Cruise holidays are generally perceived as a time and place to embrace our inner laziness (most people are inclined to call this ‘relaxing’, but let’s face it, it’s really just a matter of semantics).

This perception is as clichéd as assuming that the population of seniors who (as stereotypes inform us) are the majority of cruisers lead entirely sedentary lives. If you believe that, fitness would seem to be at odds with cruising, and everything cruising has come to symbolise –overindulgence, expanding waistlines, cocktails by the pool, and bingo.

However, the recent growth of the fitness industry has helped cruise lines in their ongoing endeavour to rebrand cruising. The Australian Fitness Industry Report 2012 reveals that more than 42 per cent of the fitness industry’s clients are in the 25-34 year old age group, the very same age bracket that the cruise industry is currently appealing to. Without giving too much credence to coincidence, it’s little wonder that fitness facilities on cruises, and physically active shore excursions (for instance: hiking, bicycling and kayaking) are becoming the norm.

Leading the fleet are Seabourn’s Odyssey, Sojourn and Quest, which embrace a holistic health approach with their two-deck fitness centre and spa. Similarly Royal Caribbean’s Allure and Oasis of the Seas feature the aptly named ShipShape Centre, in addition to Gravity machines, a Kinesis Wall, Expresso Bikes and Activio Cycling. Not to be overlooked are the mountain bike excursions offered by Thomson Cruises, which have proven to be a popular way of discovering the sites at the various destinations along their Mediterranean and Caribbean cruises.

The message is overwhelmingly loud and clear. Fitness fanatics of all ages are well and truly catered for by cruise operators. No longer just an opportunity to overindulge by the pool, cruising is increasingly providing occasions for people to maintain their active lifestyles while also ‘relaxing’ and absorbing the cultures of exotic destinations.