How to Avoid Getting Seasick on a Cruise: Ultimate Guide

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If you are prone to motion sickness you might be wondering how to avoid getting seasick on a cruise ship. Symptoms such as nausea, cramps, tiredness, and headaches can be a downer on your vacation.

Luckily, intelligent booking, over-the-counter medication, natural remedies, and getting some fresh air, can help prevent seasickness and reduce symptoms caused by motion.

Woman looking over balcony on a cruise ship

What causes seasickness?

Seasickness is a form of motion sickness that results from conflict among your senses. If you are on a roller coaster at the fair, your eyes see one thing, your muscles feel another, and your inner ear senses something else. Your brain can’t make sense of the mixed signals, which is why you feel sick. Common side effects of motion sickness are dizziness, fatigue, headaches, nausea, lack of energy, and loss of appetite. 

The susceptibility to seasickness varies by individual, but if you’ve ever felt motion sickness when traveling in a car, plane, or on an amusement park ride, you may be more susceptible to seasickness on a boat.

How long does seasickness last on a cruise?

If you feel seasick on the first day of your cruise, it might not last through the length of your trip. The good news is that for the vast majority of passengers, seasickness usually subsides once your body adjusts to the motion and you get your “sea legs.”

For most passengers, using over-the-counter remedies and using the techniques described below will help you feel better in no time and get full enjoyment from your cruise.

Can you feel the ship move on a cruise? 

Most modern cruise ships are engineered with advanced stabilizers to reduce nearly all of the ships rocking. And today’s mega-cruise ships are so massive that you might not even notice you are on a boat at all.

That said, you will be able to feel some rocking on a cruise ship. Some people, myself included, love the gentle rocking that you experience while sailing. But if you are susceptible to seasickness, choosing the correct ship can make a huge difference.

What kind of cruise ships are best to avoid seasickness?

Cruise Ship stabilizers
Cruise Ship stabilizers help reduce motion

Suppose you are concerned about becoming seasick on a cruise ship. In that case, it is good to know that newer ships are engineered with fin stabilizers to keep the ship straight and reduce rocking as a rule of thumb; the newer the ship, the more advanced the stabilizers, and the less rocking you will experience. Most ships have two stabilizers, but mega-ships like Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas have four, two on each side.

In addition, the size of the ship matters. Larger ships won’t rock as much as smaller ships. If you are concerned about seasickness, the smooth sailing on larger vessels can help reduce motion sickness.

Here are four tips to help you select a cruise ship that will limit motion sickness: 

  • Choose a ship that has at least 2,000 passengers
  • Choose a ship built within the last ten years
  • Choose a balcony cabin on a low deck in the mid-section of the ship

What’s the best cabin location to avoid motion sickness on a cruise?

Cruise Ship Balcony
Booking a balcony suite can help reduce the symptoms of seasickness

If you want to reduce motion sickness on a cruise ship, picking the right cabin can minimize motion sickness. When deciding which cabin to book, choose a stateroom in the middle of the ship on a lower deck. These cabins have the least amount of rocking anywhere on the ship and will help minimize any motion sickness.

The ship’s lower decks are closer to the ship’s center of gravity, which means you will feel less movement compared to the upper decks. And although it may seem counterintuitive, if you want to prevent seasickness on a cruise, book a balcony or oceanview stateroom. Fresh air and a view of the horizon will help alleviate seasickness and help your body adjust to the ship’s motion. 

If the lower levels are booked full, stick to the ship’s middle on a higher deck. Make sure you avoid booking a stateroom near the front or back of the vessel, where you will feel larger swaying.

Tip: Book a balcony on the lower levels in the mid-section of the ship to minimize seasickness

Where is the best destination to avoid getting seasick on a cruise?

Cruise Ship sailing in calm water through mountains

Your destination can play a significant role in helping you avoid seasickness. If you know that you are susceptible to seasickness, avoid voyages that spend a lot of time sailing in open water. For calm sailing, you will want to stick with Mediterranean Sea cruises or Caribbean cruises (especially ones that depart from San Juan, Puerto Rico).

You will want to avoid cruise itineraries that are known for rough seas and bad weather, such as Alaskan cruises or Caribbean and Bahamas voyages during hurricane season.

