How to Beat Seasickness on Your Next Cruise

You’ve finally made it: you step aboard the ship and you can hardly contain your excitement. You’ve been waiting for this vacation for months!

And then the seasickness strikes.

For many of us, seasickness is an unexpected, but surprisingly common affliction on a cruise. If you’ve ever experienced it, you know how it can completely derail your trip. Instead of spending time by the pool or in the sauna, you’ll be hunched over a toilet and in the fetal position. Not quite the vacation you imagined.

Thankfully, there are a few clever ways to combat seasickness if you experience it and it’s worth it to go prepared. You deserve to enjoy traveling and experiencing new things!

Here are 5 expert tips on staving off seasickness so you can get back to enjoying yourself on your next cruise.

1. Picking The Right Cruise

What is seasickness exactly? It has to do with a little pocket of fluid deep inside your ear. When that fluid is moving around but your brain perceives you as being still, there’s a mismatch. The natural movement of the ship on the water means you are moving, even though you may feel like you’re not. Your brain and your inner ear start arguing over what’s really happening and you will soon start to feel queasy and dizzy.

Motion sickness is incredibly common. About 1 in 3 people are considered highly susceptible to motion sickness, and almost everyone will succumb to it if the movement is intense enough.

Symptoms may include dizziness, nausea, headache, vomiting, pallor, drowsiness, sweating, and a general feeling of discomfort. If you’ve ever felt dizzy or drowsy from an ultrasound machine, the symptoms can feel similar.

Picking the right cruise if your first line of defense against seasickness. Try to pick a geographical location and time of year where you know the waters will likely be calm. The Gulf of Mexico has notoriously calm waters, and it’s best to avoid going in peak hurricane season where the seas will be choppy.

Cruises that stay close to coastlines are always less choppy than trans-oceanic cruises. Cruises that sail mostly at night and don’t have entire days out on the open ocean will also greatly help reduce seasickness, as you’re less likely to experience harsh side effects while sleeping.

Of course, there’s always an element of luck, but you can try your best to choose a calm, happy sea for your next cruise. There are tons of online resources that rate cruises to help you get started.

2. Re-focus Your Mind

No matter how well you research and plan your cruise, storms still happen and you might find yourself on rough, choppy seas and getting seasick.

When this happens, try to get some fresh air and focus on the horizon line. By stabilizing your eyes on a fixed point, your brain will feel a little less disoriented by the movement.

While doing this, take long, slow, deep breaths and try to take your mind off of your sickness. If you focus on it, it will likely feel worse.

How to Beat Seasickness on Your Next Cruise

3. Over-The-Counter Medications For Seasickness

Over-The-Counter medications targeted at seasickness help hundreds of people find relief on cruises. In fact, many cruise travelers won’t leave home without them.

Medications for motion sickness include Dramamine, transdermal patches of scopolamine, Antivert, Promethegan, Benadryl, and Marezine.

You usually only need to take these medications at the onset of symptoms and continue them either until your motion sickness resolves or your cruise is commenced.

If you experience headaches and general malaise, try taking OTC painkillers like Tylenol or Advil first.

4. Natural Remedies For Seasickness

While there are no long-term side effects from taking Over-The-Counter remedies for motion sickness, many travelers find that they feel overly tired, have dry mouth, or blurry vision. While these side effects may be preferable to nausea and vomiting, they still don’t make for a great vacation.

If you’re not into taking medications, try peppermint oil or ginger for an upset stomach. These can work wonders if your main complaint from seasickness is nausea and vomiting.

Be sure to take peppermint oil or ginger with plenty of fluids or with food to mitigate heartburn or indigestion.

5. Eat Small Meals and Stay Hydrated

Although that buffet may be tempting, try to eat small meals while on a cruise. Eating large meals can make nausea worse when you have seasickness. Even if this means you need to eat more frequently, smaller meals will be less taxing on your digestive system throughout the cruise.

Also avoid spicy, greasy, fatty, salty, and processed foods. It’s a good idea to also avoid caffeine or alcohol if you’re feeling seasick.

Staying hydrating will not only help you feel less nauseous but can help headaches and drowsiness as well. Staying hydrated when you feel sick is never a bad idea, on a cruise or not!

Final Thoughts

Seasickness is never a walk in the park. However, if you go to your next cruise armed with a few tips to stave it off, and backup medications for when other things don’t work, you’ll spend more time having fun and less time thinking about where the nearest toilet is.

Know that if you suffer from severe motion sickness, you’re not alone and you aren’t hopelessly delegated to spending your days at sea in bed. So don’t be afraid of cruises!

If you have questions or need ideas on where your next vacation should be, contact me and read my travel blog.