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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Cruise and Food: Waist Not?

My spouse objected to the reference to my “ever-expanding  belt” in my last blog entry. Which brings up the issue of cruises and food, a bountiful, joyful subject.
It’s not a misconception to say that a big part of cruising is the food. There is a lot of food on cruises. To some extent, the cruise lines are pulling back, as evidenced by the disappearance of some of the blow-you-away features we enjoyed when we first started cruising, like the midnight buffet that took Celebrity many days and man hours to put together.

Celebrity's Midnight buffet from days gone by
But food’s still a preoccupation onboard. We Americans like our food—lots of it—and the cruise lines, eager to please, are happy to oblige. Some like to blow you away with the stats. Here’s a recent sample from Caribbean Princess:

·         Average amount of pasta made daily: 500 lbs.

·         Average amount of poultry cooked daily: 1,400 lbs.

·         Average amount of potatoes cooked daily, 2,700 lbs.

In fact, you can get some kind of food 24 hours a day on most big cruise ships. Room service, which costs a small fortune at the typical hotel, can be had for free on the large ships (there are a few exceptions—some of the lines have begun to charge a bit for late-night service).
One of the things my spouse loves about Princess is that its ship cafeterias are open until midnight, to accommodate late diners, diners who want second dinners and anyone else looking for a place to schmooze over that eighth cup of coffee.
But in all seriousness, after 13 cruises, my spouse and I are still the normal weight we’ve always been. Because on the ship, we exercise the same self-control we do at home. And when we’re in St. Thomas, instead of following the crowd to the nearest taxis, we walk into town—even when RCI’s Allure of the Seas, HAL’s Noordam or Princess’ Caribbean Princess is docked a mile and a half away at Crown Bay.

And when we’re not in port? My spouse drags me to the jogging track, which is found on every big ship, to walk round and round, feeling self-satisfied as we pass the smokers taking a drag with one hand and a nip with the other, and sleeping sunbathers with books balancing on their bright-red full bellies. RCI’s Oasis of the Seas class jogging track, by the way, is the best—it’s the length of the ship, with three laps equaling one mile.

Walking is certainly the easiest and least painful way to exercise, but every large ship has a gym, with exercise classes that are free and machines that look out over the ocean, so you can watch the ship break the waves while you break a sweat.
Bottom line? I enjoy the food on the ship and yes, if I own up, I do eat more than I do at home. But at most, I put on two or three pounds. And after a week at home, that extra weight disappears, though the memories from my fabulous vacation gratefully linger.