If your idea of a great vacation involves daily runs in the open air, a leisurely workout in a hi-tech gym, or a smorgasbord of fitness classes like yoga and Pilates, you should know that a cruise may just be the perfect getaway for you.
These days, cruise ships are about more than just eating and lying in the sun, and they're attracting fitness buffs, yogis and health-conscious travelers in droves with active options both onboard and off. Here at Cruise Critic we've picked our favorite cruise lines for keeping fit while at sea.
Best Onboard Gym
The Line: Royal Caribbean's Freedom and Oasis Class
Why: Because size does matter. Royal Caribbean's three Freedom-class ships -- Freedom, Liberty and Independence of the Seas -- each have 9,700-square-foot fitness centers. In addition to state-of-the-art cardio, weight-training and circuit-training machines, the ShipShape Center features spinning cycles; a Pilates studio with six reformer machines; and a full-size boxing ring, complete with speed bags, jump ropes, heavy bags and padded punching mitts.
All cardio machines have personal LED screens for entertainment options while working out. Group classes on offer include step aerobics, yoga, Pilates, stretching, Tai Chi, boot camp and indoor cycling. Additional cutting-edge workout equipment onboard includes the Cable Motion series of strength training machines and Power-Plate, a device utilizing advanced reflex technology.
The Oasis of the Seas -- the largest cruise ship ever -- is in its own league. In addition to the usual fitness equipment, it has 12 Gravity machines (providing body conditioning through Pilates and resistance training), a Kinesis Wall (circuit exercises utilizes a system of pulleys), Expresso Bikes (with 30 interactive, virtual rides) and Activio Cycling (providing heart rate feedback). Classes unique to Oasis include Kinesis group training, a combo cycling-and-jogging class called The Brick and a jogging club.
Best Luxury Workout
The Line: Seabourn Odyssey
Why: Seabourn Odyssey is the first new luxury ship design since staying fit became a mantra for successful living. Its designers have incorporated a more contemporary sensibility into the creation of its two-deck high spa and fitness center. Its most distinctive feature is the Kinesis wall, which is able to accommodate four passengers simultaneously. Kinesis technology uses a series of pulleys and cables to increase flexibility, provide rehabilitation, if necessary, and create better muscle definition, all the while being gentler on the body than traditional machines. Private Kinesis is available in higher-level suites.
Other features of Odyssey's fitness facility include a range of classes (from stretching to Yoga, all complimentary) and state-of-the-art cardio, strength and weight training equipment. And if you need to rejuvenate tired limbs after a tough workout, make a beeline for the gorgeous hydro pool/thermal suite area with heated loungers, aromatherapy sauna, rain mist showers and waterbed.
The Line: P&O Cruises' Ventura