The pitfalls of a week-long cruise are well documented: weight gain, alcohol overload and altered sleep patterns are among the top symptoms. But what happens when you triple the dose? What pitfalls can you expect on a longer cruise and how can they be avoided?
In the true spirit of experimental living I put myself on the line, enjoying all the ship had to offer and have taken note of the consequences.
At the end of the three weeks I was a bloated, sorry mess with two types of cold, a mouth full of ulcers and muscle atrophy. These are some valuable lessons I’ve learned.
- Drink water – Drinking lots of water on a cruise is more important than on land. Water will help prevent lots of nasty cruising consequences, including:
- Stave off the inevitable bloating caused by excessive sodium in the food,
- Make you feel fuller, so you won’t be back at the desserts over and over,
- Water down the alcohol intake,
- Flush out any germs you may encounter.
However, not all ships have good tap water. Use the filtered water stations to fill up.
- Balance indulgence with freshness – A long cruise means additives and sodium in the food are at epic proportions. If you eat nothing but the prepared food you will bloat up like Violet Beauregarde turning into a blueberry at Willy Wonka’s factory. A conscious effort is required to consume raw, unprepared food (fruit/vegetables) to balance out the crap. This will also help maintain your immune system as well as counter effects of other indulgences on board. Try for at least one meal a day o freshness.
- Take your own hand sanitizer – Although ships are meant to quarantine passengers with contagious colds or stomach bugs, they don’t always get them in time and the bug has spread widely through the vessel. Some wily passengers manage to fly under the radar and swan about freely distributing their germs without detection. Carry your hand sanitizer at all times. Avoid touching the handrails, door handles, bar tops, etc. etc. etc. If you do touch any surfaces sanitize after wards. Be most particular before eating. I know you’ll feel a little like Niles Crane before he’ll sit on a chair (see below) but it is worth it.
- Move – Weight gain is the major side-effect of a cruise commented on by passengers. The opportunity to lie about being waited on hand and foot with endless drinks and food at your fingertips is only going to end one way, unless you move. Here’s some ideas about how to move more:
- Use the stairs, not the elevator,
- Don’t read a map, get lost, it’ll get your steps up,,
- Wear a pedometer to gauge your activity levels
- Make a deal with yourself to exercise before you indulge, be it in the gym, walking, swimming, whatever,
- Join in – take part in the activities on offer, like dance lessons or games on the lido deck. Not only will it get you away from the indulgences, you’ll move more and meet fellow cruisers which will only add to your magical experience.
Now all I have to do is pay heed to these wise words on my next cruise and perhaps then I won’t be limping down the gangway like a piece of soggy celery. Happy Cruising.