Have you ever traveled like this - a road trip that stops in a new city each night or a cruise that includes a different port to explore every day. Did you return from your boomer adventure needing a vacation from your vacation?
Balance - we all need it, but especially during our travels. A day of active exploring followed by an afternoon relaxing with a good book adds important down time, allowing us to process what we've seen while preparing our bodies for tomorrow's adventure.
Cruising is a fun way to balance active travel with enough relaxation so that you return from your trip rested and energized. I know what you're saying. "Come on, cruising is just for couch potatoes. It's an excuse to overeat, drink too much and veg out on a chaise lounge by the ship's pool." My boomer friends, there is another way.
Cruise Excursions - No, Not on the bus
In today's cruising environment, active excursions are the norm. Of course you'd expect that on a cruise to Alaska where nature is the star of the show. But you'll find hiking, biking and other active adventures from ports in the Mediterranean to Asia and beyond.
On an Atlantic crossing, my husband and I four-wheeled on the narrow, mountainous roads of Funchal. During a Norwegians fjords cruise that included a stop above the Arctic Circle in Longyearbyen, we joined a hiking excursion up the stark landscape of Plateau Mountain. The guide carried a gun, just in case we came across any polar bears. And don't get me started on the snorkeling or scuba diving adventures found in Hawaiian, Caribbean and South Pacific ports.
Join the Gym - At Sea
There was a time when walking around the ship's outside deck or climbing up and down interior stairs were the only exercise options available on a cruise. While those activities can still be part of your boomer exercise regime, in today's cruising world, you'll find gyms on cruise ships that rival any on land - complete with treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes and weight machines. Even very small ships have at least an exercise machine or two.
On a cruise from Los Angeles to Sydney, I spent my mornings at sea in an aerboics class. The menu of free choices included stretch classes, yoga, step and body sculpting. And, yes those ballroom dance classes count as exercise too, especially when you put it to use on the dance floor at night after dinner.
Of course the biggest obstacle to staying active on sea days is your own self-discipline. The smooth rocking of the ship makes for soothing naps, especially if you stayed out too late the night before on the dance floor. And, remember we're looking for a balance here, so
Get Thee to the Spa
While lounging around the pool, or on other outside decks, is an option, many ships have redesigned their spa areas to include luxurious relaxation spaces for guests. Yes, those revitalizing massages, facials and spa treatments are still available but they come with hydrotherapy pools, aroma steam baths and serene areas with heated loungers. You'll also find classes on nutrition, stress-reduction and new exercise techniques. Fair warning - access to spa areas isn't free, but the usage fee covers the entire cruise and can be worth it on long cruises with lots of sea days.
So there you have it. My equation for boomer travel balance: action + relaxation = cruise.
Do you have an active cruise excursion to recommend? What do you do for relaxation on a ship? Post a comment to share your tips. I'm making a list for my next cruise.