Have you ever needed to take a river cruise, however have been afraid it could be too laborious to handle your diabetes? Here are a few issues to know which will ease your thoughts.

River Cruise - Rhine and Danube
Photo courtesy of Viking River Cruises

My husband and I simply returned from a wonderful 14-day cruise down the Rhine and Danube Rivers in Europe. We began in Amsterdam and led to Budapest, tacking on a few days in each cities at every finish of the journey. I used to be a bit nervous about consuming an excessive amount of of the “wrong” issues, slacking off my regular health routine, and transporting three weeks’ price of Trulicity®. The excellent news is that I didn’t want to fret about any of it.

We cruised with Viking and I can’t say sufficient good issues about them. These of us have a system that works. You ought to know that the common age of the cruisers skews a little older, so this isn’t a journey to take with youngsters. There was one 18-year-old on our ship and she or he was fairly depressing being round “the olds” for 2 weeks.

River Cruise - Farmers' markets
Farmers’ markets are widespread. Here’s fruit in Nuremberg and veggies in Vienna.

What’s the meals like on a river cruise?

Of course, I’m going to zero in on the meals first! As with ocean cruises, meals is considerable on a river cruise. On our ship, you can get pleasure from breakfast or lunch on the terrace or within the restaurant. Dinner was solely served within the restaurant.

The workers was greater than keen to accommodate particular diets. A pair we met had a few allergy symptoms and so they sat down with the maître d’ every night after dinner to go over their menus for the following day. The ship’s cooks can put together meals which might be diabetic-friendly, low-carb, gluten-free, low-salt, or low-cholesterol, however they do recognize you giving them 30 days’ discover.

There was additionally at the least one vegetarian providing at dinner every evening (on the common menu), nevertheless it usually included pasta.

We additionally had the chance to go on two meals excursions – one in Vienna accompanied by the Viking chef and one other in Budapest with a native information. In each locations we tried native specialties like sausages, stuffed peppers, and pickled plums.

River Cruise - Stuffed Peppers in Vienna
Cheese-stuffed peppers in Vienna (the crimson ones have been my favourite).


Breakfast on the terrace featured a Scandinavian-style buffet consisting of deli meats, cheeses, yogurt, fruit, and varied varieties of breads and pastries plus espresso, tea, and juice.

In the restaurant, a chef cooked eggs to order as a part of a extra elaborate buffet. You might get scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, and potatoes in a single part. In one other, there was oatmeal with toppings like dried fruit and nuts plus smoked salmon and generally different fish. Other choices included chilly cuts and cheese, a number of fruit, plain Greek-style yogurt, ship-made natural museli, and, in fact, breads and pastries.

If you aren’t a buffet kind of particular person, you can additionally order breakfast off a menu that featured Eggs Benedict and French Toast amongst different issues.

I usually had scrambled eggs, bacon, yogurt with dried fruit and nuts, and a piece of fruit like a plum. I ate oatmeal or smoked salmon after I acquired bored with eggs. On one in all our final mornings, I ordered the Eggs Benedict and was thrilled to be taught the portion dimension was small (half an English muffin and one egg). I want I’d found it earlier within the cruise.


Lunch on the terrace throughout the river cruise was served buffet-style. There have been often small parts of a every day sandwich (panini, membership, and many others.), steamed greens, French fries, a home made soup, bread, and a chef carving some kind of meat (roast beef, pork, turkey, and many others.) You might additionally seize some recent veggies on the salad bar and a dessert, if desired.

River Cruise - Market Salad
Market Salad on the ship that includes inexperienced beans, carrots, zucchini, and hazelnuts

As with breakfast, within the restaurant you can head to the buffet or order from a menu. The buffet included many of the identical issues that have been obtainable on the terrace, plus a few extras. The menu provided a few requirements (cheeseburger, sizzling canine, and many others.) plus one or two regional specials. For instance, sausage and sauerkraut have been plentiful whereas we have been in Bavaria.

The soups have been persistently a few of the greatest dishes on the ship. Frequently, lunch for me was the soup of the day (possibly Roasted Carrot or Hungarian Goulash) and a salad.


