Heading out on your first cruise? With all you hear about eating and drinking on a ship, you may be concerned about staying fit. Well, there's nothing to worry about if you practice a little self-discipline.
Cruise lines today are catering to fitness enthusiasts and emphasizing wellness more than ever. If you’re a gym rat, hooked on your daily fitness fix (like I am at Crunch in Los Angeles), you'll find it easy to maintain your routine on a cruise — provided you can leave your deck lounge or the bar long enough!
From fitness centers to exercise classes
Just about every ship now sports fully equipped fitness centers, jogging tracks and even personal trainers to keep you fit afloat. Exercise classes are especially popular, including the popular Zumba, Pilates, yoga, spinning, cardio and more. And if, like me, you enjoy a steam, sauna or massage after your workout, there are even shipboard spas for that. All ships also have salons for hair care, nails and some even offer various cellulite and Botox treatments.
Cruise ship fitness centers vary in sizes, usually depending on the size of the vessel. The bigger the boat, the more room for the gym. More passengers than ever before use the fitness centers, so it’s sometimes difficult to get on a treadmill, bike or other equipment, but there is a 30-minute limit when people are waiting. We found the best times to go to the gym is when lunch or dinner is about to begin because people are busy getting ready to eat or have evening cocktails. The fitness centers and spas are also less jammed when ships are in port.
Here’s a rundown on the fitness facilities and spas that I've personally tested — in many cases more than once:
Crystal Cruises' Crystal Symphony and Serenity sport top-notch spas and fitness centers with LifeFitness treadmills. These facilities generally offer views of the sea, free weights, lots of machines and one of the most comprehensive schedule of exercise classes afloat. There is also a great jogging track, paddle tennis course and golf driving cages as well as large pools for lap swimming.
This is one cruise line that offers plenty of free exercise classes, such as:
- Tour de Spin Indoor Cycling
- Step Harmony
- Aerobic Symphony
- Pilates (mat-based)
- Pathway to Yoga
- Body Sculpt/Core Conditioning
- Lower Body Workout (Bums, Tums and Thighs)
- Circuit Training
- Gym Orientation
- Gym Equipment Demonstration
- Aqua Aerobics (offered occasionally)
Crystal also holds free seminars to keep you motivated, such as:
- Slimming and Nutrition
- Back & Joint Care
- Introduction To Pilates
- Detox For Weight Loss
Crystal doesn't charge for exercise classes or seminars. There are personal trainers and body fat assessments available for a fee.
Princess Cruises' latest mantra is, “Chart a course for body & mind renewal…” It’s easy to stay in shape on any of its popular ships, which all sport exceptional fitness centers, Promenade decks for walking or running, jogging tracks, large pools and signature Lotus spas, which are usually located on the upper decks. There is also a luxurious spa-inspired top deck retreat, reserved just for adults: The Sanctuary features plush lounge furniture, steward service, soothing music, healthy beverages and spa fare, and even open-air massages in your own private cabana! Guests can enjoy free use of the fitness center, with lots of workouts from aerobics to Zumba, but there's an extra charge for specialty classes such as Pilates. Prices vary by ship. Princess ships also sport good jogging tracks and large pools.
Celebrity Cruises offers CelebrityLife wellness activities that it describes as a designed collection of activities to rejuvenate you, inside and out. Below is a sample of some of the renewing CelebrityLife wellness activities that await you. All its ships offer outstanding fitness centers, classes (some for an added fee), personal trainers for a fee and super spas with head-to-toe services from acupuncture to foot care (of course, you pay for these).
Personal Pilates sessions cost $72 to $95. Personal training sessions, which last 25 to 50 minutes, cost $49 to $95. There are also yoga classes for $9 to $11, depending on the session. You'll also find Cardiovascular Fitness, Exercise for Travel, pregnancy workouts and various other workouts at various price points.
Oceania Cruises has fitness centers on all its ships. The only one I’ve used is on the Marina, and it’s well equipped with modern weight-training tools. The spa is also attractive and offers a full gamut of services. Marina has a large pool (remember, swimming is one of the best forms of exercise) and good jogging track. There is no charge to use the fitness facilities; spa treatments are extra, of course.
Regent Seven Seas
My fitness/spa experience on the ultra-luxury line Regent Seven Seas was most recently on Seven Seas Mariner, where I found the fitness center to be adequately stocked but often crowded. There’s a small jogging track, fairly large pool, golf cage and the CanyonRanch-inspired spa, which offers the gamut of head-to-toe services. All ships in the RSSC fleet have fitness facilities and spas.
One of our Cruise Ambassadors recently sailed on Seven Seas Explorer, with its modern Fitness Center, featuring Lifecycles, free weights, striders, StairMasters, treadmills, weight benches, a Nautilus machine, workout mats and step benches. Canyon Ranch fitness experts lead popular exercise classes, such as Pilates, yoga and aerobics, and they're on hand to offer advice and demonstrate the use of fitness equipment.
Seabourn, the small luxury cruise line, operates intimate all-suite ships equipped with medium-sized but well-stocked fitness centers and super spas with ace therapists (massages and facials have always proved to be fantastic on these ships). There are greatly expanded spa facilities of up to 8,820 square feet on Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Quest. All spas have free saunas; steam baths, however, come with a usage free. There are jogging tracks on the top decks.
Aboard another luxury cruise line, Silversea, all of its ships have fitness and Wellness Centers with all the necessary equipment and free classes. Intimate spas are staffed by top-notch therapists, and you'll have free run of the steams and saunas. In addition to the head to toe pampering possibilities, Silversea offers anti-aging and medi services such as acupuncture, Botox and other fillers. We had one of the best Pilates instructors ever on a 28-day Los Angeles to New Zealand cruise and some of the best facials and massages on that one and other voyages. You'll find jogging tracks on the top decks. Personal trainers are available for a fee.
Windstar Cruises ships have somewhat compact fitness facilities — except on Wind Surf, which has the largest facility of the fleet — with enough equipment to do the job plus pretty little spas with top therapists. Windstar’s spa retreats in each ship's WindSpa have recently been expanded to offer an even more pampered onboard experience with massage, aromatic spa baths, facials, and hair and nail care. I had an excellent pedicure during a Tahitian cruise. You can also get plenty of exercise from the ships’ water sports platforms: stern-mounted “marinas” where you can dive off the ship to snorkel, kayak or windsurf on free equipment. There’s also scuba diving for an added fee.
Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Cruise Line's fitness centers on the majority of its fleet are some of the biggest and best equipped, but some popular classes such as Pilates, yoga and cycling come with a fee that generally runs around $12 — which doesn’t stop the true fitness fanatics among us. Stretch, Abs and Body Conditioning classes are free as is use of the facilities. Ships also have volleyball and basketball courts, big pools, and top spas offering the gamut of treatments plus beauty seminars on everything from makeup application to secrets of a flatter tummy.
Holland America Line
While we haven’t cruised with Holland America in a while, I do recall well-equipped fitness centers and know that the new Koningsdam sports a classy facility with a spa from the famous Greenhouse Spa, featuring treatment rooms that face the sea. It also offers more than adequate fitness facilities plus jogging tracks and sports activities.
If you plan to use the fitness facilities, you should bring a proper pair of sports shoes, shorts or warm-up clothing, and earbuds if you want to watch TV, movies or listen to music. Cruise lines such as Crystal, Seabourn, Regent and Silversea provide free earphones along with bottled water and towels. Other lines either sell water or have fountains to drink from.
Want to cruise on one of these lines?
Does an active cruise on any of these cruise lines look tempting? Contact a Cruiseable travel advocate and our Business Department will make sure you get the lowest price, the best value and all the perks. Call us at 1-877-322-3773 to speak to an expert travel professional, or send us a query.
In our series Wellness & Fitness
- 7 ways to keep fit on your next cruise
- Cruise ship spas: What to expect & what they cost
- Top spas at luxury cruise lines
- Lotus Spa: Try a massage with bamboo, hot stones — or chocolate
- 12 reasons a cruise is a healthy vacation choice
- Seabourn amps up its wellness & fitness offerings
- Getting sick on a cruise ship