If You’re Seasick, Use These 6 Tips For Smooth Sailing, Experts Say – Best Life


With summer approaching and the start of the Alaskan cruise season, sailors of all experience levels will be setting sail for far-flung destinations. Whether your voyage takes you to the North Pacific or you prefer to cruise around the Caribbean in a smaller vessel, everyone faces the same daunting possibility of encountering days of rough seas.

The Celebrity Cruises blog defines seasickness as “motion sickness that occurs when what your eye sees is out of balance with what your inner ear feels. If your body senses movement but your eye doesn’t, your senses become confused and can cause symptoms. such as dizziness, nausea, headache and fatigue.”

Most travelers can tolerate a headache or drowsiness, but no one likes a vacation ruined by dizziness and nausea. Even experienced cruisers can be surprised by the temperamental weather interacting with large bodies of water. Still, there are ways to stave off seasickness…or, at the very least, make the symptoms more manageable. Read on for expert advice on how to avoid motion sickness at sea. And then don’t miss The 10 Best Places to Travel Abroad This Spring.

Kittisak Sirichunsuwan/Shutterstock

Before you even board your cruise, it’s a good idea to determine if you’re prone to seasickness and, if so, take that into account when choosing your cabin. A stateroom amidships will feel the least resistance on rough sea days, so aim to centralize your experience.

The Mayo Clinic says ship passengers should “request a forward or amidships stateroom near water level” to anticipate the least amount of movement. When sailing a small boat, stay as close to the middle of the boat as possible.

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Person standing at ship's rail
Katarina S./Shutterstock

Seafarers have long offered a simple trick to avoid motion sickness. “Look at the horizon,” says Djamel Benatmane, general manager aboard Norwegian Bliss. “The horizon is still there.”

Even when the ship or boat is rocking with the waves, adopting the horizon as your primary focal point can help keep your balance in check. Indeed, “most seasickness is attributed to a disconnect between your senses and your physical movements,” according to Carnival Cruise Line travel blog, Away We Go. If you find looking outside is too difficult to support, focus on another static object, such as a table.

fried cruise buffet

When you’re navigating choppy waters, the last thing you want is to regret your last meal. Prepare for the worst when you plan your meals and stick to “a soft diet for a few hours,” says Dr. Kimberly Fraser, a Canadian who winters part of the year in the Caribbean. Fraser suggests the BRAT diet — bananas, rice, applesauce and toast — can stave off stomach issues on rough sea days.

The Mayo Clinic supports the idea of ​​following a simple diet for motion sickness, noting that “some people find this by snacking on regular crackers and sipping cold water or a caffeine-free soft drink.” Many cruisers swear by ginger ale for the satisfying combination of carbonation and soothing ginger.

READ NEXT: 5 things you should never take on a cruise.

Carnival cruise ship in the ocean

Dr. Fraser also suggests seagoers try to find the rhythm of the ocean while at sea. While this tactic may not work for everyone, it makes sense to work with the motion of the sea. Walk or “stand so that you roll with the movement of the boat rather than against it,” says Fraser.

motion sickness medicine

People prone to motion sickness may already have Dramamine on their packing list, but it’s worth noting that these over-the-counter medications work best when taken before symptoms appear. Check the weather forecast for each day of your sail and note when to expect rougher waves. This is your cue to take a precautionary dose.

The same can be said for Sea-Band, a motion sickness bracelet that travelers wear to stimulate acupressure points. “This light pressure gives you a sense of balance, which lessens and helps prevent the effects of seasickness,” says travel insurance resource InsureMyTrip.com.

Standing in the store's pharmacy, the unrecognizable woman is holding an over-the-counter medicine as she tries to make a decision.

Robin Eschler of Waterfall Resort, an ocean fishing resort in Alaska, says “we always tell our guests about the Coast Guard Cocktail. It works.” This is because this particular remedy did not come from a bar. Rather, it is a proven mix of prescriptions.

“The cocktail is a combination of 25 mg of promethazine, which has effective anti-motion sickness and sedative properties, and 25 mg of ephedrine, which acts as a stimulant,” says Whitney King, of Colby At Sea. Each of the components is available by prescription, so cruise passengers should plan this pharmaceutical combination in advance.

For more travel information, see The 8 Best Airport Hacks Every Expert Traveler Knows.


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