Running - by cruise ship!

Hi, I am an ABTA travel agent who is now too decrepit for much sport but would like to put forward in idea I have been working on!

Embarking at one of the UK ports such as Southampton/Newcastle/Edinburgh/Greenock/Liverpool/Hull/Bristol/Harwich on one of the smaller cruise ships sailing and going to some countries with incredible running opportunities. I am picturing the crystal clean air of Scandanavia, the Norwegian Fjords,Iceland, Greenland & Lapland to name a few.

No flyng means you will be in better shape to start with!

Have a great days running and return to the luxury of your ship with great dining (from the healthy options menu of course!), work out in the fully equiped fitness centre/saunas & gymnasium.

Next day, do the same but in a different country - with no packing/unpacking of luggage and kit!

What I am after is any feedback from you with suggestions before I put the idea to the cruise companies and see what deals they can offer.

If a group gets together the cruise companies often offer perks such as free places, sole use of facilities & help with activities ashore.

Let me know your thoughts - a good idea - who is up for it?

We are not talking a fortune, an 8 day Fjords cruise for example is £449p/p when 2 share - less if there is 3 or 4 in the cabin!



  • I like the idea  image

    Almost like a swimtrek type of deal ...



    Forgot about the refreshing dip in the pool at the end of the day!

  • Thoughts :

    What would make a runner want to take a cruise?  
    Short island hops as opposed long stretches at sea
    Empahasis on good food
    Facilities on board
    Scenery and Terrain
    Some kind of sponsor or sweetner perhaps
    Competitive price
    'Key' race at the end

    What would make this different from a normal cruise round the Fjords or wherever where you could run at your own pace/time

  • Good idea...    some facility to wash and dry the kit at the end of the day or overnight would be helpful...

    It also offers a holiday opportunity for non-running partners and family (children) to accompany...



  • Yep Im in

    But two things 

    1. Its not an Italian cruise line is it? (costa Concordia springs to mind)
    2. 8 days of travelling with a bunch of people all talking about running may drive me insane will there be non running types as well?
  • Thanks , some good points!

    Brilliant idea about bringing the family - they do their own thing and everyone meets up at the pool later!

    I invisage them being  sort of events with different clubs etc meeting up - The Ramblers Society already host special cruises on some dates on the ships  (British) I am thinking about ( ships hold typically 800 people so not all runners unless this idea goes ballistic!)

    I agree as few days at sea as possible as only so long you would wish to be in the gymn!

    Ships all have laundries on board so maybe a deal to done with them for washing kits.

    Would love to have a sponsor onboard - kit/drinks - anything related really - anyone any contacts?

    Anyone in a club that could be interested - only need about a dozen people to get the cruise lines interested!

  • I think it's a brilliant idea image

    If you fancy offering consultations with an on-board sports dietitian, I think I might be able to bring myself to volunteer image

  • Fab, we are beginning to rock!

    Keep the interest coming!

  • If we get about 12 notes of interest by the time the cruise lines open on Tuesday i can put forward the idea to them.

    Having a "key" race at the end sounds good!

    Keep suggestions coming!

  • Keeping it fun is a must...  there could be some kind of personal challenge involved, but in a non-competitive environment..   for example...   a sub-3 hr marathoner shouldn't have any advantage over a sub-6 hr marathoner...  this would need some more thought... 

    Each evening, after dinner, there could be a review of the days runs, with photos on a big screen and funny feedback of things that had happened, to keep the group working together as a group and maintain the social feel...

    At each destination, some prior preparation of routes should be known.. not simply dump the runners ashore and tell them to be back on board in 5 hours... so..  local knowledge and maps would be essential...  maybe also GPS data to download for those with smart phones and watches..

    Having access to an on-board physio and massage is essential.   Someone is bound to get injured...  oh..  this makes me think that an inclusive medical insurance policy would be a good sales pitch just in case someone gets seriously injured...

    Providing a decent goody bag at the start would add to the fun..  to include decent items such as a technical running shirt that can be worn at each destination..  maybe two shirts, to allow for one to be washed while wearing the other...



  • I dunno where my other message disappeared to. I'd be happy to do the sports massage.

    It would be a great idea in general - local routes, maybe with some locals who can do a 'running tour', and maybe finishing with a marathon, or other already organised event - or a multi event thing so if some only want to do a 10km or a half then they can.

    There could be talks on nutrition and hydration and maybe things like injury prevention, and maybe even stretching/pilates/yoga classes in an evening?

  • Sounds a great idea. I'd be interested image
  • All good stuff, this is going to be "your" cruise so keep the suggestions coming!

    You are the guys that are going to "build " this!

  • Sounds like a great idea for the wintery months when running in good ol' blighty isn't as nice.  I like the thoughts of a feature race to finish on - maybe a half or full marathon - and Dark's idea of an evening review after dinner sounds good.

    Planned routes is a must or is there any chance a local running club could be found and involved at each location?  I don't know much about running clubs abroad (hopefully people who regularly run abroad could have an input here) but you may be able to plan competition races of 5k/10k with running clubs in various countries at each stop?  If the cruise is more of an island hop then Guernsey and Jersey could even be an idea as I'm aware each has their own running club.

