If, like me, you have the misfortune of suffering from seasickness then the thought alone of going on a cruise is likely to make you feel queasy. For many, being cooped up in an enclosed space, surrounded by nothing but water for miles around sounds more like a punishment than pleasure. Indeed, up until recently, I was on the very same boat...
Imagine, then, my disbelief when told that seasickness need no longer prevent me from going on that cruise that I so craved, and then my delight on discovering that it was true! What follows will act as an awakening from the nausea induced nightmare suffered by so many wannabe cruisers, a sickness-free passport to cruise paradise. Here are my Top 10 Ways to Avoid Seasickness on a Cruise:
1. See your doctor before you go
If you're prone to seasickness then it is worthwhile to pay a visit to your doctor before departure. They will be able to prescribe you with popular anti-sickness medications and preventatives such as Transderm Scop. You might also want to consider some non-prescription medications, such as Benadryl and Bonine, however these will be widely available on board most cruise ships so it's not vital to get them before you go.
2. Consider your cruise ship
When picking a cruise with seasickness in mind, the general rule of thumb is: the bigger, the better. Larger, modern cruise liners tend to be fitted with stabilisers in an attempt to make the sail as smooth as possible so you'll feel less motion.
3. Consider your destination
It's really important to remember that different stretches of water have different characteristics. If you suffer from seasickness it's best to avoid the choppier waters, such as the North Atlantic. Caribbean cruises offer calmer waters and plenty of ports to stop at so that you're not spending extended amounts of time at sea, but be sure to avoid booking during hurricane season (June to November)!
4. Pick your cabin carefully
Book a cabin situated in the middle of the ship, that way you will experience less motion as you are closer to the boat's balance point. Request an outside cabin with a window so that, if you start to feel nauseous, you've got instant access to fresh air.
5. Experiment with alternative remedies
If you find that traditional medicines aren't working for you there are a number of alternatives at your disposal. Most pharmacies stock wristbands designed to prevent seasickness. They alleviate the symptoms of nausea by applying pressure to pressure points on the wrist.
6. Keep yourself occupied
Keeping your body and mind busy is one of the simplest, yet most effective, ways of staving off the effects of seasickness. Maintain a positive outlook and try not to think about being sick because the more you envisage it, the more likely it is to happen. Play games, go for walks, strike up conversation; anything that keeps you occupied.
7. Face forward and focus on the horizon
When you're out on-deck, try to face forward as much as possible. Facing side-on or to the back will only make you feel nauseous. Acclimatise yourself to the motion of the boat by using the horizon as a focal point. By gazing at one fixed point in the distance you are training your brain to disregard the sensation of motion.
8. Keep hydrated
It is vital ensure that you keep well hydrated throughout the day because dehydration only serves to worsen the symptoms of seasickness. However, try not to drink excessive amounts of alcohol because this can have an impact on your vestibular system, meaning that you will be more likely to lose your balance and experience dizziness when the boat is in motion.
9. Think about what you eat
Avoid spicy, greasy and fatty foods. Eating too much of these will make you feel ill at the best of times! Studies show that ginger is an effective remedy for nausea and motion sickness. If you don't like the thought of eating raw ginger, try to source some ginger based sweets or capsules as a more palatable alternative. Others swear by green apples as a cure for nausea so they're also worth a try!
10. Visit the on-board doctor
If all else fails, there's always the on-board doctor! In most cases, you will be able to get a seasickness preventing injection but be prepared to pay anything from £20-£50 for the pleasure.