Cruising the waves with diabetes 6 February 2023 Thinking of a cruise but worried about how to look after your diabetes while on the high seas? Registered Nurse, Credentialled Diabetes Educator, and recent passenger Constance Russell shares her top tips and tricks for managing diabetes while enjoying your holiday. Why are we flocking back to big ship sailing like pelicans to Lake Eyre? As a recent passenger myself, I chatted with travellers of various backgrounds and living with different types of diabetes to find out what their favourite aspects of cruising were. Runner up was the number of activities on offer to suit every personality, preference and budget. But the top answer was, without hesitation, the abundant, 24-hour, delicious, all you can eat, buffet and food options! It is quite possible to gain a kilogram per day while on your holiday. The food is a never-ending showcase with over a dozen dining options from oysters and caviar to nachos and burgers. Menus change every day. The buffets entice us with unknown salt, saturated fat, and sugar content, and yes, you can go back as many times as you like. People were holding their bellies, moaning from overindulging in the chef’s delights. Food: What to consider As with every other day in your diabetes management journey, what you eat is your choice; however, you may consider: Choosing light meals along with full fare Having sauces on the side Making sure you include plenty of vegetables on your plate Eating mindfully so you don’t need seconds from the dessert counter. For more advice on eating away from home, click here. Drinkies Did someone say, “bottoms up?” All you need to do is look sideways at the very talented bar staff on the Lido Deck and you will soon be grasping a tulip glass, full of an icy pink creation complete with outlandish garnish and compulsory umbrella. And while there is no random breathtesting on the way back to your cabin, please remember to enjoy alcohol safely. There are plenty of mocktails and non-alcoholic drinks available, and don’t forget to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. I like to move it… move it Why not try some of the blood glucose-lowering physical activities? There is no shortage of super fun ways to move your body. Try a dance classes, aerobics class, gym workout, shuffleboard, quoits, the walking /jogging track, tai chi, yoga, ping pong, putt-putt, or even simply climbing the stairs between decks rather than using the lift. Having said that, being more active on the cruise than you are at home may lead to low blood glucose levels and hypoglycaemia. I recommend you take your own hypo treatments from home and keep them with you. Relax a little If the thought of grooving in your nine-inch heels all night or joining the sunrise yoga class isn’t floating your boat, there are many other more chilled activities that might appeal. And a little relaxation can benefit your glucose levels. How about a board game in the library, reading and snoozing by the pool (don’t forget the sunscreen), trivia, face painting, clown skills class, live jazz, or a photo shoot to take the memories home? Pack and prepare Organising any holiday as a person living with diabetes requires some extra planning. But especially for cruising… check out the type, size and number of bags your cruise line suggests. Then look up any guidelines or special activities your ship will be hosting. Do you need to dress formally for dinner? A wrap for over bathers in non-pool areas? A costume for themed events? I also recommend bring several options for footwear including sensible shoes as the swell can test your balance. Is cruising COVID-safe? There is no easy answer to this question; however, I will share my experience. There are areas where face masks are recommended – in elevators, theatres, restaurants (unless eating or drinking), and common, indoor areas where social distancing is not possible. I noted many signs, voice-overs, and hand hygiene stations as well as staff handing out masks at entry points to theatres and dining venues. The furniture in many areas has also been moved for social distancing. That being said, care needs to be taken much as you would at a busy shopping centre. Feeling a little green? The cost of seeking medical treatment varies between cruise lines. A general practitioner (GP) visit will be upwards of US$100 and increases if it’s out of hours or in your cabin. Please get travel and health insurance advice. Whether you’re sailing around our Aussie coastline or travelling to palm-fringed islands further afield, cruising is back after being sorely missed by many. All aboard!