that many others miss.

In one case, while visiting the Old Walled City of Dubrovnik, in Croatia, the tour had some free time. Many of the others on the tour stuck to the main street. On the other hand, I followed various laneways, and stairs and found some great spots with no more than a couple of other people around.

There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when exploring. Pay close attention to the time; you don’t want to be the one left behind if you miss the all aboard time. The second is be sure it is safe to explore; you can either sense this from your observations or ask the tour guide.

What Is Your Plan

Have you cruised or are you planning to? I would love to hear what you have done in the past when you have cruised. Or what your plan is to help you stay fit while on board. Why not consider letting me know by leaving a comment below.

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