For some cruising is all about overindulgence and filling yourself with as much food and drink as possible, getting plenty of perceived monetary value from their trip.

Yet not so much value for their health.bon-voyage

For the more health conscious, modern-day cruising offers an abundance of health and fitness activities to keep you busy.

Activities range from early morning sunrise yoga and relaxed walking on deck,
to state-of-the-art gyms, climbing walls, zip lines and wave machines.

Taking a cruise is a fantastic opportunity for fitness enthusiasts to have an intensive training holiday or complete rest and relaxation with some of the worlds most luxurious Spa’s on board.

I worked on cruise ships for four years as a personal trainer and spa manager, so I’ve gained some excellent insight into what the fitness cruiser needs to pack.

Follow my tips to make sure you’re packed and ready for fitness action.
1. Training Clothing

You need plenty of light training clothes, multi-use that you could also wear on a port excursion or around the ship.

Take plenty of layers, obviously, the itinerary is a huge factor in your decision-making here, depending on the time of year of course.
I can tell you something for nothing you’re more likely to need a hat/gloves and an extra layer for a mountain trek or run in Alaska than you are for a stroll on the beaches of the Caribbean.

Pick up items in port rather than taking a full kit bag of training gear, it’s relatively inexpensive especially if you’re not fussy about brands.

Perhaps take a couple of T-shirts that you’ve trained in for a while and don’t mind leaving behind, you then have more space for new kit and purchases from the trip.

Don’t forget your swimwear bikinis and speedos.


2. Training shoes/pumps/trainers/sneakers/shoes

Shoes can take up a lot of room.
If you’re planning to do any long distance walking or cycling you will need a suitable pair of shoes, possibly specialist shoes depending on the terrain of the walk.
If you buy a new pair of shoes it is important that you break them in. Practice walking before you go on your journey
A comfortable pair of thick socks goes hand in hand with your walking footwear.
Consider one pair for exercise, on the plane and in ports.
One pair of flip-flops for the pool/beach, a casual pair for ports, plane and then a pair for formal wear.
The shoe choice is usually dependent on remaining space, don’t forget to fill your shoes with other items to save space.

3. Spare Clothes …a full set in your carry on.

I have seen many people whose cases have gone missing, not arriving sometimes 3-4 or even worse 11 days later.
This is advice for any cruiser, put a set of light clothes in your carry on/hand luggage rolled up, it won’t take up much space – this is also handy if you have a long journey and wish to change, or you want to change on the ship whilst waiting for baggage to arrive.
Top Tip!!!!!!!
In your main luggage also switch half and half in your cruise partners luggage if possible, that way if one person’s luggage is lost or delayed at least you have options.


4. Formal Night Fancy Wear

If you’re a real fitness addict and forever in your yoga pants or fitness gear it’s a perfect opportunity to dress up and add a bit of glamour to the trip.

So consider adding items of formal wear to soak up the full cruise experience and have some memorable pictures to look back on and savour the memories, not just gym selfies.

If you haven’t been before, formal night is a really nice part of the whole cruise experience.
Some love formal night whilst others choose not to attend.

There are plenty of options but if you’re unsure dress up rather than airing on the casual side.

Overall pack mostly casual wear, pick loose clothing because for the majority of the time you will either be by the pool, taking a relaxing walk around the ships facilities, working out or doing some fun stuff on shore!

5. A Lightweight Gym Bag

Take a small draw string lightweight backpack that folds up for carrying around the ship or for port excursions.
This will be ideal for extra layers of clothing, snacks, protein shakes, water etc
perfect for a hike, or shore excursions as it can double as a shopping bag.


6. Washing Power

This may sound a bit weird but it’s leading on from my first point about training clothing.
A handy tip for the number of sweaty clothes you could create with your super active cruise.
You can visit the onboard laundry, however, if the cruise itinerary is longer take travel size or small packets of washing power so you can rinse through the dirties.
Shower gel rinsing out a T-shirt or pants in the shower works well for a quick rinse through.
Feedback tells me this has helped many active cruisers, and probably prevented a smelly gym.

