When my family suggested a Carnival cruise for our family vacation this summer, I was super excited. I mean who doesn’t love lounging by the pool, visiting tropical islands, and eating endless meals and desserts? I was ecstatic.
But then I remembered just how much food is served on cruise ships. As someone who spends hours in the gym every week and eats pretty healthy, I couldn’t help but wonder just how much of my fitness progress I would be losing on this cruise. I didn’t want to toss months of hard work to the side in the name of vacation.
So, I decided to try something different on this vacation. An experiment of sorts. I decided to utilize everything our ship had to offer that would benefit my health. This meant that I would be eating healthy, working out, and taking advantage of all of the sweat-inducing activities on board the ship. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, considering how much I love food, but for the sake of my own sanity and health, I decided to give this experiment a try.
I started out by booking a spa room on the top deck. This meant I would have easy access to the gym, the spa, and the saunas. I would have no excuse to be lazy or to forget about working out because I would walk by it multiple times per day. Next, I decided to order some Calia swimsuits that doubled as sports bras, so I would once again have no excuse not to stop at the gym before or after hitting the pool or beach. Lastly, I made sure to wear my Bellabeat fitness trackers so I could monitor my activity levels throughout the week to make sure I hit my 10,000 step goal every day.
Here's how it went...
The first day was a breeze. I checked into my cabin, explored the boat, and somehow managed to hit over 14,000 steps from all of the walking and exploring I did. For dinner, I ate a healthy meal with vegetables and chicken, and allowed myself a small scoop of ice cream and cake for dessert, since it just so happened to be my birthday.
The second day was a sea day. I started my day off with brunch with the family, where I ordered french toast sans syrup, and a plate of fruit. For lunch, I had a small meal of various meats, cheeses, and lots of water to stay hydrated. Rather than spending the afternoon lounging, I tried to stay active by riding the slides, visiting the sauna, and getting a facial from Elemis Spa. After a nutritious dinner in the main dining room, I ended my day with an arm and ab strength training workout, as well as a run on the treadmill.
On the third day, we arrived in Jamaica. I started my day out with an all-natural breakfast full of fresh eggs, fruit, and a small muffin (for the carbs!). After debarking the ship, I went on a tubing adventure with my family, and then we climbed Dunn’s River Falls. Climbing the falls used a lot of leg strength, so for the third day in a row, I hit my step goal. For dinner, I had shrimp, lobster tail, and veggies–all of which are full of vitamins and antioxidants. All food I wouldn’t normally have at home. By the time I made it over to the gym, it had closed for the night, but fortunately, they had a sky gym that was open 24/7. The sky gym consisted of a variety of circuits that worked out my entire body.
On the fourth day, we landed in Grand Cayman. After another all-natural breakfast, we headed to sting ray city where we fed and kissed sting rays. We also spent quite a while snorkeling the surrounding reefs, and by the end of our excursion I was wiped out! Since I knew I would be extremely hungry after swimming all day, we booked reservations at the steak house on board the ship. This restaurant was separate from the main dining room, and offered state-of-the-art service and cuisine. I had a protein packed meal of filet mignon, lobster tail, a baked potato, and veggies. The staff also brought a small Tiramisu dessert to celebrate my birthday once again.
On the morning of the fifth day, I went to a Yoga class. It was a 45-minute strength-building class that had me sweating bullets by the end of it. After the class, we spent the day at Chankanaab National Park in Cozumel, Mexico, where I was able to explore Mayan ruins and snorkel through underwater caves. By the end, the whole family was starving, so we ate an early dinner in the main dining hall, thanks to 'My Time' dining. For dinner, I had spring rolls, steak, and some fresh vegetables.
On the last day, a sea day, we caught up on our sleep and had lunch at Ju Ju’s Asian Kitchen. I had a flavorful meal of fresh veggies, chicken, and noodles, before spending another day on the slides, mini golfing, and catching up on some reading. For my final dinner on board I ate ricotta ravioli, which just so happened to be one of my favorite meals they had to offer!
By day seven, I noticed a huge difference in my body. Because of eating healthy high-quality food all week, working out, staying active every day, and getting adequate sleep (something I don’t normally get), I felt stronger, my muscles were more defined, and I was in better cardiovascular shape than I was in before the cruise. Not only had my physical body improved, but mentally I felt calmer and happier. My skin was glowing. My body felt recharged. And most importantly, after returning home, I didn’t feel the need to diet or over-exercise to make up for anything. I was healthier, happier, and ready to take on new fitness levels.
In fact, I’ve already booked my next cruise. So if you’re looking for a way to vacation without throwing your diet and exercise routine out the window, consider booking a Carnival cruise. I promise, you won’t regret it.
BioCourtney Livingston is a Florida-born gal learning to live in East Asia. You can find travel tips and read about her daily adventures on her blog, CourtneyLivin.com. Make sure to check out her book, The Smart Girl's Guide to Surviving Her Twenties, for more tips on how to survive, and thrive, throughout your twenties.
Courtney Livingston is a Florida-born gal learning to live in East Asia. You can find travel tips and read about her daily adventures on her blog, CourtneyLivin.com. Make sure to check out her book, The Smart Girl's Guide to Surviving Her Twenties, for more tips on how to survive, and thrive, throughout your twenties.