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Royal Caribbean’s Zumba Cruise

Until our daughter-in-law Frances announced she was going to become an accredited Zumba instructor, this was a word that may never have crossed our lips. Zumba, not Zumbainstructor. We may have thought it was the name of a Greek restaurant or the latest battle cry used by kids as they loaded the newest war game on their Xboxes.

Now we know better.

Zumba is everywhere, even on cruise ships. Next year, Royal Caribbean will have its Zumba Cruise on Independence of the Seas. It’s five days of zumba-ing at sea, disembarking in Falmouth, Jamaica, and on “Zumba Island” — formerly known as the cruise line’s private port in Labadee, Haiti.

There will be 300 Zumba-theme classes in five days. There will be 130 celebrity instructors to teach passengers how to squat, mambo, hip-hop, lunge and salsa with the best of them. Independence of the SeasOne of the instructors will be “Beto” Perez, the Colombian creator of Zumba and one of The Three Albertos who founded the craze about 20 years ago (the others are Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion).

If you think those numbers are high, then you should also know there are 15 million people who take Zumba classes in 185 countries at 140,000 gymnasiums, fitness centers or wherever else groups can gather to be guided through the exercise(s).

The ship leaves Fort Lauderdale on January 30, and this is likely just the beginning.

What does “Zumba” mean? Whatever you want it to mean…except a Greek restaurant or a war cry on Xbox.

In the news…

• Million people in Liverpool for Cunard's three Queens on Monday
• Celebrity Eclipse first Solstice Class ship with 'World Class Bar'
• Disney to return to New York for five cruises in October 2016

Today at portsandbows.com: Christening the Viking Star

Carnival Elation
5 nights
August 22, 2015
New Orleans (return): Cozumel, Merida
Inside: $309
Cost per day: $61
www.carnival.com

Princess Antidote for Weight Gain

You know the rule of thumb about cruise ships, right. Ten days, ten pounds. Right there behind the belt buckle…or where the belt buckle used to be until you had to move it a notch. But when you’re being offered food 24-7, and you don’t have to make it, who can resist?

On Princess ships, times are changing. Relax, it’s still food 24-7. There are still all the self-help disciplines to turn your body into a chiseled six-pack. Or three-pack. Or an inch closer to three-pack…but how much time do you have to spend on the treadmill to lose that inch while enjoying high-calorie training?

Oh yes, Princess.

It appears the line is onto something. Zumba. That’s not the start of a cheerleading routine, it’s a dance routine, and what Princess discovered is that passengers think it’s fun. Lose (maintain) weight. Have fun. Now there’s a no brainer.

By the end of the year, licensed instructors will give Zumba lessons on all 17 Princess ships. Free. It started last December on 11 ships and was so popular that Princess sent staff members to be trained in the “exhilarating dance-fitness program that blends red-hot international music and contagious choreography.”

But it’s not the “exhilarating dance-fitness” or even the “red hot” that’s going to make “Zumba!” a passenger cheer. It’s how many inches that belt buckle doesn’t have to move by the end of the cruise.

Photo courtesy Princess Cruises

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