8 Things to Know About Working Out on a Cruise

For most people, a cruise is a relaxing vacation where they hang out poolside, drink, eat, and then grimace at the scale at the end of their vacation.

Gaining a few pounds during your trip is unsurprising given the availability of food all around the ship. Mix that with the fact that you get out of your workout routine that you might have back home, and it’s an easy recipe for weight gain.

The good news is that there are lots of workout options on a cruise ship. Whether you want to simply get a sweat up to burn off that dessert or you are training hard for a marathon or other event, you’ll be surprised at how a cruise can actually cater to your workout.

Here are a few things you should know about gyms and working out while on your vacation…

Treadmills on a cruise ship

Cruise Ship Gyms Are Ideally Located

If a hotel “fitness center” comes to mind when you think of working out on a cruise ship, then you should adjust your perception.

While a hotel might have a couple of weight machines and some free weights tucked into an oversized closet, cruise ships put some thought (and equipment) into the workout environment.

On most ships that means a great location that’s high up and next to the edge of the ship so you can get a ridiculously good view outside while you get in your workout. Envision a line of treadmills next to floor-to-ceiling windows; that’s what you’ll find on most ships.

Gyms Are Not Open Around the Clock (But Keep Long Hours)

These days many gyms make a big deal about being open 24 hours. We’ve found that on cruise ships it’s rare to find workout rooms open around the clock.

That said, they do keep long hours. Often gyms are open from 6:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. So unless you are a complete night owl that likes to hit the weights at 3:00 a.m., then the hours should be accommodating.

Gym equipment on a cruise ship

Cruise Ship Gyms Have a Variety of Equipment

While each gym will vary, you’re going to find a range of different workout gear. Much of what you’ll find is the same things you’ll see in a traditional gym, just with fewer of each item to compensate for the space available.

Here’s a sample of what we’ve seen on ships:

  • Treadmills
  • Exercise bikes
  • Weight machines
  • Yoga mats
  • Dumbbell free weights
  • Yoga balls
  • Aerobic platforms

What you won’t find are lots of barbells and free weights — things like squat racks. We’ve seen them before (including in the gym pictured above), but not always.

We think that a rocking ship wouldn’t be the best place to have large free weights as the danger of them falling off (or someone losing their balance while lifting) would be too much.

Basketball court

Workouts Aren’t Confined to the Gym (Jogging Tracks & Courts)

While you might think that the fitness center is the only spot where you can shed some pounds on the ship, you’d be mistaken.

First, large cruise ships all have jogging tracks that will encircle the pool deck area. Especially in the mornings this is a great place to get a run in, and you’ll find many people doing just that. As the day goes on the track gets more crowded with people walking around the ship, making it harder to jog on the track without bumping into other passengers.

Most large cruise ships also have a basketball/sport court. If you’re the type who likes to work up a sweat but don’t want to be stuck in a gym, then you can shoot hoops, do some aerobics, or play other games. There’s sports equipment that can be checked out for free.

Finally, a few ships also have outdoor workout machines — similar to what you might find in a park. This equipment gets you out of the gym but still allows you to get your workout in.

The Gym Is Free to Use

These days it seems like prices on most everything on a cruise ship continue to rise. For instance, room service used to be free but now you often have to pay for it.

If you want to break a sweat, you’ll be happy to know that using the gym is free. Note that if you want services like massages after your workout, then you’ll have to pay for those in the spa, which is usually located adjacent to the fitness center.

Outdoor fitness center

Mornings Are Especially Popular for Workouts

It shouldn’t be surprising that mornings are the busiest time for the fitness areas on a cruise ship. Just like at home, people seem to like getting a workout in before the day gets going. It’s doubtful the gym will be packed, but you may have to wait for a machine due to someone else using it.

As the day goes on the gym empties out as more people head out to enjoy the activities around the ship or in port. If you want to work out when few people are around, try to schedule your visit for the middle of the afternoon.

Have more questions about working out on a cruise ship? Let us know in the comments below.

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  1. Is it possible to wash out workout gear in your room?
    The alternative would be expensive laundry costs or packing several exercise outfits.

    • Sure. You could wash it in the cabin sink or in the shower. Just know it will take some time to dry. If you have a balcony, you could set it outside.


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