How To Prevent Seasickness When Cruising
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How To Prevent Seasickness When Cruising

Many people are anxious about going on a cruise because they are worried about getting seasick. And many people indeed get seasick on cruises, but there are things you can do to prevent it from happening to you.

There are both natural and traditional remedies to prevent seasickness when cruising. We’ve compiled the best of them in this post. Additionally, we’ve included some tips on alleviating the symptoms if you become sick.

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What Is Seasickness And What Are The Typical Symptoms?

Seasickness (a form of the more common motion sickness) happens when the information your brain is receiving from your eyes and ears is scrambled. According to WebMD, Your brain temporarily doesn’t understand if you are moving or standing still. The resulting confusion makes you feel sick.

On cruises, seasickness is a widespread ailment, especially for first-time cruisers. The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. And since you are on a cruise to have fun, party, and enjoy good food and drink. Being seasick can definitely put a damper on your vacation. 

If you’re not sure if you are seasick or have the flu or something else, the quickest way to know if to get off the ship.  If your symptoms go away when you are on land, chances are you were seasick.

Seasickness typically starts about 12-24 hours after boarding the ship and can last for up to 2 days before subsiding. If you are sailing on calm seas, the feeling probably won’t come back. But when sailing in rougher waters, you may be in for multiple bouts of seasickness on a cruise

5 Things You Can Do To Prevent Seasickness When Cruising

Seasickness can be prevented by using one or more of the following remedies: natural and traditional.  

1. Pick Your Ship And Itinerary Carefully

Newer ships are typically larger and have incredible stabilizers that keep the ship on a more even keel. Also, choose an itinerary that will keep you away from rough seas, like sailing the islands in the Caribbean.

2. Choose Your Cabin Wisely.

Even on the most state-of-the-art ship and in calm waters, you will notice less movement depending on your location. There is more motion at the front (bow) and back (stern) of the ship than in the middle. Also, the higher decks have more sway than the lower decks.

If you think you may be seasick, choose a cabin near mid-ship on a lower deck. Some say keeping your eyes on the horizon helps, so having a balcony could be a good idea.

3. Take Seasickness Medication Before You Board The Ship

There are many medications on the market, both natural and traditional. Talk to your doctor before you go on your cruise to see if they recommend any particular seasickness medications.

You can get the most common medications over the counter; no prescription is required. Dramamine is the most common, but Bonine comes in a close second. These drugs work by blocking the signals from the inner ear to the brain that cause seasickness.

Dramamine in a yellow box - How to Prevent Seasickness When Cruising
Bonine Pills for Motion Sickness in a Blue Box

These drugs have side effects; Dramamine can make you drowsy, so it’s best to take it at bedtime. And Bonine can cause constipation, so drink plenty of fluids if you take it.

While most health care professionals recommend you take these drugs before seasickness symptoms start, you can also take either during an episode of seasickness.

4. There Are Natural Methods To Prevent Seasickness When Cruising

Try acupressure. It is said that there is a point along your wrist called the nei-kuan (P6). Many long-time cruisers rely on these simple wrist bands, which use the acupressure technique above, to prevent seasickness on a cruise.

Wrist Bands for Motion Sickness
Motion Sickness Patches

Another common device is the herbal skin patch. This is a small bandage-looking patch that contains herbs that have been shown to prevent or relieve the symptoms of seasickness. I’ve seen cruisers wear these patches throughout the cruise.

Licorice root or crystallized ginger lozenges have also been found to prevent a queasy stomach. Ginger is said to settle the stomach and help with seasickness.

5. Aromatherapy And Essential Oils May Help Prevent Seasickness When Cruising

Lavender is a soothing scent that may help you relax. Using aromatherapy with scents like ginger and peppermint may lessen the nausea you feel when seasick. Try rubbing the essential oils on your forehead or wrists’ pressure points.  

The advantage of natural devices is that they generally do not have side effects like Dramamine or Bonine.

Already Sick? Here Are Things That May Make You Feel Better

Once you feel the effects of seasickness when cruising, all you want to do is get rid of the symptoms.

1. Watch What You Eat And Drink

Seasickness can be exacerbated by certain foods and drinks. Avoid eating greasy or spicy foods, drinking caffeine or alcohol, and eating large meals. Instead, eat light and bland meals such as toast, crackers, soup, or fruit.

2. Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of fluids such as water or ginger ale which may help settle your stomach. Also, it may just be an “old wives tale,” but eating saltines always seems to help.

3. Place A Cold, Wet Cloth On Your Forehead

This will help cool you down and alleviate some of the symptoms of seasickness. Sleeping for a bit takes away some of the sensory issues that have been confusing your brain.  So take a quick nap and you most likely will wake up feeling better.

Pool Deck with Cabanas and Loungers

4. Get Some Fresh Air

Being outside allows you to see the horizon. When your eyes see the ship’s motion, they signal to the brain that what your inner ear is sensing is correct, clearing up the confusion causing your symptoms.

Find a quiet place on deck to relax in the sun. The breeze on your face can help to clear your head and ease nausea.

5. Keep Your Mind Busy

If you constantly think about being seasick, it will only make you feel worse. To keep your mind occupied, try playing a game of cards with others. You can watch a movie or listen to a podcast or books on audio. Avoid actually reading a book, magazine, or newspaper. Reading always makes my seasickness worse.   

6. Head To Sickbay

If you are still seasick and the remedies above have not helped, it may be time for a trip to sickbay. The ship’s doctor has other medications that may help relieve your seasickness symptoms.

Seasickness When Cruising Is A Very Real Phenomenon

Being seasick can ruin your well-deserved vacation quickly. When you’re planning on taking a cruise or spending time on the open seas, be sure to try out these tips to prevent seasickness from ruining your trip.

Prevent Seasickness When Cruising - Woman on a tender boat with cruise ship in the backgound

But if you do start to feel queasy, don’t worry – now you have some ways to treat seasickness when cruising that will have you back up on deck in no time. Have fun and safe sailing!

Man on sailing ship feeling seasick - How to prevent seasickness

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