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Cruise Diet | How To Stay True To Eating Healthy While On A Cruise.

Updated on September 18, 2013
Images are property of Comfort Babatola. All rights reserved.
Images are property of Comfort Babatola. All rights reserved. | Source

The Memorable Voyage

I went on a recent seven day Carnival Cruise that took my family and I, and over a thousand other cruise passengers through a memorable voyage. Setting off from Galveston, Texas, our first stop-over after two days of 'fun at sea' was the beautiful coastal Island of Montego Bay, Jamaica where we had so much fun shopping for local wood arts and taking pictures with the native.

We then sailed for another day to the well acclaimed Cayman Island. The views of this island was spectacular and breathtaking. The sea sparkled in three color tones of blue; turquoise, aqua, and a darker ocean blue. Here we visited the Turtle Farm and got to pet the new hatchlings and took pictures with them. We then shopped, shopped and shopped.

Our Last stop before heading back to Galveston, Texas was Cozumel, Mexico. Here we visited the popular 'Discover Mexico's Museum' and learned about the people of Mexico and their different cultures. This was an eye-opening experience for me and my family, as it gave us a better understanding of the Mexican people and their struggles.


That thing is huge. Taken right before we boarded in Galveston, Texas.
That thing is huge. Taken right before we boarded in Galveston, Texas. | Source

The Food Shock

We had a great time on the cruise. There was abundance of fresh air, great scenery, lots of sleep and play time, but nothing prepared me for the abundance of food. I know we live in 'a land that flows with milk and honey', God Bless America. Also, here in the south, eating at buffet restaurants is what we do, so the idea of a lot of food is not foreign to me. But seeing all that food on a ship was unbelievable. It was far more food than I expected to see on the cruise.

There was food everywhere! Food was available at our request anytime of the day. Whether it's buffet style, grill side, pizza place or fine dining, the choices were tempting. For anyone on a diet, this was 'temptation island'.

Having that much access to food would make it hard for any weight watcher to stay true to their diets. Plus, the dinner plates at these eating venues are the extra-large oval shaped ones with space enough for the meal of three people. So what steps can one take to minimize or eliminate compromising one's diets?

If you've been on a cruise, did you find it hard to stick to your diet?

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Dieting? Stay Away From The Buffet!

Buffet style dining can present irresistible temptation to anyone, but especially to those on a diet. The abundance of food presented in a very alluring way may cause anyone to over-eat or eat something you normally would not if they were in the comfort of their home. Thus, the need to employ some help in fighting these temptations to binge or compromise one's diet.

To do this, there are no easy buttons. Your greatest weapon is your resolved determination not to wander into 'temptation island' as I call it. Is it possible? Yes! It may require you to employ the help of friends or family members traveling with you, or maybe even to to eat in isolation from your friends and family in other to reach your goal.

Cruise Buffet Dining Vs. The Other Healthy Dining Options

Feeding the passengers on a cruise is a big deal to every cruise liner. The goal is to keep everyone satisfied and longing for more, thus the abundance of food and various onboard and inland activities. So, in other to satisfy everyones preference and diet, there are always several dining options made available on a cruise. The followings are standard on most every cruise liner:

You get a sizeable portion at fine dining, and you can skip desert or have an healthy option. BTW, this was my favorite on the cruise, Fried rice and grilled tilapia. Hmm, so good!
You get a sizeable portion at fine dining, and you can skip desert or have an healthy option. BTW, this was my favorite on the cruise, Fried rice and grilled tilapia. Hmm, so good! | Source

Cruise Fine Dining Option

Here, you get a three-course meal. You are in control of what you eat, how much you eat, and you can skip on the desert. I found however, that there is always one healthy choice on the starter and desert section of the menu, whether it be a fruit bowl or some vegetable mix combination.

When you choose to eat in the cruise's fine dining section, you get the opportunity to make healthy choices that fits into your diet plan. Just be sure to find out ahead of time what the dressing code is, else you may not be allowed entry into the fine dining area.

Cruise Grill Side Eatery Option

This is usually a pool side, outside the buffet area grill. Here, you can pick what you want on your grilled menu, and you do have some control over what you eat and how much. There's an abundance of grilled veggies, red meat, and seafood. You can get a size-able option. And guess what, you don't have to eat everything on the plate.

And, most people don't really feel like going back for seconds as the waiting time for getting another grilled meal can be as long as half an hour, or more. Because it means you have to get back in line for this everybody's favorite dinning option.

Cruise Mongolian Wok Dining Option

This option is great if you like Mongolian cuisine. You get to design your own meal with your choice of white or yellow noodles combined with plenty of veggies and meat options. These are then stir-fried Mongolian style. Sauces are soy and veggie based, which are a healthy option, and you get regular, mild and hot.

Now, be aware that this is another favorite of most cruise passengers. So, you need to get there on time. The early bird gets the worm. It's not uncommon to stand in line for close to thirty minutes or more to get served, not counting cooking time.

