How to Stay Active on a Cruise

Hi friends! I’m back for my second and final Carnival cruise vacation recap. If you missed the first recap (How to Eat Healthy on a Cruise), please check that out first!

This post shares some tips for how to stay active on a cruise, as well as some of our adventures while on board/in the ports!


1) Utilize the outdoor track!

Carnival ships have a fun outdoor track on the upper deck (and some of them have outdoor gyms, too – sadly ours didn’t) – take advantage of the opportunity to run in a totally unique setting while at sea!

Matt and I got in three 2 mile (20 lap) runs while on the boat. It was fun to check out the views while we ran.


We mostly slept in and got in workouts in the late morning or early evening, but on our last morning on the ship, the day we arrived back in Miami, we got in an early run and had the whole upper deck to ourselves. So pretty up there in the early hours!


We also took a few walks up there – either in the morning with coffee or in the afternoons on the days at sea when we wanted to move around a bit.


2) Take advantage of the classes/equipment at the ship’s gym.

I took two classes in the gym – an early morning 30 minute abs class that was free, and a 50 minute yoga class that had a $12 fee. They offered spinning for $12 too; I tried to sign up for the last day at sea but by the time I got around to it, it was booked. Oh well! There was also a boot camp I was interested in but it was $35, which seemed way too pricey for a 1 hour class. Not sure why it was so much more expensive!


In addition to the classes, Matt and I ended a couple of our runs at the gym to do some weights/HIIT workouts. The gym definitely got really crowded during peak hours, though, so consider going at random times or for the classes. :)

3) Explore the ports on foot!

Matt, Melli, Mortiz, and I had a lot of fun exploring San Juan, Puerto Rico on foot. Some of you may remember that Matt and I visited San Juan back in 2011 for my spring break from grad school, so we enjoyed showing Melli and Moritz around.


We walked nonstop for about 4 hours – we must have covered miles! There was so much to see. :)



The historic forts in San Juan are so cool! Loved seeing them again. We couldn’t get inside them since it was a public holiday, but we were able to walk all the grounds, which was just as cool.





On the following day, we enjoyed exploring the rugged beach in Grand Turk on foot for awhile before settling down closer to the ship. There were hundreds of beautiful shells washed up on the beach!



Grand Turk was one of my favorite stops – so beautiful and the water was perfect. I spent hours swimming – I think I was a fish in a former life because I love the water so much. :)


4) Choose active excursions!

On New Years’ Eve day in St. Thomas, we did a “hike, snorkel, and kayak” trip that was wonderful. What a beautiful island!


I forgot my waterproof camera and was worried about getting my normal one wet, so unfortunately I don’t have any action shots, but it was an awesome day.


We kayaked for about 40 minutes to a nice spot to snorkel, then took a walk around a pretty island before kayaking back. Our shoulders/arms were feeling it!


5) Act like a kid again!

I had no shame about hitting the water slide multiple times:


And Matt and I played mini golf, too. :)


6) Make a pact to only take the stairs on the ship.

Melli and Moritz told us they had made a pact to only take the stairs the whole time on the ship, unless they had their luggage with them, so we copied their idea and did the same! This actually ended up being a serious workout given how many floors there were on the ship (12+) and the fact that we were all over the place every day. Whew!


7) When all else fails, hit an evening dance party on the ship!

There was always something going on on the cruise ship, and nearly every night had some kind of live music or dance-able party. That counts as exercise, too! :) We hit up the New Year’s Eve celebration with Melli and Mortiz, which was a blast!



If you’ve cruised before, how did you stay active while on board?

This post was created as part of my collaboration with Carnival. As always, all of the opinions, thoughts, and ideas in this post are my own.


  1. 1

    The track is very neat! It’s nice they had a great selection of classes. The $35 fee for a boot camp class is really high though! Yoga sounds about right. Thanks for the great tips!

    • 2

      Yeah it was outrageous. I think it was because they wanted people to do personal training instead of the boot camp – the personal training was like $45, so not much more.

  2. 3

    Thanks for this post (and the last one)! We just booked a cruise to Alaska in May, and of course I’d like to stay in shape and not gain weight during the cruise. We are planning to hike on a glacier and are planning a snorkeling excursion too. Taking the stairs is a great idea, and is a goal that’s “easy” to make!

  3. 5

    Great tips! I’m a go-go-go type of traveler because I like to see EVERYTHING. so we usually get a lot of walking in :) I would totally go down the waterslide. No shame!

    Do you feel the boat moving when you are on the track? I’ve never been on a cruise. I think running on that track sounds like a lot of fun, but I also feel like I might get motion sick :-P

    $10/12 is like my class price threshold.. but I also live in an area that doesn’t have any boutique gyms or things like that so I’m not used to having to shell out.

