An easy five pounds

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Theo Al­leyne Theo, a travel pro­fes­sional with more than 15 years of ex­pe­ri­ence, pi­o­neered No USA Visa Cruises™ and Lay­away Cruise™. Con­tact him via email: theo@cruise­andrail.net

Ire­cently found my­self chal­lenged by a dilemma that af­fects our clients: how to avoid gain­ing an easy five pounds dur­ing a cruise. It doesn't mat­ter which cruise line you hap­pen to travel on, the pos­si­bil­ity of adding a few dozen ounces is real. Now, we re­ally shouldn't blame the cruise lines be­cause, from the first to the last day on­board, they will en­cour­age you with var­i­ous pam­phlets and an­nounce­ments to visit the spa or gym for a free body anal­y­sis. I am not sure what their true goal be­hind this is, other than to de­flect re­spon­si­bil­ity for the rosy cheeks and ex­tra notch in your belt. Who re­ally wants to be told about weight when there is Span­ish, French, Ital­ian, Bri­tish or Cre­ole cui­sine for the tak­ing? How­ever, if you are re­ally in­ter­ested, you will learn how to turn up your weight loss and in­crease your meta­bolic rate, en­ergy level and mus­cle mass, while de­creas­ing body fat.

For those who choose to save US $65 and skip the classes above, here is the path to the easy five. Get up at 6:15 in the morn­ing un­der the guise of tak­ing pho­to­graphs of the ship pulling into the port. The best-un­ob­structed view of ap­proach­ing is­lands is usu­ally on the top deck bow or stern. Most el­e­va­tors go to the deck be­low the top deck, so you need to take the stairs one flight up, and you will in­vari­ably pass the per­ma­nent buf­fet lo­ca­tion. Break­fast gen­er­ally starts at 7 a.m. but you could help your­self to cof­fee, tea, juices and Dan­ish.

So, it's 7:15 a.m., the ship is docked and the break­fast buf­fet is open. Let your eyes and stom­ach be your guide as you se­lect from cold cuts (meat, usu­ally in the ham fam­ily), cheeses, sal­ads, yo­ghurts (not the sweet va­ri­ety), fruits, eggs (fried, scram­bled, poached, or an omelet), sausage, poul­try of some type, and breads too many to men­tion. Just think French bak­ery. Great, you are fu­eled up for the day.

Af­ter a 9 a.m. tour de­par­ture and shop­ping, you re­turn to the ship by 1 p.m. to find that lunch is still be­ing served. Lunch al­ways has a theme and, if you are lucky, it would be Caribbean or Asian buf­fets. We will ig­nore the sal­ads and fo­cus on the pro­teins of chicken, beef, pork, lamb and fish. Whether Caribbean or Asian, curry still fits the bill so ex­pect at least one curry dish.

Lunch is served with or with­out al­co­hol in­clud­ing beers, red, white and rose wines. One hopes you still have space, be­cause for dessert there are tarts, puffs, pud­dings, souf­flés, and cakes.

If you are on a two to three hour peck­ing sched­ule, you may choose waf­fles, pancakes or frozen yo­ghurt at 2 p.m. or sand­wiches and bis­cuits at 4 p.m. for af­ter­noon tea. For those who want a pick-me-up be­fore din­ner, try the pizza sta­tion around 5 or 6 p.m.

For din­ner, which starts at 7 p.m., you have the choice of a pro­tein-rich a la carte menu or the chef's spe­cials of beef ten­der­loin steak, grilled lob­ster tail, grilled tiger prawns or foie gras. Once again, your meal is ac­com­pa­nied by gen­er­ous help­ings of wine and dessert.

We have just cov­ered day one and you can re­peat this for six more days with chang­ing menus.

If you hap­pen to feel that you have gained an easy five pounds, take a trip to the spa each day, on the last two days of the cruise. The spa staff prom­ise that with each ses­sion of the Ionither­mie detox treat­ment you will lose up to 12 cen­time­ters around your waist and re­duce wa­ter re­ten­tion, bloat­ing and cel­lulite for both men and women. If you live an ac­tive life­style, get­ting back to the daily grind should help, although I make no prom­ises about its ef­fect on stub­born weight gain.

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