One of the most common concerns for first-time cruisers is seasickness. No one wants to vacation feeling nauseous and miserable, so knowing a few tips and tricks to prevent seasickness is helpful before your cruise.
It’s definitely possible to get seasick on a cruise ship, especially if you’re sailing in a notoriously rough body of water, sailing on a small boat, or have chosen a forward or aft cabin. back of the boat.
The good news, however, is that seasickness is not as common as you might think, and many passengers barely notice the ship moving!
Here are our top ways to prevent and relieve motion sickness on a cruise ship so you can make the most of your cruise vacation.
In this guide:
What causes seasickness on a cruise?
Seasickness occurs when there are conflicts between your senses while you are in motion. When your eyes, ears, muscles, and joints send conflicting signals to each other, your body can become confused. This disrupts the inner ear, where the balance mechanism of the body is located, causing dizziness and nausea.
On a cruise ship, it is possible to get seasick from the ship moving through the sea while everything on board seems to stay in one place.
Is seasickness common on cruise ships?
While it’s certainly possible to get seasick on a cruise ship, it’s not very likely. Royal Caribbean’s ships are huge vessels, a far cry from a sailboat or a kayak. In fact, you could almost forget you’re on a ship once on board!
Related: Things not to worry about on a Royal Caribbean cruise
Cruise lines are doing everything possible to reduce the movement felt by passengers. Modern cruise ships are built with stabilizers — fins that jut out from the starboard and port sides of the ship — to help counteract ocean motion so there’s less turbulence felt on board.
The ship’s captain will also do everything possible to avoid high winds and choppy seas, whether it’s sailing fast to escape a storm, circling in one spot, or completely altering the route. This helps to ensure that your cruise does not encounter high seas whenever possible.
Related: How fast can a cruise ship go faster than a storm?
Which routes are most common for seasickness?
Sailing in protected waters can reduce the risk of seasickness compared to the open ocean. Transatlantic and transpacific cruises, as well as extended high seas itineraries, can mean rougher seas.
If you’re prone to seasickness, consider choosing a port-intensive route with little time spent in open water. When cruising the Greek Islands or the Adriatic, for example, you will spend almost every day in port and the sailing time will be on the (usually) calm and protected waters of the Aegean and Adriatic Seas.
Related: Ultimate Cruising Guide to the Greek Islands
Some bodies of water, including the Bay of Biscay above Spain and the Gulf of Alaska, are subject to strong currents and high winds, which can cause seasickness for many passengers.
Additionally, cruising off-season can sometimes mean encountering less than favorable weather conditions, which can increase the risk of seasickness, such as late fall in Alaska or hurricane season in the Caribbean.
Related: When is the best time to go on a cruise to Alaska?
Will I feel less movement on a newer, larger cruise ship?
Newer ships have more advanced stabilization technology and systems, which means you should, in theory, experience less movement on a larger ship compared to a smaller cruise ship.
That being said, this is not always the case as many factors come into play when it comes to seasickness (weather, vessel location, cabin location, etc.).
In fact, Matt from Royal Caribbean Blog got seasick while sailing on Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas, despite it being the largest cruise ship in the world!
Related: 12 Differences Between Large and Small Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships
More often than not, however, choosing a larger ship over a smaller one on the same itinerary should help prevent seasickness. If you are concerned about getting seasick on a cruise and you choose between Symphony of the Seas and Grandeur of the Seas, for example, Symphony of the Seas would be the best option.
Medication for motion sickness
One of the most surefire ways to avoid getting seasick on a cruise is to take motion sickness medication. Be sure to take Dramamine or Bonine tablets with you on the cruise, even if you don’t expect to feel sick. If these drugs make you drowsy, consider buying the non-drowsy version of the drugs.
If you have forgotten motion sickness medication, you can purchase tablets from an onboard store or ask customer service if they have free packets of motion sickness medication available.
You may also consider getting a seasickness patch (scopolamine patch) prescribed for you before the cruise. These patches work by slowly delivering scopolamine to your body over several days.
Look at the horizon
Watching the horizon can help maintain your sense of balance on the ship. If you’ve booked a Balcony or Exterior View Stateroom, spend some time gazing at the horizon if you’re feeling nauseous.
If you have an inside cabin, head to a public area with windows on board (somewhere amidships is best) for a view of the horizon as you cruise through rough seas.
Additionally, many passengers find that sitting in the same direction as the cruise ship is moving can help negate feelings of seasickness. Instead of sitting backwards or to the side as the ship moves forward, find a forward-facing chair.
Eat ginger and green apples
Ginger is one of the best natural remedies for seasickness because one of its active compounds, 6-gingerol, can help you feel less nauseous and dizzy.
Consider bringing ginger tea bags, ginger candies or ginger supplements with you in case you start to get seasick. Ginger ale is available from the onboard bars and restaurants, so can be an easy way to alleviate your seasickness.
Green apples are another natural way to fight seasickness, as the pectin in apples helps calm the stomach. Green apples can be found in most onboard cafes and restaurants, including the Windjammer, Cafe Promenade, Park Cafe, and more.
Aside from medication, some cruisers find wearing an acupressure band helps combat seasickness. These bands work by releasing pressure to stimulate the P-6 pressure point on your wrist, which can help to reduce nausea.
Choose a location amidships and in the lower cabin
One of the best ways to combat seasickness is to book your cruise cabin amidships. Since ships tend to rock and move side to side in the water, a location amidships can be the “balance” point on the ship.
Related: What is the best location on a cruise ship?
Cabins on lower decks generally feel less movement than those on upper decks, so if you’re worried about seasickness, consider a cabin on decks 2-4 rather than 12-14!
While it’s still possible to feel motion amidships, you’ll definitely experience less motion than choosing a forward or aft cabin.
Don’t forget to eat
Although you won’t be hungry on rough sea days, it’s important to eat something small every few hours. Crackers, bread, soups, bananas, and other regular foods are recommended.
Avoid eating greasy, greasy or spicy foods and dairy products as they can increase stomach problems when you are already not feeling well.
Finally, remember to stay hydrated throughout the day to avoid dehydration.
Avoid reading books and looking at screens
While reading a book can be an enjoyable pastime on your cruise vacation, it’s one of the worst things you can do to prevent seasickness.
Many cruise passengers find that reading (whether it’s a physical book, e-reader, or phone) can increase feelings of seasickness and nausea.
While you probably won’t have a problem on calm sea days, you’ll want to put the book away if your cruise ship is in rough waters.
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