Don't let seasickness put a damper on your fun

Photo credit: © Jeff Clow |

It's every cruisers worst nightmare: seasickness. What could be worse than spending your vacation feeling off-balance, dizzy, and nauseous? Just the thought of seasickness has prevented many a traveler from even thinking of getting on a cruise ship. Luckily modern cruise ships include computerized stabilizers which are extremely effective in minimizing the problem for most passengers, and there are supplemental measures available to help prevent or alleviate seasickness.

Everyone has heard of it, many have at least occasionally experienced it, but what exactly is seasickness? Seasickness is motion sickness characterized by dizziness, nausea, and in some cases vertigo. Though the suffering typically occurs while one is on a moving boat or ship, cases have been reported to happen while on an unmoving vessel and even by others simply watching a moving ship on television.

This form of motion sickness is caused by the body's disorientation as it struggles to find the center of gravity on a moving vessel. Many use visual orientation to maintain their center of gravity, and find that when objects that should remain still as they remain still (such as the horizon) do not do so, they become disoriented, thus causing the symptoms of seasickness.

There are several ways to avoid the problem while aboard a moving cruise ship. First, consider the age-old preventative measure of  “mind over matter.”  Now that you know what causes it, you may be able to convince your mind that though the motion of the ship is not natural to you, it can become normal. Keep in mind that it is common to feel a bit disoriented, but convince yourself that you can overcome it, and you just may be able to do it by using the power of your mind alone.

If you don't trust that this can be done, consider the following other options: book cruises that are more port intensive (thus allowing you less time at sea). Avoid booking your cruise during times when the waters are known to be especially rough. Select a cabin on a low deck, near the center of the ship, because these areas are the least prone to movement. Finally, spend plenty of time on deck, in the fresh air, in order to acclimate yourself and restore your body's sense of equilibrium.

If you are worried about seasickness you can take preventative measures. There are several over the counter products that can help ease seasickness, including Dramamine and Bonine. But if you are prone to motion sickness, consider speaking with your personal physician before embarking on your trip. Your doctor may prescribe a medication such as Promethazine or Transderm Scop, which can prevent any symptoms. There are also drug-free options, such as ginger, green apples, saltines, and acupuncture bracelets, that are said to alleviate nausea.

Seasickness is not fun, and has been known to ruin perfectly good vacations – even if it happens to one of your kids. In fact, motion sickness is quite common in children under the age of 12 (but over the age of two). By using the above tips to become aware of, prevent, and treat seasickness, most people can avoid this ailment. Don't let nausea become the thing you most remember about your once-in-a-lifetime Caribbean cruise.


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