Not to set your new year off on a negative note, but according to a study by some British wise guy at the University of Bristol (no, really, the researcher’s name is Wiseman), 78 percent of those who set New Year’s resolutions fail. Want to increase your odds of keeping your resolution? Your next cruise could be the ticket. From preserving your weight loss plans to curbing your pack-a-day smoking habit, cruises offer all sorts of programs to get you on the right track. But be forewarned: Temptations lurk in every port and on every buffet table. So, naturally, we have to let you know how to break your resolution as well.
Resolution: Quit smoking.
Keep it: Book your trip with a cruise line with super-restrictive smoking policies (Oceania and P&O Cruises are two that wholly ban smoking in all indoor spaces), then schedule a few onboard acupuncture sessions. Royal Caribbean — which also has put the kibosh on smoking in cabins — charges $119 for one “stop smoking acupuncture” session in its spas. Follow it up with a teeth-whitening session to keep you motivated. Celebrity (which also bans smoking in staterooms) offers a 30-minute GoSmile teeth whitening treatment starting at $149.
Break it: Tour the Tabacalera de Garcia cigar factory in La Romana, Dominican Republic, for $10 to $15 (depending on how much of the operations you wish to see). It’s one of the largest in the world. Buy your duty-free max of 100 stogies and park yourself in your ship’s cigar lounge.
Read this: Get the 411 on cruise line smoking policies.
Resolution: Save money.
Keep it: Let’s say you have a head start on this one – you booked an inside cabin in the bowels of a desperate-for-renovation ship during the most off-season dates imaginable. To save further moolah, only drink free iced tea or water and eat in fee-free dining facilities. Stay on the ship during ports of call. And don’t buy a single thing. (But do pay your gratuities to the hardworking crew — be a wise spender, not a major cheapo.)
Break it: Book a deluxe verandah suite on Holland America’s 112-day Grand World Voyage. Starting price? Oh, just $71,299 per person.
Read it: Learn how to fight the 10 Hidden Costs of Cruising.
Resolution: Manage stress.
Keep it: You could spend hundreds of dollars on spa treatments, of course – but shelling out that much money can be, well, stressful. Aside from its affordability, one of the more admirable ways to unwind on a ship is at the Disney Dream’s Rainforest Spa Experience. Nab just one of 35 spots for $19, and you’ll enjoy three different types of saunas, four styles of shower (they all provide different temperatures, water sensations, aromas and sounds), whirlpool tubs in view of the ocean and warmed tile lounge chairs. Heaven!
Break it: Send adrenalin coursing through your veins by attempting Carnival Magic’s ropes course, the first on a cruise ship. Sure, kids can zip through it in 60 seconds, but it’s tougher than it looks.
Read it: Plan your next trip with our 9 Tips for Stress-Free Travel in mind.
Resolution: Drink less alcohol.
Keep it: Join a “sober cruise.” Sober Celebrations‘ theme cruises include 12-step meetings and supportive social events. Upcoming cruises: a three-night Bahamas cruise during Super Bowl weekend aboard Norwegian Sky and a European jaunt on Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas in May.
Break it: Travel on a luxe line like Seabourn, which includes all the booze you care to toss back. Even guest cabins have gratis mini-bars.
Read it: Pore over our Ultimate Guide to Alcohol on Cruise Ships.
Resolution: Lose weight.
Keep it: As long as you can resist the edible temptations that call out to you daily from the dessert menus and buffet lines, you can use your time on a cruise ship to jumpstart your weight loss plans and establish good habits to take home with you. Select meals from the specially designated healthy eating menus. Schedule daily sessions with a personal trainer. Join a fitness class. Shun the elevators in favor of stairs. Schedule active shore excursions.
Break it: Gorge yourself to caloric heaven at the late-night Chocolate Dessert Extravaganzas on Norwegian Cruise Line voyages.
Read it: See how to Stay Healthy on a Cruise.
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