In addition, you will want to avoid cruises that have back-to-back sea days. The back-to-back sea days usually indicate that the ship will be sailing through open seas for an extended time, prone to more giant waves.

What remedies are available to alleviate seasickness on a cruise?

Don’t let seasickness ruin your cruise vacation. Here are some tips to alleviate symptoms and enjoy your cruise.

how to prevent seasickness on a cruise ship

Motion sickness medication 

If you think you will experience motion sickness on a cruise, many over-the-counter or doctor-prescribed motion sickness medications will alleviate symptoms.

Don’t panic if you forget to pack motion sickness medication or realize you need it once you are on board. Visit the guest relations desk, and they will be able to find you a patch or tablet to help you combat seasickness. If you feel you need a stronger remedy, you can also visit the ship’s doctor who can prescribe medicine to combat the symptoms of motion sickness.

Tip: Pack essentials like motion sickness medication in your carry-on bag or purse. When you first arrive on board the ship, it might be several hours before you receive your luggage.

Natural remedies

If you prefer to stay away from medication, several natural remedies are available to minimize seasickness. Ginger is easy to keep on hand when you are on a cruise. You can find ginger in various forms, including powder, pill, candy, and tea.

Sucking on a peppermint candy or smelling peppermint oil has also been shown to combat seasickness.

Acupressure & acupuncture

Wearing a device like acupressure wristbands around your wrist is another natural way to combat seasickness. Devices like the acupressure wristbands by Sea-Band are a great natural remedy that many cruisers swear by. If you want to go one step further, many ships have spa services that offer acupuncture to relieve stress and motion sickness.

Fresh air

If you are feeling sick on a cruise ship, you may want to curl up in bed for the remainder of the voyage, but you will feel much better if you get out and breathe some fresh air.

Another trick is to peer out over the horizon and keep your eyes on it! As we stated, seasickness is caused by confusion in your body’s senses, and focusing on the horizon can help your body re-adjust and get back in sync.

It’s for these two reasons that we recommend booking a balcony stateroom if you are prone to seasickness.

What should I eat and drink to alleviate motion sickness on a cruise ship?

Although you may not feel up to it, keeping your stomach full by eating small meals throughout the day can help ward off nausea caused by seasickness. As a natural remedy, regularly sipping ginger ale, eating green apples, sucking on peppermint candy, and even dry crackers may help settle your stomach and reduce seasickness symptoms.

Consuming ginger can help alleviate symptoms of seasickness

If you are feeling the effects of seasickness, be cautious of your alcohol consumption. Consuming alcohol can increase dehydration and exacerbate the symptoms of motion symptoms. Make sure you drink plenty of water, as it is vital to remain hydrated throughout the cruise.

How to Seasickness on a Cruise Ship?

If you are prone to seasickness or not sure what to expect on a first cruise, here are eight tips for preventing motion sickness:

  1. Choose a ship that has at least 2,000 passengers
  2. Choose a ship built within the last ten years
  3. Choose an itinerary that has no consecutive sea days
  4. Choose a destination with calm waters
  5. Choose a balcony cabin on a low deck in the mid-section of the ship
  6. Bring over-the-counter medicines
  7. Try natural remedies like ginger or peppermint
  8. Wear an acupressure band or visit the spa for acupuncture
  9. Breath in some fresh air and focus on the horizon

Enjoy Your Cruise

Cruising is a beautiful experience where you can visit several destinations, experience new thrills, and meet incredible people. Please don’t let the fear of seasickness stop you from booking a cruise. With these tips, and several seasickness remedies available, you can make the most of your cruise experience even if you can feel the motion of the ship.

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I’ve been cruising since I was 11 years old. I love the freedom that cruising provides, meeting new people, and exploring amazing new ships. I love to share my passion for cruising and travel with readers.

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Dont Miss the Boat

Get the latest travel tips, news, and advice to get the most out of your next cruise vacation.

Vector Image of a Cruise Ship

Dont Miss the Boat

Get the latest travel tips, news, and advice to get the most out of your next cruise vacation.

Vector Image of a Cruise Ship