How to Prevent Seasickness on a Cruise
Few things can make your cruise grind to a halt like getting seasick. If you’ve ever been one of the unlucky ones who regularly experience seasickness, you know what we’re talking about. And if you’ve never sailed before, the thought of getting sick on a cruise is most likely in the back of your mind.
While you may hear a lot of horror stories about the norovirus on cruise ships, you’re much more likely to encounter a bout of motion sickness. Thankfully, there are several effective methods of seasick prevention that will keep you from experiencing motion sickness, and a few others that will help you combat the symptoms if you’re already feeling nauseous. Here are the best ways to not let rough seas and seasickness ruin your dream cruise vacation.
How to Avoid Seasickness on Your Cruise
1. Choose a ship with fin stabilizers.
You won't see the stabilizers, but you'll feel (won't feel?) the effects. - Photo by Wikipedia Commons
These large, underwater “wings” on the left and right of the ship help keep it straight and upright. The newer the ship, the more advanced the stabilizers, which will keep the vessel steady in rougher conditions. Most ships have two stabilizers, but larger ships like Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-Class ships have 4 - two on each side.
How this technology works is truly fascinating. Marineinsight.com provides detailed information on how these stabilization systems work and the different types.
If you don’t know if they’re making that big of a difference or not, just check out this video of what it looks like when a ship turns the stabilizers off:
2. Select your itinerary carefully.
Some itineraries are rough year round, while others are only choppy at certain times. - Photo by Thinkstock
Though storms and high winds can occur anywhere and at any time, certain regions are known for particularly increase the risk of seasickness for passengers. If you’re highly prone to getting motion sickness, try to avoid rough seas on your cruise. Booking cruises like ocean crossings, Mediterranean sailings during fall and winter, or the Caribbean during hurricane season (June through November), means you’re practically asking to get sick.
If you’re going to cruise one of these types of sailings, make sure you’re fully prepared to combat these high-risk conditions for motion sickness. Everydayhealth.com provides some helpful tips such as:
- Be well rested before sailing.
- Get plenty of fresh air.
- Eat, but light foods. Saltines, bread, pretzels. Ginger is also helpful. Heavy and greasy foods can enhance symptoms and risk.
- Wear an acupressure wristband.
3. Know which cabins are more likely to make you seasick.
We've circled the sweet spot for cabins. - Photo by Alexander Cher
Choosing a cabin on a cruise is one of the most important decisions you will have to make. Choosing for luxury and space is very important. But the location of your cabin is also crucial for seasickness prevention.
Passengers in bow cabins — at or near the front of the ship —and staterooms in the highest decks will feel the most motion and the worst location for cruisers who regularly get seasick. If you’re worried about getting sick, looking into midship cabins. These cabins are least motion-sensitive. It’s important to note, that these cabins are usually the first to be sold out, so you have to hurry.
4. Pack seasickness medication.
Transderm Scop is worth going to your doctor for a prescription. - Photo by Transderm Scop
There are several types of medications for seasickness. You can find a pull list from Webmd.com.
Effective medications for most which don’t need a prescription include: Acupressure wristbands. The bands focus on the pressure point that is clinically proven to relieve nausea. The good part is they are reusable. Antihistamines, such as Dramamine. But, the most effective and long-lasting anti-seasickness drug is Transderm Scōp, A small prescription patch applied behind the ear. Best of all, it’s less likely to make you drowsy than over-the-counter medications, and more likely to work than homeopathic options.
5. Act quickly.
Spring into action the second you see dark clouds on the horizon. - Photo by Bryan Busovicki
Preventing seasickness once you’re already on the ship is all about paying attention. In fact, the first symptom can be as harmless as yawning. If winds are picking up and you start to notice heavier rocking, you can follow these easy steps:
- Take your choice of seasickness prevention medication.
- Move to a less motion-sensitive area of the ship.
Acting quickly before encountering rough waters and a storm can go along way into keeping yourself healthy.