How to beat seasickness on a cruise
Published on 07 Jul 2021
Seasickness can happen to anyone, even the most seasoned seafaring travellers! However, there are several ways you can make yourself feel better when the queasiness strikes. Here’s a guide on how to avoid seasickness during your cruise:
Motion sickness is caused by a repetition of movements when travelling. It is commonly referred to as travel sickness when in a bus or car and seasickness when on a ship or boat. Motion Sickness Guru states that the condition occurs “when the brain receives conflicting messages from various parts of the body that sense and respond to movement.” While the NHS further explains that “the inner ear sends different signals to the brain from those that your eyes are seeing. These confusing messages cause you to feel unwell.”
Seasickness symptoms can vary from person to person. However, many individuals can experience a strange taste in their mouth or more saliva than usual. The lower jaw and throat may also feel tense.
Motion Sickness Guru wrote on their blog, “You may find yourself yawning a lot and feeling weak and short of breath. Your skin may go pale (or the proverbial green) and as your body diverts blood away from the surface of your skin you break into a cold sweat. Dizziness typically follows, then nausea, culminating in active vomiting. Intense nausea and repeated vomiting can be completely debilitating. As noted above, sufferers may also develop a headache (often intense). Rarely, and only in the most severe cases, the dizziness progresses to breathing difficulties and fainting.”
Billy from Cruise Habit recommends staying mid-ship on a lower deck as often as possible. He told us, “A ship pivots and sways in high seas or windy conditions and this means that while the far front and aft areas move up and down quite a distance, the centre of the ship doesn’t travel up and down nearly as much. The same is true for side-to-side motion.” Billy continued, “Keep in mind that the overwhelming majority of cruisers are not negatively affected by the motion of modern cruise ships and those who are generally don’t suffer the effects in such a way that it stops them from having a great time.
Sarah from Cruising with Kids echoed Billy’s thoughts, “Choose a stateroom on a centrally located lower deck to minimise movement. If you do feel a little nauseous, I find the tablets from the concierge desk cure it in no time at all.”
Many people use medicinal products to combat seasickness. Kathy from The Quiet Cruiser takes an over-the-counter motion sickness tablet called Bonine. She told us, “As someone who gets motion sickness on amusement rides, I’ve always been a little worried about getting sick on a cruise. However, I have never actually had a problem with seasickness while cruising. On the morning of embarkation (before I even get on board), I take Bonine. This works well without making me sleepy. I then take one pill each morning and evening of the cruise. Sometimes towards the last half of the cruise, I’ll switch to Dramamine Natural, which is basically ginger pills.”
Gavin and Luke from Cruise Monkeys explained, “There are a number of over-the-counter medications available for seasickness. Pop to your local pharmacist and speak to them about the different tablets, even if you don’t normally suffer, it’s always wise to pack some. If you are suffering from seasickness on board, head to the ships’ reception desk and ask for some advice. Some cruise lines we’ve been on sell seasickness tablets at reception and this has been so handy when we have forgotten to bring our own.”
Usually, the last thing you want to think about when you’re feeling sick is food. However, eating can help the symptoms of seasickness as Everyday Health states, “The best foods are light and bland, lick crackers, plain bread or pretzels. Having some food in your stomach is better than having an empty stomach but be careful not to eat too much! Ginger is also a well-known natural remedy for motion sickness, while peppermint may have calming effects on the stomach. Many people find that eating crackers along with drinking water or soda helps.”
Becky from The Owlet told us, “Try to eat something with ginger or lemon in, or a green apple as these are supposed to cure seasickness. I also find drinking a sugary, fizzy drink can help me feel less sick.”
You may feel clammy, hot and sweaty when the seasickness hits. So, heading out on deck to breathe in the fresh air and look out to sea may help, as Abi from Inside The Travel Lab explained, “Gaze lovingly, long and hard at the horizon! Never take your eyes off it! Get fresh air if you need to and avoid anywhere stuffy and hot. If things are getting really bad, have a paper bag with you just in case. Usually, seasickness passes with time.”
Billy added, “Part of what contributes to traveller discomfort is the disconnect in our brains from the movement we feel and the movement, or lack thereof, that we see. This is why most don’t suffer these maladies while simply riding in the front seat of a car but many do if they’re riding in a car and look down to read a book or mobile phone. In short, if the motion of the ocean is making you feel a bit off, stare that ocean down.”