Hi Peter, I recently took my first (and last) Carnival cruise. The buffet line closed at 9:30 p.m. every night, and all that was available after that was hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, cole slaw, potato salad and fattening desserts such as cookies, brownies and assorted fruits (apple, orange, pear, or banana.) In other words there were no healthy options except the fruit. Carnival’s suggestion was to order from room service, but the menu was very limited and not much better than the other options. How can a cruise line not have whole grain breads or other healthy foods? I finally resorted to saving a yogurt from breakfast and keeping it in my ice bucket all day so I could have it with a bowl of cereal and an apple at bedtime.
—William, Garden City, Mich.
You raise a valid point. Passengers are notorious for gaining weight on cruises because of the easy availability of food and the lack of healthy choices.
A good thing to do before you book a cruise is to look at sample menus. Many cruise ships offer lighter fare which tends to have lower levels of cholesterol, fat, sugar, and sodium. Another option would be to ask if the cruise line’s kitchen would accommodate special dietary requests based on your preferences. If the request is given far enough in advance, many will be happy to oblige.
Norwegian Cruise Line offers a “freestyle cruise” concept providing open seating, up to 20 different restaurants, and extended hours in the main restaurants which allows for much more freedom of choice. There are additionally “cooking light” options that are rotated onto the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus on all NCL ships throughout the year.
However, once the buffet and restaurants shut down, you are bound to have fewer choices, whether you’re on a cruise ship or in a hotel in the south of France. I think you are smart to stash a few healthy items in your room to help resist the temptation to gorge on sinful chocolatey snacks.
But don’t forget that along with those all-you-can-eat buffets, cruise ships also offer swimming pools, exercise classes and even rock-climbing walls. If you’re worried about weight gain, even something as simple as climbing stairs instead of using the elevator can make a significant difference. The irony is that despite the huge square footage cruise ships devote to health clubs, they're the most underutilized areas on most cruise ships! … Back to Article
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