Eating on a Cruise Ship

Marillian Posts: 3,892 Member
My husband and I are taking our first cruise soon. I'm getting a tad bit nervous being surrounded by food 24/7. I am planning on ordering a berries and cheese platter each morning from room service for snack, (we have a suite so we will have a refrigerator in our room). However, I'm concerned about the meals in the dining room. A big part of me says I know I can make good choices, but another says, "splurge, you are on vacation!" I do plan on doing a lot of walking while on board the ship.

Any suggestions from past cruisers on how to handle the food situation?



  • Bubs05
    Bubs05 Posts: 182 Member
    In my opinion, there isn't much difference between eating on a cruise ship and dining out at home. If you make good choices you will be fine. There are TONS of healthy choices on a cruise. The dining rooms always have Spa or Healthy choices. And, you can request order. Many people don't realize this, they think they are forced to order off the menu...not true.
    Sure you have to walk by the ice cream machines and the 24 hour pizza but if you can do it at home you can do it on vacation.
    It is also very easy to exercise on the ship as well.
    The last cruise I went on (before I started using MFP), I lost 5 pounds.
    BR3ANDA Posts: 622 Member
    We cruise often, there are usually healthy alternatives on the menu and at the buffet, all you can do is try to find the will power to do it. Its hard, especially on a cruise when you're in vacation mode, also, make sure you drink PLENTY of water, to me, its the most difficult thing to do on a cruise, theres just so much to do, you forget.
  • nap7fd
    nap7fd Posts: 16 Member
    I would always try to balance out splurge and indulgence by making sure I ordered at least one course from the "healthy choices" part of the menu.
  • lmarshel
    lmarshel Posts: 674 Member
    If you really want to be sensible, stay away from the buffet and eat every meal in the dining room. We cruised Carnival last October, and the portions served in the dining room were quite sensible. They weren't huge like you get in a regular restaurant. Keep in mind there is probably a gym on board your ship that you can use. And it's your a littel! :)

    I gained 6 pounds on a 9-day cruise but it was gone within 2 weeks of our return. I don't regret one single bite!!
  • EnglishFaculty
    EnglishFaculty Posts: 1 Member
    You'll find plenty of good, healthy food on the cruise. I went on a cruise when I wasn't even watching my weight, and yet I ate really nice, healthy, fresh food. The fruits and salad are in endless supply. AND you can go straight to them without having to wait in line. Whereas everyone else has to stand in line forever to get their food.

    And you should be able to take lovely long walks if there is a walking track. I can't handle the sun; so I had a great morning routine that consisted of a big breakfast of fresh fruit and then a peaceful walk outside on the track with the water surrounding the ship. It was so great!

    I envy you going on a cruise soon!

  • erikapereira
    erikapereira Posts: 196
    I think you should enjoy your vacation and eat whatever you want. There will always a stop point. Honestly I have been in a cruise 3 times and I always lose weight because you are always busy, walking aroung, partying etc.
  • zenjenn
    zenjenn Posts: 16 Member
    I just went on a cruise.. with every intention of eating healthy. I did make healthy choices much of the time, but other times, temptation was too great to sample all those fancy-looking deserts or buffet offerings. However, I gained MAYBE 1-2 lbs, if that (I'm not sure because my weight fluctuates, and I started my period shortly after returning and weighing myself, so.. who knows.) Part of it was, I was SO active on vacation as well. Shore excursions, hiking, kayaking, etc. I also made a point of using the stairs and not the elevator whenever maneuvering around the ship.

    My advice, don't plan on losing - just try not to gain. Enjoy your cruise and before putting anything into your mouth as whether it is worth it. On our cruise, there was a few healthy options in addition to the main entree choices at sit-down meals. If the main entree choice sounded to DIE for good, I'd order it, but otherwise I'd just pick the baked fish & steamed veggies.

    Stay active and that should counteract a few indulgences here and there. At least, I am an active vacationer and for me, travel is the BEST way to get a ton of exercise without noticing. Explore, hike, participate in ship activities (taking the stairs), splurge on activities kayaking tour or snorkeling when you are at port. I booked all our activities independently to save money and to be able to do more things.

    Have a great trip.
  • Marillian
    Marillian Posts: 3,892 Member
    If you really want to be sensible, stay away from the buffet and eat every meal in the dining room. We cruised Carnival last October, and the portions served in the dining room were quite sensible. They weren't huge like you get in a regular restaurant. Keep in mind there is probably a gym on board your ship that you can use. And it's your a littel! :)

    I gained 6 pounds on a 9-day cruise but it was gone within 2 weeks of our return. I don't regret one single bite!!

    No worries about staying away from the buffet, as I don't eat at them. I think they are utterly gross and one of the most germ-ridden places. Who knows who coughed or sneezed on the food, or where their hands have been and use the serving utensils (i.e., going to the bathroom and not washing their hands afterwards). I've even seen people pick up food with their hands and put it back.

