Monday, November 30, 2009

9 Things I Observed While on a Cruise

Returning from seven days on a cruise ship is tough. For 7 days, 3200 vacationers, newlyweds, and retirees are pampered and treated to the most exquisite gluttony desires while sailing the ocean blue to exciting exotic islands. Let me be honest with you and tell you that I took full advantage of what the cruise had to offer...plenty of food, booze, and sun. It was my honeymoon for crying out loud and you only have one in life...hopefully, right?

As a fitness professional, you never turn off your "senses". Even on a floating wonderland made of tons and tons of steel, to sands of paradise, I learned alot about myself and the people around me. Albeit, many travelers were from countries abroad so the experience surely taught me a thing or two about cultures overseas.

9 Things I Observed While on a Cruise

1.) Fitness Centers - Who really works out while they are on a "city on the sea"? Surprisingly, many do. Although, poor exercise form is contagious and many exercisers were using poor form on 80% of the exercises they performed. Most of the ship's facility was made up of machines and cardio pieces and albeit, I tried to run on a treadmill to burn off the bold amount of calories I consumed; but it was rather difficult with the slight rocking of the boat. In my opinion, given the fact that most vacationers list "exercise" last on their to-do lists, I appreciate the number of people using the facility and making an effort to "neutralize" their weight-gain through some activity (besides the act of shoveling food into your mouth at all-day buffets).

2.) Cruise Ship Trainers - Hmmm...I got a chance to speak to one from Italy. And although he had the lean, chiseled body to go with his model good looks, I don't think he really knew much about exercise programming and anatomy. However, I will categorize this as a "victim of circumstance". I don't think many of the trainers that work on cruise ships actually acquire clients that are serious about training. It's simply a case of "hand holding" for motivational purposes. On a cruise, the intent to exercise may be there, but the motivation to really put in some serious effort may be absent--therefore, a machine caddy is in need. I'll give these trainers props for working long hours and dealing with obnoxious travelers that would rather take advantage of the spa massage rather than a set of chins.

3.) Buffets - Gee...where do I start here? The amount of food consumed on a cruise may equal a decade's worth of Thanksgiving dinners. Its funny how much food people eat when they don't have to pay for it or cook it. Another thing to consider about buffets...give people choices of different foods and they will load their plates and say they are "trying" a new edible treat.
4.) Sitting in the Sun - I don't know why, but it makes you tired and sleepy. Add a stomach full of buffet food and it makes you downright sleepy.

5.) Stairs Vs. Elevators - No surprise that even on a large ship with 15 decks, the stairs are not popular. Regardless of the wait time for elevators (sometimes close to 10 minutes!), people will not take a flight of stairs to move up a measly 3 decks to where else? The buffet.

6.) Cruise Ships - Real simple. They are huge. Staff is great...over-worked, but extremely friendly and helpful--considering most are not American, communication is adequate. Its sounds "cool" to say you work on a cruise ship, but after my talk with the trainer I don't believe that so much anymore.
7.) Sea-sickness - Yes, a gigantic cruise liner does rock slightly--especially when you are cutting through the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. But with some over-the-counter Bonine, I was able to enjoy myself without feeling drowsy all day.
8.) Better Bodies Get More Stares - Yes, its true. If you are in excellent shape and look like it, chances are you are stared at and looked upon like you are from another planet. When you are in a sea of gluttony and softies, athletic types are a rare breed.

9.) Active Excursions Vs. Tours - Tours can be boring especially when you ride a bus around an island. When signing up for an excursion, my wife and I could not believe how many of the "non-active" excursions were sold out. Many of the physically demanding activities were still available. Is this a tale of the tape? My guess? Absolutely. No one wants to bust their tail while on vacation. So that left the kayaking, hiking, and dune-bugging to me and my wife.


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