For most people, cruising is a relaxing getaway with drinks by the pool, all-you-can-eat buffets, and late-night parties.
After a week of eating, drinking, and partying, it’s all too common to return from the cruise a few pounds heavier.
Thankfully cruise ships provide plenty of opportunities to stay active and work off the buffet. From the cruise ship gym to the sports deck, here’s what you need to know about working out at sea.
Do Cruise Ships Have Gyms?
Most cruise ships have gyms and sports centers on board. The size and equipment offered to vary by cruise ship and are almost always free to use.
Cruise ship gyms typically have cardio machines, free weights, and strength machines.
You’ll often find the sports and fitness center on one of the higher decks near the spa. Most gyms provide panoramic ocean views, making it a pleasure to work out.
While you will find a gym on most mainstream cruise ships, the exception is river boats and expedition ships. These small cruise ships may only have a few pieces of equipment, if any.
Cruise Ship Gyms Are Free to Use
Cruise ship gyms are free to use for passengers.
While the use of the fitness center is included in your cruise fare, some group workout classes may have an added fee.
What Equipment Will You Find at the Gym?
Cruise ship gyms typically have cardio machines, strength machines, free weights, floor mats, and group exercise areas.
The amount of equipment varies by ship. Generally, newer ships have better equipment. And larger ships have bigger fitness centers and more varied equipment.
Here’s some of the equipment we’ve found on cruise ships:
- Smith machines
- Exercise bikes
- Rowing machines
- Weight machines
- Cable machines
- Yoga mats
- Yoga balls
- Aerobic platforms
Besides dumbells, most cruise ship gyms won’t have free weights like barbells and squat racks. But, we have seen them on some ships – such as Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas.
But, it’s probably for the best. Free weights require a lot of balance. And a rocking cruise ship is not the safest place to be working out with heavy weights.
If cardio is more your style, nearly every cruise ship gym has cardio equipment. You’ll often find treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, rowing machines, and the occasional spin class.
Cruise Ships Offer Group Fitness Classes
Cruise ships offer various group fitness classes, including yoga, pilates, spinning, Zumba, TRX, etc.
Most group classes come at an additional cost of around $20 to $120 per class. Occasionally, you may find free classes offered by the cruise line.
Many cruise lines also offer personal training services. The cost for a session generally runs from $80 to $115 for an hour-long session.
Are there Locker Rooms?
Cruise ship gyms usually have changing rooms. The option to change at the cruise ship gym is excellent if you don’t want to walk across the ship in your gym wear – though I doubt anyone would mind.
The changing areas are usually shared with the spa.
Additionally, you’ll often have access to lockers, robes, towels, showers, and bathrooms. Some ships may have saunas in the changing rooms.
And you’ll usually find a scale in the gym. However, I’ve never felt the desire to weigh myself after a week of eating at the buffet.
Is the Cruise Ship Gym Open 24/7?
Unlike many gyms back home, the cruise ship gym isn’t 24 hours. Most cruise ship gyms open around 6:00 am and close at 11:00 pm.
Like everything else, the hours vary by cruise ship. Generally, cruise ship gyms open early in the morning and close late at night.
Unless you’re a night owl who likes to work out at 2 am, you shouldn’t have any problem squeezing in a workout.
When is the Best Time to Work Out?
If you want to work out during quiet time, it’s best to work out early in the morning, late at night, or during meal times.
Sea days are another great time to work out. If you plan on staying on the ship, the gym remains quiet until around 2 pm. At 2 pm, most people will begin making their way back to the boat, and the gym will be a bit busier as some guests try to get a workout in before dinner.
I’ve never found the gym on a cruise ship particularly busy. But, there is the odd time that I need to wait for a specific machine.
Other Workout Options
Not everyone wants to spend their vacation in the gym. Luckily, cruise ships provide plenty of options to stay active while sailing.
Nearly every cruise ship has a running track, usually located on the top deck.
The running track usually circles much of the cruise ship and provides stunning ocean views.
Because the top-deck running track is shared with other passengers, you may find that other guests get in the way when running.
If you are serious about running uninterrupted, early morning, late evenings, or sea days are the best options.
Most cruise ships have a sports court that includes basketball, soccer, mini-golf, and golf simulators.
The sports courts are free to use, and many ships offer ship-wide tournaments.
The sports court is a great place to get active, meet new people, and participate in some friendly competitions.
Other Sports and Activities
Cruise ships offer several fun activities, including rock climbing, surfing, and skydiving. If you want to learn more about these opportunities, check out our article on sports you can play on a cruise ship.