How the Dance Cruise Program suited my cruise goals.

Our  dance pros and hosts

How the Dance Cruise Program suited my cruise goals.

Apart from having fun, my goal for taking this 7 night New Year’s cruise was to start the new decade in the most fit, healthy and relaxed state possible for me. I wanted to say serene but I don’t think for anyone who knows me that serenity would be a state of mind they could envisage for me. So relaxed instead of non stop go-go-going seemed an achievable mental objective.

As to the fit and healthy part, I have already achieved my weight and % body fat targets through an LCHF/ ketogenic and intermittent fasting nutritional program combined with high quality bioavailable multivitamin, mineral, trace element and phytonutrient supplements. My goal on this cruise was to either maintain or lose weight but definitely not to add any pounds.

Thanks to the recent repair of my previously fractured toe and sciatica surgery I had 9 years ago, I  have no musculoskeletal pain or issues. Hips and knees work fine, so acetaminophen and ibuprofen are not needed in my cruise first aid kit. I do usually bring Advil in case anyone else wants some for their sore feet or knees.  I take no therapeutic drugs or medications.  Instead I take two epigenetic nutritional supplements every day, to keep my brain and muscles energized, and my aging defence systems functioning as if I were in my twenties rather than the mature age that I am.

My fitness goal for this cruise was to be able to get through a Viennese waltz, quickstep, hustle or samba without feeling I needed oxygen when the dance was over. I do admit that the dance floor was not nearly a full-size floor and a crowded social dance environment is not conducive to going all-out, but still I figured that would be a reasonable marker for my fitness level.

So back to  the dance program. On this DAS cruise with over 50 dancers, Wendy had 7 dance professionals and three dance hosts. Over the three days at sea she scheduled 7 hour-long group classes; rumba, foxtrot, cha cha cha, tango, salsa, east coast swing and samba so each pro got to teach a class. Obviously as with any mixed group of dancers, people were at different levels and stages in their dancing, so wisely, rather than just teaching steps, each teacher focused on a technical aspect of dance from timing and musicality, posture and frame to using the floor. Although there was nothing I had not heard over and over from my own teachers, I always like going back to the basics since there are so many fundamentals I need to keep working at, to get them out from my head and into my muscles.

Each night from 6:30 to 8 PM was social dancing in the private rooms where Wendy had  brought in a dance floor (see Dance Spaces on the Nieuw Statendam). We had dinner at the late seating from 8 PM and were back to dance in our private ballroom 10 PM to 11 PM. From 11 PM to midnight we went upstairs to the B.B.King’s Blues Club - an awesome band who kept us busy with swing, cha cha, hustle and other energetic dances.

Although the pros and the 3 hosts worked tirelessly dancing almost every dance during the 3 and a half hours of scheduled dance time, because our group had so many female dancers without partners there were times when I sat out many more dances than I would have liked. One of my previous teachers told me long ago to use the times when I was not dancing to observe the other dancers and learn from my observations. So as a good student, though my feet were twitching to get out on the floor, at least that time was not wasted.

With such a large group It took a couple of evenings for the pros and hosts to figure out who had just danced and who they had danced with, and to assess the level of energy and experience of the guests.  From a music perspective for me there were far too many salsas and meringues on the playlist. But by the third evening I was getting some good smooth dances and the occasional Viennese waltz so starting to work on my fitness goal.

On the 7th night, before disembarking, up in B.B. Kings I danced a long energetic East Coast swing as each band member got a solo spot, followed immediately by a hustle to “I Will Survive” that happily seemed to go on forever. As I sat down after the hustle I thought “wow, I did survive - with no oxygen needed.”  Goal achieved.

So thanks to Amber, Brandon, Dale, Dan, Dennis, Derrick, Earl, Jeff, Magdalena and Robert, plus some new friends among the  guest dancers, I left the ship fitter than when I embarked.