How to Prevent Seasickness on a Cruise (9 Easy Remedies)

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

You can treat and prevent seasickness on a cruise with over-the-counter medication, natural remedies, fresh air, and selecting the right cabin and itinerary.

Whether you’re prone to motion sickness or preparing for a cruise, here’s what you need to know about seasickness on cruise ships.

How to Prevent Seasickness on a Cruise

The best way to remedy the unpleasant effects of motion sickness is to prevent seasickness from the beginning.

The tips below work to prevent seasickness and treat it when symptoms begin. Whether it’s your first or tenth cruise, even seasoned cruisers can experience motion sickness.

Here are nine easy ways to prevent seasickness on a cruise.

  1. Get Fresh Air
  2. Watch the Horizon
  3. Pick the Right Cabin
  4. Pack Your Medicine
  5. Remember to Eat
  6. Pick a Big Cruise Ship
  7. Choose Your Destination Wisely
  8. Natural Remedies
  9. Try Acupressure and Acupuncture

Get Fresh Air

Woman looking over balcony on a cruise ship

If you’re feeling seasick on a cruise ship, you may want to curl up in bed for the remainder of the voyage. But fresh air can do a world of good to combat seasickness.

Fresh air helps reduce uncomfortable sweating and helps calm nervousness.

Head up to the pool deck or step out onto the balcony if you’ve booked balcony accommodations.

Watch the Horizon

A loving couple enjoying a cruise ship vacation from their balcony cabin overlooking the ocean horizon at sunset

While outside, watching the horizon can calm the effects of seasickness.

It sounds counterintuitive at first, but it helps to focus your eyes far out into the distance. 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.

Pick the Right Cabin

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

If you’re prone to seasickness, choose a stateroom on a lower deck in the middle of the ship. These cabins are closest to the ship’s center of gravity and experience the least amount of rocking.

As we’ve previously stated, it’s best to book a balcony or oceanview stateroom. Fresh air and a horizon view help alleviate motion sickness symptoms and help your body adjust to the ship’s rocking. 

If the lower levels are booked full, stick to the ship’s middle on a higher deck.

Avoid booking staterooms near the front or back of the vessel. The bow and aft experience lots of movement from the ship bouncing over the waves.

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

Pack Your Medicine

how to prevent seasickness on a cruise ship

Many over-the-counter or doctor-prescribed motion sickness medications help with alleviating seasickness symptoms. If it’s your first cruise or you’re prone to motion sickness, make sure you pack your medicine.

Don’t panic if you forget to pack your seasickness medications.

Visit the guest services 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 motion sickness pills 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.

Eat the Right Foods

Room service Continental Breakfast on Disney Magic

Although you may not feel up to it, keeping your stomach full by eating small meals throughout the day can help ward off an upset stomach caused by seasickness.

It’s important to eat, even when you don’t feel well. An empty stomach can make the symptoms worse.

Foods like ginger ale, green apples, peppermint candy, and dry crackers may help settle your stomach and reduce seasickness symptoms.

Consuming ginger and carbonated drinks can help suppress nausea.

If you’re feeling seasick, you’ll want to avoid alcohol and greasy or acidic foods. Consuming alcohol can increase dehydration and exacerbate the symptoms of motion symptoms.

Ensure you drink plenty of water, as it is vital to remain hydrated throughout the cruise.

Pick a Big Cruise Ship

Oasis of the Seas docked beside Serenade of the Seas at Cozumel Mexico

The feeling of seasickness on a cruise is primarily a result of the ship’s movement. Larger ships don’t rock as much as smaller ships.

If you are concerned about seasickness, stick with the bigger ships, such as Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class or Carnival’s Excel class.

Remember that even when you sail on the world’s largest cruise ships, you’ll still feel some rocking. But it will be more manageable than sailing on a smaller vessel.

Modern cruise ships use fin stabilizers to keep the ship straight and reduce rocking. As a rule of thumb, newer ships have more advanced stabilizers and smooth sailing.

Choose Your Destination Wisely

Royal Princess Docked in Juneau Alaska

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 cruise itineraries in the Mediterranean or Caribbean (especially ones that depart from San Juan, Puerto Rico).

You will want to avoid cruise destinations that are known for rough seas and bad weather, such as Alaskan cruises. Although Bahamas and Caribbean cruises have relatively calm waters, you’ll want to avoid taking a cruise vacation during hurricane season.

Although cruise lines avoid hurricanes and bad weather, the waves will be a bit choppier.

In addition, you will want to avoid any cruise itinerary with back-to-back sea days. Back-to-back sea days usually indicate that the ship will sail through open seas for an extended time, prone to more giant waves.

Natural Remedies

Consuming ginger can help alleviate symptoms of seasickness

If you prefer to avoid 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.

Try Acupressure and Acupuncture

Royal Caribbean's Spa and Fitness Center

Wearing a device like an acupressure wristband around your wrist is another natural way to prevent seasickness.

Devices like acupressure wristbands are a great natural remedy that many cruisers swear by.

We highly recommend the popular Sea-Band, if you’re looking for a natural way to reduce or avoid motion sickness. My cousin used to get seasick on every cruise until we found these wristbands.

If you want to go one step further, many ships have spa services that offer acupuncture to relieve stress and motion sickness.

What Causes Motion Sickness on a Cruise Ship?

Seasickness on a cruise ship is a form of motion sickness resulting 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.

What Are the Symptoms of Seasickness on a Cruise?

Symptoms of seasickness on a cruise include:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Lack of energy
  • Loss of appetite. 

Final Thoughts

Seasickness on a cruise vacation is a common experience for many people. But it doesn’t have to wreck your vacation.

By following the simple tips above, you can easily prevent seasickness.

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Marcello De Lio

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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