An easy five pounds

I recently found myself challenged by a dilemma that affects our clients: how to avoid gaining an easy five pounds during a cruise. It doesn’t matter which cruise line you happen to travel on, the possibility of adding a few dozen ounces is real. Now, we really shouldn’t blame the cruise lines because, from the first to the last day onboard, they will encourage you with various pamphlets and announcements to visit the spa or gym for a free body analysis. I am not sure what their true goal behind this is, other than to deflect responsibility for the rosy cheeks and extra notch in your belt. Who really wants to be told about weight when there is Spanish, French, Italian, British or Creole cuisine for the taking? However, if you are really interested, you will learn how to turn up your weight loss and increase your metabolic rate, energy level and muscle mass, while decreasing body fat.

For those who choose to save US $65 and skip the classes above, here is the path to the easy five. Get up at 6:15 in the morning under the guise of taking photographs of the ship pulling into the port. The best-unobstructed view of approaching islands is usually on the top deck bow or stern. Most elevators go to the deck below the top deck, so you need to take the stairs one flight up, and you will invariably pass the permanent buffet location. Breakfast generally starts at 7 a.m. but you could help yourself to coffee, tea, juices and Danish.

So, it’s 7:15 a.m., the ship is docked and the breakfast buffet is open. Let your eyes and stomach be your guide as you select from cold cuts (meat, usually in the ham family), cheeses, salads, yoghurts (not the sweet variety), fruits, eggs (fried, scrambled, poached, or an omelet), sausage, poultry of some type, and breads too many to mention. Just think French bakery. Great, you are fueled up for the day.

After a 9 a.m. tour departure and shopping, you return to the ship by 1 p.m. to find that lunch is still being served. Lunch always has a theme and, if you are lucky, it would be Caribbean or Asian buffets. We will ignore the salads and focus on the proteins of chicken, beef, pork, lamb and fish. Whether Caribbean or Asian, curry still fits the bill so expect at least one curry dish.

Lunch is served with or without alcohol including beers, red, white and rose wines. One hopes you still have space, because for dessert there are tarts, puffs, puddings, soufflés, and cakes.

If you are on a two to three hour pecking schedule, you may choose waffles, pancakes or frozen yoghurt at 2 p.m. or sandwiches and biscuits at 4 p.m. for afternoon tea. For those who want a pick-me-up before dinner, try the pizza station around 5 or 6 p.m.

For dinner, which starts at 7 p.m., you have the choice of a protein-rich a la carte menu or the chef’s specials of beef tenderloin steak, grilled lobster tail, grilled tiger prawns or foie gras. Once again, your meal is accompanied by generous helpings of wine and dessert.

We have just covered day one and you can repeat this for six more days with changing menus.

If you happen to feel that you have gained an easy five pounds, take a trip to the spa each day, on the last two days of the cruise. The spa staff promise that with each session of the Ionithermie detox treatment you will lose up to 12 centimeters around your waist and reduce water retention, bloating and cellulite for both men and women. If you live an active lifestyle, getting back to the daily grind should help, although I make no promises about its effect on stubborn weight gain.

Theo, a travel professional with more than 15 years of experience, pioneered No USA Visa Cruises™ and Layaway Cruise™. Contact him via email:

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