Thursday, November 3, 2011

Isn’t a “Healthy-Eating Cruise” an Oxymoron?


In what has to be one of the oddest partnerships I’ve heard of so far, Rodale, publisher of the best-selling book “Eat This, Not That!” has partnered with Celebrity Cruises to offer a new series of interactive onboard activities themed around healthy eating choices.  These include an interactive trivia game, cooking and mixology demonstrations, and enrichment talks by experts. (Irwin, 2011)
Supposedly consumers have been clamoring for fitness-theme cruises because they are very health-conscious.  Really?  I thought cruises were all about gluttony, with 24-hour all you can eat options abounding. 

Does this sound like an idea that can work, or is this just an attempt to shed unhealthy perceptions of cruising?  Would you go on a healthy-eating cruise?  Would anyone you know?

Irwin, T. (2011, October 25).  Celebrity Cruises, Rodale Join for Wellness.  Retrieved November 2, 2011, from


  1. Reading this article took me back to a paper I had to write in college. The topic was Mcdonald's (who had just introduced a parfait into the mainstream menu) was thinking of releasing a healthy choice menu item for $1.50

    I wrote a scathing column on how awful an idea this was and that if anything they should just add a beverage comprised entirely of grease. The item, can be to known as the "Snack Wrap" the first of many items that completely redefined Mcdonald's image as a whole. I eat my words, and many a snack wrap.

    Health is definitely in. Cruises have already offered yoga programs, swimming, and other things geared toward active lifestyles. It doesn't surprise me at all that they would offer a healthy-choice menu/activity list as well.

    I think the idea is great so long as they keep it open to people who aren't interested in that specific choice as well. I wouldn't go out of my way to take a healthy cruise, but I wouldn't be throwing myself overboard either.

  2. I've never been on a cruise, but have heard a lot about the all you can eat option they provide. One of my teammates from College actually told me she had to running on the track on the ship because all the food she ate made her feel unhealthy.

    Cruises being health focused would be a great idea, because today a lot of people are health conscience. It could also work against them, because maybe most cruise customers look forward to eating as much as they want of mostly unhealthy food because it's the only time they get to be a little unhealthy. However, if advertised clearly and creatively, it should draw a lot of positive attention, which would then increase it's returns.

    I may go on a healthy cruise, but it definitely wouldn't be my first cruise experience. I have a lot of health conscience friends and family members that would definitely jump at the idea of a healthy fun filled cruise.

  3. I have been in a lot of Celebrity cruises and the thing I love the most about them is their huge salad bar, Being healthy it’s not just trendy its extremely important obesity it’s a huge issue in America and in the world I think that it’s a great Idea specially in this type of cruises where families take their children! And they should start eating healthy. Any way I think it would be great to do this as a choice I don’t think the celebrity cruises will make the whole cruise healthy but they will focus more on this issue which will help them gain more costumers the ones that care about their health and the ones that want to eat as much as they can... I just want to add that every time I went to the gym in the cruise it was completely full sometimes you had to wait to get in.... So I support the idea a 100%

  4. I think this is a brilliant campaign strategy. People are always nervous about overeating during the holidays and a cruise that consciously tries to help people with that issue is bound to make a profit. I am very impressed by this idea and I think it will work very well for them in the long run. Personally I don’t know if I care enough to personally go out of my way to go on one of these cruises but I do know a lot of people who would want to go on one of these cruises. I have never been on a cruise so I cannot speak to how unhealthy the food is but I think that putting healthier foods in places previously known for gluttonous behavior is a huge improvement.

    I also think that the partner in this venture is a great idea. I own the book “Eat This, Not That!” and I love it. It really simplifies healthy eating by helping people avoid bad food but not asking them to give up what they love to eat. I think it is the perfect partner for a cruise because they will not really pressure people to lose weight and the cruise will not lose its peaceful vacation theme.

  5. Having never stepped foot on a cruise line, I possess absolutely no frame of reference on this matter. However, the fact that the article lays claim to having numerous inquiries regarding a health-conscious cruise experience leads me to believe that this a great idea. For if the research is correct, why not? If there is a market, someone needs to develop a product.

