I had never been on a cruise and to be honest, I was under the impression that they often included a lot of food, alcohol and minimal activity. Sounds like a lovely vacation for most people, but not Sarah Fit, right? Turns out, I was wrong.
I was invited by Carnival to go on a cruise and share my experience. I chose to go on Carnival Conquest, primarily for the timing and scheduled ports that included Grand Turk, Amber Cove and Half Moon Cay. They looked gorgeous and were calling my name. I chose to go with my girl friend Anne Marie for what felt like Mom’s Spring Break.
Today I want to share with you some healthy highlights showing off how my cruise vacation turned out to be a pretty healthy, but still really fun experience:
Once onboard Conquest, the first thing we did was grab lunch. We were starving after traveling all day. After scoping out the options, we opted for BlueIguana Cantina. I ordered a taco bowl but asked for extra lettuce and made it more of a salad with shrimp, roasted peppers, onions and guacamole. There was a “taco toppings” bar with a variety of fresh salsas including corn and black bean, watermelon jicama and pico de gallo that I liberally added. I love using salsa and guac as dressing. The whole grain tortilla bowl tasted fresh and flakey but I only ate about a quarter of it since I saw many more in my future over the next six days.
I treated myself to a margarita for dessert. Yes, I ate healthy on this cruise, but it was mom’s first vacation away from Tommy!
We took a tour of the spa next and booked ourselves massages for later that afternoon. We decided that should we get a sunburn on our first day at sea, a massage would feel better before! My 90-minute Bamboo deep tissue massage was one of the best I’ve had. My therapist listened to my concerns and appropriately focused on those areas.
Combined with my margarita, it really helped me start my vacation on a relaxed note.
For dinner, I ordered a caesar salad, grilled salmon with a side of broccoli and baked potato. We also of course ordered dessert. This was when we discovered Carnival’s incredible Warm Chocolate Melting Cake. We ordered Nutella Tiramisu that night too, and it was one of my favorite things on the trip. Unfortunately, we never saw it on the menu again, but we were able to try plenty of other delicious desserts. The dining room menu changes nightly, however, some items always stay – like the chocolate cake.
We each had a glass of wine at dinner and were so tired we had to go back to our cabin to pass out.
I think this first day summed up what the rest of the cruise would entail, a combination of healthy options with dessert and drinks!
On the first morning, I checked out the breakfast scene. Again, I opted for the BlueIguana Cantina. It had zero line and I couldn’t say no to eggs with guacamole.
For the remainder of the trip, my breakfasts varied between scrambled Mexican eggs with guacamole and pico de gallo as well as fresh fruit and oatmeal with banana, walnuts, almonds, raisins and a side half grapefruit.
I prefer to save my calories for dessert and drinks on vacation so I skipped the pancakes and french toast. I did get an omelet the day we disembarked.
For our first day at sea, I got up and went to the gym. There was a spin class I thought about signing up for, but chose to try out the treadmill. It was busy but there were plenty of machines available.
I prefer to workout in the morning and so that is what I did each day on the ship with the exception of the first and last.
Day 1: I ran on the treadmill. Running on a treadmill at sea is a little different.
Day 2: I did a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout using the weight room focusing on legs.
Day 3: I ran on the outdoor track which goes around the back half of the ship. It reminded me of an indoor track I used to run on in high school. I did a 2 minute sprint followed by a 1 minute jog 10 times.
Day 4: I did another HIIT workout in the gym and filmed a bit of it for a vlog.
Day 5: I ran around the track outdoors again because I loved it so much! This time I did a 30 second sprint, 30 second walk 15 times complete with a 5 minute warm up and cool down.
All of my workouts were 30 minutes or less and usually took place between 8 and 9 am. On vacation, I want to sweat because it makes me feel better. It energizes me. At home with Tommy, I don’t get to workout first thing the morning so I took advantage of being able to do so. The freedom I felt to be able to do this alone was enough of a vacation. I also knew I would not want to workout after lying out in the sun all day.
The lunches on the ship were awesome. There was so much to choose from. There were huge salad bars, a deli, a sushi place, my beloved BlueIguana, pizza and a New England style seafood shack. I tried to mix things up. I’d usually do a side salad and then order a couple of tacos, do a side of baked fish or have a bunless burger with all the fixin’s. After holding out for 5 days, Anne Marie and I finally caved and went to Guy’s Burger Joint. They were worth it.
We did lunch off the ship at Grand Turk, then we came back onboard at Amber Cove and at our last port, Half Moon Cay, most of the restaurant staff came on to the island and cooked us up a delicious beach BBQ. This was my favorite lunch!
I had grilled Caribbean jerk chicken with grilled veggies and couscous.
At each port, there were ample opportunities to hike, bike, snorkel or something else active. Had I been with Nick, I think we would have done something a little adventurous but Anne Marie and I just wanted to chill. It’s been a long winter in Boston and we just wanted to relax by the beach or pool.
Grand Turk was our first port and it had a lot of excursion opportunities. Anne Marie wanted to go on the Catamaran Snorkel Trip and I wanted to try the Stand Up Paddle Board Snorkel option. We compromised and rented floats.
At Half Moon Cay, I signed up and rented a stand up paddle board for the hour. It was the most beautiful beach I’ve ever been to hands down and it was so nice to just explore the water while being active.
For an unforgettable excursion in Amber Cove, I recommend the Waterfalls of Damajagua. It’s a combination of hiking, sliding down waterfalls and canyoning. I was able to experience the beauty of the Dominican Republic on a previous trip to Puerto Plata, so it was wonderful to be back and experience more.
Instead of sugary drinks during the day or evening, we opted for beer during the day and wine at night. I did indulge in 3 total frozen margaritas over the course of the week and I did drink each night but mainly stuck to beer and wine. Around the 3 or 4 o’clock, I’d have a beer and then go take a nap before dinner. I felt like Tommy, just swap the beer for milk. I started to grab a piece of fruit at breakfast for this hungry hour later on.
We ate at the restaurants each night of our cruise, two of them in the premium Carnival Steakhouse because it was so good.
For meals in the main dining room, I bounced around between vegetarian and fish entrees. There always seemed to be at least one or two healthy sounding options. We routinely had a glass of wine and dessert too. The chocolate melting cake was too good to pass up. Finally towards the end, I also ordered the tropical fruit plate to go with it.
The steakhouse was phenomenal. Whenever I used to do strict diets to lose weight for shoots, a good steakhouse was the safest bet when going out to eat. I ordered the same thing both times shamelessly. Starting with caesar salad, a crab cake, shrimp cocktail, mini filet mignon and half a lobster tail plus side of roasted mushrooms and a baked potato. We also ordered cheesecake for dessert. All this was just $35/per person which is why we did it twice. I did not eat everything but I tried really hard!
Shrimp cocktail is essentially steamed fish. You can’t get much healthier than that. Grilled steak and lobster are again, pure protein. The least nutritious thing I got was probably the little bit of caesar dressing and obviously the cheesecake. The crab cake was loaded with lump crab meat and little bread crumbs.
These were definitely our “splurge” nights but I didn’t feel guilty one bit.
This was a really long post but I wanted to include all of it because I feel like everyone thinks cruises have this tendency to be a ton of unhealthy food and I didn’t get that feeling at all. I tried to fill up on lean protein like eggs or veggies like the salad bar before splurging on dessert. Since its all included you don’t feel bad having only a bite or two of the dessert.
Check out my Instagram for more pictures and stay tuned for more posts recapping my trip to paradise!
This post is sponsored by my friends Carnival. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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