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Cruise Ship Gyms: Cost, Opening Times, and Other Things You NEED to Know

If you’re taking a cruise you may be wondering if cruise ships have gyms.

In this post, we explore what you will find in cruise ship gyms when they’re open, what facilities you can expect to see and how old you need to be to use the cruise ship gym.

We also look at how many people actually do use the gym whilst on their cruises – it is probably less than you think!

Do Cruise Ships Have Gyms?

Most cruise ships have gyms and fitness centres on board, the size and equipment vary by cruise line.

Cruise ship gyms are almost always free to use. Many cruise ship gyms include cardio machines, weight machines, and exercise areas. Many will also have changing areas.

Exercise classes are usually offered in cruise ship gyms but these may cost extra.

Most cruise line gyms have great views as they are usually located at the top of the ship. On a lot of the Royal Caribbean ships, the gym is located above a big bar which I always find amusing.

When walking around the top decks of the ship you are able to see people sitting around drinking and then people running on treadmills just above them.

The gym can be a great place to get an unspoiled view of a sunrise or sunset.

Sapphire Princess Gym Princess Cruises Ship Shape Program

Are Cruise Ship Gyms Free to Use?

Cruise ship gyms are free to use on almost all cruise lines. I’ve never personally encountered a cruise ship gym that I had to pay for and I did not find any evidence during my research for this post that any cruise lines had charges to use the gym area.

Some cruise lines, however, do charge for activities like the following:

  • Spin Classes
  • Yoga Classes
  • Pilates Classes
  • Dance Classes
  • Zumba Classes

Other Free Workout Options

Asides from the gym there are usually a number of other ways to stay healthy onboard. I’ve actually never put on weight when I cruise but I do still treat myself and rarely go to the gym itself.

To find out how I do this check out this post: Avoid Cruise Ship Weight Gain – 7 Easy Things You Can Do.

Cruise Ships Have Running Tracks?

Most cruise ships will include a running track that passes around much of the top deck. You’d be surprised how much ground you can cover through a couple of laps of the track. From memory, the last cruise ship I was on was 1/3rd of a mile if you ran the running track.

The running track is usually on the top deck where you’ll find people sunbathing/wandering around.

On Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady the running track is located above the main pool deck. In the photo below it is the raised red area. This means that the runners are totally separate to people just wandering about, enjoying the view.

virgin voyages scarlet lady whirlpool top deck



Some runners do find other passengers get in their way when running so it might be worth running at a less popular time in order to make sure you have a clear path.

Running early in the morning or later in the evening might be a good idea.

Cruise Ships Often Have Sports Courts

Most cruise ships also have a sports court which will include things like basketball courts, golf simulators, and mini football pitches.

Sports courts are always free to use. On occasion, the kid’s clubs/teen clubs may use the sports court and at these times you may not be able to use the court.

MSC Sports Court Do They Have Gyms?
MSC Sports Court

Some Cruise Lines Have Walk a Mile Events

I’ve been on a number of cruise lines that have a ‘walk a mile’ event early in the morning. This is usually hosted by a member of the cruise entertainment team and they will walk you around the walking track.

This does sound like a great way to start the day although I’ll usually still be asleep at this time!

What Will You Find in a Cruise Ship Gym?

  • Cardio Equipment – Treadmills, ellipticals, rowing machines etc.

There will be a number of cardio machines in most cruise ship gyms. On some of the more luxurious cruise lines, each machine will have a bottle of water and a little towel ready for you to use.

Some large ships have a LOT of cardio machines. The Oasis of the Seas has over 150! I do go to the gym when I’m not cruising but my gym only has around 15 machines.

  • Resistance Machines – Chest Press, Leg Press, Shoulder Press etc.

Most cruise ships also have some resistance machines. If the gym is smaller it may not have any of these.

  • Free Weights

Even the smallest gyms have a free-weight section. I recently took my first river cruise and even the gym onboard the Emerald Liberte had a free weight section in the gym.

I was amazed that a river cruise ship would have a gym at all, to be honest! It was really lovely. If I could have the gym from the Emerald Libertie in my house I would be over the moon.

MSC Cruise Ship Free Weights
MSC Gym

What Are The Opening Times of Cruise Ship Gyms?