    I feel that Americans are displaying an ever-increasing interest in healthier lifestyles. We see this through the rise of coop farms, organic produce, services such as Fresh Direct, a boom in fitness centers, and of course “going green”.

    The notion of doing exercise in a group atmosphere seems to have always been a steady market. And people get together in droves to participate in all sorts of whack-a-doo things. So why not partake in a health-centric Caribbean cruise with absolute strangers? I’ve heard weirder.

  6. When I initially think about cruises I think about laying out by the pool and all you can eat buffets; not exercise and healthy eating. However, I am a huge fan of Rodale's book, "Eat This, Not That." I think this book and Celebrity Cruises could create an interesting partnership, if executed correctly. There must be a small market for health conscious individuals who would be interested in such a cruise. "Eat This, Not That," is essentially a picture book that tells you which foods to eat compared to other foods. Many of the findings are surprising. Nevertheless, the book allows for health conscious individuals to make healthier choices when eating out. "Eat This, Not That" isn't a diet book and therefore won't make people think that this is a cruise for people who want to lose weight. Considering this, if any book were to be used to partner for such a cruise "Eat This, Not That" would be a good choice. It is merely a book that offers healthier options to consumers without sacrificing the ability to eat out. The cruise is very much the same concept. Consumers are able to go on a relaxing cruise vacation without the guilt that comes from the mass consumption of unhealthy foods on a typical cruise.

  7. I think it is a great idea. Most people who travel on cruises are affluent. When people are financially abundant, they consider more about upper level needs or values like healthy life, quality of their time, and better future of themselves. In other words, people using cruises are more conscious about their health. Consequently even on the cruise, they would think about their health, and they want to keep their healthy eatings. Having said that the cruise business men define their consumers properly and get the right idea of their customers' needs.

    It would definitely shed the bad aspects of cruising, and even elevate the image of cruise. Adding my opinion, cruises are isolated from land, so it could be a place as a nursing home for people who need special cares for diet. It sounds costly treated program, but it could be another opportunity for the cruise business industry.

    I would like to take a healthy-eating cruise. I am the person who try to eat healthy and to be conscious what I eat daily. Therefore I would love to experience heathy eating on the board.

  8. I get motion sickness very easily so the only weight loss I can expect to experience on a cruise is from continuously vomiting into the ocean.
    That said, while I do agree that we're a nation that vacillates between over-consumption and subsequent attrition in the form of "health and fitness," and there is a lot of money to be made from capitalizing on people's fears and guilt (if that's your thing) - this is in general a bad idea. Like the post said, cruises are the quintessential symbol of relaxation and "letting go." People go on them to party or to unwind during a vacation from work. I really don't see there being a demand for diet and fitness on what is supposed to be one's break from life.

    -Anya Bochman

  9. Eugenia Diez TargiseNovember 8, 2011 at 1:15 PM

    I have been on cruises several times. To me a cruise is nothing about eating, I love the whole experience. I think it depends in what each person are expecting on their vacation but I would be really keen on traveling on a healthy focused cruise. In a healthy cruise one might still be having huge portions of food if that is the purpose of his/her vacation but much more healthier in quality. In that case you enjoy your vacation even more because you eat whatever quantity you want without feeling guilty when you get home.

  10. I feel cruises are a great way to relax and take time off from your busy schedule, and on top of that if you get to improve your health, what more could you want? The "healthy eating" trend is spreading like wildfire. People these days are trying to get in shape and really look after what they eat. So I guess there must be many who would be eager to try out this offer.

    Personally, I'm not very health conscious, and wouldn't go on a health cruise specially, however if I am going on cruise and it offers healthy eating, I wouldn't mind. Plus most of my friends aren't health conscious either, so I guess this product isn't for a target market that includes me.

