How Likely Is It to Get Seasick on a Cruise?

You’ve likely heard horror stories of passengers boarding ships and getting an upset stomach from the movement. The fear of this experience prevents many from stepping onboard a cruise ship. So, can you get seasick on a cruise ship?

To help you avoid hurling, we’ve decided to offer some tips. While we can’t guarantee you won’t be seeing your lunch, they can help.

Today, we’re answering if you can get seasick on a cruise ship and ways to avoid it. Let’s get started!

What Is Seasickness?

Sea sickness is when someone experiences nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and many other symptoms while onboard a boat. Thankfully, not everyone experiences these feelings. However, for those that do, it can be a miserable experience.

A passenger trying to avoid throwing up while on a cruise ship due to seasickness.

What Causes Seasickness?

While it most commonly happens on boats and ships, seasickness can occur on cars, airplanes, and amusement park rides. It’s primarily the result of nearly constant rocking and swaying movements.

Waves and changes in positioning can send signals to the brain to interpret the movement. However, what the eyes perceive is very different. This mismatch between the senses can cause severe discomfort in some people.

Thankfully, as you’ll soon see, some ways exist to eliminate or reduce the effects.

How Likely Is It to Get Seasick on a Cruise Ship?

If you get seasick, knowing you’re not alone might be comforting. Research indicates that 15% of people report getting seasick while onboard a cruise ship.

However, several factors contribute to these feelings.

The weather and water conditions can considerably influence someone getting seasick. If the ship travels through a storm or there’s one in the distance, it can create very choppy waters.

Even those who typically don’t experience motion sickness may feel a bit seasick in these conditions.

Does Seasickness Go Away on a Cruise?

Generally, after a day or two onboard, most people find that the seasickness subsides. They may not feel 100%, but they can move about the ship and enjoy themselves. However, that’s unfortunately not always the case.

Some individuals’ feelings of seasickness won’t go away until they get off the ship. Some passengers may take several days or weeks to return to normal. It will mostly depend on the individual and how their body responds.

How to Avoid Getting Seasick on a Cruise Ship

If you want to have an incredible time on your cruise and avoid getting seasick, there are some things you can do. Let’s take a look.

Choose the Right Cabin

Many passengers don’t realize it, but choosing cabins toward the ship’s middle will help you avoid seasickness. They sit closer to the center of gravity and typically experience less motion than the cabins at the front or rear of the ship.

You’ve hit the jackpot if you can get a cabin in the middle and toward the bottom. That’s because the lower cabins experience less movement than those on the higher decks. Having a higher cabin can amplify the motion.

Unfortunately, selecting your room may come at a premium. However, it can be worth every penny if you struggle with motion sickness.

Outside shot of a cruise ship showing all of the balcony rooms.

Choose the Right Ship

Larger ships provide more stability compared to smaller vessels. Many of these larger ships have enhanced technologies that allow them to minimize movement felt throughout the ship and provide a smooth experience.

Don’t give up on cruising if you have had a bad experience on a small vessel. Try a larger ship, and you’ll likely experience a significant difference.

In addition, it’s also important to consider your itinerary. Some routes are known for choppy waters, which can lead to seasickness. This may be seasonal or year-round, but avoiding rough water and choosing the right cruise ship are great ways to prevent feeling seasick.

A cruise ship in the ocean.

Focus on the Horizon

One mistake many passengers make is focusing on items in the water that are close up for too long.

There’s nothing wrong with glancing at the water, but spending an extended time focusing on it can quickly cause you to have an upset stomach.

Instead, try focusing on the horizon and things off in the distance. This provides your eyes with a stable reference point and helps reduce the sensory mismatch that causes the symptoms of seasickness.

This may require you to focus on where you’re looking while on board.

Avoid Reading or Screens

Many passengers enjoy playing games, reading books, and watching movies on our screens. However, staring at a stationary object that’s out of sync with the motion can create sensory conflicts.

To avoid this, limit your reading time. Take breaks between chapters to rest your eyes and focus on other things. Avoid spending too much time on your phone, tablet, or laptop.

If you can, walk away from them regularly and enjoy the view, socialize with others, or enjoy one of the many activities on board.

A man on cruise ship pool chair reading a book.

Eat Light

Unfortunately, many cruise lines have some fantastic food options. If you’re prone to motion sickness, eating light isn’t easy. However, it can be a great strategy to prevent and reduce seasickness. When you dump a ton of food into your digestive system, you force it to work overtime.

To avoid getting seasick on the cruise ship, choose simple foods that are easy to digest. Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and avoid greasy or spicy food.

At the same time, make sure you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Be aware of your alcohol and caffeine intake, as they can increase your chances of dehydration.

A dining table with food on a cruise ship.

Take Medication

If you experience symptoms enough, it may be worth consulting with a medical professional.

They may be able to prescribe an anti-nausea medication for you to take throughout the cruise. You can also try some over-the-counter medications such as Dramamine and Bonine.

For those passengers who decide to try medication, make sure you follow the instructions. It may require you to take it beforehand or have specific timing guidelines.

It’s also important to consider any potential side effects they may have. Some are left feeling sleepy or without an appetite, neither of which is great for cruising.

Get Fresh Air

Getting fresh air can be extremely helpful in avoiding seasickness. Spending too much time inside your cabin can make it challenging for your brain to get the necessary sensory cues.

Take a walk around the track or explore the pool deck. This can help your senses align and reduce any feelings of seasickness you may be experiencing.

Sometimes, the best thing to do is to go up to the top deck and enjoy the view. Relax and breathe deeply as you take in the surroundings and the fresh air from the ocean. Spending as much time outdoors can be extremely helpful in these situations.

Don’t Let Seasickness Ruin Your Cruise

Seasickness is a powerful force that has the potential to ruin cruises. However, if you take action and use some of our tips, you can reduce its effects. We want you to have an unforgettable time on your cruise. So don’t let seasickness get in the way and cause you to have a negative trip.

Do you have any other tips for getting over seasickness? 

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