    I know that the back of the house in restaurants may not be any better, but at least I don't see what's going on and can pretend it's clean.
  • jen_childers
    jen_childers Posts: 2 Member
    I went on a cruise a few years ago and I ended up gaining 2 pounds. I ate A LOT and I did try to eat healthy alternatives. But I also stayed active. I always took the stairs instead of the elevators. I used the gym on sailing days and I walked around the track. The 2 pound gain was worth it because I enjoyed myself. I lost the 2 pounds and more the next week. Just stay active and have some fun.
  • lo89ol
    lo89ol Posts: 59
    im going on my first cruise in august (SOO excited)...i definitely plan on using the gym every day. I'm doing an excursion with a weight limit that i am currently 10 pounds too big for, so i need to make sure that when i get on the ship in 7.5 weeks, I don't gain anything back that i lose...

    just make sensible choices, ordering to your room sounds like a great option some days, i definitely plan on doing that as i'm sure ill be up and at 'em after my workout while my fiance is still asleep LOL. I definitely think it will be a challenge, but with good choices you (and I) should be fine.

    Have a great time!!
  • caraiselite
    caraiselite Posts: 2,631 Member
    just be sure the chef knows of your dietary restrictions. they should be accommodating.
    if all else fails, say you're allergic to whatever! get plain grilled protein and salads :D
  • peachyxoxoxo
    peachyxoxoxo Posts: 1,178 Member
    It is super easy to eat healthy on a cruise! I love eating in the dining room because it's a fun, upscale atmosphere plus the portions are controlled. I'm a vegetarian and they had a bunch of awesome curry dishes throughout the week. Even at the buffet it's easy to make a salad and choose lots of vegetables. And if you go to the soft serve machines every once in a while, don't feel bad about it :)
  • cmeade20
    cmeade20 Posts: 1,238 Member
    Ijust went on one at the beginning of the month. I avoided the buffet and ate in the dining room. The portions were small (but didnt leave me hungry) so I didnt have to worry too much. And they have healthy options.
  • stubbornmm
    stubbornmm Posts: 19
    Just got back from a great cruise. We went to Alaska and it was wonderful! Anyway, I ate what I wanted, including desserts and wine. I took a break from exercise and only ran the last day of the cruise. It was really nice to not count calories for 2 weeks (part of it spent in Seattle). And I came back to about a 3 pound gain, most of which appears to be water since I'm already back to my pre-cruise weight on Wednesday (I came home last Friday). I never ate till I was "stuffed", but if there was something I wanted, I had it.

    I wish I had run a few more times on the ship just because when I did, it was probably the most relaxing thing I did other than the spa. I also stayed away from the buffet. I never ordered off the "healthy" menu, but I ate tons of fish and shrimp.

    I recommend take a break, but don't binge. And when you get back, dig right back into the hard work.
  • Dargealing
    Dargealing Posts: 58 Member
    When I went on our cruise in 09 I lost weight. We ate good breakfast of fruit and all they had to offer. We had a lot of activities planned so breakfast was our biggest meal. I also hit the exercise room and walked around the deck. this cruise was long before I joined MFP, and honestly you get tired of seeing all the food. I know it is hard to believe but really you do. IWe went dancing too before we would go to a show and that was after dinner, so you will find ways to support your new healthy you.
    We did not do any late night eating and we went to the dining room and had a resteraunt meal as well. And drink your water. I took my supplements with me and made sure I took my chitosan when I figured I might want the heavier carbs, but there is so much to see and so much to do, you will stay busy. You can also go i and log on in the internet cafe, so you can come back to us and get support and let us know how you are doing.. but hit the exercise room when ever possible and one of the 4 pools.. LOL. Have FUN.
  • thelovelyLIZ
    thelovelyLIZ Posts: 1,227 Member
    If I'm on a cruise, I'm gonna eat whatever the hell I want. How often do you get that experience? Plus, I really like food, and I like trying new foods. The only cruise I ever went on had a ton of food I normally don't get to eat. So I enjoyed it.
  • McBully4
    McBully4 Posts: 1,270 Member
    Have fun eat all you can, live it up. Follow one simple rule NEVER EVER, NO MATTER WHAT USE AN ELEVATOR. You can easily walk what seems like miles on the boat. Have a great time !
  • McBully4
    McBully4 Posts: 1,270 Member
    "splurge, you are on vacation!"
    do it
  • citygirl4ever
    citygirl4ever Posts: 123 Member
    I have only been on one cruise and I lost about 5 pounds. For dinner I order off the "spa menu" and for breakfast and lunch I tried to make healthy selections. I ate alot of fruit and veggies and stayed away from fried foods. Early mornings I went for a walk and, of course, walked alot when we stopped at ports. Don't think I was perfect. I went with several of my old college friends so we were there to party since you only get together every once in while. I had drinks and wine and sweets. I think it was the walking and watching what I ate at breakfast, lunch and dinner resulted in the weight loss. I also tried no to eat in between meals and if I did I went for the fruits and veggies. Have fun.
  • Zalli
    Zalli Posts: 132 Member
    I cruised up to Alaska a few years ago and found lots of healthy yummy choices available. You don't have to feel deprived with that much variety. :)

    Also we made friends on board with another healthy-eating couple which somehow made it easier to turn down dessert (when others at the table are passing it up too).

    The ship had a great gym where you could work out while looking out over the glaciers and water (gorgeous!) and I also went to a yoga class and a line-dancing lesson. Walking around the enormous deck and going hiking on trails when we stopped on shore balanced out the times I did splurge on some very awesome desserts.

    Climbing 12 flights of stairs every morning instead of using the elevator made me feel very well exercised. In fact I had no idea before I left on the cruise that I'd have so much opportunity to keep in shape.

    Now staying at the house of my friends in Ketchikan who are awesome cooks was considerably more challenging weight-loss wise!