    • 6

      On some days, when the seas were really calm, you didn’t feel the ship moving at all, but on other days, you definitely could a bit! The day I did yoga was a day that the ship was moving a bit – it made it super hard to balance in the poses! Extra workout! :)

  4. 7

    Anne, all the day trips sound great! Sounds like a nice trip you guys had! FYI-if you have a waterproof cover for your cell phone, you can buy the life jacket for it.
    I have one for when I go kayaking and SUP. Love it!

  5. 9

    Having gym classes to sign up to is perfect no matter were you are, lots of group encouragement even out of your usual environment! Swimming, active excursions and of course acting like a kid would have to be top of my list!

  6. 10

    These are awesome tips – and definitely apply to every vacation! I think the biggest thing is just not throwing moderation out the window. You can still enjoy everything that way and not gain weight. Beautiful pics too!

  7. 11

    Great tips! I always like to find ways to be active when I am outside of home (vacations, etc). It is easy to get into your comfort zone when you are locked into a normal routine. It’s fun to try and find new ways to stay active in a new place!

  8. 12
    Roadrunner says

    What a neat experience! And what great advice, too. Very well done!

  9. 13

    Looks like a lovely trip! And these ideas are great.

    I MUST know where you got that gorgeous coral dress — can you please provide the link?

  10. 16

    It sounds like there’s really no excuse to not be active on a cruise!

  11. 17

    I just want to say that I appreciate that you actually take the time to make the appropriate disclosures regarding your sponsors, whether it is travel, a product or a gym class. I find nothing more annoying than having a bunch of links or a glowing review for something, only to find out later on that they are affiliate links or it was a sponsored trip or product. You also seem to really deliver to the product or sponsor real, true advertising content, which I feel others really neglect. I wish your good habits would rub off on others. Just wanted to let you know I enjoy your blog and the way you handle sponsorships.

  12. 19

    My boyfriend and I did a cruise to the western Caribbean (Carnival Glory) the week after you! We walked the whole length of the ship from bottom to top one day. We also aren’t really into lounging in the sun, so when we weren’t in the pool or on the waterslide, we were wandering around the decks outside taking in all the views. One of the days we were at sea I walked over 6 miles (not including gym time)! You don’t realize just how much you’re walking, especially if you take the stairs!

  13. 21

    Great posts, we cruised on the Liberty on Black Friday which was my first cruise since starting my new healthier lifestyle and I actually lost 4 lbs that week :) This was the first time I’ve utilized the gym on a cruise ship, it was nice because hardly anyone else was there. I never realized how many healthy food options there were and it definitely helped our budget that I only drank water and lots of it!! We also took the stairs instead of the elevators, it ended up being faster anyway. We did a LOT of walking in San Juan going to the Capitol Building, both forts and shopping!! We snorkeled and swam in both St. Maarten and St. Thomas (St. John actually since that’s where we spent the bulk of our day), sadly we were not able to port in Grand Turk :( I need to go there soon!

  14. 23

    I took this trip on the same boat last year. Had a great time. I did not stay as active as you. Kudos on that!

  15. 24

    Oh man, 20 laps!! That would be tough just to keep track of haha. LOVE the pics!! You’re always up to something fun!

  16. 26

    Funny story. We took a Carnival cruise a couple years ago to the Bahamas, and unfortunately, it was the same week that Hurricane Irene hit that area. The ship ended up turning around a day early and avoiding really bad weather, however, the seas were really choppy during most of our trip, so the boat was rocking constantly. I would go to the gym to run on the treadmill, which became very difficult by the end of the cruise because of the constant swaying. Thinking about it now makes me a little bit queasy. We did pay for the bootcamp, although I can’t remember if it was that pricey at that time (and it was just my husband and me, so more akin to personal training). While I loved it, my husband threw up at the end of the session because (a) it was his first bootcamp, and (b) see my earlier comment re: the boat rocking. Needless to say, he did not return for his second class! (Moral of the story: do not go on a cruise to the Bahamas in late summer/early fall during prime hurricane season. There is a reason the rates are so inexpensive!)

    • 27

      Oh my gosh. That sounds terrible/is now kind of hilarious in retrospect, I hope!

    • 28

      I totally relate to your experience. In October 2012 my husband and I went on our first cruise to celebrate our 25th Anniversary. We had to deal with hurricane Sandy. Rough seas and diff destination. Instead of going to Bahamas we went to Key West. No other port were open. We made the best of it. Winds were so strong the top deck was closed the whole time. Lots of people and crew were suck from the rough seas.

  17. 30

    Great post! My hubby and I are going on our first cruise next month and I am seriously worried about all the food temptation and staying active during it. This gave me some great ideas. Love your blog!!!!

  18. 32

    We are leaving for another cruise this Saturday, the last few time I have taken advantage and should not, I ended up gaining 10 pounds. So this time I will be doing more exercising, I can say it’s hard to resist so many types of different food :(

  19. 33
    David VanVlack says

    In addition to using the gym and outdoor track, I never use the elevator on the ship. I use the steps for all my trips up and sown the different levels of the ship.


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