Practical Advice About Seasickness

I get seasick. I guess I’m not the only one. Since we take lots of cruises, it’s something I’ve learned how to address. Here are a few thoughts. This is practical advice, not medical advice.

  1. River cruises. If seasickness is a really big fear, consider a river cruise instead. You should have smoother sailing. It’s probably one of the reasons this segment of the industry has boomed.
  2. Alaska cruises. They often sail the Inland Passage. In my experience, you think the ship is gliding along on ball bearings. You get the big, ocean going ship experience without rough waters.
  3. Choose your ship. We sail with Cunard. The Queen Mary 2 was designed for transatlantic crossings. Put another way, it’s an ocean-going hull with a hotel built inside, not a hotel with a hull built around it.
  4. Choose your cabin location. If you are heading out to sea on a large ship, cabins in the middle (midships) feel less movement than those at the bow or stern. Cabins on lower decks feel less movement than those on higher decks.
  5. Avoid certain activities. If the waters are rough and the theater is towards the bow, evening shows might be cancelled because the movement of the state would be hazardous for the dancers. If the weather is rough, avoid being in parts of the ship with lots of movement. The library aboard the Queen Mary 2, located far forward, feels the motion!
  6. Don’t hide in your cabin. This might seem counterintuitive. Lying in bed, watching the drapes sway side to side and your water glass slide off the end table magnifies the movement.
  7. Try to get outside. Focus on the horizon. This assumes it’s not rainy and stormy. Focusing your attention and that point in the distance where the sea and sky connect is supposed to be good for your condition. So is fresh air.
  8. Don’t binge eat or drink. I learned this lesson on an overnight drift fishing boat sailing from Brooklyn. If the movement of the sea is upsetting your stomach, having it filled with greasy food and beer won’t help. I learned this from personal experience.
  9. Going to dinner isn’t a good idea. If you are feeling queasy, dressing for dinner and finding your seat in the middle of the dining room comes with its own set of problems. Making your way across a crowded dining room to the nearest toilet might take more time than you’ve got.
  10. Visit the infirmary. The ship’s medical office comes across this problem all the time. They should have seasickness tablets. The Purser’s office might have them too. When I’ve needed them, I’ve found them to be inexpensive. Worth every penny. They worked for me.

Your captain will seek to chart the smoothest course. They have some ability to steer around storms. Sometimes it’s not possible. Today’s ships come with sophisticated stabilizers and other technology to make your cruise as comfortable as possible. Mother nature is stronger than technology.

Queen Victoria seas through porthole, credit Bryce Sanders


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