On the first day of our cruise on AmaPrima, we join Andre on the sun deck.
He stands out. Clearly fit. Energetic. Smiling. And outfitted in stylish and colorful sportswear emblazoned with an AmaWaterways Wellness Host logo.
It's nearly time for our initial workout as part of the river cruise line's Wellness Program, and Andre, from Portugal, will be leading workout sessions (up to four times a day) during our 10-day Dutch Waterways sailing.
Andre is carefully placing exercise bands (you know, those light colorful ribbon style stretchy strips of plastic) around an open area on the sun deck, setting up a circuit for our training session. I am among three passengers joining Andre in the breezy and chilly -- but sunny -- conditions. These are actually ideal conditions as our bodies warm up during the activities.
By the initial looks of it, I don't reckon we are going to be facing too much of a challenge in our first workout as part of AmaWaterways Wellness Program.
Looks can be deceiving.
Andre sets a pace to match our abilities, and he pushes us through the intense circuit for the entire 40 minutes, leaving us satisfied with our workouts. Muscles are sufficiently pumped up. I realize this Wellness Program is the real deal. Sure, people are seeking to stay more fit and active these days, and many cruise lines might offer a few gentle yoga or stretching classes and a couple recumbent bikes onboard.
But AmaWaterways has developed a full-fledged fitness-focused program on its ships that will keep any workout fanatics happy while also serving an important role in introducing travelers to exercises and concepts that they can take back home to start living a more healthy lifestyle after the cruise.
Here are seven awesome activities we loved on our AmaWaterways cruise on AmaPrima, one of six ships in the cruise line's fleet that offers the program at the time of our cruise.
The ship carries bikes onboard, and we had three organized bike tours available on our sailing. They are also available for passengers to check out on their own for independently riding around the cities and villages you visit. You can also get off for your own jogging or walking in the ports. While the biking and running options are not guided or officially overseen by the Wellness Host, Andre is familiar with the areas we visited and can recommend great routes to try and let you know the safest areas and the distances to run or ride that you might be seeking.
The program includes active walks in certain ports, and, as the name indicates, this is no leisurely saunter. The goal is to get your heart rate up and enjoy the fresh air as you walk briskly along the pretty waterways or through historic cities.
This class most-closely simulates traditional strength training with free weights. Using the stretchy bands, this is a series of presses and pulls with up to 20 repetitions that really get your muscles pumped up.
Andre put us through a non-stop workout, rotating participants through a series of eight stations (he says he can add more if needed) that worked all parts of our bodies, using resistance bands, body weight moves and running a few laps around the track on the sun deck.
This ab-burning class works all areas of your midsection through a series of leg lifts and crunches over 30 minutes. You'll feel this the next day but love the results.
These were the most well-attended classes on our AmaPrima cruise. Passengers found these activities a great way to get the blood flowing and start the day. Andre offered both morning and afternoon 30-minute stretching sessions.
Andre designed a variation on this popular strength and flexibility regimen that focuses on breathing and precise movements. We used the fitness bands in this challenging session. It was a new practice for me. I had never done any type of Pilates but found it invigorating.
Andre loves to dance and also offers Zumba and Latin dance workouts. He says these are the most popular. The cold and often rainy weather during our trip meant that he couldn't offer these classes, as they take place on the sun deck.
Each fitness class in the overall program is rotated throughout the week, so you get multiple chances to try one.
Also, all classes are suitable for all skill levels, and Andre constantly assures people that they should go at their own pace and do as much as they like. He also offers both easy and challenging variations to certain exercises as he directs that class.
We had great workouts all week and learned a few things that we will work to implement in our future routines. The program will be available on all AmaWaterways ships in 2019, the company says.
How does AmaWaterways' Wellness Program sound to you?
Do you like to work out on your travels, or would you rather just relax on your river cruise?
Please let us know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading,