Healthy Eating On A Cruise: Is It Possible?

Setting sail on a cruise often brings to mind visions of expansive buffets, lavish dining experiences, and culinary adventures on the open waters. Cruise lines are constantly trying to get a leg up on their competitors through offerings of celebrity chef-designed menus by the likes of Chef Daniel Boulud and extravagant dining options with unique wine pairings. But as more travelers prioritize their health and wellness, the question looms large: Can one maintain a nutritious and balanced diet while cruising?

Beyond the allure of indulgent spread, cruise ships are adapting to cater more to health-conscious passengers. Today, we’ll dive into the various ways cruise lines are making it possible for guests to stick to a healthier lifestyle without compromising on decadent service.

A hunger for transformation

In the past, cruises had a reputation for excess, drawing guests in with the promise of unlimited dining packages and free-flowing drinks. Unfortunately, some cruise lines prioritize quantity over quality, which can lead passengers to overindulge. As a result, an increasing number of mainstream cruises are offering more nutritious options on their menus.

One of the pioneers of on-board healthy eating programs is Celebrity Cruises, which unveiled the Spa Café and Juice Bar. Unlike the typical buffet spread, here, guests can grab something fresh and nutritious, such as wholesome salads, smoothies, and fresh-pressed juices – the perfect pick-me-up for a post-spa snack.

Similarly, other cruise lines have revamped their buffet tables to include healthier selections. On the Norwegian Encore, for instance, passengers with food restrictions or specific dietary needs won’t have trouble filling their plates with nourishing foods. In fact, sticking to healthier items like high-fiber cereals is one of the ways passengers can make smarter food choices, as we’ve covered in our previous article, 10 Healthy Cereal Brands for A Nutritious Morning Start.

Serving up fresh culinary experiences

Wanting to eat healthy doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your food, however. Passengers on Explora Luxury Cruises can expect hearty dishes made with the freshest ingredients inspired by local destinations at dining options like the Emporium Marketplace. This restaurant offers cruise staples, including sushi, fresh seafood, and grilled meats, but their rotating menu also features homemade sandwiches, açaí bowls, and their signature plant-based chia yogurt made with cashew milk for passengers who want varied, nutritious options.

Fortunately for passengers’ waistlines and heart health, the plant-based food craze has also been adopted by Princess Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line, which both rolled out new plant-based menus in late 2023. According to some reports, Carnival’s vegan menu boasts substitutes for popular proteins such as salmon alternatives and vegan bacon, while Princess Cruises brings more focus to vegetable-centric dishes like stir-fried portobellos with soy-maple sauce.

No longer confined to the clichés of indulgence, modern cruise liners are charting new courses to accommodate health-conscious passengers. Nutrient-rich menus catering to all manner of dietary requirements ranging from vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and more, have now become commonplace. So, the next time you consider a cruise, you don’t have to worry about gaining pounds and can instead look forward to a culinary adventure that aligns with your commitment to healthier eating.

For more articles on how you can build better habits for a healthier lifestyle, visit the Wugazi website!

Adrian M. Ferguson
Adrian worked as a journalist for 7 years at a local newspaper. Switching to online media, now he covers the latest science news for Wugazi.