Five Steps to Lose Weight on a Cruise

As many of you already know, I wholeheartedly recommend cruising as a vacation option for families with special needs children. However, I agree with some critics that the biggest drawback is, in fact, the accessibility and abundance of food on board.

Even though for most of us putting on a pound or two probably won’t make a critical difference, for those taking certain medicines (such as corticosteroids, cyproheptadine, and tricyclic antidepressants) a week’s cruise might result in a rather large unhealthy weight gain. To prevent that from happening but still have a good time here are our five easy steps to lose weight on a cruise, we’ve come up with over the years.

Five Easy Steps to Lose Weight on a Cruise carnival ship

Where you eat makes a difference

  • Avoid the buffet area as much as possible, since it is hard to keep track of what you eat, especially when you go to several stations each time.
  • Use the main dining room and select the early seating (so you have plenty of time to walk around and rev up to that metabolism until midnight.)
  • If you or your family members want to try ‘everything’ on the menu consider ordering several appetizers and entrees for the whole table to share or ask your server if he/she can bring half portions of whatever you crave.

Five Easy Steps to Lose Weight on a Cruise buffet

Freshen up your Snacks

  • Order a platter of cut-up fruits and vegetables from room service (which is free on cruise ships) to keep in your cabin’s refrigerator.
  • If any family member is hungry between meals or in the middle of the night, he or she can enjoy a healthy snack instead of potato chips or cookies.
  • For those cruisers with no weight limitation on suitcases or who are driving to the port; another option is to bring your snacks-health bars, crackers or dried fruit, in particular for those on a GFCF diet if you can.

Five Easy Steps to Lose Weight on a Cruise drinks

Avoid that soda/smoothie/coffee pass like the plague


  • As a trained dentist, I am strongly opposed to the consumption of any sugary drinks, but I understand some people crave certain items.
  • The problem with passes is that people do consume more when they know it’s free and refillable so consider limiting the soda intake to one a day (if you must have it) and pay as you go instead of purchasing that all inclusive soda or smoothie pass.
  • If, for any reason you do decide to buy the pass; never make the mistake I made and handed it over to your traveler with autism since he or she might consume copious amounts before you even notice.

five easy steps to lose weight on cruises limes

These stairs are meant for using

  • Book a cabin in the middle of the ship so you can be relatively close to all venues but still get plenty of exercise going up and down the stairs.
  • Leave the elevators to the older folks, the ‘scooter crowd’ and the unsupervised kids that push every button on the elevator panels.
    Present using the stairs as a family ‘race’ to those kids with an attitude so they will be tempted to join .
  • Stop and admire the works of art most ships display along the stairwells when and if you are out of breath.

Five Easy Steps to Lose Weight on a Cruise dining room

Get physical

  • Check your daily cruise newsletter for fun physical activities and chime in, instead of playing bingo or lazing by the pool.
  • Ships nowadays offer ballroom dancing classes, organized treasure hunts, and yoga on deck.
  • The newer ships offer sports activities like rock climbing surfing, mini golfing and even big screen Nintendo WII games.
  • My son with autism enjoys the 5K charity walks best because of the tee shirts he gets with registration, as well as and the fact that he gets to chat with the ship’s captain on occasion.

Five Easy Steps to Lose Weight on a Cruise pasta bar

Have you gone on a cruise and faced similar problems?Share your what are your tips to prevent significant weight gain.


  1. Carla Marie Rupp says:

    You’ve given us some helpful, wonderful suggestions! Thanks. I look forward to a cruise now.

  2. I’ve been on several cruises and never put on weight. I have breakfast and lunch at the buffet. I have a sweet desert only once on the whole cruise. I have plenty of fresh vegetables,no sauce of any kind on it,have fish instead of meat for protein, and one fruit for desert. I do a fair bit of walking.drink plenty of water or soda water.
    I love cruises:)

    • Margalit Francus says:

      Hi Miriam,
      Sounds like you are cruising wisely, Miriam.Vegetables and fruits are always a healthy choice.
      And we second your love for cruises.
      Happy Travels

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