The Truth About Seasickness

No, you can’t entirely prevent it when you cruise. But will you really feel the ship moving beneath your feet when at sea? More than likely, you may not even notice.
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Seasickness may hit one person hard, while others don’t feel a thing. So what’s the deal?

“There’s no way to prevent motion sickness 100 percent,” says Dr. Art Diskin, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Global Chief Medical Officer. But will it ruin your cruise? Not likely. “Most new cruisers have no problems with seasickness on our ships, due to their size, navigational avoidance of storms, and stabilizers,” he explains.

Before we get to the specifics, a breakdown: Motion sickness occurs when what you see conflicts with what your inner ear senses. In other words, if you’re sitting in a car (not moving) but your inner ear detects movement (the car just hit 70 mph on the highway), the two signals being sent to your brain don’t match. Those mixed signals confuse the brain, and the resulting sensations and symptoms (dizziness, nausea) are the result.

Not sure if you’re prone? Try booking a day trip on an open-ocean sport fishing boat, Dr. Diskin advises. If it turns out you’re prone, don’t distress.  Look for larger ships that cruise in good climates. (Think island-hopping in the Caribbean.)

And consult your doctor before you board. “The medications are tried and true,” Dr. Diskin says, of options like Dramamine and meclizine. Scopolamine patches, placed behind the ear before departure,  may also help, along with acupressure wristbands, which stimulate a pressure point that can relieve nausea.

For some, a few sips of ginger ale or chewing fresh ginger will do the trick. Cruisers with mild cases may just need a quick walk-about, Dr. Diskin says: “Go out on deck, stand at the center of the ship, and take some nice deep breaths while focusing on the horizon.”

And note that those “stabilizers” Dr. Diskin mentioned above are helping. Built off a ship’s port and starboard sides along the water line, they reduce side-to-side motion for a smoother ride, which helps cut down on feelings of seasickness. But what if there are rough waters ahead? Not to worry, the captain will simply steer clear.

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