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Let’s Get Physical: Fitness & Mindfulness on the Ship

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Holistic Holiday at Sea Fitness-2Vegan WNBF Pro Bodybuilder Derek Tresize believes that “Holistic Holiday at Sea’s emphasis on fitness really sets it apart from other cruise and getaway programs out there.”  

He’s not alone in that train of thought. In addition to enjoying delicious vegan cuisine and world-class presentations, guests on the annual Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise have come to expect first-rate fitness and mindfulness activities. From Qi Gong to total-body conditioning, attendees can choose from a range of classes and consultations led by plant-based athletes and instructors throughout the cruise.

There is such a wide range of classes available, that cruise goers of every type of fitness level can find activities suitable for them. Larry Krug is a certified personal trainer and masters triathlete with 46 years of experience. He has attended every Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise since the first ship embarked in 2004. “One of the things that’s great about the cruise is that we run the gamut of athletes and non-athletes,” says Larry, a cancer survivor who has been involved in competitive endurance sports for many years.

“If you’re a triathlete, you’re getting ready for season… There’s a real fitness component that you would not find normally on a regular cruise. There is a morning ‘Run, Walk, Stretch’ that I’ve organized and we have regulars every year who are getting ready for their season, as well as people who just want to walk around in the morning and greet the Caribbean.”

Holistic Holiday at Sea Larry Krug

Larry Krug leads Run, Walk, Stretch

Getting to the Core of It

In addition to the classes they lead individually, Derek Tresize and Marcella Torres will jointly instruct two active courses called “Total Body Conditioning” and “Prehab and Rehab: Exercises to Support Pain-Free, Long-Term Fitness” where guests can participate or just come and watch. “Total Body Conditioning” is a rigorous boot camp style class that focuses on the upper body, lower body, and core. “Prehab and Rehab” covers the most common areas of the body that lead to dysfunction and guests can walk away with simple daily exercises to stabilize and strengthen.

Derek says that since the cruise’s focus is on health, “physical fitness is absolutely essential, because the only thing that outranks it in its ability to improve your health is nutrition, which the cruise also covers!”

Marcella adds, “An active lifestyle will allow you to enjoy all the extra years a plant-based diet will get you!” Marcella will lead “Healthy, Happy Hips” in which participants will stretch, activate, mobilize, and strengthen these important muscles.

Angelica Kushi will guide students in yoga and meditation classes that incorporate physical movement, breathing, meditation, and philosophy based on Tibetan Buddhism. Furthermore, she says, her classes are really about living with compassion and love. “Within my classes I offer options for different levels, but the classes that are labeled intermediate have more challenging poses and sequences,” she says. “I encourage people to just come, participate by being there with their heart and mind, and to do what is right for their body for that day. It’s totally fine if you need to do savasana the whole class! But you do have the option to get sweaty!”

Sitting is the New Smoking

Master Pilates Teacher Bianka Steinfeldt believes, “Sitting is the new smoking.” She explains, “Humans are designed to move, but in this modern world we are hardly moving. Well, we use our fingers to type, our gluteus to sit, but that’s it. So it is no surprise when a nine-year-old is already complaining about back issues … Great food and exercise work in combination to a better life, and here you get both in a fantastic package and wide variety.”

Join Bianka in Pilates and yoga classes, as well as a workshop called “Diaphragm and Breathing” that takes a close look at what happens when we breathe during exercise. (Did you know that the diaphragm is a muscle and should hold your body weight? It’s really strong!)

Balance for Better Wellbeing

Holistic Holiday at Sea Meditation and MindfulnessPhysical activity is just one of the many aspects of our health-focused programming aboard. For more than a dozen years, Marcus Gary has instructed Medical Qi Gong classes in the Oakland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles areas. On the ship, guests can take his class “Looking and Feeling Great at Any Age with 5 Organ Qi Gong.”

When asked about his philosophy for this class, Marcus responded, “We are all doing something in life. This is what we all have in common. The fundamental component for getting anything done is energy. For someone to be visionary it takes energy. To plan well it takes energy. To be happy takes energy. Qi Gong is a health system that serves to increase the energy we need to get things done and to unblock the flow of this energy. Our goal in our classes is to help our students understand the practical every day application of Qi Gong.

Chandrakant Hiester leads a variety of yoga and stress-reduction programs, including Amrit Yoga and Amrit Yoga Nidra, nationally and overseas. He says, “The most significant contribution you can make to personal, family and community wellbeing is to live your life with less stress. All of the sessions offered on our holistic cruise are specifically designed to provide the ‘tools’ and the direct experience of being profoundly at ease on all levels; physical, mental and emotional.” On the cruise, he will teach lectures and classes embodying this philosophy. Chandrakant says many returning guests report a reduction in stress from utilizing the skills taught onboard.

Take the Stairs Instead

This will be Robert Cheeke’s sixth consecutive year leading group fitness classes on the cruise. He’s been a plant-based athlete for more than 20 years. In “Functional Fitness,” Robert will perform exercises that engage upper and lower body muscles and the core in movements that we do on a daily basis. For example, lunges can help strengthen muscles for climbing the many flights of stairs on the ship. Push-ups utilize our arms, chest, and shoulders, which are useful in swimming (in case you go snorkeling on an excursion).

