10 Ways to Avoid (or Cure) Seasickness on Your Next Cruise (Slideshow)
Carefully Choose Your Cabin
Most people nowadays prefer to pick their seats before flying, and seasickness-prone travelers should follow this same example when booking a cruise — preferably on a larger ship.
If you’re worried about feeling ill, look for a cabin toward the middle of the ship, and avoid anything too far forward or aft. Additionally, experts also say the lower levels of ships provide the most stability, so you might want to pass on upgrading to a higher deck. However, if you find your seasickness is quelled by fresh air, you may want to stick with a higher deck after all, as those are generally where the cabins with balconies are located. In the end, the safest bet is probably to shoot for the lowest balcony level toward the middle of the ship. Got all that?
Carefully Choose Your Destination
Although seasickness generally isn’t serious enough that you should let it dictate your entire vacation, if you’re a nervous first-time cruiser, you might want to take an extra precaution and book a trip with calmer waters and fewer days at sea. Outside of hurricane season, you’ll almost always find peaceful sailing in the Caribbean, and Alaska’s inside passage is another safe bet. If you’re really fearful of bigger waves, opt for a river cruise instead!
Go Tuck Yourself In
It may sound silly, but slipping into a securely tucked bed can actually help your seasickness. Try this: Tuck one side of your sheets under the mattress, then grab the other side of the sheets and roll yourself up in them. This will help you rock with the movement of the ship rather than against it — which will help you feel better.
Kick Up Your Feet
According to The Textbook of Travel Medicine, one study seemed to indicate that “passengers who are able to readily lie down can reduce their risk for motion sickness irrespective of their cabin location.” So even if your stateroom isn’t in an ideal location, you can still control your seasickness if you lie down. Don’t feel like holing up inside all day? Be sure to head to the top deck early and grab a lounger so you can suppress your sickness while soaking up the sun.
If you feel like you’re rocking and rolling during the day (no, not in the good way), head somewhere with a view — whether it’s to a window, on a balcony, or up on the top deck. Then fixate your gaze on the horizon to steady your mind. After a few minutes, you should recalibrate.
Medicate to Alleviate
Dramamine is the over-the-counter go-to for all types of motion sickness, but the perpetually ill have even more tricks up their sleeves. Meclizine (often marketed as Bonine, Antivert, or Dramamine II, among other names) and scopolamine hydrobromide (in patch form) are the preferred choices of onboard medical staff, as are cyclizine and diphenhydramine, aka Benadryl. Be sure to talk to a medical professional before taking any of these medications — preferably ahead of time, as it often pays to be proactive. If you’re truly concerned, plan to take the medication, as directed, at least an hour before leaving the port.
And while it’s always a good idea to be personally prepared for every scenario, cruise lines won’t leave you stranded at sea (metaphorically or literally). Onboard infirmaries will generally stock a whole smorgasbord of remedies. Keep in mind, however, that some of these may cause drowsiness — which can be exacerbated by alcohol consumption.
Try Eastern Medicine
The jury is still out on the effectiveness of acupressure wristbands, but if you find they work (even as a placebo), go for it! Brands like Sea-Band claim the elasticated wristbands relieve nausea and seasickness by applying pressure on the Nei Kuan acupressure point on each wrist via a plastic stud. Whether or not you believe it, you really have nothing to lose (except for a few bucks at your local pharmacy), as the bands do not use drugs and thus do not cause any side effects associated with some of the other remedies. They’re kid-safe, too!
Try Feasting Away the Feeling
No, we’re not suggesting a trip to the all-you-can-eat buffet will cure your illness (in fact, stuffing yourself will only make it worse), but eating the right foods could help. Many people swear by ginger in all forms: candy, capsules, syrup, and even ginger ale — as long as it’s made with real ginger. Cruise crews and scuba divers also claim that eating crackers, green apples, and artificially flavored orange and/or citrus candy can help, too.
In the end, just make sure you have something in your stomach — even if it’s just a snack every few hours. With all the food onboard, this shouldn’t be an issue. However, if the abundance of food smells gets too overpowering, seek some fresh air.
Water, Water Everywhere… So Let’s All Have a Drink!
Water really is a miracle cure, as proper hydration can help with everything from energy, headaches, and hangovers to mood, skin complexion, and weight loss.
Count seasickness as another affliction remedied by water and hydration, although some folks claim the sugar and bubbles in soda also help alleviate their nausea — especially with the aforementioned ginger ale.
When in Doubt, Just Chill Out
Never underestimate the power of suggestion when it comes to your health. The biggest cause of seasickness for some folks is the fear that they’ll get seasick.
Relax, enjoy your vacation, and try not to think too hard — especially when those thoughts are of the worrying variety. Many people who have never cruised for fears of illness ended up finally going and having a totally incident-free vacation!