The Casual Runner

Top 10 Casual Cruising Tips

For much of the country, winter is here, as are the cold and snow that come with it.  For many Casual Runners, this marks the time to start planning and looking forward to winter get-aways to warmer climates.

Especially with the introduction by runDisney of its new Castaway Cay Challenge, many Casual Runners are telling us that they will be going away on cruises this winter.  Given this, we wanted to give you our top 10 tips for keeping your Casual Running going while on these cruises.  This is not to say that you need to turn your vacation into a runcation per se, but, with a little luck, those endless buffets and multi-entrée dinners won’t impact your waistline…too badly.  We hope you enjoy your sailing. And when you return, be sure to let us know how your trip was and if you have any other tips to share with your fellow Casual Runners.


The sun may be setting on the horizon, but the fun is just beginning on board.

1.  You CAN run on cruise ships. This one sounds obvious. But once you see the seemingly endless supply of food on cruise ships, you will appreciate the reminder. You have two options. Every ship these days has some kind of gym, which means treadmills and elliptical machines.  If you are like Mike, and the thought of a treadmill is somewhere near waterboarding, explore your ship and find if it has a deck dedicated for use as a running and walking track.  Many ships have such decks which, not only are bigger than a standard track, but also allow you to get outside and enjoy the fresh sea air.

2.  Leave the GPS watch at home. If you can run on a ship’s deck, you cannot rely on your GPS watch. Why not? Well, not only are you moving, but the ship is moving as well. So, you can forget about any accurate readings.  Accept that you will be running for time and/or counting laps, you can keep track of your time and log it into your app when you get home.

3.  Cut the wireless cord. Just as you cannot count on your GPS watch, you cannot count on many of the apps on your smartphone.  Unless you are willing to pay very hefty charges for international roaming on your cell phone or on-board wireless internet, you will need to leave your phone on airplane mode during the sailing.  Also, make sure you load plenty of music and podcasts to work out to as streaming services like Spotify and Pandora will not be cheaply accessible.

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Private islands and ports of call can be great options for Casual Running on cruise vacations, but make sure to check with your cruise line for safe locales and running options first.

4.  Hydrate. It seems like this one can make every one of CR’s top 10 lists.  The reality is that on a cruise ship you will be eating a lot, spending a lot of time in the sun, and consuming more than your share of adult beverages.  Make sure you are alternating adult beverages with water and drink extra water before, during, and after your on-board workouts.

  1. 5,  Island hopping. Part of the fun of cruising is exploring the many ports of call that ships visit. Not all ports, however, are the same, and not all are safe for running. While Casual Runners love exploring new locales by going for a nice run, be sure to check with your cruise line and on-board port adventures desk as to safe locations for Casual Running before you disembark the ship

6.  Private islands.  Many cruises include port calls at islands owned and operated by the cruise lines themselves.  In addition to gorgeous beaches, these often include miles of walking and biking paths that can double as Casual Running trails.  Circle the morning of one of these port visits on your calendar and set some time aside for a well-deserved run.  You will have plenty of time to get cleaned up, changed, and to enjoy the rest of your day on the island.

7.  It is OK to go easy. As Casual Runners, we love to work running into our vacation plans, and we appreciate being able to maintain our fitness levels while travelling. But you need to remind yourself that it is OK to let your routine slide, a little bit.  You do not necessarily have to maintain your normal distances, paces, or even worry about speed work and tempo runs.  Instead, set a nice easy pace at manageable mileage that will allow you have fun running, and not compromise your ability to enjoy the rest of your vacation.


Running decks are a great option to enjoy the fresh air and escape the dreaded treadmill while on cruise ships.

8.  Explore cross-training. Cruise ships, by their nature, have somewhat limited space, and they adjust their offerings accordingly. This could be a great opportunity to explore supplementing your Casual Running routine with weight training, yoga, stationary bikes/spinning, weight training, or exercise classes offered on-board.  Check your cruise line’s entertainment schedule and you just might find a new addition to your Casual Running routine for when you return to shore.   

9.  Internal motivation. When you are at sea, you most likely won’t have access to social media or your Casual Running buddies to help motivate you to get up and run. So it is 100% up to you to motivate yourself to keep running while on a cruise.  This may be a greater challenge when you see others lounging around on the pool deck, cozying up to the bar, or heading back to the aforementioned buffets, but you can do it and you will be glad that you did.

10.  Have fun. Whatever you do, remember that you are on vacation. The key is to have fun and enjoy yourself.

Are you planning a warm weather trip this winter, do you have any questions for the Team, or do you have any tips to add to our list? The Casual Runner Team wants to hear from you. If you have any questions about anything we cover here on Casual Runner, if you have any questions regarding running gear or training for your own Casual Running needs, or if there is anything that you would like us to cover on Casual Runner, please leave a comment or email us using the links below.  To ensure that you do not miss all of the great content from Casual Runner, please be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and add us to your circle on Google+.  Normally we would part by saying “see you out on the running trails,” but this time, we will part with a fond Bon Voyage!



3 thoughts on “Top 10 Casual Cruising Tips

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