Get Your Fitness Fix at Sea: The Best Health and Exercise Offerings on Cruise Ships


Just because you’re holidaying on a cruise, that doesn’t mean you have to neglect keeping fit and making healthy choices. We’ve investigated the best spas, gyms, and pools of the major cruise lines, which will enable you to fend off the effects of the numerous gastronomic options on offer. Happy exercising!

Royal Caribbean

The 25 ships that make up Royal Caribbean’s fleet are excellently equipped for you and your fellow passengers to sweat it out in the modern gymnasiums, relax in the spa and Scandi-style sauna or alternatively try something a little different in the form of rock climbing or dance lessons.

Each of the ships has numerous pools to choose from, including those on the top deck providing prime position to soak up the panoramic views. There is also a more tranquil, adult-only, solarium area that is perfect for burying your head in a book and de-stressing. Speaking of books, why not try something new from the on-board library?

The spa is idyllic for those trying to slow down the pace of everyday life and has generous facilities. Treat yourself to a massage or a manicure. Younger family members can join in with the indulgence, as there is a treatment menu for under 18s! While away the hours in the whirlpools surrounded by floor to ceiling windows so you can really absorb your location and have time to rest.

For those wanting more heart-pumping activities, and less laying around, you still have more than enough to choose from. The gym is fitted out with all of the usual cardio machines you’d expect, and some free weights too. You also have fitness classes like yoga and spinning you can join in with if you tend to prefer a guided session.

Norwegian Cruise Line

The 50 years’ experience of Norwegian Cruise Lines more than shows in their on-board offering.

Starting off with fitness facilities. A number of the line’s ships feature an on-board sports complex which boast basketball, volleyball, bungee trampolining for braver passengers and a rock climbing wall facilities. There is also the largest multi-level adventure rope course at sea if you fancy a challenge.

The fitness centre is decked out with super modern cardio machinery as well as free weights and TRX training too! If you prefer a class then you can book a place to try yoga, cycling on the RYDE sessions, or alternatively channel your inner Rocky with Norwegian Cruise Line’s own Fight Klub.

If you’re looking for something a little gentler why not challenge your fellow passengers to a game of mini-golf or bowling on board?

After all of the sweat-inducing exercise options, you’ve earned the chance to chill so head to the spa and choose between numerous decadent treatments, a thalassotherapy pool, tropical rain shower, hot tub or steam or salt room. You’re sure to feel brand new after having some ‘you’ time reclining on one of the heated chaise lounges.

Cunard Line

Cunard Line are passionate about giving their passengers’ time for themselves and this is clear from their impressive wellbeing and fitness facilities.

Each of their three ships varies slightly but you won’t be disappointed on any of them, that’s for certain. There’s a games deck with traditional options including croquet, shuffleboard and deck quoits, as well as a promenade deck, perfect for running laps whilst taking in the scenery.

There are numerous spacious pools including those next to the on-board terrace, one especially for Minnows (also known as children) and others with retractable dome roof for cloudier days on board.

If keeping fit is more of a concern to you, the fully-equipped gym with personal trainers and fitness classes too will be sure to keep you in check. Yoga, spinning and Pilates are all available to passengers, as well as other classes, cruise dependent.

If sweating it out in the gym isn’t on your to-do list, why not try the on-board spa and sweat it out in the steam room instead? Lie back on hot stone beds and enjoy panoramic views out to sea, blissful.

If cruising on Queen Mary 2, you can also practice your swing with their golf simulator, great for perfecting your next round.

Princess Cruises

The 1.7 million passengers on board Princess Cruises each year are testament to the attention to detail they’ve given to their extra-curricular activities and guest facilities especially with regards to wellbeing.

The Sanctuary is their top-deck luxury spa retreat, for adults only. Treat yourself to an open-air massage in your own private cabana, or just simply watch the world go by and enjoy the attentive Serenity Steward service.

The Lotus Spa, recently named best spa on a cruise ship by Wellness 365, offers a wide menu of treatment options including luxurious aroma stone therapy massages and detoxifying ocean wraps to ensure you really do look rested and rejuvenated on your return home. There are also freshwater pools, hot tubs and comfortable padded loungers in the spa for you to totally unwind.

The Lotus Fitness Centre offers cardio and weight machines aplenty with impressive sights out to sea. If you prefer your exercise outdoors though, head to the jogging track a few decks above the waves. If guided exercise classes take your fancy sign up to a tai chi class to truly feel Zen or Zumba if you’re feeling a little more energetic.

Feeling competitive? Princess Cruises have got you covered for games too and have on-board mini golf, shuffleboard, basketball and ping-pong as well as a driving range if Dad needs a quiet hour to himself!

P&O Cruises

Take some ‘me time’ in the Oasis Spa offering traditional therapies such as Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture as well as more standard treatments you’re more accustomed to seeing. The spa also has whirlpool spas, steam room, sauna and hydro pool water therapy options, so plenty for you to dip into throughout the duration of your voyage.

To look your best, as well as feel it, book yourself into the hair and beauty salon and wow your family and friends at dinner. Additionally, there are wellness talks available on board which cover topics including laughter therapy and reducing stress. If you’re feeling like some quiet time then pay a visit to the huge library and choose a novel to bury your head in poolside.

If you like to stay active on holiday then pay a visit to the high-tech gym, bursting with equipment to help you stay trim. Other things on offer to keep you fit can be found on the numerous sports courts and in the form of fitness and dance classes, so why not learn to salsa whilst riding the waves?

Celebrity Cruises

Visit the Canyon Ranch SpaClub and spoil yourself with a lavish massage or facial, or maybe just lay on the heated stone beds and gaze out to the miles of ocean that surround you. The Persian garden is also gorgeous for some chill-out time and has steam and tropical rain showers to enjoy.

On the top deck there is a pool, so why not swim your lengths with a beautiful backdrop and the sounds of the waves to accompany it? If you have fitness goals you’re keen to keep working towards then speak to one of the on-board trainers or attend one of the workshops or classes to stay in tip-top shape.

If your idea of cardio is turning the pages of your book or magazine, then maybe head to the adults-only solarium to catch the best of the afternoon sun and have a dip in the thalassotherapy pool (on Millennium Class ships), which holds seawater to enrich the skin naturally.

On Luxury Ships be sure to visit the Lawn Club to play some boules and croquet on the only real grass lawn on a cruise ship.

If we’ve tempted you to enjoy a rewarding and restorative cruise, give our friendly sales team a call to discuss your next holiday on 0808 2746 777 or visit our homepage to get some inspiration and book your break.


About Author

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Claire has worked in the travel industry since leaving college in 1994. One of this blog's most regular contributors, Claire covers cruise news and industry trends.

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