Board of the most luxurious cruises
Cruise ships are offering health conscious passengers a way to travel and keep an active lifestyle. Aimee Joseph guides us through the five best health cruises for fun, food and fitness
> With the shockingstatistic that the 0.5kg (1lb) a day during a cruise, it seems they’re not really well suited for men who like to watch their waistline. Cruises are typically associated with extravagant meals and the most luxurious type of food of all varieties on offer all day, every day, so it’s pretty clear why many people gain excess weight whilst vacationing. However, cruises are one of the best ways to see the world, so why miss out just because you’re health conscious? The fitness centres on cruises are growing in size to accommodate active passengers, but what makes your workout really special is having access to state-of-the-art equipment and 180-degree sea views. This means you can make the most of your time at sea and never miss a workout, then enjoy the stops at your various destinations without guilt – and looking ripped.
The Lotus Spa fitness centres on the Princess Grand Class cruises are positioned at the front of the ship with dazzling 180-degree views of the ocean. The gyms are kitted out with the very latest modern gym equipment, including personal televisions for entertainment, but it’s not just the fitness centre that makes the Princess cruise so special. The line offers an exclusive fitness program called ‘Core. Balance. Strength.’ This is described as “specialised classes, nutritional guidance, and lifestyle counselling to help you cultivate a more balanced lifestyle.” The program focuses specifically on three fitness areas: Pilates classes to build and strengthen your core,yoga to help you develop a deeper mind/body connection and cardio classes to build fitness and stamina. The cardio classes include a ‘Tour de Cycle’: a three course spinning workout. You can also receive personal training whilst on board and join the deck workouts that turn the outside decks into a high-energy fitness party.
The Grand Princess is the high standard you would expect from a 4 star cruise. There is nothing that can be faulted, from the delicious food served every evening, to the great service from all the staff on board. On sea days there are plenty of activities to keep you occupied; you can play a game of golf up on the top deck, have lunch at the deli at the piazza, or watch a movie at the pool.
P&O CRUISES’ VENTURA
P&O Cruises have won many awards over the past few years due to offering great entertainment and activities. This European cruise has a fitness centre and spa worth boasting about, but what sets the P&O Ventura ships apart are the fun interactive fitness activities available on board. The Ventura offers the newest cutting-edge indoor cycling, Tixter Bikes. These bikes have movable handlebars that mimic real-world biking and cycling routines via video, displaying scenic roadways from the Scottish Highlands to deserts, highways and city centres. One of the best features of the cruise ships is the swimming pool out on deck, where you can test your fitness by swimming against the current machine.
The food is delicious, varied and plentiful. The chefs and maître d’ are so helpful if you have a food allergy and make every effort to provide safely prepared dishes every night. The decor is beautiful, the entertainment is superb, and there are loads of shore excursions to choose from. Staff are helpful and happy, nothing is too much trouble. All the public areas are immaculate, with staff constantly (but discreetly) tidying, painting and cleaning.
Seabourn Odyssey was one of the first luxury ships designed with the health conscious in mind since fitness became mainstream. The engineers incorporated a contemporary two deck spa and fitness centre, fusing traditional exercise and cutting-edge fitness services to help you discover the results-driven exercise your body needs to look and feel its best. The
ships offer a wide variety of free classes including Pilates and yoga as well as state of the art gym equipment.
The most distinctive feature is the Kinesis wall, which uses special technology to create a series of pulleys and cables to increase flexibility, define muscles and provide rehabilitation
if necessary, whilst causing less stress on the body than traditional machines. Up to four people can use the Kinesis wall at once but you can also book private Kinesis sessions if you prefer.
Seabourn Odyssey has the second highest passenger space ratio in the cruise industry – only that of the expedition ship 50 Years of Victory is greater – so passengers will never feel crowded. For stargazing, the hot tub located by the ship’s bow is a delight, and it’s dimly lit and peaceful.
ROYAL CARIBBEAN’S FREEDOM OF THE SEAS AND OASIS
OF THE SEAS
‘Freedom’ and ‘Oasis’ are voted as having the best on-board fitness facilities in the industry, with their ships being the only ones to offer on-board surfing, boxing and ice-skating. The ships host almost 3,000 sq m (9,700 sq ft) fitness centres, including state-of-the-art cardio machines, weight training and circuit-training machines, and a ‘ShipShape Center’ which features spinning bikes, a Pilates studio with six reformer machines and a well-equipped boxing ring with speed bags, jump ropes, heavy bags and padded punching mitts. Group classes are also available for those who need motivating when working out, and you can choose from a wide variety of exercises such as aerobics, yoga, Pilates, tai chi
and many more.
The Oasis is superb in every way, offering everything from over 25 dining options, to a carousel, a zip line, and a park! If you like adventure, activity, and great food then this is the ship for you. I recommend this ship to my travel clients who want to be majorly ‘wowed.’
NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE’S PRIDE OF AMERICA
The Pride of America is a fitness cruise dedicated to off-board activities, ranging from hiking
through rainforests and learning to surf, to riding the slopes of a dormant volcano and kayaking through a wildlife refuge. The Norwegian cruise isn’t for the faint hearted but it’s definitely a must for those who love action packed trips. This ship is the only one to sail year round, with seven night cruises to the Hawaiian Islands such as Maui, Kauai, Kona and Honolulu; so if you’ve always wanted to visit Hawaii, and you love high impact activities, this is ideal.
We had a great cruise with POA Athrough four of the Hawaiian Islands. There was lots of entertainment, and an abundance of terrific food, with no set times or seating. The on shore trips were plentiful in choice, or you could book anything easily from other tour groups once you landed in any of the ports. A terrific way to see some spectacular parts of the Hawaiian Islands. .