5 Super Simple Ways to Avoid Gaining Weight on a Cruise

Cruising is one of my favorite ways to travel with kids. So, I was thrilled when my husband told me he booked a 7 night cruise to Belize, Honduras, Costa Maya and Cozumel on the Norwegian Getaway. However, with so many temptations on board I knew it would be difficult to stick to my normal healthy diet. In the past I have come home from cruises a full 5 lbs heavier- yikes! And, since lately I have been working towards being more healthier all around I didn’t want to blow it by over indulging on our cruise.

So, I came up with a game plan… and low and behold IT WORKED! Not only did I NOT gain any weight. I came home a whole 2 lbs lighter!! And, yes I still drank my fair share of delicious cocktails, ate delicious desserts and didn’t shy away from a slice of pizza. It was a vacation after all and Norwegian has amazing eateries on board 😉 So, want to know what I did?

5 Ways to Avoid Gaining Weight on a Cruise

Allow Yourself to Eat Whatever You Want, But Listen to Your Body

Chocolate Covered Strawberries and Prosecco on NCL Cruise

I know this sounds counter intuitive however this is a game changer! Recently, I read “Thin Side Out” by Josie Spinardi and it changed my life. Instead of dieting she actually claims that diets are completely ineffective and all you really need to do is get back in tune with your body. I’m not going to go into all the science behind her theory (there’s a lot) because you can read that in her book if you really want to. What I will tell you is this theory totally worked!!!

I told myself before walking onboard that this trip all diets were off the table. Everything, pasta, pizza, fries, sweets… seriously WHATEVER I craved I could eat. Doesn’t that sound scary… it was. However, the key was I also had to pay attention to my body. Its signals of when I was hungry, when I was full and how I felt after each meal. You want to know the craziest thing? By simply allowing myself the freedom to eat whatever I wanted, I actually found that most things I normally crave (bc I can’t have them) simply didn’t have their same power over me now that they were “allowed”.

I came home satisfied instead of guilty or deprived. It was incredible!!!

Hit the Gym

avoid gaining weight on a cruise by hitting up the gym,photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

For me daily exercise is not only good for my waist but its great for balancing my moods and stress levels too! So, I pack gym shoes and a few pairs of gym clothes whenever we travel. Cruise ships happen to be one of my favorite gyms away from home. And, the Norwegian Getaway did NOT disappoint. Not only did they have a gym overlooking the gorgeous ocean with state of the art equipment but they also offered group classes (like spin, pilates & yoga) and they even had educational seminars based on nutrition as well!

Tip- avoid the crowd by getting to the gym early or wait until late afternoon. I did quite a few workouts after shore excursions but before showering and heading to dinner. Good motivation not to snack on the bread basket or eat too much dessert!

Stay Active On & Off the Ship

NCL Getaway Slides and Splash Park

Cruise ships have come a long way from the days where people just ate at the buffet all day long and then laid out in the sun. Ships like the Getaway are loaded with onboard activities and shore excursions that will help you burn more calories without even thinking twice about it.

I had a blast on the ropes course, rock climbing wall and chasing the kids up and down the waterslides.

Not to mention epic ping pong battles, walks along the waterfront and taking a sunset jog on the track overlooking the water.

Off the boat we spent our days at water parks, snorkeling and taking long walks around new cities. All of which are so much fun I never even realized I was working out.

Take the Stairs

avoid gaining weight on a cruise by hitting up the gym,photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

With 17+ decks avoiding the elevator is a great way to get in some extra exercise. Plus, you get to learn the ship better, don’t have to wait in long lines and you build some crazy great leg muscles over your week aboard.

Avoid the Buffet

Sea Bass entree from Cagney's Steakhouse on NCL Getaway Cruise

I am not a huge fan of buffets. Not only are there long lines but you are also dealing with a ton of people near your food and food prepared in large quantity. Which, lets be honest isn’t the most appealing dining experience. So, I would opt for cruiselines like Norwegian that have multiple table service restaurants on board. This way you can sit back, relax and be served excellently prepared dishes in smaller portion sizes that are far better in taste.

My favorites were fresh seafood at Cagney’s, shrimp pasta at La Cucina and sushi from Wasabi.

BONUS- One Dessert or Cocktail per Day

My cocktail from the Norwegian Getaway as seen looking over my balcony in my cabin

I know I said eat whatever you want but sugar is a dangerous category for me. I am definitely a sugar addict. And, because sugar literally changes our body’s ability to understand when it is full I am more careful when it comes to sweets. To make sure sugar did not overcome me on my cruise I made sure to limit my sugar consumption to one dessert or cocktail per day. And, because the cocktails were soooo good (I’m thinking of you raspberry guava mojito) I mostly went with one of those per day.

Pin for Later-

5 Ways to Avoid Gaining Weight on a Cruise and still eat what you want


Enjoying yourself on vacation means feeling great both emotionally & physically. With this plan in my pocket and the amazing ship we were on that was an easy task. This was our second cruise with Norwegian and I have nothing but amazing things to say about their boats. Top that with the fact that I lost weight on vacation. I call that a win!

How do you stay fit on vacation?


  • eileen g says:

    i agree about the buffets. It’s also easier to overdue it with them. With a sit-down meal, even if you have 3 courses it’s a set amount of food and portions are pretty reasonable.Norwegian even has restaurants where you can do sit-down breakfast. and surprisingly they aren’t crowded because everyone heads to the buffet for breakfast in particular.

    • Mama Munchkin says:

      I completely agree. Steering clear of buffets definitely makes it easier to stick to healthy options and appropriate portion sizes 😉

  • Cher says:

    I started low carb last year (June 2018) I went on two cruises after that and didn’t gain any weight. We ate at the buffet for breakfast and lunch, took the stairs and did tons of walking. It was so easy to eat healthy and watch what I ate. I felt amazing every day. Never bloated. Never fatigued. In the past I had always been so tired and bloated on cruises. No more!

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