Cruises are healthy now

Do laps in the ocean, dine on organic meals, and more.

Most people think of cruises as indulgent vacations, complete with all-you-can-eat buffets and poolside lounging. But today’s luxury lines are working to dispel that reputation, thanks to healthy cuisine, unique fitness and mindfulness offerings (think: onboard cycling studios and guided meditations), and multi-thousand-square-foot spas for regeneration.

“They’re no longer advertised as chill-on-the-deck-and-read type of vacations,” says Leah Bergner, a Garden Grove, California-based travel advisor with Virtuoso, a global luxury travel agency network. She notes that perhaps that’s why there’s been an uptick of cruise bookings among younger travelers.

Here, four ways high-end cruise lines are catering to the fit set.

next-level fitness tech

With three locations nationwide, Canyon Ranch is a well-known wellness resort. It’s partnered with cruise lines to offer its organic meals, spa treatments, workshops, and fitness offerings on certain voyages. On Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, start your day with Pilates or cycling, or have your running gait analyzed at the fitness center. An aqua therapy center offers a Finnish sauna, reflexology basin, and sensory showers. Meanwhile, the Regent Seven Seas Explorer’s Canyon Ranch SpaClub features an infrared sauna, aromatic steam room, and thermal tubs. You can also take advantage of body composition and analysis tests, meditation workshops, and a gym complete with free weights and resistance and cardio machines.

healthy meals and cooking classes

River cruising is one of the best ways to explore destinations inaccessible by larger ships, while enjoying a boutique hotel-style experience. With only 130 guests per trip, Uniworld offer the highest staff-to-guest ratio in the industry. Next year, the luxury cruise line is offering a 12-day wellness-focused cruise down India’s Ganges River. While taking in the sights from New Delhi to Kolkata, you can attend healthy cooking classes, workouts, meditation sessions, and sunrise yoga as you pass by pink-hued mountains. At mealtime, choose from organic, vegetarian, and vegan dishes featuring local spices and vegetables.

onboard sports and (really) athletic excursions

Set to debut in May 2019, Blue World Voyages is a luxury cruise line designed specifically for wellness and fitness enthusiasts. The activity deck features batting cages, basketball courts, and a golf and soccer simulator. There’s also a cycling studio, TRX classes, and a retractable pool that allows you to swim laps in the ocean. Once docked, guided runs, bike rides, and hikes are offered, as well as excursions for surfing, scuba diving, paddle boarding, and more.

wellness seminars and mindfulness

Seabourn’s yacht-like Encore vessel offers a spa and wellness program created with Dr. Andrew Weil, an integrative medicine practitioner. Its focus is on healing the mind and body: There are meditation classes with positive affirmation mantras and yoga classes that focus on alignment. Expert-led seminars cover an array of wellness topics, such as managing stress and anti-inflammatory foods. The ship also has a fitness center with tai chi and Pilates classes.