There’s no worse feeling than coming home from a relaxing vacation only to step on the scale and be shocked that you gained an unexpected amount of weight, and let’s be honest, with most dining buffet-style and unlimited “refills,” it can be  quite easy to do. Unfortunately, as much as we’d like to believe otherwise, “cruise calories” do count! But don’t fret, we’re here to provide you with the best tips and tricks to make healthy choices on your vacation while still enjoying the delicious cuisine Royal Carribean has to offer.


  1. Burger and Fries: A sunny day poolside sounds like the perfect pairing for a nice burger and fries. However, this meal averages at about 1,080 calories for the burger alone (not to mention all the added condiments). Add another 500 calories for fries, and if you’re tempted by the Johnny Rocket’s milkshake, forget about maintaining the recommended daily calorie intake of 2000 calories per day. At this point you’ve already exceeded recommendations with just ONE meal!

    Try this instead: Swap out the burger patty for a chicken breast or impossible patty. You can also limit calorie intake by nixing the buns and excessive condiments. If you can’t fathom giving up your beef, hit the skating rink for about two hours to burn an average of 1,000 calories total. 


  1. Steak: The fine filets on cruise ships can sometimes be the talk of the ship. However, an 8 ounce filet will set you back about 600 calories, which is no big deal if you have two hours to carve out a brisk walk following dinner.

    Try this instead: Hit the elaborate salad bar and make the base of your meal green. Then, top it off with a smaller portion of steak on your salad. This way, you get your red meat fix without scarfing down an entire filet. Remember to make smart choices when it comes to dressing. Some dressings have as many calories, if not more, than a full steak. Stick with vinaigrettes and low fat options.

  2. Pizza: This Italian favorite can be one of the hardest to avoid on a cruise simply because it is available 24 hours a day. One slice of pizza, yes ONE, can easily cost about 300 calories, which is equivalent to one hour on the stationary bike.

    Try this instead: Explore whole wheat options or cut the carbs by requesting fresh mozzarella and tomato and drizzling it with olive oil for a margherita-style snack. You can also supplement additional servings by pairing one slice with a side salad.

  3. Sugary Cocktails: This may shock you, but it’s important to be aware. One piña colada can hold over 600 calories…that’s as much as two slices of pizza. Long Island Iced Teas can have nearly 800. A cosmo at 150 calories sounds like an optimistically healthier alternative, however, after three you’ll quickly catch up.

    Try this instead: Stick with wine or beer, both averaging about 125 calories per serving. If you must splurge on a sugary drink, do so as dessert, rather than both. Or, you can always burn off that 645 calorie piña colada with an hour on the stair stepper machine.

  4.  Buffet Buster: We’ve all heard the expression, “Don’t let your eyes be bigger than your stomach.” Surely we all remember rolling out eyes at our parents, quickly realizing the truth in that warning. Remember “all-you-can-eat” does not mean “all-you-SHOULD-eat.”

Try this instead: When you’re tackling the buffet on your cruise, resist the urge to pile your plate full. Instead, fill it half full with fruits and veggies and try to avoid “carb-loading” with bread and pasta. Be sure to keep up with your water intake and eat at a slow pace to ensure that you don’t overeat and leave yourself feeling too lethargic to enjoy a peaceful night swim. 


Hopefully this substitute suggestions will help you control your cravings. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself come the following Monday when you are still feeling your fresh and usual self! While eating healthier can improve your experience onboard, don’t be afraid to indulge in moderation for a “cheat meal” or two. You are on vacation after all!