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Cruise Year’s Resolutions

Cruise Year’s Resolutions: Tips on how to keep your travel promises this year

By Felicity Long

Ah, the New Year’s resolution. Every year we read articles warning us to avoid making promises to ourselves that we can’t keep, and every year we do it anyway. But instead of turning this annual ritual into a chore — one at which we suspect we’re doomed to fail — why not couple our good intentions with a little fun?

What better way to inject improvement into your life than by ditching a few bad habits — and picking up a few better ones — on your next cruise? After all, you’re already in a new environment, you’ll be surrounded by a lot of people you don’t know, and there are facilities available just waiting to help you become a new and better you.

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We suspect you have your own list of resolutions, some of which have probably been dogging you for years, but here are a few suggestions for your next cruise — and a few tips on how to actually keep them.

I resolve to lose weight

OK, let’s get this one over with right away, since it’s among the most common resolutions most of us make every year. You may be thinking this is a counter-intuitive goal at sea, since around-the-clock dining is a key feature of many of today’s cruise lines. But if you think about it, the preponderance of dining options, from the standard buffet and dining room to the increasing number of specialty restaurants, offers numerous ways to tailor your eating to a plan that works for you. Love South Beach and Paleo diets? Go for the seafood, grilled steaks, and veggie options. Many menus offer sugar-free desserts so that you don’t have to feel deprived and miss all the fun. A fan of low-fat cuisine? You can easily skip the fries and cream sauces, be discriminating at the buffet, and keep an eye out for the low-fat logo on many dining room menu options.

I resolve to be more active

Whether this resolution is tied into your weight-loss goals or you just want to avoid degenerating into a sloth during your cruise, there are enough activity options to keep even the most high-adrenaline cruisers satisfied. Visiting the gym daily — or at least on at-sea days — is the most obvious option, and many of today’s mainstream cruises offer tricked-out gyms that rival anything you’ll find on land. Treadmills and stair-climbers often face out to sea or offer TV monitors so that you can catch up on your favorite binge shows while virtuously working out. But even cruisers who are uncomfortable in gyms can keep active by walking the deck, either alone or with early-morning groups; taking the stairs instead of the elevators; swimming in whichever pool has the fewest children in it; bowling; ice skating; practicing yoga; shooting hoops; or swinging a club on the sports deck. Or try something new such as braving a surf simulator or tackling a zipline.

I resolve to go outside my comfort zone on shore

When examining the list of shore excursions, do you tend to fall into the same old patterns? Do you always pick the safe sightseeing bus tour or the shopping outing? Or do you skip excursions altogether and opt to just explore the nearby shops and restaurants? While there’s nothing wrong with any of these pursuits, why not try something different? Snorkeling tours are plentiful in warm-weather destinations, and there are usually other people on board who have never snorkeled before. Instruction and equipment are always available, as are experienced staff who will ease you into the water and keep an eye on you while you get your first glimpse at the wonders of undersea life. Or, if you’re cruising in Europe, for example, try a Segway tour or an e-bike excursion rather….

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Photo: Royal Caribbean International

Now in its 25th year, Porthole Cruise and Travel Magazine is published bi-monthly and available worldwide through digital subscription. It offers the latest news in cruise and travel, with in-depth features on voyages, new ships, the best destinations, readers' picks, onboard cuisine, entertainment, and more!