5 Ways to Avoid Getting Seasick on Your Cruise

How to avoid getting seasick on a cruise

How to avoid getting seasick on a cruise – and what to do if it happens

Are you worried about getting seasick on your cruise? Seasickness is a common concern for many cruisers (especially if it’s your first cruise), but the good news is that most people don’t experience it. However, a little preparation can go a long way in ensuring that if you do develop symptoms, you’ll be ready with a few different remedies to help you feel better quickly.

While you may not be entirely able to avoid getting seasick, there are many ways to be prepared—from natural remedies to classic over-the-counter medications (even chewable options). Today, we’re sharing 5 practical ways to keep your stomach settled and your vacation worry-free, along with some products to pack with you on your cruise to ensure you’re prepared! If you want to skip straight to the products we suggest, you can click here to visit our Amazon Motionsickness Store.

DISCLOSURES: As a heads-up, this article contains affiliate links, and we may earn a commission if you make a purchase through them. However, don’t worry—this doesn’t affect the price you pay for these Amazon seasickness remedies.

Will you get seasick on a cruise?

Most people don’t experience seasickness on a cruise, especially on larger, modern ships with stabilizers. However, if you’re prone to motion sickness in general (cars, planes), you might be more susceptible to to motion sickness a cruise ship. In general, we tell people who DO experience motion sickness when flying or driving to be sure to pack a variety of natural and medicinal options to avoid getting seasick.

How to avoid getting seasick - OTC
How to avoid getting seasick – OTC

Why does motion sickness happen on a cruise?

Motion sickness happens because of a mismatch between what your eyes see and what your inner ear feels. When you’re on a cruise ship, especially in rough seas, the ship might be rocking and rolling, but if you’re inside a cabin, your eyes might not perceive that movement. This confuses your inner ear, which is responsible for balance, and leads to nausea, dizziness, and other unpleasant symptoms.

Are some cruise destinations more likely to make you feel seasick?

The answer is yes, but it depends more on the weather conditions than the specific location. Certain areas are known for their calmer waters, like the Mediterranean Sea during the summer months or the Caribbean Sea, which is away from the hurricane belt. However, even in these regions, storms or rough seas can occur. Ultimately, the itinerary itself can also play a role. Cruises with more days spent at sea navigating between ports have a higher chance of encountering rough waters compared to itineraries with frequent stops at calmer harbors.

Here’s a breakdown of some cruise destinations where you might encounter more movement:

  • Drake Passage: This infamous stretch of water between South America’s Cape Horn and Antarctica’s South Shetland Islands is a battleground between strong currents and opposing winds. Earning the nickname “Dreaded Drake,” it’s known for churning up some of the roughest seas on the planet. If your Antarctic cruise itinerary includes this passage, prepare for a potentially bumpy ride and pack lots of tools to help you avoid getting seasick.
  • The Pacific Ocean: As the world’s largest ocean, the Pacific can be a mixed bag. While some regions offer smooth sailing, areas further north can experience strong currents and high swells. Cruises traveling north to California from the Mexican Riviera, particularly in the winter months can be rocky!
  • Certain Areas of Alaska: The good news is that many Alaska cruises navigate the calm waters of the Inside Passage, a protected waterway nestled between the mainland and islands. However, cruises venturing into the open waters of the Gulf of Alaska, particularly those departing from Seattle or Vancouver and heading towards Seward, Whittier, or Anchorage, can encounter rough seas due to the region’s cold air and powerful currents. To avoid getting seasick on Alaska cruises, follow our tips below!

While specific destinations might not inherently cause more seasickness, you can choose a lower-risk cruise by considering the time of year and the itinerary’s balance between sailing days and port visits.

Does everyone experience motion sickness on a cruise?

Absolutely not! Many people enjoy cruises without a single issue. However, some people are more prone to motion sickness than others. Here are some factors that can increase your chances of developing motion sickness:

  • Previous experience with motion sickness: If you get car sick or airsick easily, you’re more likely to experience seasickness.
  • Age: Children and older adults are generally more susceptible to motion sickness.
  • Inner ear health: Certain inner ear issues can make you more prone to motion sickness.
  • Anxiety: Anxiety can worsen the feeling of seasickness, so staying calm can help.

How will I know if I’m experiencing motion sickness on a cruise?

Motion sickness on a cruise can be a real downer for what’s supposed to be a relaxing vacation, but how will you know if it’s happening to you? You may feel a vague unease or dizziness that grows steadily worse. You might experience a queasy feeling in your stomach- like butterflies gone rogue, or even morning sickness. As the ship rolls, you might feel lightheaded or disoriented, and even the thought of food can make your stomach churn. In severe cases, you might experience nausea and vomiting. The good news is that these symptoms usually subside once you disembark or the seas calm.

By following the tips below, you can hopefully avoid getting seasick and enjoy your cruise without suffering from seasickness.

How to avoid (and treat) motion sickness on a cruise:

If you are concerned about seasickness, there are plenty of things you can do to prepare and hopefully avoid it altogether! A combination of planning, OTC or prescription medication, and natural remedies should help you avoid getting seasick or minimize its symptoms.

