My experience with cruising, in terms of healthy lifestyle and weight-watching is varied. For the most part, I have tried to keep a good gym routine while cruising, mostly burning calories daily on the onboard gym´s treadmills or jogging along the seaside in port. Simultaneously, I have done my best to choose the salad buffet over the pizza and pasta counter, whenever possible, often opting for a fruit, low-fat cheese & bran brunch as a substitute for both breakfast and lunch.
For better or worse, this is not the routine adopted by most people on cruises. I have learnt the hard way that buffets are a trap, but travelers, especially not-too-seasoned cruisers, go crazy over the superabundance of good-looking food readily available 24-7. Generally, only hardcore workout enthusiasts ever set foot on the gym, prefering massages, steam baths and beauty treatments over taking a pilates or spinning class.
I have seen people consistently stuffing themselves with sodas and plates of food as tall as a Scooby-Do sandwich, with the result that by the end of the trip, one could clearly tell that they were going home with a few extra pounds. It is as simple as that, for many people taking a vacation equals eating not only good food, but also a lot of it.
With all of this in mind, Celebrity Cruise holidays is currently offering a special health and wellness package called AQUACLASS on its brand new Solstice class vessel, fittingly called Silhouette. This option offers people interested in a healthy vacation lots of perks, creating great incentives for those willing to lose a couple of pounds and detox in style.
Silhouette Aquaclass` booking benefits include: priority seating at a health food restaurant, aroma scent selections, daily deliveries of bottled water and teas, free access to the spa´s steam rooms and saunas, tropical rain shower and heated oceanview relaxation chairs, special programming and wellness classes.
Wellness Program At Sea
Recently, a few journalists have tried out these packages, writing extensively about the results, for the benefit of would-be wellness-cruisers and high-seas-weight-watchers.
Veteran cruise journalist John Hallywell, aka Captain Graybeard, devoted a couple of his weekly blogs on The Mirror to recounting his experiences with spa treatments and personal trainers at the Silhoette´s wellness center, during a Mediterranean trip. Judging from his experience, there is hope at sea; even for old sea-lions with a beer belly who haven´t stepped on a gym in 30 years.
Hallywell gave a detailed account of his unreal sensations during a ionithermie treatment which brought his “paunch” down a couple of inches in only one session, and he was able to go from going instantly breathless on the treadmill to enduring upwards of 15 minutes on a stationary bike and learning a few useful muscle-toning exercises.
On the other hand, Jessie Hewitson, another cruise blogger from the Telegraph, tried out the
Aquaclass package during a one-week Dalmatian coast cruise. She boarded the ship with the goal of trying to “get fitter and possibly thinner,” without giving up on holiday treats such as a nice glass of wine or a tasty dinner.
(Pool and solarium on Celebrity Silhouette. Photo by Carlo Mirante)
One thing that both Hewitson and Hallywell agreed on was the strictness of the trainers at the Silhouette gym, regardless of how nice and friendly they´d seemed at first. Naturally, Hewitson was
more committed than Hallywell, who basically just wanted to have a slightly healthier cruising
Faithful to her goals, Hewitson spent 20 minutes on the treadmill and 40 minutes on the weight
machines every single day. She took the ionithermie treatment as well, which made her feel like
“Frankenstein´s monster” all-covered in electrodes. Like Hallywell, she did not find the experience
discomforting, though she seemed unsure as to its long-term benefits.
Cruising can be good for you
One view I share with Hewitson´s trainer is the fact that watching what you eat can be easy on cruise ships, because you have a great choice of dishes, which usually includes a variety of healthy and delicious options. Basically, whatever diet you want to try out during your trip, you will surely find an à la carte restaurant or a buffet that is offering what you want. Personally, I have often followed a lowcarbs, flour-free diet plan on cruise ships with excellent results, as abundant vegetables, fruit, lean meats, eggs and low-fat cheese were always available.
When her cruise ended, Hewitson was thrilled. Not only had she dropped two pounds, but she had also enjoyed her meals and her workout routine.
To my mind, giving up on pleasures like a glass of great wine or a perfect sauté shrimp dish is just
wrong (and nearly impossible), but if you can burn enough calories at the gym to enjoy them without guilt, that sounds like a plan.
Moreover, working out and sweating in the gym are also energy-boosters that will come in handy when you have to take those long walking tours around Rome or Pompeii. Choosing a cruise that offers health and wellness plans besides great food and excellent service is a great idea for anyone interested in combining holidays with well-being and leading a healthier lifestyle year-round.
Written by L. Toulson on behalf of The Luxury Cruise Company