    Offering an all-in package deal including physio/running kit/nutrition/races etc sounds like the way forward - best of luck pitching it and hope to hear back soon!

  • Why not make the whole thing a stage race, with each leg in a different country, rather than just a series of runs leading up to one race at the end? 

  • Its looking like a 'Floating Workshop' to me ... and that may be what grabs people more, the opportunity to run and to learn
    You will have a lot of downtime to fill so filling that with lectures/demonstrations would be a good way to go IMO

  • Good stuff!

    Now thinking about itinerary...

    For first cruise - keep it not too long so Norway fits quite well with 1 day at sea to get there and 1 day at sea on the return .. 4 or 5 different ports with full days at each if possible.

    Your thoughts....

  • LOL - not that I want to piss on anyones parade or anything, but the last time I went to Norway on a 'luxury' cruise ship we hit a force 9 gale across the North Sea and everyone disappeared to their cabins with sea-sickness imageimage! This was not a good start to my planned weekend walking break - trying to run after 24hrs of not being able to eat anything and hurling up on the vomit comet would have been a total nightmare image!

    Errrrrrm - with that in mind, count me for a resounding No Thanks image.

    But good luck with your idea!

  • It's an interesting concept, and I am in favour of anyone who comes up with fresh ideas. The basic concept here being to provide some activity/entertainment at the various ports of call. Much of this is already done, but not too much is exercise based. SO, well done on coming up wih a good concept.

    I've done a couple of cruises, and enjoyed them. Not too many runners though, as even P&O's biggest ship was able to provide enough treadies for the 3500 passengers. I think that most passengers are self selecting exercise avoiders. This may help attract some.

    A negative slant: as the family would want to come, but not run, they would be wanting to do other foms of exploring. It's family time. Sea days are gym days.

    As a alternative thought for the previous concerned contributor, talking running is the last thing that would happen. It's unlikely that you'd meet up with the other runners on a big boat anyway.
    On the large boat, you could organise it as the MV (boat name) running club, even as late as the first day at sea. Would I want to run every day at every port? No. Would I want to do 5 miles or 15 miles? Gentle jogging pace, or athletic training pace?

    Here's another thought for you.
    The sailing cycling club? Bring your own bike. There's never usually a problem with luggage if it's a home port departure, but the crew would need to be happy with the logistics of moving awkward bikes around the tight confines of the boat.
    Now that does sound like a good drop of fun.

    Summary. Running sailing club? A good idea.
    Would I do it at every port of call? No. (Unless the ports in the fjords are particularly boring).

  • I went running every day on arecent cruise to Norway. I ran in Stavanger, Alesund and Bergen. That was about 8 am before breakfast. I left a note inthe gym for others to join me,but got no takers.Good luck. Good idea would be to include running coaches etc to speak each night or somebody with a few running stories to tell.

  • UFO, my man! Will keep in touch for more info on where you ran! Any points about the routes would be fab!


    Blisters, tried for over a year with the bikes on board idea- but the cruise lines did not want to know - health& safety and lack of secure storage for high value bikes - will try again in the future though as it IS a good idea!

    Regarding taking the family - Great idea - is this everyones general opinion? Narrows down the list of possible cruises and being peak season puts up price   - but still possible! Of course could have a second cruise low season too - but lets get the first one of the ground! 


    Routes suggestions here but also how about the worlds steepest running race in Bergen - Stoltzekleiven Opp ?



  • Could work, but yes, you'd need maybe a variety of distances at the ports of call, and stuff that partners/family could do - and make sure there are 1/2-day non-running activities so runners could run in the morning then go out with partner/family later and see the sights. Also relevant lectures/workshops/training sessions (e.g. core strength training, self massage, nutrition??) and stuff onboard while at sea. And include as much as possible in the "running package", rather than as optional extras - I'd find it very irritating if I was given literature indicating X, Y and Z would be available then found I had to pay £££ extra for each of those. There would need to be easy ways for running people to find each other on board.

  • check out I have a flyer from them from a usa marathon.

  • I think the main thing is to have guided runs (or at least run leader and a back runner to pick up any stragglers) at each destination. When you have the destinations worked out you could contact running clubs in each location to see if they would be interested in helping? 

    Physio and sports massage sessions on board

    Yoga and Pilates classes for runners

    Pasta party / team breakfasts

    If I was going to book something like this, I'd be happy if the entry cost just covered the accommodation and the running events. I think I'd rather pay around the £400-500 mark and then pay extra for a massage or workshop as and when needed than £800-900 for a load of extras that I probably wouldn't use.

    Saying that, if you are suggesting £400-500 including accommodation, running events, workshops, massage, seminars and food - I'm not going to argue image

  • I like the idea of a goody bag at the beginning of the cruise. And a medal - just because I'm a magpie and like collecting bling image

    If you are thinking of having race photographers, then I know some people who would be happy to oblige.

  • looks like opinion is thats its a good idea.

    Will need some structure in ports so runners know the route etc, so ideally local club or somebody onboard with local knowledge that can oblige.

    I am thinking Norway as its quite near so not many sea days and because of its spectacular scenery. Anyone any contacts with Norwegian clubs/ascociations?

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