Wellness: Staying fit on a cruise


Staying fit on a cruise doesn’t have to mean slogging it out in the gym. Now there are some far more exciting ways to burn off the calories. From golf simulators to bike rides around Burmese temples, cruise lines are coming up with all kinds of innovative activities to keep you feeling shipshape and fabulous. Here’s our pick of some of the more unusual options that you may never have thought possible on a holiday afloat.

On guard!
For something left-of-field, cruisers can sign up for fencing lessons on Cunard ships. Queen Victoria was the first in the fleet to offer the sport. Meanwhile Queen Elizabeth guests can try out a resistance workout which involves walking around the deck in a weight vest. You can even wear it while playing lawn bowls.

Sightseeing on the run
Last year Crystal Cruises launched a new Site Running program which gives runners the chance to jog around several European cities. There are guided five-kilometre and 10-kilometre runs in St Petersburg, Greenock (Scotland), Dubrovnik, Monte Carlo, old Bordeaux and Cobh (Cork, Ireland). Prices start from $69, which includes transportation to and from the beginning and end of the run, guide-narrated sightseeing stops, reflective gear, bottled water and fresh juice, power snacks and instructor-led warmups. The line also has a Nordic Walking Program using Nordic walking poles. The much-hyped Scandinavian workout is said to burn 46 per cent more calories than ordinary walking and is offered on Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity.

Time for tee
On Holland America Line’s MS Prinsendam there are golf putting greens and at certain ports Holland America offers golf shore excursions. Holland America guests can also take part in mat and reformer Pilates and yoga, or link up with a personal trainer from Steiner Leisure for Cardio Ki-Bo circuit training – a combination of chi-releasing moves incorporating boxercise, kickboxing and aerobic conditioning.

On yer bike
Since there isn’t a lot of space for gym facilities on Pandaw’s river ships, the cruise line offers a great alternative for adventurous types. On Kalay Panday (Chindwin route in Burma) and Kindat Pandaw (Mandalay Pagan route, Burma), guests can jump on a bike and cycle around villages and temples or explore jungle roads. The bicycles are available every day – Kalay has nine bicycles and Kindat has 13.

A guru and you
For those willing to pay a bit more, Silversea Cruises can team you up with a personal trainer. The professional fitness expert will get your heart racing with some circuit training to ensure you stay fit and in tip-top physical shape while cruising. If you’re after something less strenuous, the line also offers aqua aerobics.

Adventure yoga
Imagine doing downward dog under the wary gaze of a colony of seals in the Galapagos – passengers on Lindblad Expeditions’ National Geographic Sea Bird, Sea Lion, Islander and Explorer are certainly guaranteed a view to die for while stretching their limbs at one of the daily onboard yoga classes. As part of the shore excursions there are also hikes, kayaking, swimming and snorkelling. On these ships there’s no excuse not to arrive home fighting fit.

Ready, steady, go!
On Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, guests can compete in a five-kilometre race when the ship is docked at the Caribbean island of St Martin. For $25 guests can take part in the race and later have a private meet-and-greet session with high-profile athletes. On other ships, including Voyager of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas, guests can take a spin around an inline skating track.

In a spin
Princess Cruises offers a class called Tour de Spin, a set of three spinning workouts, as well as high-energy Zumba classes. These classes are held on the decks and turn the ship into a high-energy fitness party.

Suspend belief
Norwegian Cruise Line offers TRX Suspension classes in which participants use their body weight to complete hundreds of exercises with ropes. Developed by the US Navy SEALs, this might not be everybody’s cup of tea but it will help you develop strength, balance, flexibility and core stability.

Float your boat
Perfect for those who like water sports, Windstar Cruises bases many of its fitness activities around the sea. From the fleet’s water-sports platforms guests can kayak, windsurf, water-ski, sailboard and even jump on a water trampoline.