Sickness is the last thing you want to deal with on holiday – but follow our tips and you’ll find anyone can stay healthy on a cruise

There’s nothing worse than falling ill on your cruise.

You’ve looked forward to the trip for months, planning all the wonderful things you’re going to do  and the places you’re going to see – and the ship’s medical centre isn’t among them.

But getting sick isn’t the only health concern on board.

No matter how slim you were on embarkation, all those delicious dining opportunities can leave you waddling ashore a stone heavier when the cruise is over.

Fortunately, cruising doesn’t have to be bad for your health, in fact, it can actively enhance your wellbeing.

So with that in mind, here’s our six tips on healthy, happy cruising…

A Feast For The Senses

Often we overeat because we’re bored and lacking in stimulation, so savour every single sensory experience, says hypnotherapist and wellness coach Tricia Woolfrey.

‘Indulge your sense of touch by having a massage,’ she suggests. ‘Listen to music or go to a dance class for your sense of sound. Do some people-watching for your sense of sight, and for your sense of smell, you could appreciate the aromatherapy oils in the spa.

‘When you eat, appreciate how the food looks and smells, and note its texture. By eating mindfully, you will eat more slowly and there will be enough time for your brain and stomach to recognise that you’re full.’

Move It!

To burn as many calories as you’re consuming – or even more – get a regular routine going, advises Tricia Woolfrey.

‘Go for a brisk walk after every meal, and use the stairs instead of lifts,’ she says. ‘Exercise will get your endorphins pumping so you’ll feel good, and it aids digestion.

‘If you think you don’t like exercise, challenge that belief and find something you do enjoy, such as learning tennis, a dance class or trying out the high ropes.’

Now Wash Your Hands…

The norovirus tummy bug spreads when people are in close proximity, so if one person gets on board with it, a few others may fall victim too. But simple precautions can help keep you safe.

‘Wash your hands in hot soapy water whenever you can,’ advises Dr Daniel Quemby, an expedition medic. ‘If you’re travelling with someone who has the bug, don’t put your toothbrush next to theirs, and don’t share cutlery, cups or towels.

‘If you get norovirus, use oral rehydration salts like Dioralyte to put sodium and potassium back into your body, and drink plenty of water.’

Don’t Drink Yourself Fat

‘Most alcoholic drinks contain at least 100 calories, so if you drink regularly you could be saying goodbye to your waistline within a few days,’ says Tricia.

‘Try saying out loud: “I don’t drink very much,” and “I’m a slow drinker!” At first you’ll be trying to convince yourself, but you’ll start acting as if it’s true until eventually it will be the truth.’

Drinking less on a cruise is easier said than done – but you can get there if you alternate alcoholic drinks with fruit juices and water (men need two litres of water a day while women need 1.6 litres).

Stay Centred

‘If you feel motion sickness coming on, relocate to the centre of the ship,’ advises Dr Quemby.

‘The distance you’ll move with the waves is less than if you’re at the front or back, and it’s this movement that makes you feel nauseous. If you can get right in the centre, you’ll also avoid the side-to-side movement, though most ships have anti-roll mechanisms now.’

And if you do feel seasickness coming on, the good news is that calorie-counting goes out of the window.

‘An empty stomach makes the sickness much worse,’ adds Dr Quemby, ‘so have something to eat, along with
a sugary fizzy drink.’

Make Believe

If you’re tempted to pile your plate high at the buffet, pretend you’re on a TV cookery show like MasterChef, suggests Tricia Woolfrey.

‘Pick five things from the buffet and make your plate look pretty and enticing,’ she says. ‘Choose plenty of colours, so you get your vitamins and minerals, and if possible use a smaller plate.’

Of course, there’s no denying that fabulous food is a huge part of cruising’s appeal, and many of us find our willpower goes AWOL at mealtimes.

But Tricia has a cure for that too: ‘Imagine yourself being filmed for the ship’s website, carrying a laden plate back to your table,’ she says. ‘Imagine how ashamed you’d feel!’