Going on a cruise is an unparalleled experience. Yet, most first-time passengers have a nagging concern as they get ready to board.
If you are worried that you might get seasick, know that you are not alone.
Know the Malady
Before we examine the remedies in greater detail, be assured that modern cruise ships are very stable. Their massive size helps reduce vigorous rolling or pitching motions. Most cruise ships are at least twice the size of the Titanic.
Most cruises operate in calm waters such as the Caribbean and Mediterranean, or on rivers. Cruise vessels do not usually venture into the open ocean.
The crew tries to avoid storms and choppy seas. Modern weather prediction cautions the captain of trouble brewing on the horizon. Cruise ships are rarely far from a suitable port if bad weather is expected.
What Causes Seasickness?
Seasickness refers to the unease felt on a moving ship. The symptoms may range from nausea, dizziness, and vomiting to vertigo, loss of appetite, and general anxiety.
Seasickness happens due to sensory conflict. The cause is the same as any other form of motion sickness you may experience, like airsickness or carsickness.
The body is staying still in one place, yet the eyes signal to the brain that it is moving forward. We use our ears not only for hearing, but also for maintaining balance. The eyes and ears do not present synchronized information, and this is what causes motion sickness.
When the cruise ends, the symptoms subside in a few hours without any long-term effects.
If you are embarking on a cruise, it is important to obtain adequate cruise medical insurance. If you fall ill onboard, it could require evacuation to shore followed by hospitalization for treatment and recovery. Many cruise insurance plans offer this coverage, as well as a host of other benefits
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Six Tips to Avoid Seasickness
1. Spend time in the open
When the vessel embarks on its voyage and is out on the water, spend some time on the deck. Being cooped up inside the ship is a surefire way to intensify the effects of seasickness.
Though these ships are large and extremely quiet, there is always a mild sensation of movement. Your eyes cannot confirm that if you are inside.
When you are outside, the eyes, ears, and brain don’t struggle to sync up. You can see the sun move across the sky, and the wide and mile-long wake left by the vessel. Your senses resume working in tandem.
The fresh air also alleviates early signs of seasickness. The higher you are on the ship, the more access you have to the sea breeze.
2. Get a cabin located amidships
The best cabins are situated near the center of the vessel. Even if the ship pitches furiously, they are least affected by the motion.
If you are unable to book one located amidships, find one that is aft (nautical term for the rear of the ship).
Since the engines, propellers, and fuel tanks are located aft, that section is comparatively heavier and far more stable.
Cabins located near the bow are the worst for seasickness.
Most cruise lines allow you to state your preference when booking. It is like trying to avoid the middle seat on a flight. The crew always assists and tries to accommodate a passenger’s needs. Don’t hesitate to ask.
3. Try medication
You could turn to medications for overcoming seasickness.
The most well-known is Dramamine. It is an over-the-counter drug widely used to treat nausea due to any form of motion sickness.
Another motion sickness medication is called Bonine. Both have been in use for at least a half-century and are not found to have serious side effects when used for short-term relief.
The most common side effect of Dramamine and Bonine is drowsiness. Therefore, you must use Dramamine or Bonine sparingly. Unfortunately, newer generation antihistamines that are non-drowsy do not help with motion sickness.
Cruise ships typically sell Dramamine and Bonine onboard. If you wish, you could buy from a local pharmacy and start with one pill a couple of nights before you set sail. Of course, speak to your doctor first before taking any new medication.
4. Patch yourself up
Scopolamine is a drug used to treat postoperative nausea. Transdermal patches containing scopolamine have become popular for managing seasickness.
The patch is placed on the skin, typically behind one of the ears, and keeps transfusing minute amounts of the drug into your system regularly.
Each patch lasts three days, which is enough time for almost anyone to become used to a ship’s movements.
There is no noticeable side effect apart from dry mouth. If you are wary, try one while you are still on dry land. If you face no difficulty, it could be just what you were looking for.
The biggest plus of the scopolamine transdermal patch is that it does not cause drowsiness.
You should, however, avoid alcohol while wearing the patch. Alcohol causes dehydration, and the scopolamine in your system can amplify the effect.
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5. Wear wristbands that treat motion sickness
Motion sickness bands are the latest invention in seasickness relief. They use acupressure for treating nausea.
Acupressure is an ancient technique used for centuries in parts of Asia. According to traditional medicine, when certain nerve points are stimulated, they release life energy. This technique can be used to treat a variety of maladies.
Motion sickness bands exert pressure on nerves in the wrist. Just slip them on half an hour before you board the ship, and keep them on for as long as possible every day.
There is no scientific proof that it works, but the empirical evidence is impressive. Moreover, there is no side effect since you are not consuming a drug.
6. Ginger saves the day
Ginger is an effective antiemetic (treatment for nausea).
All you need is fresh ginger root. You could have it raw as thin slices, or brewed with tea bags.
If the taste of raw ginger does not appeal to you, try ginger candies or ginger ale. Just make sure they contain real ginger, and not artificial flavors that seem like the real deal.
It helps if you are well-rested before a cruise. Also, have a hearty meal a few hours before you board. Stay hydrated and try to remain active.
If you feel ill, there is no need to be distraught. Every cruise ship has a certified doctor aboard and a small hospital ward to take care of most problems.
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