Generally speaking cruise ship gyms open early in the morning and close late at night. If you want to go at a quiet time I would recommend going either early, late or during meal times. It’s amazing how much quieter the gym is at lunch or dinner.

Example opening times:
Royal Caribbean, Navigator of The Seas: 6am – 10pm
Celebrity Eclipse: 6am – 11pm

You May Have to Sign a Waiver to Use a Cruise Ship Gym

When using a gym on a cruise ship you’ll usually be asked to sign a waiver before you are allowed to use the facilities.

This is a normal practice that says that you won’t hold the cruise line liable for any injuries you sustain when working out.

This will usually only happen on your first trip to the gym and after this point, the cruise line will know that you’ve signed the waiver.

Each cruise line has a different way of showing that you’ve signed the waiver but many will put a sticker on your cruise card to make it easy to show.

Cruise Ship Gym Changing Rooms & Facilities

Cruise ship gyms will usually have changing rooms which means that you don’t have to get changed in your room and walk across the ship in your gym wear, although this would be okay.

There will also be showers and lockers for you to leave your things. The changing rooms are often shared with the spa facilities as the gym and spa are usually located in the same complex. The changing rooms are almost always split by gender.

On ‘luxury’ cruise lines you will find bottles of water and towels around the gym room waiting to be used.

On a ‘budget’ cruise line you probably wouldn’t encounter this but there will still be paper towels around to wipe down the machines after use and a water fountain to fill up a bottle or a cup.

Many cruise ship gyms also have scales. I have never felt the desire to weigh myself on a cruise but some people do!

MSC Gym

How Many People Actually Use The Gym?

Sometimes I walk around the top deck of a cruise ship, and I can look into the Gyms and see lines of people jogging away on running machines! I really admire these people’s discipline and dedication to keeping fit whilst they are on their cruise – but it’s not for me!

Other times I have looked into the Gym as I walk past, and have found the place completely empty!

You might be wondering, what percentage of passengers actually use the Gym whilst onboard.

I recently ran a poll in my Facebook Group to find out how many people do use the Gym, the results may surprise you!

It seems, in my Facebook Group at least, less than a quarter of people do actually go to the Gym whilst on their cruise.

To Join our Facebook Group, Click below:

Emma Cruises – Cruise Chat, Tips and News

We have over 17K friendly, helpful members who do a great job answering questions, sharing tips and photos.

We have a strict zero-tolerance policy to rudeness – so you won’t find people arguing and bickering in the comments like you do in many other cruise groups! It is the friendliest group around, and we would love to have you onboard!

Cruise Ship Gym Frequently Asked Questions:

How old do you have to be to use a gym on a cruise ship?

To use a cruise ship gym alone guests must be 18. Guests under 18 are able to use the gym if with a parent or guardian. Young passengers may not be allowed to use all equipment or take part in classes. On some cruise lines, the age is 16 but it is rarely below this.

Below is Royal Caribbeans policy on gym entry:

Guests must be 16 of over to enter the gym.

Guests ages 13 to 15 may be permitted to utilize the Fitness Centre during certain times of the day; provided the young guest is accompanied and supervised at all times by their parent or guardian and provided a waiver of liability has been signed by the parent or guardian who is present in the fitness centre. See the Cruise Compass or contact Guest Services for the specific Fitness Centre age restrictions on your cruise vacation.

Royal Caribbean

Do Cruise Ships Have Personal Trainers Onboard?

Most cruise ship gyms will have personal trainers onboard. Personal training sessions can be booked when onboard.

Before You Go!

You might be wondering how is the best way to avoid gaining weight when you are on your cruise. All that wonderful cruise food and drinks make it very easy to overindulge!

Find out how I avoid gaining weight when I cruise in the article below:

Avoid Gaining Weight on a Cruise

If you are looking for an active cruise, Cruise lines like Virgin Voyages are aimed at a younger passenger demographic and provide many exercise classes and fitness facilities. Check out my review of Virgin Voyages Scarlett Lady here:

Virgin Voyages Scarlett Lady Review

Of course, you may prefer a more traditional cruise line, and be in the 75% of people who never visit the onboard gym anyway! Find out all about my traditional cruise onboard Fred Olsen’s Bolette here:

Traditional British Cruise Line, Fred Olsen Review

There really is a cruise to suit everyone, it is just finding the right fit for you!

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