Cruise lines have been evolving in many ways over the past two decades, with the most forward-thinking and innovative companies becoming more receptive to what people want in their vacations.
This means the lines are delivering ships and programs with a diverse range of options that keep up with the prevailing trends. You can find special dining experiences that satisfy our growing foodie culture or a range of thrilling and adventurous shore excursions for the YOLO crowds.
The ships also are expanding the gym facilities and fitness programs to offer great workout options as more and more people make health and wellness a priority. Yes, many cruisers plan to stick to their workouts while onboard their voyages, and cruise ships are providing more creative fitness programs and better gyms.
We’ve found several great cruise ship gyms and cool cruise fitness programs that you’ll love.
Huge Facilities with Everything You Need
Royal Caribbean’s biggest ships have the most comprehensive fitness centers. When you walk into the spaces on Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas, you’ll think you are in a full-scale, land-based gym.
Same goes for Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas, which feature especially large spaces with panoramic views from the front of the ship on Deck 16.
The gyms on all of these Royal Caribbean mega-ships feature separate spin class studios and tons of integrated floor space for classes.
MSC Cruises offers outstanding fitness centers on its MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview ships, which also have all the modern resistance and cardio equipment alongside sports-specific items like heavy bags for boxing and kickboxing moves and gymnastic rings.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ships, Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Bliss feature separate cardio studios and free-weight weight areas stocked with equipment like dumbbells, barbells, kettle bells, as well as dozens of cardio machines.
In the Great Outdoors
In addition to the large gym on Celebrity Edge (see above), this cruise ship has an incredible two-deck jogging track. The track features gradual changes in elevation as it flows seamlessly between Decks 15 and 16. This varying surface makes for a good workout that is not simply monotonous circular laps. Plus, it is not encroached by sun loungers.
Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas also offer large jogging tracks. These tracks are the best on any cruise ships. They are 2.4 laps per mile (twice as long as most ships) and located in a dedicated space on Deck 5 — away from the harsh sun and heat (which is tough to handle when sailing in the Caribbean) and crowded lounge chair areas that frustrate many runners who try to navigate jogging lanes that are near the pool decks on most ships.
Carnival Cruise Line ships Carnival Breeze, Carnival Horizon, Carnival Magic, Carnival Panorama, Carnival Sunshine and Carnival Vista all feature imaginative SkyFitness top-of-ship areas that offer workout equipment, such as stationary bikes, ellipticals, punching bags and weight-training machines, all available in an outdoor space for exhilarating workouts in the fresh air.
Princess Cruises also offers outdoor workout stations around the jogging tracks on the line’s Regal Princess and Royal Princess ships.
Classes in Session
In addition to larger and better conceived facilities to please the fitness-inclined cruiser, the cruise lines are offering a range of fitness classes (free and for a fee) aimed to please passengers.
Carnival Cruise offers a Ryde spin class studio on its Carnival Horizon and Carnival Vista ships. This is an interactive and challenging cycling workout during which you track your effort and progress on a video screen and can compete with other participants in the class (or compete against yourself to improve).
These days, cruise ships are offering more and more fun fitness classes — like kickboxing, boot camp classes, TRX training and Tour de Cycle and Peloton spin classes. You also can join in the traditional favorites like Zumba, Pilates, yoga and stretch classes. Personal training sessions (fee) are also available if you want to ramp up your regimen or start a program with the input of a trained professional.
Innovative and Immersive Fitness Programs
Some cruise lines have taken the additional step of incorporating fitness programming into the overall experience as a part of the theme of your voyages.
River cruise line AmaWaterways offers a wellness host on each of its cruise ships as part of the Wellness Program. This expert offers five or six workout and stretch classes every day throughout the voyage. You can take part in a morning stretch and yoga sessions to prepare you for your day. You might also like the Pilates, resistance-band training or Latin dance and circuit classes.
MSC Cruises offers a “Wellness Experience” program onboard MSC Divina, MSC Seaview and MSC Seaside. Passengers who choose this experience that was developed by MSC Cruises in partnership with TechnoGym receive special use of state-of-the-art fitness equipment, a comprehensive one-on-one health assessment, a personalized fitness program and a selection of healthy food and drink options.
Blue World Voyages is a cruise line that has built its entire brand around the idea of catering to travelers who prefer an active lifestyle full of sports, health and wellness activities.
Blue World Voyages offers a ship with a complete deck devoted to sports and fitness. You’ll find a spacious functional training gym, batting cages and golf, soccer and hockey simulators. It also features spinning and TRX studios, an onboard Hank Haney golf school and a sea-water lap pool. Another deck features the spa and wellness facilities. You’ll also discover farm-to-table cuisine, educational programs, guest lecturers, evening entertainment, and much more.
The ship also has a large floating platform that will serve as a marina when the ship is anchored. The dock creates a lap pool right in the sea waters. This is essential a floating watersports playground for launching kayaking, paddle boarding and open-water swimming.
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