Thinking Big

Monday Mantra

Diet on a cruise? Fat chance!… Diet on a cruise? Fat chance!… Diet on a cruise? Fat chance!

Thinking Big

On your next cruise, why not just embrace the calories?

I slipped into my white pants, fastened the button on the waistband and – boinnnnng! – off it flew, arcing across the cabin before coming to rest on an end table that held a half-consumed pina colada which I estimate contained about 800 calories. My husband chuckled until I glared at him and barked “If you ever tell anyone about this, I will kill you.”

No matter what your jolly cruise-ship server, desserts DO have calories. And so do appetizers, soups, pizza, main courses, breads, the cheese trolley, mixed nuts, taco bars, ice cream, cookies, little cocktail hour hors d’oeuvres, hamburgers, hot dogs, and even sushi. That little chocolate that appears on your pillow each night (which you immediately unwrap and devour even if you just finished brushing your teeth) adds another 80 calories or so to the daily tally.

And then there’s the wine, the beer and the booze. Don’t even go there.

I can’t imagine any body that doesn’t leap up and say “WTF?” when it finds itself on a cruise. In today’s chaotic world, who really eats three full meals a day, enjoys a few beers in the afternoon, sunset cocktails, wine with dinner (and maybe lunch) and a nightcap before turning in? Maybe Charlie Sheen does, but no one else I can think of.

Long ago, I learned that the only chance I had to embark upon a cruise and emerge from it wearing the same size is to begin each day with an intense workout at the gym. And I opt for active shore excursions that involve biking or hiking and let my husband take the elevator while I hoof it up the stairs to the decks above.

If I were smart, I’d rustle up my willpower and combine my fitness routine with a sensible onboard eating plan, one that emphasizes fruits, vegetables and lean meats. I’d forego dessert and, as an occasional treat, sip a white-wine spritzer.

But I’m not smart.

Instead, I intend to enjoy everything my cruise offers me—the savory, the sweet and the intoxicating. And if the button on my waistband pops off and flies across the room, I’ll simply pack it away and sew it back on when I get home.

— Judi Cuervo

Judi Cuervo is a New York City native who fell in love with cruising in 1976 during her first sailing aboard Carnival Cruises’ Mardi Gras. Twenty years later, she began her freelance cruise writing gig and, since that time, has covered mass market, ultra-premium, riverboat and expedition ships for regional, national and international publications as well as cruise websites.