A healthy detox on the high seas.

2014 has been full on for noodlies, Sydney food blog. Away for Christmas and new year in Hong Kong and traversing Myanmar, I’ve been like time is a traveller, Tenterfield saddler, though less seeing Kangaroos and more ancient temple ruins. So when the lovely folks at Carnival Spirit invited me for a three day cruise, I immediately said “I do”.

  • how to come back rejuvenated, body and soul
  • advice from Shannan Ponton and Justine Scholfield
  • tips on picking the best rooms

A three day getaway, no emails, no mobile phones, no twitter… Just rejuvenating, selfish, me time. The instagram video below is the stunning view from my stateroom (cabin).

For guests (and there were plenty of repeat punters) the benefit of cruising is that all your accommodation, meals and most entertainment options are already included, the brochure says it all:

  • Over 40 daily activities
  • 20 bars and lounges
  • Green Thunder: the steepest and fastest waterslide at sea (this scaredy cat stayed away)
  • Serenity: a vast, children free zone complete with pool, bar and ocean views
  • Newly upgraded fitness centre
  • three restaurants including 24 hour pizza and ice cream, and more…

If you have children, it’s a safe and fun atmosphere. If you don’t, head for one of the many intimate bars and lounges. Or of you’re feeling particularly, ahem, romantic, stay in your cabin all day, sit on the balcony and order room service.

I confess, this year has started off with a bang; adventurous travel, too much eating, too much working – so noodlies decided to devote the three days for a personal, body and mind detox.

carnival spirit

Fortunately, there were quality help at hand. Firstly, our famil group was lucky enough to have Shannan Ponton, celebrity trainer from The Biggest Loser to give us advice on healthy eating. He’s collaborated with Carnival Cruises on a range of healthy food options that will have the Shannan’s “thumbs up” seal of approval. Shannan is right, there are lots of free food on the cruise and no one wants to stop you from indulging, but it’s about having a choice, whether that be in food or fitness.

Shannan did a special Biggest Bootcamp at Sea – over 400 passengers turned up to the morning workout and I was lucky enough to be in the crowd (see the noodlies featured video above to see the tremendous interest in fitness).

In a one-on-one interview with noodlies, Shannan shares common sense advice on how to enjoy your Carnival Spirit cruise without the fatty hangover. He makes a lot of sense.

Coming very soon in the Shannan burger, it’s a a turkey burger with a Chia Seed and Quinoa roll – part of the “thumbs up” menu options.

shannan burger carnival spirit

Noodlies was also lucky enough to spend time with the gorgeous Justine Scholfield, host of Channel 10’s Everyday Gourmet. Justine showed us some of her favourite recipes including rice pudding with pineapple compote and a healthy Polynesian fish ceviche.

Justine talks to noodlies and gives us some of her tips on how to eat more healthy while on board (below).

Justine spoke about balancing eating with exercise, and I took up her advice. In addition to Shannan’s Biggest Boot Camp at Sea, noodlies managed to get to the gym twice during the three day cruise. The gym has recently benefited from a $450k upgrade, bright and with stunning ocean views, it’s a pretty alluring and motivating facility.

carnival spirit gym

And of course, to ease away the aches, pain and stress, noodlies indulged in a hot rock massage; hot rocks warms up the body opening up tension without the need for heavy pressure. The therapy was even better because noodlies spent the whole time chatting to the masseur about the delights of Filipino food.

hot rocks massage

Sometimes the universe provides. Noodlies needed to get away – away from life’s hustle-and-bustle, from emails, social media and mobile phone calls.

This was a miraculously timed opportunity and one which I enthusiastically embraced.

If you’re interested on coming a long on a cruise, noodlies spoke to VP Carnival Cruise Lines Australia, Jennifer Vandekreeke and asked for some special tips when it comes to what cabins to pick…

carnival spirit sydney

Top tips from Jennifer Vandekreeke, VP Carnival Cruise Lines, Australia

The general rule is the closer the cabin is to the action, the higher the category. So, we recommend our guests choose their ‘metacategory’ (balcony, interior, etc.) and then choose the location they want to be close to…then their stateroom. The best rooms on our ships fill up in advance, so, book early.

Jennifer’s favourite room picks:

  • Couples – balcony close to Serenity
  • Fitness fans – balcony close to the Gym
  • Parents – balcony connecting to an interior
  • All around best location – Grand Suites near the centre of the ship
  • Special occasion best EVER staterooms – Vista Suites with wraparound balconies. Nothing compares to those
  • Bargain staterooms – category 4K (interior, but with natural light through French doors) and 7a balconies (obstructed view balconies)

Have you been on the Carnival Spirit? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

This noodlies, Sydney food blog rejuvenating experience was courtesy of the lovely folks at Carnival Spirit, with special thanks to Jennifer Vandekreeke, Shannan Ponton and Justine Scholfield.