Try burning off your late night snacks with some morning paddle-boarding. Credit: Canva

How to stay fit on a cruise – without going to the gym

Author: Sarah Riches

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If you’re looking to stay fit while on a cruise but aren’t keen on pumping iron, then consider swapping the gym for a watersport

According to a global survey of 27,000 travellers by, more travellers are seeking a water-centric break, with 75 per cent of respondents saying they find “instant relaxation” by the water’s edge.

Fortunately, several cruise lines – particularly boutique operators – offer a range of water- based activities so you can burn calories while immersing yourself in your destination.

A Windstar Cruises voyage to Tahiti, the Mediterranean or the Caribbean, for example, gives you the chance to plunge into the warm, turquoise ocean straight from a watersport platform. You can also put your muscles to work on a kayak, or splash your way through these tropical paradises on a paddleboard.

Elsewhere, SeaDream Yacht Club’s 112- passenger SeaDream I and SeaDream II each have retractable marinas packed with sailboats, a banana boat, waterskis and snorkels.

If you’ve gained a few pounds at sea, then get back on track with Speedway. Credit: NCL

Speed thrill

If you’ve gained a few pounds at sea, then get back on track with Speedway, the go-karting circuit aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Prima, Encore and Bliss.

According to VROOM magazine, a 30-minute race around the three-storey course – the first of its kind at sea – can help drivers burn up to 358 calories.

Expert tip

Ben Seal is head of environment at Paddle UK, the paddle sport organisation formerly known as British canoeing. He states: "The health benefits of kayaking, canoeing and paddleboarding range from releasing the stresses of the week to working your heart a little without overdoing it.

"Paddling helps improve core strength and stability, which leads to the prevention or reduction of back pain and improved balance and mobility.

"But best of all, paddling is inclusive. It offers opportunities for people of all abilities and ages to participate with friends and family.”

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About Sarah Riches

After a five-year stint living in Asia, Sarah was inspired to become a travel journalist. Sarah has freelanced for Condé Nast Traveller and National Geographic Traveller and is the author of London Almanac (2010) and Culture Smart! The Essential Guide to British Customs & Culture (2024). She was also the deputy editor of Time Out Abu Dhabi, Where London and London Planner, digital editor of Wanderlust – the UK’s oldest travel magazine.