After seeing reports of Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas making an about-turn to avoid wildly stormy seas off the coast of Miami, we decided that there had never been a better time to turn our attentions to the subject of seasickness.
Surveys show that fear of seasickness is the number one reason people have never considered a cruise, but what really are the chances of you spending your sea days cuddling the loo and nursing your pillow? Let’s find out!
What is seasickness anyway?
Seasickness is also known as ‘mal de mer’, a French term that describes the effect of motion sickness on the body. It’s a condition widely acknowledged, so much so in fact, that astronauts routinely dose up on anti-‘mal de mer’ medication to relieve motion sickness when heading into space. If a little light medication can see them orbit space in zero gravity, it can certainly help you sail the Seven Seas from the comfort of a luxury cruise ship!
Seasickness occurs when mixed signals are sent to the brain. The body is sending different messages to those delivered by the eyes and the inner ear, resulting in the brain becoming disorientated and a feeling of nausea washing over the body. There are no decisive factors in why the condition occurs in some people and not others, though anxiety is thought to be a common trigger; we worry so much about becoming seasick that we almost bring it on ourselves!
Will I suffer from seasickness?
Probably not! Whilst many people will experience the effects of motion sickness on the body during their travels, most people’s symptoms are so slight that they don’t even notice and the only way you’ll even know you’re moving is to head to deck to take in the sea views. For some however, the symptoms of seasickness may be more severe. Headache, nausea and even vertigo are some of what is experienced by those unfortunate few who do feel the effects of seasickness.
How do I avoid seasickness when cruising?
There are several ways to avoid seasickness, plus ways to effectively treat it if you are unlucky enough to suffer.
Firstly, your choice of cabin location is your first weapon in the battle against seasickness. Midship cabins are considered the best on board when it comes to avoiding the motion of the ocean and we recommend an outside cabin or above too. Cabins at the front of the ship tend to experience the most movement and inside cabins can throw off your senses due to lack of windows and sunlight. That said, modern ships feature all kinds of stability engineering that means they’re infinitely more stable on the seas than their older counterparts.
Once on board, get plenty of fresh air and find a fixed point on the horizon on which to concentrate from the lower decks, if you’re feeling motion sickness kick in. The great thing about booking an outside or balcony cabin is that you’ll have a steadying view of the horizon at your fingertips even when you’re away from deck.
When it comes to itinerary, those who have experienced seasickness before or who are especially worried about it may choose to avoid cruises that sail through the Bay of Biscay or Drake Passage, both of which are notoriously rough at times.
What are the best remedies?
There are several preventative measures and remedies that you can use to stave off seasickness, the majority of which work to supress your senses and help you get your ‘sea legs’ much quicker. Popular precautions include over the counter medications such as stick-on hyoscine patches and antihistamines, whilst ginger is often suggested as a natural remedy with ginger products having been used to treat nausea and vomiting for centuries. Pressure bands are another popular preventative measure and you can often purchase these on board, if seasickness catches you unawares.
A doctor is employed on every cruise ship and is able to prescribe stronger anti-motion sickness medication, often in the form of an injection to greatly lessen your symptoms.
And the moral of the motion sickness story is…
Be prepared, relax and enjoy the holiday of a lifetime!
If seasickness is the main thing putting you off booking a cruise holiday, it is important to bear in mind that only a very small number of people are affected. The majority of cruisers enjoy a relaxing holiday, filled with stunning destinations, amazing entertainment and plenty of memories. For most of them, the only sickness they experience is that which comes from eating too much food in the ship’s many delicious restaurants!