  11. I really don;t think this is going to work... I mean I normally eat healthy food but whenever you pay for a non-limited food service for sure you're not going to be thinking about eating healthy but eating as many specialties as you can because of course that's one of the beauties of the trip!
    I think the whole idea of serving a healthy menu it's very appropriate but I don't think the healthy-cruise thing would work as a pitch, I mean, specially men they wouldn't want to buy a package and choose one over the other because of the healthy option.. I don't know I think it just doesn't work.

  12. Yes, I do think this could be a popular cruise option, particularly if husbands and wives could choose food options separately. This would allow those spouses who resist cruising because of its "glutonnous" reputation, to become cruisers with healthy..think Spa type cuisine while onboard. This option may tap into a cruise-resisitant segment of the target market of travelers.

    There are couples who might favor a healthy menu combined with the fitness and activity ptions available on a cruise.

  13. I think that this is a great idea. I have only been on a cruise once and that was about 10 years ago so I don't think that experience could be compared to any of the cruises today. I do though travel to all inclusive resorts where you are able to eat almost anything you want at any time you want it.

    I find that when on vacation people who normally do eat healthy, still would like to eat healthy but just don't have as many healthy choices as they would back home. I say this because I am one of these people. I think it would be great if there was some type of healthy activities aboard the cruise ship to remind people that you can still eat healthy on vacation or show people how they are able to eat healthy while on vacation.

    Another reason why I think that the partnership would be successful is because most cruises are to sunny beach locations and most people are in their bathing suits and want to look good. If people have their image on their mind while on the cruise they would tend to be attracted to these activities so they can look good in their bikinis and speedos.

  14. The whole idea of cruising is to relax and do what you enjoy. Signing up for a Health cruise is a terrific idea. If you are already a healthy eater this fits right in with what you do already. If you are someone who truly wants to learn and only be around healthy food with the benefit of feeling good and loosing a few pounds this cruise is for you. If you are overweight and want to give it a try but find it hard to be around only healthy foods then when you stop at one of the ports you can eat anything you want. Which of course defeats the purpose of being on this cruise but if you want to be with your friends and have a good time you might just adjust what your normal eating habits are and feel better by the end of your cruise. With one in four people having diabetes this cruise can save lives.
    I have been on several cruises and find although the eating any time you want is fun its more about meeting people, having a few drinks and being active. I would go on this kind of cruise just to see how its done.
    Susan D.

  15. I absolutely think this could work! Once on a three week European cruise, my mother, who had been trying to lose weight at the time, actually lost six pounds. You'd think three weeks of all you can eat would make you gain six pounds! According to her, it was not that she stopped eating, or spent the whole time at the fitness center, but rather, because there were so many food options, many of them being healthy, but still tasting good - she went with those choices (each night the dining rooms gave a healthy choice menu as well as a regular one) Also, without the chaos of being at home, she had the time to go for a morning walk, and the luxury of enough energy to do activities that did not revolve around sitting at her desk, checking emails and collapsing in front of the tv at the end of the day. The cruise offered lots of very active tours - bike riding, horse back riding, hiking, etc.
    Many people enjoy being healthy and living a healthy lifestyle, they just don't have the time to exercise or make good tasting healthy meals. Its not that we like eating unhealthy, we like food that tastes good, unfortunately its easier to get good tasting unhealthy food. Its not that we don't like exercising, its we don't like being bored and exhausted, cruises make activities that can be fun and pro- health!
    When you're on a cruise, you have time to do whatever you want, so if you want to be healthy, the option is (as it should be) readily and EASILY available!
    - Catherine D

  16. I have never been on a cruise and if all goes well I will never find myself on a cruise ever. I represent the population that doesn't understand the idea of a floating hotel and staying in a room smaller than my current bedroom and add a bathroom to the mix. I guess the only gimmick for a cruise that has even caught my attention was a Jam Cruise that hosts various "jam" bands and is sold as a party on the water.

    The idea of incorporating a "healthy" aspect to a cruise is intriguing, and even more so with the partnership of "Eat this, not that." I've read the book, and it's interesting. That's it. If you are truly taking a "healthy" cruise after being inspired by a book to eat the McDonald's Chicken sandwich instead of the Quarter Pounder with Cheese, there might be larger issues to address.

    Ben K.