Editor's note: No future Weight Watchers Cruises have been announced.
Cruising has long had a stigma attached to it -- everyone ends up overeating and gaining weight. (The "all you can eat" buffet doesn't help.) If you're a member of Weight Watchers, this might even deter you from wanting to go on a cruise. How the heck are you supposed to stay on your points, when you're surrounded by so many tempting calories?
While cruise lines have been freshening up their dining programs with healthier options in the main dining room and more specialty restaurants focusing on farm-to-table cuisine, only the official Weight Watchers Cruise through MSC Cruises makes it easy to indulge without the stress of trying to determine what you can and can't eat.
We can vouch for that. Onboard MSC Divina for the second annual Weight Watchers Cruise, we witnessed firsthand that it is possible to stick to your points without sacrificing the foods you love -- a nod to the 50-plus-year-old company's mantra: "Live life fully," inspiring its members to focus on a healthy, holistic, fun lifestyle rather than what's on the scale. Weight Watchers chefs develop special food and cocktail menus; you can even attend fun demos that teach you how to recreate popular dishes at home. Everything we ate was delicious and didn't at all taste like "diet food."
That's because Weight Watchers is not a diet plan, Weight Watchers' Vice President of Consumer Products and Ecommerce Ryan Nathan told Cruise Critic. It's a way of life that revolves around healthy behavioral practices.
When you're on a diet plan, he said, "All you're doing is, for a short period of time, inflicting pain on yourself to get to some end result. What Weight Watchers is intended to do is say, 'Here's a sustainable amount of points for the day, and then you get a weekly points allowance you can go splurge here and there.
"Weight Watchers isn't about deprivation. If you want to have the Key lime pie at dinner, for dessert, you can."
Splurging on the Weight Watchers Cruise is even easier now, too, with the SmartPoints system expanded to include more than 200 zero-point foods -- such as skinless chicken and turkey breast, eggs, corn and all seafood (hello, zero-point shrimp cocktail!) -- as part of Weight Watchers' Freestyle program.
If you're a Weight Watchers member or a nonmember (they're welcome, too!) who's worried about gaining weight on vacation, here are four ways the Weight Watchers Cruise -- now on MSC Seaside -- makes sure you stay on top of your points.