My last cruise vacation was for my honeymoon and almost twenty years ago and long before I lost almost one-hundred pounds. The thought of midnight buffets, twenty-four-hour restaurants at my disposal, unlimited open bar and memories of chocolate sculptures and complimentary ice-cream offered daily poolside had me more than a little nervous when my family voted for a Bermuda cruise for this year’s vacation. I know that I tend to do much better with my nutrition and workout choices when it’s part of my everyday routine. It’s more challenging to be out of your own “eco-system” so to speak. I was, however, determined to find a way to go on this cruise and not return with an extra ten pounds and a sunburn!
It was easy enough to stay active on the ship. I maintained my rule of avoiding elevators and there was plenty of walking to get to the pool, the shows, the planned activities and to the many restaurants. I was doing great with my step count until I realized I lost my Fitbit somewhere in Bermuda. The ship also had an amazing fitness facility and I easily managed to get my daily workouts in. There were also many group class offerings, outdoor dance lessons and even seminars you could sign up for on weight loss, workout tips and a variety of other wellness topics.
My first breakfast, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of healthy options and I chose a delicious salmon frittata and some oatmeal with fresh fruit. I always try to lighten things up when I can, so they had a lovely tomato salad that I selected with my lunch order but skipped the usual mozzarella cheese. It wasn’t until I had dinner at the ship’s steakhouse that I met a charming waiter named Farook that would change the nature of my trip. I hesitated on ordering something and he said, “Why not? You’re on vacation!” Something about the charming way he said this really hit home to me and didn’t sound like the usual saboteur’s catchphrases that I’m usually wary of. I was in my goal weight range on a fabulous trip and while I didn’t need or want to throw caution to the wind and suddenly find myself captain of the SS Binge and figuratively go “overboard,” maybe it was time to take my own advice about of, “It’s not about never having a cupcake, it’s about not always having a cupcake!”
Now armed with Farook’s sage vacation advice, I decided to choose and enjoy the “worth it” offerings of the ship and the island. I had many fond memories of the rum swizzles in Bermuda from a college trip and I can tell you firsthand that they don’t taste anywhere close to as good anywhere else in the world. Don’t be fooled by recipes you see on line. Bermudians know full well that there’s an island conspiracy in keeping out some secret ingredient. They’ll bandy about ingredients of “dark rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, lime juice and maybe triple sec” but there is some vague reference to falernum in the recipe and much like Kentucky Fried Chicken, the only chain restaurant on the island, there’s some secret recipe that only they know. Like Farook said, I was on vacation, so I was determined to enjoy an authentic rum swizzle at the Swizzle Inn, who’s motto was “Swizzle Inn, swagger out.” Back on the ship, I noticed some guests felt the need to perhaps feel that they were getting their money’s worth and really overindulge with the unlimited food and beverage options. I decided to just be mindful of what was something I really wanted to enjoy and knew it would be a mistake to miss out on the coconut rum cake, rum raisin ice-cream and the cruise ship’s much touted chocolate molten lava cake. I didn’t take Farook’s catchy phrase as a free pass to say yes to everything that crossed my path. For the most part, I adhered to the general guidelines I use to stay in my weight range and avoided breads, pastas and heavier sauced or fried items. I also tried to avoid the frozen, higher calorie alcoholic beverages and seeing the scale standing there in the fitness center every day kept me mindful of my own bathroom scale waiting for my inevitable return home from the land of pink sand and turquoise water. I’m back on land now and jumped right back into my regular routine and I’m giving myself a day or two before stepping on the scale but I can say I didn’t return with ten extra pounds or a sunburn and plan to promptly burn off any extra baggage that may have followed me home but I immensely enjoyed the trip and why not, I was on vacation!