Whether you’re planning to take a cruise for a few days or a few weeks, keeping up with your fitness goals doesn’t have to involve stepping foot inside of a gym.

Sure, you’ll find that all cruise ships have incredible weight rooms and fitness equipment, but there are other ways to burn fat and build muscle while enjoying yourself on the ocean.

From roller skating to rock climbing, here are the unusual activities that can help you stay fit on a cruise.

stay fit on a cruise
I would stay fit on a cruise by reliving my childhood and playing an intense game of dodgeball.

Join the Circus

Have you ever wondered how a trapeze artist gracefully swings and grabs the trapeze bar at the very last second, narrowly escaping a plunge to the ground below? Learn what it takes to perform somersaults, backflips, and midair rope changes on your next cruise.

Some cruises have an onboard trapeze school, teaching you everything that you need to know to join the circus. Learning how to perform as a trapeze artist is a type of aerial fitness that targets all of the major muscle groups and improves your overall strength. After some practice, you can run away with the Ringling Brothers.

Sing “Let it Go” While Ice Skating

This is the one that blew my mind: A few cruise ships have full-sized ice-skating rinks onboard. Not sure how to ice skate? You’ll find staff that are willing to help you lace up the skates and get you on the ice. Your ego might need to take a back seat as you use the equivalent of training wheels for ice skates, but within a few sessions, you’ll be fine on your own.

Ice skating is a workout that challenges balance and leg strength. It’s more fun than your typical cardio workout, and you can brag that you went ice skating on the ocean.

Sky Dive (A Few Feet from the Ground)

I love the idea of sky diving, but a fear of heights is my kryptonite (ironic for a full-time traveler, I know). Skydiving is on my to-do list, but I’d prefer to take baby steps. If you’re like me, a skydiving simulator is the way to go. It allows you to experience what it feels like to freefall from the safety of several feet – not thousands of feet – off the ground.

Think this isn’t a workout? Think again. Practicing your skydiving techniques in a simulator is tougher than it looks. You’ll challenge your mobility and coordination as you follow the instructor’s commands.

Surf’s Up

Surf-generating pools provide a consistent and steady flow of waves where you can learn how to surf or practice what you already know. Best of all, you don’t have to compete for a swell. If your cruise is heading to a surfing hotspot such as Punta de Mita, you can practice onboard and prepare for the real thing.

Surfing is a terrific full-body workout that is helpful for building lean muscle especially in your legs and back. It’ll also improve your endurance and stability.

Headshots in Dodgeball

All cruise ships have courts and equipment for basic sports such as basketball and volleyball. But if you dig a little deeper, you’ll discover that some cruises offer regulation-sized dodgeball courts that Globo Gym would be proud of.

Dodgeball is a classic way to stay in shape. Gather your friends, family, and other passengers for a game of six-on-six dodgeball. Burn calories, improve your endurance, and support your cardiovascular health as you dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge. Just leave the wrenches at home.

Lace Up the Skates

When was the last time you put on a pair of wheeled skates and rolled around a glossy floor to the sounds of pop music? Some cruise ships have a full-sized roller rink complete with your favorite music and, if you’re like me, walls to grab for balance.

Whether you’re having fun with friends or enjoying the chance to get pictures of your family falling down, roller skating is an easy-going cardio workout.

Enjoy a Watersports Marina

Additional excursions such as kayaking in the tropics, paddle boarding through mangroves, and scuba diving a shipwreck can burn through your budget. What if your cruise ship had its own watersports marina onboard at no additional charge?

Picture this: Your cruise ship stops in tranquil water and a large door opens in the back. You and your family take your pick from a collection of kayaks, paddleboards, and paddleboats, then set off to explore.

Typical with smaller cruise ships because of their ability to better navigate ports and find calmer waters, a watersports marina is a great way to sightsee and stay in shape. Kayaking and paddle boarding are excellent upper body workouts that support muscle building, endurance, and core strength.

Go Rock Climbing and Zip Lining

Rock climbing is one of the best full-body workouts that you can do. Not only does it increase your metabolism and challenge all of the major muscle groups, but it also helps to improve your grip strength.

Many cruises offer a rock-climbing course, but only a few have a full-blown ropes course and rock-climbing wall with a zip line. This will be great practice if you are heading to a destination famous for its treetop adventures and zip-line courses such as Costa Rica.

How Will You Stay Fit on a Cruise?

Which of these unconventional activities would you want to try on a cruise? Are there other fun and unusual ways to stay fit on a cruise that I missed? Let me know in the comments below.

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