Holistic Holiday at Sea Marcus Gary and Robert Cheeke

Marcus Gary (left) & Robert Cheeke

“Simple Exercises and Nutrition Tips to Keep Your Body Toned and Give You More Energy Year Round” is an hour-long lecture that Robert presents on board that gives guests the tools you need to achieve your health and fitness goals. He says “In general, physical activity, especially some form of moderate to vigorous exercise, will help enhance bone density, strengthen and tone muscles, increase cardiovascular conditioning, improve circulation, and often increase energy as well.”

While, Robert says, the typical vacationer will burn fewer calories than normal and consume more calories than usual (equating to a cruise ship industry average of about seven pounds of weight gain over a seven-day cruise), this cruise is a bit different. Chefs prepare nutrient-dense foods and there are many ways to stay active. “There are classes from morning until night, with three major meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), and sitting will be something you’ll do a whole lot of. Getting out and going for a walk in the morning, doing a little dancing at one of the nightly pool deck parties, or climbing a lot of stairs, will be some ways you can offset all the time spent sitting in a chair.” You can also workout in the gym onboard.Holistic Holiday at Sea Fitness-3

Book Today!

Want to feel your best and experience a unique cruise ship vacation that helps you on your path to wellness? Book your spot on our 2017 Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise, which runs March 11–18. Check out our full list of presenters, and start planning your schedule now with our 2017 Cruise Program.

Vegan Travel-Gear Must-Haves with Vegan World Trekker, Maria Giurcan

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Maria Giurcan is the blogger behind VeganWorldTrekker.com. She has a wealth of experience and wisdom to share about her travels as a vegan. From various European adventures to the Green Mountains of Vermont, Maria’s list of countries visited is inspiring to say the least. The information she shares covers the spectrum from specific restaurant recommendations, practical tips, and big picture issues that she discovers and ponders as a traveler. We sat down with Maria to chat about her approach, some of her fondest memories, and her list of must-haves for vegan travel. (more…)

Socialize, Rejuvenate, Grow

There’s something about shared travel that can connect people to a degree that few other experiences can. Perhaps the cause is the removal from regular life that lets us play in a way not possible during our day-to-day routine.  Conversations go further than they would with people seen every day.  Drinks and dances can last longer when there’s no work the next morning, but how to approach that initial moment of meeting? Holistic Holiday at Sea provides many opportunities to connect with other guests so you can delight in new encounters come March.Cruise Photos 3MP-96


Evening Events

The main social events happen each night, with possibilities ranging from a Welcome Cocktail Party to “Ice cream” or “Milk” and Cookies Socials.  Share a dance to the song stylings of Bridgette Kossor or share a cooking tip at the Daiya Vegan Pizza Party.

In coming weeks, we’ll tell the stories of couples that connected through the cruise.  If you want someone with whom to share the experiences, the Singles Social gives you the chance to write the next love story. After you hit it off with a lovely gentleman or lady, continue the conversation with a debate over the best Coconut Bliss flavor at the Bliss Vegan Ice Cream Social.

If an intriguing stranger catches your eye during the week, or an inspiring speaker raises a pressing question, you have one more chance to say hello at the Friday night Farewell Dance Party.

Cruise Photos 3MP-104


Physical and Mental Fitness Classes

Our lineup of fitness and spiritual practice sessions present another great way to meet folks.  Get out of your room and into rhythm at yoga with instructor Koya Webb.  Meet other morning people and start your day with peaceful smiles at Marcus Gary’s 5-Organ Qi Gong.  When you want a bit more motion, find your up-tempo comrades in “Exercise Your Core” with Rich Roll. Even if you prefer to keep to yourself during the class, the exercise endorphins may propel you to new social boldness upon completion!

Cruise Photos 3MP-165


Cooking Classes

If you’d rather let someone else do the sweating while you socialize, daily cooking demonstrations feature three new chefs bringing contagious energy along with their expertise. Join food justice activists wanting to taste the farm-fresh fixings of chef Bryant Terry; get healthy and happy through “Plant-based Comfort Foods” with Jessica Porter; or focus on sweets that serve the body while sharing treats at Chef AJ’s “Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth without Sugar, Oil or Gluten.”  Since the chefs do the cooking, there’s no risk of harming your new friendship with recipes gone awry.


Enduring Relationships

Merging travel and food offers the best of two wonderful worlds. The two come together throughout Holistic Holiday at Sea, whether at the dinner table or in a workshop.  It’s brought us great joy to witness how relationships formed on this common ground of health and healing often stay the course, despite the later challenges of time or distance. No matter where you return to after the cruise, you’ll have memories to treasure and new friends to share them with.


Join us in March 2014 for our 11th voyage of this vegan extravaganza in the Caribbean! Bring someone who is interested in a great time, an opportunity to grow and a unique vegan travel experience where you can be around like minded compassionate folks! This is a traveling experience like no other.



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