This past month, I went on a week long cruise to Alaska. If you ever get the opportunity to do this, I highly recommend it. Alaska is one of the untouched parts of this world that exemplifies the splendor that Mother Nature has to offer. Unfortunately, we really don’t know how long Alaska is going to stay Alaska, with climate change and what not, but if you ever do get the opportunity to go, I strongly suggest checking out the glaciers.
Me and my wife are avid cruisers. They’re the best bang for the dollar, in my opinion. Where else can you travel to different parts of the world without the aggravation of repeatedly going on an airline, having to get through security, having to plan meals and activities, with kid in tow in the matter of one to two weeks at a time? But there are definite pitfalls to cruising, particularly to the newbies and uninitiated, that you should be aware of. These are the top five tips to making your experience problem free.
#1: If this boat’s a rockin…don’t forget the scopolamine. I really don’t get seasick, but on our trip, the ship was traveling at a pretty quick pace over choppy water. This results in a pretty nauseating unsteadiness that can lead quickly to some vomiting. They offer meclizine at the infirmary onboard for free, but I would suggest you talk to your doctor about scopolamine if you know you don’t have sea legs. Scopolamine is a patch, so if you happen to be churning out the welcome buffet as soon as the ship leaves port, you can put it on instead of swallowing it.
#2: Dress appropriately. It’s cold in Alaska. Even though it’s August, it’s still damn cold. Pack accordingly. Hypothermia sucks, and going on ship excursions with a poorly planned outfit will make the experience miserable. If your trip demands hiking boots, don’t forget them! And don’t forget the sunscreen. The sun is just as strong in Alaska as it is in the Caribbean.
#3: When the buffet beckons, get picky. A baked Alaska is a Neapolitan Ice Cream dessert topped with caramelized meringue. It’s absolutely delicious, but it’s also an absolute gut bomb. Mindful eating on a cruise is extremely difficult. I don’t know what happens to people that get on a cruise. It’s as if they want to eat their money back at the buffet. Ultimately, it’s the cruiser that ends up paying the price. On average, cruisers gain one pound a day while on their cruise. For a seven day cruise, expect a seven pound weight gain.
Try offsetting the weight gain by making healthy choices. Make sure to incorporate a healthy serving of vegetables with your meals, as the fiber will likely fill the stomach, making you feel fuller. Avoid the beverage package, as the flavored sugar water is only going to add to the calories. And if you’re going to have a drink or two, stick to only two, not three or four. I see cruisers hanging out by the pool all the time, from sun up to sun down with alcoholic beverages. All of those empty calories add up!
#4: Stay active. I always take the stairs as opposed to the elevators to try and minimize the damage of the buffet. In addition, cruises usually offer exercise activities like morning yoga, tai chi or fab abs. Taking advantage of these options, as well as going on walking excursions at port, will help keep cruisers on track. Take advantage of the ship’s gym and workout. And don’t forget to take the pedometer and hold yourself accountable!
#5: Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize! Remember to wash your hands and use the hand sanitizer as often as you can. One of the unfortunate byproducts of twenty-four hour buffets are full toilets, number two more so than number one. Not all of your fellow passengers are as sanitary as you are, so remember, take every precaution to avoid a ship wide outbreak of norovirus!
Bonus tip: Remember to take lots of photos! Time on the ship has a tendency to fly. Before you know it, it’s Monday, and you’re back at your desk, doing paperwork. How else are you going to remember the trip! I wish you bon voyage on your cruise and be safe!