7. A Watch

One of the joys of cruising or any vacation is you can relax and not concern yourself with sticking to a set routine or be bound by time.
I’m all for this and love when I’m on vacation away from checking time, you can relax properly…but there are certain times on a cruise where you can miss out, when too relaxed with your timekeeping.
Listing just some:
Exercise class times
The ship departure
Sightseeing opportunities during the itinerary
The shows and entertainment
and of course food timings.
Another reason to take a watch, is to break away from the need for your phone.
(leave it in the safe)


8. Sun Protection

Obvious I know, but not just for the hot destinations.
The sun’s UV rays are strong in Alaska, don’t forget the sunscreen if you are going on a tour to one of the glaciers.
The suns reflective rays off of the ice can be very strong, I’ve seen nasty sunburn in Alaska.
Take your shades to protect the eyes, and look cool!
Cap, hat, sun visor, or if you’re going for the wrestler look, a bandanna is best.

9. A Mini Personal First Aid Kit

Not just a tip for the fitness enthusiast.
I say mini because I’ve seen people get a bit excited with the first aid supplies, it takes up a lot of space and there’s just no need for a huge supply.

Buying meds onboard can be expensive, so it’s always smart to bring a personal first-aid kit with a few essentials, just in case.

Antihistamine tablets, pain-killers, paracetamol, Imodium, duct tape, plasters, lip balm, tweezers, antibacterial hand sanitiser, baby wipes and insect repellent is a must.
Maybe even a mini sewing kit.
All is available in the shops on board if you do forget.

10. Sandwich bags/Zip lock bags/Money bags.

With the increase in activity and glamming up in the evening, you may need to remove jewellery or valuable items several times a day.

A tip from a cruiser I worked with, was to place valuables and jewellery inside these to stop them getting tangled up.


11. Bring a book

A good book is a great item to add to your packing list.
After a long day of walking and sightseeing, you may just want to curl up in your cabin with a book.
Maybe a few fitness or travel magazines, so you can get some workout inspiration or plan the next adventure.
You’ll have plenty of time to read while relaxing at sea and this could be something you don’t have the luxury of doing when back at home.

12. A Multi adaptor, power strip or extension cord.

Power strips, multi-plug outlets/adaptors or extension cords could be handy.

There are electric outlets in each cabin but sometimes only one.

Extremely useful for the number of things that need charging these days.

13. Music Device

I know your multi-function phone can offer this but for your gym and fitness time on board a small iPod or music device is great.
Yes, your phone can double up and do this, but I like to take both for a few reasons, many of us are chained to our phones in our daily lives it’s nice to leave it in your room sometimes.
A small music device can take more of a hammering and is less likely to break or get water damage than your expensive phone.
One of my favourite uses for this is to break away, put some chill out music on for a walk along the deck, with the fresh sea breeze blowing in my hair.
I also add-on some audiobooks and podcasts for chilling out and learning, great at times when there is a layover between travel or you just need a break in your head.
Ear phones also double as ear plugs when relaxing to block out unnecessary conversations you may hear from your fellow passengers.

14. Camera

Taking a quality camera is advisable for capturing the adventures of your trip.
Whether you’re hiking in Alaska, sipping cocktails in the Caribbean, exploring ancient ruins in Asia or whale watching in New Zealand you will want some snaps to look back on.
A good camera will make all the difference to how you capture those moments particularly beach shots or night shots.


Possible Extras

Hair bands, fanny pack, supplements, workout gloves, ear plugs, eye pillow, neck pillow.

The onboard shops have everything imaginable to purchase, but if you want to take it, take it, it’s your vacation.

So there we have it, short and sweet, the fitness enthusiasts cruise packing essentials.

There are many more very useful tips and ideas I could add, as the blog develops I will put together a more comprehensive cruise packing guide with extremely useful frequent cruiser secrets, so stay tuned.

Enjoy your cruise, I would love to know how you get on!

Bon Voyage

About the author
Lee Murrin
The Personal Trainer and Worldwide Traveller behind Fitness World Explorer.
He has worked in his passion as a Personal Trainer and coach for 16 years .His travels have taken him worldwide to 78 different countries on many adventures. He worked worldwide for 4 years as a Personal Trainer on Cruise Ships.
[email protected]