Cruise ships are known for delicious food 24/7. It’s not uncommon to see staff who have just returned home from a contract a few sizes larger than they were when they left. Cruise ship jobs are hard work, no doubt, but it’s very easy to put diets and exercise on the back burner and balloon out of shape.
Food: Cruise lines are full of eye-popping temptations – there are various ‘mess’ areas based on what rank one holds, but all offer a great variety of dishes and at top quality too. Everyone working on the cruise ship eats at the four main buffets – breakfast, lunch, dinner and midnight. That’s a lot of food, every day. Start with choosing small side plates instead of dinner plates. Grab some salad and drink a glass of water before you start to eat. It takes a while for your brain to realise when you are full, so this will kick-start the process. Often, when you are in a rush, eating slowly might not be possible, so limiting portion sizes so that you just ‘taste’ all the dishes you like can help. Save dessert for special occasions or weekends. And if you haven’t had the chance to taste everything on the buffet, it’s ok. It will always come around again sometime during your contract.
Beverages: It’s important to stay hydrated, but the choice of drinks is important. Many slushes and fruit juices can pack in way more calories than you think. Your first choice should always be water;it even helps curb fake hunger pangs. Another privilege of cruise ship jobs is access to the crew bar with cheap alcohol and other beverages. This temptation is easy to succumb to after a long day at work, but every drink packs a calorific punch. Decide ahead how many drinks you’ll have a day/a week and stick with it. Choose fruit drinks without sugar to avoid extra calories and if possible with fibre to keep you feeling full.
Exercise: Most cruise ship jobs can be quite hectic, so fitting in time for exercise might not always be possible. However, even 15 minutes a day is better than nothing at all. Hit the gym if time off work permits. If not, it’s always possible to do a few push-ups, skip or fit in a set of bodyweight exercises before you head in for a shower. When in port, give walking around, swimming in the sea or cycle tours precedence over taxi rides and lounging in cafés.
Staying in shape on board doesn’t just make you look and feel good, but helps you work faster and more efficiently too.