Lessons from a Cruise Ship

Life on a cruise ship is all about food

Last week B and the kids and I returned home from a 10-day cruise that we took with my parents. On our journey we visited 5 different countries, traveled through the Panama canal, walked between rows of banana plants, snorkeled in crystal clear waters, drifted down a jungle cloaked river and spotted monkies in the treetops.

Posing with the captain of the ship

It was pretty amazing.

What was equally amazing was how life on a cruise ship completely revolves around food. If you’ve taken a cruise then you know what I mean!

A cruise ship is basically a 24-hr all-you-can-eat buffet that floats. I’ve heard that the average cruiser gains a pound a day.

I did find, however, that sticking to a healthy diet is not impossible, even while surrounded by grown men eating two ice cream cones at a time! (Yes, I actually witnessed that. Some guy had the double-fisted technique down to a science.)

Every morning these would magically show up at our door! (Check out the huge mango in the background. Can you see how I got hooked?)

First, speak with the dining manager as soon as you board to alert them of any special food requirements or requests. I did this and was able to have green smoothies delivered to our stateroom each morning.  The simple recipe that I gave them was to blend 6 cups of mixed baby greens with 2 bananas and a cup of water. It was a great way to start each day with a boost of nutrition, and to approach the breakfast table with a half-filled stomach.

The second trick I used was to focus on all of the amazing fresh fruit available onboard. There were beautiful displays of fruit on the ends of the buffet lines, and each time I would pass through that deck I’d snag a big juicy mango. (Since then I’ve become crazed about mangoes…I eat two a day!)

Fun beach day!

The third trick was to avoid the buffet line as much as possible. Eating in the main dining room, where food is plated and served, makes portion control a no-brainer. I was also impressed that each menu contained a wonderful vegan option, delicious salads and always lots of fresh fruit.


  • Sy Hochman March 13, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    That smoothie sounds a lot more delicious than the one Steve makes for me (Kale, dandelion and cinnamon don’t mix well together). We should plan a family cruise together next year. After reading your post, now I want to go!

  • Diana March 13, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Steve and his crazy concoctions! His smoothies sound VERY nutritious, but are probably an acquired taste. A cruise together sounds awesome. Maybe we should try the Disney cruise line — I bet the kids would love it!

  • G.Stan Lenko September 9, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Love your thoughts on cruising: those are very valuable insights, Diana…and we will shortly be off again { Hawaii} – this is our 14th
    cruise. We are amazed at how many overweight & unhappy people
    there are on the “24/7 eating binge”, then roar off on their jolly little
    red scooters…how hard it must be on their hearts & general health!
    We enjoy ourselves immensely, eat in moderation, eat lots of fresh fruits while exploring great destinations…and still love & cherish each other after 47 yrs. of married life -it only gets better! Thank you for your wise counsel. (PS: I love mangos also)

  • Dorothy Hadley April 1, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    Diana, have you heard of the Wheat Belly Cruise? Dr. William Davis of Wisconsin has a website titled “Wheat Belly” and has published several hard bound books, including a cookbook. He espouses virtually the same diet as you do. He sponsors the cruise each winter, with the proper food on board. This year’s cruise is December 4 – 11 to Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten. Perhaps you could be a presenter or a vendor on the cruise. At any rate, please get in touch with him. He would like to know you, I’m sure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *