Gone is the stigma that cruises are only about lining up at the buffet for those extra crab claws drenched in butter and sipping sugary cocktails on the lido deck.

Increasingly, it is possible to lose weight on a cruise.

WW, perhaps better known by their former name Weight Watchers, is setting sail on a specially tailored cruise where guests can drop kilos without having to forgo delicious meals.

Healthy meals on the WW cruise
Healthy meals on the WW cruise

The cruise, which departs in July aboard MSC Seaview, will sail the Mediterranean – a region renowned for its healthy diet and lifestyle. The ship visits ports in Spain, Italy and France during the height of summer, the best time to cruise this idyllic part of the world.

Alongside exploring a beautiful part of the world, the WW cruise has a focus on wellness and moderation. Cruisers will be offered freshly prepared, healthy meals and snacks, wellness workshops, fitness classes, one-on-one sessions with a WW coach and an assessment and goal-setting session with a personal trainer.

While the food will be delicious – look out for feta, dill and tomato omelettes; spicy miso, ginger and carrot dip; pan-fried mahi-mahi; and panna cotta – the beauty of the WW cruise is that there are point systems in place to help cruisers stay on track.

WW will organise group fitness classes including yoga, spinning and personal training sessions, and passengers can also visit the ship’s technogym or ride a bike.

“People are increasingly looking for healthy escapes that allow them to relax and focus on themselves while continuing to develop the healthy habits they practice in everyday life… The WW cruise will show how being healthy is possible 365 days of the year, no matter what the occasion,” says Mathieu Le Renard, managing director of WW in Australia and New Zealand.

Norwegian Cruise Lines, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises are also seeing an increased interest in wellness.

“I anticipate that will be a trend that will continue to gain momentum in 2019 as more people become increasingly mindful and proactive in their approach to their general health and well being.

“Some guests might take a cruise with a fitness or weight loss goal as a priority, while others might see wellness offerings as an enticing option,” says Ben Angell, vice president of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings in Asia Pacific.

All three lines offer a variety of fitness, spa, wellness and healthy menu options that guests can utilise as much or as little as they like.

Oceania and Regent offer a variety of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options to accommodate guests with dietary requirements or a desire to eat lighter meals while on board. NCL also has healthier options on menus including low-calorie, vegetarian, no MSG, low/no sodium and low/no cholesterol meals as well as sugar-free and fat-free desserts.

In addition, the three lines hold fitness classes and offer personal trainers at their state-of-the-art fitness centres. Oceania alone has more than 20 fitness classes, ranging from sunrise stretch, yoga and indoor cycling to more comprehensive programs such as Boot Camp, full body strength training and core conditioning.

“There’s a perception that many people undertake cruises to overindulge on sumptuous foods and laze on a lawn chair all day with a piña colada in hand, however this simply isn’t true,” an Oceania spokesperson announced. “Many of our guests come on board to lose weight or to improve their health and fitness.”

Regent even offers special exercise classes for weight loss where passengers learn how to stimulate their metabolism to reduce body fat.

While Princess Cruises does not have weight-loss-focused itineraries, the line has state-of-the-art fitness centres offering exercise classes, spin sessions, pilates, zumba, yoga, tai chi, indoor cycling, boot camps and TRX Suspension Training. They also suggest passengers take the stairs instead of the lift, go for walks on the jogging track, choose active shore excursions by exploring destinations by foot or on bikes and eat more greens instead of fried foods at its buffets.

Carnival Cruise Line says that there plenty of ways to stay fit, healthy and even lose weight on a cruise. Its fitness centre has the latest equipment to “burn, firm and sculpt”. There are free stretch classes while personal trainers and yoga class and boot camps are available at an additional charge. It also holds various health seminars including how to increase your metabolism, eat more to weigh less and secrets to a flatter stomach. It also suggests that passengers use the stairs instead of the lifts and sweat it out playing soccer or basketball at the sports court.

At Silversea, the line takes pride in offering guests a wide range of dining options to eat healthy meals and keep their “consumption balanced.”

There are also complimentary classes in aerobics, yoga, pilates and circuit training, an outdoor jogging track and active shore excursions. Guests can also engage the ship’s personal trainers for private training sessions for a fee.

As retired Princess Cruises captain Graham Goodway once said, the secret to maintaining a healthy weight while onboard is to “exercise a good deal of self-control.” Perhaps the other secret is to take a wellness-focused cruise. At last, a way to have your cake and eat it too.