Room Service Dining Option

Room service style dining is an option for anyone on a cruise. This makes it easier for the physically challenged, the elderly to have their meals delivered straight to their rooms. Also, I believe that ordering your meal through room service is the best option for anyone on a diet. I say that for the following reasons:

  • You avoid the crowded dining areas and eat in the comfort of your cabin.
  • You are spared the temptations presented by the buffet style dining, such as, going for a second serving, or being faced with the temptation to have an unhealthy desert.
  • The menu tags in each cabin doesn't have all the unhealthy meals, such as, bacon, cheese, and sugary desserts that are normally displayed at the buffet. Rather, there's a list of healthy fruits, yogurt and milk products. And they come in one serving, unless you request for more. This makes it a little easier to choose right and eat food that are healthy for you.

Now, all the cruise lines out there may not give you all of these options, but I believe most carnival cruise ships do. And even in most cases, you should be able to get the ship kitchen crews to work with you in achieving your dieting goals.


All you can eat while cruising.
All you can eat while cruising. | Source

Healthy Eating Anytime, Anywhere, Even At The Buffet!

If you must go to the buffet, that is, if you are the adult accompanying your little ones on a cruise, chances are you may be spending most of your time "camping out', literally, at the buffet. The carnival cruise buffet is such a magnet for little kids and teens. And since you have to keep an eye on your little ones, you get to eat and dine with them. The following will help you stay on diet on a cruise, or anywhere else:

  • Eat Small Portions - Eating sensibly means, eating small portions. There's no reason not to enjoy the ice-creams with your kids, just make sure you're sharing the same. You can even turn it into a game of "Kids take two bites, mummy or daddy take one", and watch how fast the ice-cream disappears. You get to have some fun with your kids, and also enjoy a smaller or size-able portion of everyone's favorite desert.
  • Use Smaller Plates - As I mentioned earlier the plates at the buffet eatery of the cruise are humongous. And believe me, for some people, that still wasn't big enough as they pile it up to the brim. But, there are smaller plates that are placed at the pastry and fruit sides of the buffet. Choose wisely. You can dish your meals in small portions unto these small plates. You also have the option of using the cereal bowls. Who cares if it's a bowl!
  • Avoid Eating With Others - Friends and family may be great companions at mealtime, but if their choice of meals and portions causes you to compromise your diet, then maybe you're better off eating without them. And as I mentioned above, eating in isolation away from your friends and family may be your best bet. Finding a time to eat what you want, when, and how you want it may serve you better.

Cruising And Dieting - The Bottom Line

You are on a cruise to get away from the hustles and bustles of your familiar surrounding. So you don't want to get all weighed down by the diet choices you make. Plan ahead, ask questions, and order in if you have to. I actually find it more relaxing to eat in the cabin.

So, remember that when you're cruising, there's much fun to be had. Eating sensibly is just one half of the cruise. Make the best of it.


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Author: Comfort Babatola - ©2012


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    • ComfortB profile image

      Comfort Babatola 4 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @Careermommy -Believe me, I did the same too being a petit woman, I indulge myself once in a while, but I know better not to go on a eating spree.

      Thanks for your comment. Very well appreciated.

    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      ComfortB, I just had to hear about your Cruise eating tips. In the past, I was always preparing myself weeks in advance to eat whatever I wanted on a cruise. Now that I'm older and a little wiser I wouldn't indulge as much as I did. I love your tips!

    • ComfortB profile image

      Comfort Babatola 4 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @pstraubie48 - Sorry to hear about your IBS during the cruise, but I'm glad you enjoyed the soup in dine dining. Cruise food is not as bad as some have portrayed it. It just all depends on the person and eating habits. I enjoyed it and looking forward to another one.

      Thanks for your sweet comments. :)

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      We went on a seven day cruise just after Thanksgiving last year on Carnival. You are so right...there was food 24/7 ; it was abundant and delicious. I lost weight on the cruise because I was having issues with IBS (iriitiable bowel syndrome). I guess for me it was a good thing because I probably would have munched out. At fine dining, I had soup and thankfully it was yummy. I really did not long for anything since the tummy was not in best of shape but all of the adventures, shopping, and the casino made up for it.

      You shared well great advice about how to avoid over eating pitfalls on a cruise though. And thanks for that.

      Angels are on the way to you this afternoon ps

    • ComfortB profile image

      Comfort Babatola 5 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @Vickiw - Tempting is really an understatement. I've never had a problem with eating or overeating, but I know those who do, and being on that cruise just made it a lot harder to follow their diet regimen.

      Thanks for the read and comment. Very well appreciated.

    • profile image

      Vickiw 5 years ago

      I've never been on a cruise, but the food temptation must be tremendous. Your Hub has lots of really good tips for people who would be tempted to over indulge!