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How to Avoid Getting Seasick on a Cruise (12 Tips and Tricks)

As an experienced cruiser, I've got tons of tips to make your next cruise vacation a breeze.

From taking a dip in the ship's pool to sniffing fresh orange rind, some of these tried-and-tested tricks may surprise you!

From taking a dip in the ship's pool to sniffing fresh orange rind, some of these tried-and-tested tricks may surprise you!

Before you go through the trouble of researching what anti-nausea medicines are available, I would like to offer you a list of other strategies and natural remedies that may help you if you suffer from seasickness. In this article, you will find a selection of the best tips that I know of to avoid the chances of seasickness or at least limit the effect it could have on your holiday or vacation.

But first, let's first talk about what seasickness actually is.

What Is Seasickness (Motion Sickness)?

When you are submitted to the feeling of motion but you are unable to see the result of that motion—like when you're in the internal section of a ship—your body chemistry is unsure of what is happening. The inner ear keeps telling your brain that there is some sort of movement, but your eyes are sending a different message. These crossed wires set off alarm bells in your system.

Your system then figures that you must have impaired vision, etc. due to being poisoned, and because it is clever, it tries to evacuate the poisons the best way it knows how. And so enters the spewy part of this bad trip.

When the motion of the ocean leaves you feeling poorly, try these tips!

When the motion of the ocean leaves you feeling poorly, try these tips!

12 Tips to Prevent Motion Sickness

Luckily, there are many techniques that can help alleviate seasickness or even prevent it altogether. Below, you'll find 12 tried-and-true tips for beating seasickness, followed by a few natural remedies you may want to have on hand if all else fails.

Here are the best options to stay healthy and to keep on cruisin'.

1. Set Your Sights on the Horizon

When you are on the ship and it is on move, you may find that it helps to look at something that isn't moving. Looking off into the horizon will give you a good chance of resetting and levelling out your equilibrium. An added bonus with this option is that you get to take in the sights as you cruise along and further distract yourself from the blah feeling.

2. Get Some Fresh Air

Your sense of smell is a powerful thing. In this case, strong smells may usher in the onset of motion sickness, so watch out for strong perfumes and other intense smells. It's probably best to stay away from a perfume sale in the stores if you are feeling a bit poorly. When I feel a bout of seasickness coming on, I often find a brisk wander on the outside of the ship sets me right.

3. Stay Positive

Seasickness is quite literally all in your head, so to speak, so try not to dwell on it unnecessarily. Fixating on the nausea can make it that much worse, so best not to go on about how sick you feel or felt. Some things are best left unsaid when you are trying to keep your head on straight.

4. Beware the Buffet

And for that matter, the rest of the eating opportunities on the ship. Getting your snack on and overeating will likely upset your apple cart and cause you a tummy upset or even some bloating, and that is just a short step away from seasickness. Watch out for the sweet and the fatty stuff in particular, and try to stick with clean and healthy food options.

5. Find Stillness

Try to keep your head still, especially when you are feeling your worst. The seasick sensation is coming from your inner ears for the most part, so stabilising that can help a heap. So lie down or find a nice spot with a comfy chair and get your chill on.

6. Watch Out for the Whisky

If you know that you are likely to cop a dose of seasickness, you might want to think about steering clear of alcohol while on board. The effect it can have on your system can be very noticeable even on solid ground, so for those who are prone to motion sickness, things can get ugly in a hurry when boozing and cruising. Not to mention that if you happen to take any anti-nausea medication at the same time, you may find out that they really do not mix.

7. Eat an Apple or Smell an Orange (Seriously)

There are a heap of natural remedies floating around to help with seasickness, including citrus, apples, mints, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, carrot juice and apricot juice. A lot of these will be available or used in abundance in the ship's galleys.

Green apples are my go-to in this instance; as soon as I feel that icky feeling, I go to the buffet and find some green apples. I find the astringent taste counters that gross feeling, and it helps to get something hydrating into my system at the same time.

Some of my friends have found that the smell of an orange rind which is more acid then sweet-smelling has helped them. Peel the orange, hold the rind up to your nose, and breathe it in. Then get a nice nutritious snack full of vitamin C after you have peeled it!

8. Close Your Eyes

Just shutting your eyes for a little while can help stop the internal conflict in your sensory system and halt your body's reaction to the sensation. Shutting your peepers for a spell may reduce the sensory overload and reduce the conflict. (If you try this method and find that it makes you more nauseous, try a different tip.)

9. Take a Swim

Sometimes, the best way to get relief from the constant motion of the ship is to stop that motion. The only way to do that on a cruise ship is to take a dip in the pool. This will give your system a rest from the motion of the ship because the water naturally finds its own level as opposed to the ship that is fighting against the waves. This should give you a bit of relief and may help you relax.

10. Give Your Eyes a Rest

If you have your nose in a book or electronic device, you will be focusing on yet another thing that doesn't move as your brain wants it to. This will cause a greater conflict and therefore make you feel even worse. I'd suggest listening to some music instead, or downloading some audiobooks before you get on board.

11. Stay Cool

I know when you feel sick all you want to do is roll up in your doona and hide, but being overly warm might be making you feel worse. Instead, try cranking up the air conditioning in your room or stepping out onto an open deck if it is a bit chilly. It will make you feel a lot better.

My favourite spot to hide on the Carnival Spirit is the Alchemy Bar because it is pretty much the coolest place on the ship.

12. Head to the Middle of the Ship

Both ends of the ship are going to move more—that is the nature of a ship on the ocean. Finding the middle of the ship will help you because the centre is like the middle of a seesaw, so even though it moves, it won't move near as much as the rest of the ship. Find that sweet spot and stay put!

Natural Seasickness Remedies

If you’re worried about getting sick and want to take an added precaution—or when you're already feeling ill and all else fails—these products might be for you. They’re all-natural, homeopathic remedies that may help relieve seasickness.

1. Anti-Nausea Ginger Tablets

I always take some ginger tablets with me when I go on a cruise. Ginger is a well-known natural seasickness medicine, and when taken in small doses, it shouldn't have any negative side effects. I prefer the tablets rather than other delivery methods just because of the taste and their effectiveness.

2. Essential Oils

An elderly lady I met on a cruise a couple of years ago swore on the benefits of using essential oils. She brought out this little lipstick-looking thing that basically just had a cotton wick in it. When she opened the lid and stuck it under my nose, I was treated to a mix of lavender and what I think was bitter orange. It had other fragrances in it as well, but those are the main ones that I remember.

She said that it was the best little pre-cruise investment that she had made. She said it worked wonders on any motion sickness that she suffered as well as being a great treatment for when she felt a little anxious, etc.

3. Acupressure Wristbands

A little acupressure seems to go a long, long way. Well at least as far as half of the sickly looking people on my last cruise. Acupressure wristbands activate a pressure point that helps to cut down on that icky seasickness feeling. You can activate the same pressure point with your thumb and forefinger, but a wristband is good for a consistent source of alleviation. Sea-Band is the most well-known brand I’ve seen in this space.

Want More Cruise Tips?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Paddy Michelson

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