Here are 5 things to think about:

Location, Location, Location: Dealing with motion sickness starts BEFORE your cruise! When booking your cabin, prioritize a room in the lower-middle section of the ship to avoid getting seasick and feeling MORE motion. This area experiences the least amount of movement, helping you feel more stable throughout the cruise. Imagine the ship as a giant seesaw – the middle experiences the least amount of tilt, while the ends feel the most dramatic swings. By choosing a cabin in this sweet spot, you’ll minimize the sensation of rocking and rolling.

Be Med-Ready: Pack over-the-counter medications like Bonine, or consult your doctor for a prescription pill or patch if you’re prone to more serious motion sickness. Don’t worry if you forget – most cruise ship medical centers or front desks (aka customer service) also sell or sometimes give out medication in pill form. These medications block certain signals in the inner ear that contribute to nausea. However, some medications can cause drowsiness, so be sure to read the label carefully and choose a non-drowsy option if you plan on participating in activities during the day.

HOT TIP: start using motion sickness medications on the first day of your cruise to avoid getting seasick, particularly if you’re concerned and prone to motion sickness issues. You’ll find everything from chewables to non-drowsy medications to help you avoid getting seasick in our Amazon store. Just click here to see what options are best for you.

Acupressure Relief: Sea bands are a popular and affordable option (under $10) that apply gentle pressure to a specific point on your wrist. This acupressure technique is thought to help alleviate nausea by stimulating a pressure point that may regulate nausea signals sent to the brain. While the science behind acupressure is still being explored, many people swear by its effectiveness to help avoid getting seasick.

How to avoid getting seasick - Acupressure
How to avoid getting seasick – Acupressure

HOT TIP: These are great to use starting on DAY 1 of your cruise (for best results), and many seasoned cruisers swear by them. Because they are totally natural and nonharmful, you might want to wear them immediately upon boarding the cruise ship. You’ll find many colors, styles, and sizes here.

Tech to the Rescue: For a more high-tech solution, consider the Reliefband. While it is expensive, it’s completely drug-free and very effective. It’s often used for chemotherapy patients and women with severe morning sickness. This wristband uses electrical pulses to stimulate nerves and calm your stomach, offering relief without medication. The Reliefband sends small electrical pulses to your median nerve, which some studies suggest may help regulate nerve signals associated with nausea. It’s important to note that the Reliefband may not be suitable for everyone, particularly those with pacemakers or other implanted electronic devices.

Natural Options: Don’t underestimate the power of natural remedies. Head to the buffet and grab a green apple for a refreshing snack, as they are known to settle seasickness. Green apples are high in pectin, a fiber that can help slow digestion and reduce nausea. Ginger is another great choice – try ginger chews (Gin Gin’s are very popular and strong!), sucking on ginger candies or drinking ginger tea to combat nausea. Ginger has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for nausea, and some studies suggest it may be effective in preventing motion sickness.

How to avoid getting seasick - Natural remedies
How to avoid getting seasick – Natural remedies

HOT TIP: Feeling sick and prefer not to leave your room? Call room service and ask if they have green apples available for delivery. Many nurses, cruise ship staff, and moms swear by this natural remedy!

Beyond the Basics: A Bonus Section for Avoiding Seasickness

Now that you’ve got the essentials covered, here are some additional tips to help minimize seasickness throughout your cruise:

  • Eat Strategically: Avoid heavy meals and alcohol overindulgence before and during rough seas. Opt for smaller, blander foods like crackers, lean protein, toast, or rice. Eating small amounts frequently can help settle your stomach and prevent nausea.
  • Stay Hydrated: Dehydration can worsen nausea, so be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Avoid sugary drinks and excessive caffeine, which can dehydrate you further. Electrolytes and hydration support like Liquid IV can help, too. We love the immune support packets because they do double duty to help protect you from illness and avoid getting seasick,
  • Fresh Air is Your Friend: If you start to feel queasy, head up to the deck, or out onto your balcony and get some fresh air. Focusing on a fixed point on the horizon, like the sun or a distant landmark, can help your body regain its sense of equilibrium.
  • Minimize Movement: Reading, watching movies, or focusing on screens while the ship is rocking can exacerbate nausea. If you do feel seasick, try lying down in a dark, quiet room with minimal movement. Step outside now and then for some fresh air, but get plenty of rest.
  • Manage Anxiety: Anxiety can worsen the feeling of seasickness. Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation to help calm your nerves and help to avoid getting seasick. Do your best to get a good nights sleep, and don’t overdo it!
  • Visit our Motion Sickness Remedies “Idea List” On Amazon! There’s something for every budget here, and you can choose a variety of natural and medicinal options to pack with you to avoid getting seasick.

Remember: Even with these tips, there’s always a chance you might experience some seasickness. If you do feel unwell, don’t hesitate to seek help from the ship’s medical staff. They are equipped to diagnose and treat seasickness and can provide additional medication or recommendations if needed.

By following these tips and being prepared, you can significantly reduce your chances of experiencing seasickness and ensure a smooth and enjoyable cruise adventure. Now that you’re prepared to avoid getting seasick, it’s time to get ready to set sail for a cruise vacation filled with delicious food, exciting activities, and breathtaking views!

Here are a few more resources you may enjoy!

Check out our Ultimate Quick Guide to Alaska Ports.

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