Cruise your way to physical fitness

Cruise ships are not traditionally
the place people go to lose weight.

With a plethora of restaurants,
buffets, special events and bars on-board, often open 24 hours a day,
temptation can lurk around every corner.

And although most ships now offer
gymnasiums, spas and personal trainers, the whole idea behind cruises is to
take time out of life to kick back, catch some rays and take it easy on-board.
Recuperation from the world’s stresses can do great things for your mental
health whilst allowing your body a few days’ rest, too. But these plush
floating hotels are also not the place for restricting yourself or holding back
on eats – quite the opposite. Guests are on vacation, and that means doing –
and eating – the things that please you; not always the best road to
Wellsville.

However, the Fun & Fitness
Travel Club is convinced that travel need not be a sedentary pastime and that
in fact cruises can do wonders for your fitness. From 3 to 10 January next year
the company is running a special cruise from Fort Lauderdale, on board Royal
Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas. The ship will also call at Ocho Rios,
Labadee and Cozumel with prices starting at $679.

A subsequent eight day, seven night
cruise from 27 March to 3 April on Voyager of the Seas originates in Galveston,
Texas and visits Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Aboard the ships

Aboard these ships, instructors
will talk guests through a myriad of activities, from tai chi and yoga to deck
walking and dance lessons. The Fun & Fitness Travel Club has over 3,500
members in the United States alone, who annually take cruises while following
daily water exercises led by a team of fitness coordinators, explained Cynthia
Neu, travel coordinator and cofounder of Fun & Fitness Travel Club.

“Americans do not like to lie
around and do nothing when they have vacation time. They like to do things, to
learn things, to try new things. Because working Americans are almost
exclusively confined to working at their desks using computers their idea of a
vacation is [one where they] get up and move.

“Our Fun & Fitness Travel Club
makes it easy for them to move because we move primarily in the water during
our daily, morning water aerobics exercises in Royal Caribbean’s ships’ heated
pools. We sell only Royal and Celebrity cruises because they meet all the
travel requirements of our guests who are water exercise enthusiasts,”
explained Ms Neu, who founded the club 12 years ago along with Jim Seeley.

Easy sell

The travel coordinator said that it
was easy to sell Grand Cayman to people because there was no trouble when they
visited and shopkeepers were helpful rather than aggressive. Ms Leu also
praised Boatswain’s Beach and the Turtle Farm as an attraction that hit the
spot for their guests.

“If you go to the Turtle Farm you
can actually learn something. It is very interesting that its turtles are
equipped with sonar to be tracked by satellites so scientists can learn their migration
practices. One of our most powerful ads shows turtles swimming their way back
to Cayman and says, ‘They return every winter to Cayman. So can you!’ We wish
our ships would stay longer in Cayman.”

Ms Leu said she felt that although
it is a great destination Cayman, in common with other Caribbean islands, may
be missing out on a key demographic.

“[The Cayman Islands] could sell
many more shore excursions if they catered more to persons between the ages of
40 and 70, rather than so many young family excursions. Our travel club, with
3,500 members, likes to go places to learn. It doesn’t have to be fancy – but
it does have to be interesting,” concluded the co-founder of the agency, which
was named Royal Caribbean’s business partner of the year in 2007.