How to have a healthy cruise while not missing out on the fun


When we booked our cruise holiday I was ecstatic.

Seven days cruising the South Pacific on board the Carnival Spirit. Relaxing, sunbathing, visiting exotic destinations and having a break from my crazy busy life. 

All things I was super excited about!

I even installed The Cruise Countdown App on my iPhone so I could check how many days were left until we boarded. 

Did I mention that I was excited!!

Then I had a flashback to my last cruise in 2001 which I went on with one of my besties. I ate and drank so much. 4-5 course dinners, buffet breakfasts + lunches and cocktails galore. I had an amazing time BUT I put on quite a bit of weight (I think it was around 5kgs eeek!)

I certainly didn't want to repeat that again! No I did not!! 

Cruise holidays do have a bit of stigma around them that you eat/drink, eat/drink, eat/drink and pack on the weight. 

I was determined not to do that! We follow a predominately paleo/clean eating lifestyle and wanted to eat as close to that as possible on our holiday. 

So I decided that I was going to put together a bit of guide based on our experience on board the Carnival Spirit on how to maintain your health and wellness while on a cruising holiday. 

Before your cruise

  1. Do your research! Check the website of the cruise ship that you are going and read up on the different dining/meal options. Carnival also has a handy checklist that I highly recommend you completing.
  2. Notify the cruise company of your dietary requirements. I emailed Carnival and they responded with quite a detailed email of the options available to us, especially with regards to their gluten free alternatives. They did state however, that any requests regarding allergies to consult with dining staff once on board. 

During your cruise

  1. Have dinner in the dining rooms and speak to your allocated dining staff to advise of your dietary requirements. We were really looked after by our allocated dining staff, Alex, Eva and Artana. Healthier options are all marked with a thumbs up on the menu . Alex also provided us with the following nights menu and we were able to order a night ahead, so that the chef's  were able to do their best to modify our meals. The dining staff will let you know if a dish is not able to be modified. 
  2. When eating from the bistro you can ask the serving staff if a particular dish has certain ingredients or has gluten and/or lactose in it. There were many healthy options to choose from. There was a large salad bar, some gluten and dairy free options and plenty of fruit. The dessert bar was tough as most of the options had gluten and/or dairy in them. Having said that, the staff were more than happy to help you out with healthier options. 
  3. Make sure you check out all the lunch venues. On the Carnival Spirit there is an awesome lunch place called Fat Jimmy's C-Side BBQ which was located on one of the top decks and was a little bit out of the way. They served BBQ chicken, pulled pork, roast veges and salad. It was our favourite lunch option. There is also the BlueIguana Cantina which serves Mexican food. They offered gluten free burritos which were pretty tasty and also had a great selection of fresh salad ingredients.
  4. Try to keep your portion sizes down. This goes without saying. You can enjoy the food, but don't go overboard (pardon the pun) and eat too much.
  5. Drink water and lots of it. This will help keep you full and hydrated. A good guide is to drink 1 litre per 25kgs body weight.
  6. Don't drink excessive amount of alcohol. If you do have a few drinks, then make sure you have a glass of water in between drinks and try to choose better options. Vodka, lime and soda is one of the better choices. 
  7. Go and explore the ship. We found new things to check out every day that we were on the ship. You can get lots of walking done, especially if you use the steps and not the lifts.
  8. Keep active. There are plenty of sporting activities to do while cruising and the gym are usually pretty good too. And again, use the stairs as much as possible. 
  9. Try and keep your late nights to a minimum. There is nothing better than getting a good nights sleep and waking up refreshed the next day. If you wake up early enough the sunrises are pretty special. The beds were really comfy on the Carnival Spirit too. So that was a big plus for me.

So, as you can see there are heaps of options and simple things that you can implement to maintain your lifestyle (or not have a complete blowout) while on a cruise holiday. 

I guarantee you will not miss out on having a fun time. 

We had the best time and are looking forward to planning our next cruise.

What are you favourite ways to stay healthy while on a holiday? I would love for you to share them in the comments and also share this post around to anyone you know who is thinking about going on a cruise.

Ness xo


Vanessa Vickery (or Ness as she is also known) is a qualified nutritionist and a mother of two energetic toddlers. She created Becomingness, a health and wellness website, to help women achieve their health and wellness goals by providing accurate, accessible information, as well as offering valuable products and services that promote motivation, empowerment, self-belief and happiness. Come say hello and follow Ness on FacebookInstagramTwitter & Pinterest.


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