After a briefing within the lounge in regards to the subsequent day’s actions, the crew served dinner within the ship’s restaurant. Everyone ordered an appetizer, entrée, and dessert from a menu. On the left aspect of the menu have been objects provided day by day – caesar salad, steak, salmon, hen, crème brûlée, cheese plate, and ice cream. On the precise aspect of the menu have been the every day regional specials, often three appetizers, three entrées, and three desserts. More than as soon as I ordered a second appetizer as my entrée as they usually featured extra greens and I acquired bored with consuming crimson meat.

We tried attention-grabbing issues like bitterballen (Dutch), wiener schnitzel (Austrian), and eggplant involtini.

River Cruise - Bitterballen (Dutch)

And, sure, I splurged on dessert a number of occasions. I’m a sucker for something with cherries and chocolate, so I couldn’t resist the Black Forest Cake. I additionally needed to attempt the Viennese basic Sachertorte (say “SOCCER tort”), a wealthy chocolate cake with apricot jam filling. I’m glad we acquired to attempt it on the ship, as a result of the road at Café Sacher in Vienna was manner too lengthy.

River Cruise - Cafe Sacher
The line to get into Cafe Sacher in Vienna

Can I train on a river cruise?

Yes, I ate a lot on the river cruise, however I additionally acquired fairly a little bit of train. Just about day by day featured a strolling tour. And castles sit atop hills by design, so there have been a number of steps and steep inclines. Whenever we had the choice to stroll again to the ship as an alternative of taking a bus, we walked.

The ship additionally had a solar deck with a observe. One mile was 12.75 laps across the observe. On days I didn’t stroll a lot, I logged a mile or two on the observe (strolling a lap, then jogging a lap). My husband and I had supposed to maintain up with our GlucoseZone exercises whereas we have been away, however there simply wasn’t sufficient area in our stateroom to drag it off.

When I acquired house, I had gained 2 kilos. I didn’t suppose that was too dangerous after a Three-week trip!

River Cruise - Melk Abbey
Melk Abbey was one of many spots we walked again from to get extra train.

Is medical help obtainable on a river cruise?

While there was no physician on board the ship (which shocked me), the crew is educated to help with medical conditions. One passenger on our cruise had a mishap on the cobblestones and so they acquired him to a physician whereas we have been in port and despatched somebody alongside who spoke fluent German. (He tore a ligament in his knee and spent the remainder of the cruise in a forged.)

Regarding drugs, one in all my Trulicity® pens failed throughout the journey and I hadn’t introduced alongside a spare (poor planning on my half). Fortunately, I had introduced alongside a copy of my prescription. At one in all our all-day stops, a crew member advised me the place to search out a pharmacy (Apotheke) in Germany. “You can’t miss it, just look for the big A,” he stated.

When I arrived round 11 a.m., the pharmacist advised me he wanted to order the Trulicity®, however would have it round Three p.m. When I confirmed up at Three:02 p.m., somebody was wheeling it by the door in a cooler. Not solely did they fill my prescription, no questions requested, additionally they gave me a cooler pack so I might transport it safely house. (My prescription was for 12 pens, so I acquired 12 pens.) The excellent news? I solely paid 306 euros (about $338 USD). At house, it could have price me greater than $2,000 USD! I discovered a cooler bag in a German division retailer additional down the river and introduced all of it house with out incident.

River Cruise - Vienna Market  spices
Spices on the market within the Vienna Market

Can I take a river cruise with diabetes?

Absolutely! You gained’t have any hassle discovering meals that suit your meal plan, particularly if you happen to request a particular weight-reduction plan forward of time. You might want to exert some willpower, nevertheless. Cookies, muffins, and pastries are just about obtainable 24/7. But so are apples and different fruit!

You will be capable of get some train too, though you may need to hunt it out if you happen to’re laborious core. You’ll have loads of cardio alternatives, however not as many resistance coaching choices. I took a set of train bands (affiliate hyperlink) with me – a “gym in a bag” as Christel Oerum from DiabetesSturdy says. I additionally tried to do the legs-up-the-wall yoga pose earlier than mattress every evening.

If you’ve gotten any questions on managing diabetes on a river cruise, I’m comfortable to reply them. Journey on.

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