Peak cruise season is quickly approaching and with new ships coming out every year (click here to read about the ones coming out this year) with capacities of 2,000 to 4,000 passengers or more each, it’s not surprising cruising is becoming a popular way to travel with kids.
But the news continues to report stories of people getting sick on cruise ships. And what about the weight gain stories you hear?
If you’re planning on sailing the seas in the near future, here are six ways to keep the entire family healthy during your cruise vacation.
Wash Your Hands
This is a mantra you will hear and constantly see while on a cruise ship. This along with the hand sanitizers that are in every room and disinfecting wipes that are handed out to you as as you enter the ship or any dining area is a huge priority for cruise staff, and for a good reason.
Washing your hands well and often is the single best way to stay healthy on a ship or anywhere else. Even if you take advantage of the hand sanitizers or bring your own (I always have a travel sized bottle of hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes – the ones for babies – in my bag) you still need to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water before and after eating, after going to the restroom or touching anything that may be handled by others.
Drink Lots of Water
No matter how relaxing you intend your cruise to be, you will still be sweating out the water. Especially if you’re headed to a hot and sunny destination.
For many, just getting around the ship involves more walking than they are accustomed to, and shore excursions in tropical climates will dehydrate you quickly.
If you’re planning on signing up for a gym class, spending some time swimming or playing on the sports deck, that means even more water loss. Dehydration can cause many problems, and a visit to the ship’s doctor can be costly. So remember to keep hydrated!
Having a refillable water bottle avoids having to keep walking up to the lido deck or drink station to grab a drink – that’s a lot of walking for little ones!
But Don’t Drink Water Everywhere
There are many destinations where the water quality may be questionable. While you’re in port and at a restaurant, remember to ask if the water is filtered. You can buy bottled water when you get to port or before you leave the ship.
If your cruise line allows you to bring your own drinks onboard, make sure to pick up a case of bottled water from a local supermarket or grocery store. It will always be cheaper than buying on the ship. Alternatively, you can also fill up your travel mug with water before you head out to port.
Cruises are known for having food available 24 hours a day. Whether it be a midnight buffet, burgers and pizza on the lido deck, specialty restaurants and multiple dining rooms, there is no shortage of food during a cruise vacation.
You are on vacation, so you can let go a little, but you don’t constantly eat at home, so don’t do it on the ship. Eat smaller meals often and try not to overindulge.
Pick one meal a day, perhaps before a long shore excursion to splurge. Then eat light for dinner. You’ll sleep better and feel better, especially when you step on the scale once you’re back at home.
While it’s easy to stay active while you’re on a shore excursion, spend a few minutes on non-port days getting a little exercise. Sign up for a gym class, use the walking and running track, shoot hoops on the sports deck or swim in the pool. Walking from one end of the ship to the other and taking the stairs instead of the elevator can rack up a lot of steps, even on a sea day.
Get Enough Sleep
While it may be tempting to squeeze in as much as you can every single day of your cruise, relax – you’re on vacation. You don’t have to start at the crack of dawn and have an activity planned for every minute of the day. You still need your eight hours sleep – maybe even more if you have full-day shore excursions.
If you have a little one with you, consider bringing a lightweight stroller that can recline so they can take naps while you’re out and about.
Looking for a baby or toddler travel bed that can fit in a cruise ship stateroom? Read about our favorite kid and budget-friendly picks.
Cruising is one of the best ways to take a vacation, but you don’t want to come home sick or exhausted. And you certainly don’t want to spend any of your vacation in bed or sick. Follow these six tips and stay healthy on your next cruise.