Tips to Avoid Huge Weight Gain While on a Cruise

By Ted


The average person on a cruise gains 7-10 pounds or more!

I just got back from a 7 night cruise to Mexico and I totally understand why that is. The whole cruise revolves around eating and drinking!

This was my 3rd cruise, so I knew what to expect and I decided to put a plan in place that allowed me to enjoy the cruise to the fullest, but avoided me coming home with a 7 pound fat souvenir.

If you are about to cruise or are planning a cruise, remember these tips in order to still fit into your clothes after the whole thing is over. Photo’s make great memories, but 10 pounds of fat doesn’t.

3 Tips to Avoid Cruise Weight Gain


1. Eat in the Main Dining Room

Cruises generally have 3 eating options; The dining room, the buffet, or 24 hour in room service. Trying to eat most of your meals in the dinning room is best.

  • The portions are smaller: Even though it’s a 4 course meal for dinner, the appetizers are usually just a couple bites, the soup is about 8 fl.oz., and the main is healthily portioned. Even the dessert is smaller portioned. I often could order 2 appetizers and still not exceed my food limit. 
  • Healthier choices: This dining room offers the most opportunity for healthier options like fish, chicken, salad, and vegetarian options.
  • The food tastes amazing: The dining room food is superb. Fresh, full of flavor, and great presentation. The meal is an event, not just a way to get food into our bodies. The courses are spread out over an hour which assists with mindful eating.
  • Breakfast and lunch too: The dining room is great for breakfast and lunch too for the same reasons mentioned above. Plus, you can avoid all the noise and craziness that the buffet area often presents.

2. Limit Alcoholic Drinks


Ok, I went just a little crazy…

While the food is inclusive on cruises, alcohol isn’t and people sure can rack up a huge bar charge quickly, especially with the cruise’s infamous sugary cocktail of the day.

Limit yourself to a drink a day and choose less sugary cocktail options. Perhaps only drink off the ship by experiencing a drink/wine unique to the port of call you are in.

You’ll still have a great time, you won’t max out your credit card, and you’ll be able to remember the experience by drinking in moderation while cruising.

3. Keep moving while on a cruise.

Most ships have a walking deck, running deck, and fitness center. I liked to take a brisk paced walk in the mornings on the walking deck. 4 laps equaled a mile and it offered great scenery while burning some calories.

Take the stairs. Always using the stairs to get from your room to various places on the ship can burn a lot of calories since most ships are at least 8 or 9 stories tall.

When docked at your ports, opt for something active. Snorkeling, hiking, walking around exploring, and swimming are all active options opposed to just hopping on a bus or a taxi and being driven around to the sights.

I was inspired by a 60ish year old couple who went on the zip lining tour with us. This was challenging; 11 zip lines, 2 rappels, and up hill hiking, but they loved every minute of it as did I.


Don’t Forget to Have a Great Time

On the flip side, don’t obsess about your weight or calories while on the cruise, just be mindful. Enjoy all the fun, tastes, and activity that the cruise experience has to offer.

If I gained any weight, it was just a pound or two and I didn’t really notice. Now that I’m back to my healthy routine, any weight that I did gain is gone, but the great memories remain!

Do you have any other tips for not gaining weight while on a cruise? 



  1. Emma

    Couldn’t agree more with everything you’ve said! I wrote my own blog post about this a couple of days ago, wish I had seen this before. Some super interesting points, I never put on weight on a cruise.

  2. Samuel Young

    I hadn’t experience with cruise, but I had very bad experience with resorts. In last summer I went to a resort with my family for 10 days, after vacation I found myself 8 pounds more. It took 50 months to cut down those extra calories. Really these tips are very useful to, who are planning to cruise or resorts.

  3. O.

    7-10 pounds is a huge weight gain? You can loose that in a month.

    I wouldn’t watch my weight on a vacation anymore than I would bring my office paperwork on a vacation. It’s a vacation.

    • Ted

      Yes it is to a lot of people. The problem is, many will never lose it or have difficulty losing it after the cruise is over.

  4. Michelle

    I went on a cruise where, unfortunately, I was with people (family members, who else?) that just didn’t want to do anything active and also were offended if I tried to go off by myself. I gained 5 pounds. It didn’t help being a vegetarian and wanting something for lunch besides salad (the only other choice was usually pizza). Honestly, for the money I’d have rather stayed home!

  5. Jim F

    Ha nice post. What exactly was in that massive cocktail?

    • Ted

      A Famous Puerto Vallarta Margarita 🙂 was delicious and strong!

  6. Spectra

    I have never been on a cruise, but I did go to an all-inclusive resort once for a week and all the food was included, so it was VERY tempting to eat all the time, especially since you could always get something. I basically did what you did–limited my eating to the main dining rooms, didn’t snack much between my actual meals (with all the food around, it’s really easy to just graze all day), limited my alcohol, and went swimming or biking instead of eating and lazing around all day.

    • Jim F

      I’ve found with the resorts I would load up on breakfast (usually a sumptuous buffet), have a really late lunch and not even bother with the normally expensive dinners.