Faster and smarter in the app... Open app

How to Deal with Seasickness on Cruises - If you're feeling mal de mer, enjoy a breath of fresh air!

You may have booked your cruise and you may have bought a travel insurance policy to keep you covered, but what can you do if you're concerned about getting seasick on your cruise? Seasickness is never a pleasant ailment and often can ruin what should be the experience of a lifetime. Have no fear though — there are many remedies that you can take to ensure that you enjoy a trouble-free time at sea. If you check out the following guide hopefully you'll pick up some helpful tips on how to deal with seasickness whilst you're travelling!

What are the best ways of preventing seasickness?

Your dream cruise could become a bit of a nightmare if the motion of the ship makes you feel nauseous and unwell. For some people seasickness can be mild, for others incapacitating. Don't worry though, there are several strategies you could take in order to prevent and reduce the risks of unpleasant motion sickness.

These include the following:

  • Get a good rest before you set sail - missing sleep or feeling exhausted can contribute to feelings of seasickness, so make sure you're well rested before your trip starts.
  • Take anti-sickness medication - a variety of medications are available to help prevent or treat motion sickness. These are known as antiemetic drugs, and are available over the counter or via prescription.
  • Book your cabin in the right place - the ship tends to pitch and roll less at the balance point, in the middle of the ship, so aim to book your cabin here. Even better if you can book one with a window, for looking out to the horizon.
  • Enjoy fresh air - if you're feeling the effects of motion sickness it can help to go out on a balcony or open deck to look toward the horizon. Fresh air blowing on your face can really help, one of the reasons is your focus is taken away from the motion of the vessel.
  • Remember to eat - eating can be the last thing you want to think about when feeling unwell but it's important to have food in your stomach, rather than nothing at all. Stick with blander foods like bread or crackers. Peppermint tea can be great for settling the stomach and some people swear that eating green apples helps with sickness, lots of ships offer green apples and crackers on their room service menus.
  • Wear an acupressure wristband - these wristbands apply pressure to the wrist and many people find these help prevent nausea. They are available in some pharmacies or via online stores.
  • Avoid alcohol - it can be helpful to avoid alcohol or other triggers that can lower your body's resistance to mal de mer. This also includes greasy or spicy foods.

Travel Insurance for Cruising

To make sure you're covered against any unforeseen circumstances, take out comprehensive cruise travel insurance for a one off holiday or an Annual Multi-Trip cruise policy if you are booking more than one holiday. These differ from our regular Holiday Extras travel insurance packages as they include cover for specific risks associated with a cruise, including cabin confinement and unused shore excursions. Finding the right cover can be especially important if you've any pre-existing medical conditions to avoid being handed a hefty medical bill after your holiday!

Reviews for our Cruise Policies

Holiday Extras offer our guests cruise specific policies that give them peace of mind and confidence when booking their cruise

Clive Jones | Senior Director | Guest Services | Prestige Cruise Holdings (Regent Seven Seas Cruises & Oceania Cruises)

With Holiday Extra's dedicated Cruise insurance policy, our customers are able to be totally confident that they have high-quality insurance cover in place specifically designed for a cruise holiday at sea

Jeremy Hatton | Head of Customer Services | Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

Is it common to get seasick on a cruise?

Unlike smaller vessels, due to their size and stabilisers, cruise ships are generally a better option for people who suffer from seasickness. After a few hours, many guests even forget that they're on a cruise ship at all. If you're new to cruising don't be too apprehensive because the chances are you may not even notice the feeling of the ship moving beneath your feet when at sea, not only because of the ship's size but, often, navigational avoidance of storms.

However, seasickness is still possible and most cruise ships have over-the-counter medicines that you can purchase to combat this or there are other remedies you could try as illustrated in this guide.

Where is the best place to stay on a cruise ship to avoid seasickness?

Probably the best place to stay if you suffer from motion sickness is in the lower and central portion of the ship as you're less likely to feel the movements of the ship beneath. You'll feel the ship's movements more in the cabins at the top and back of the ship, so these are the worst places to be if you suffer from seasickness problems and are best avoided.

You could book an outside cabin in the middle of the ship, which is the natural balance point and having a window could also provide you with a consistent view of the horizon. Equally, to acclimatise yourself to shipboard life, it can be helpful to spend as much time as possible out on deck, using the horizon as a point to keep your equilibrium.

What are the best cruises to take if you suffer from mal de mer?

Just because you're prone to seasickness it does not mean you can't enjoy a cruise holiday. If you've never been cruising before but know you go green on a small motorboat, don't assume the same thing will happen on a cruise because the ships are much larger. The bigger the ship, the less you will feel the motion of the ocean beneath you. The same applies to the difference between feeling turbulence on a tiny prop aircraft or a commercial airliner.

Modern ships are built with stabilizers which minimize rocking but it could be a good idea to think about the best cruise if you're prone to feeling poorly at sea. It's a good idea to choose your itinerary well. It may also prove practical to go on a port-intensive cruise with fewer days on the open seas. The best cruises to take could also depend upon the best time of the year to book your holiday.

The Mediterranean, for instance, is a lot rougher in the months of autumn and winter than it is in Summer. The Caribbean can get pretty choppy during hurricane season (June to November) if a storm is taking place and Alaska's Inside Passage is quite calm, but the open sea up north is much rougher in September. It's clear that researching your cruise holiday before you set sail could help settle your stomach in the long run!

Is ginger good for seasickness?

Yes, studies have found it alleviates nausea associated with motion sickness. The root can be taken in various forms including powder, tea and pills. You could also try chewing on ginger sweets.

How long does motion sickness last after a cruise?

After returning from your holiday you may feel sensations of persistent motion which can include a mild feeling of bobbing, rocking or swaying. This can last for a few hours to (in very rare cases) a few weeks.

Consider a river cruise instead

Alternatively, if you're really concerned about being unable to enjoy your holiday because of your affliction consider taking a river cruise. Riverboats cruise all over the world including the Danube and the Nile River in Egypt. The various itineraries include visits to historic city centres, wine countries and exploring beautiful countryside.

River cruises are extremely destination-focused so you'll spend much of your time onshore exploring, and when you're onboard you don't have to worry about the high seas and choppy waves that could make you feel nauseous.

Other seasickness remedies

  • Antihistamines - these are one of the most common antidotes to seasickness and can be bought over the counter or on prescription. You should ensure that you pack your suitcase with these before you travel.
  • Chamomile Tea - this is perfect if you want a more natural remedy as this tea soothes the stomach and helps to reduce the chance of acid reflux when experiencing motion sickness.
  • Vitamin B-6 - this is one of the best long-term solutions for seasickness, and if you start taking these supplements at a reasonable time before you travel, you'll be able to enjoy your trip to the best of your ability.

Sources: the NHS website.

Further Cruising Guides

If you are preparing to step aboard your cruise and would like some more tips and advice before you leave then check out a few of our helpful guides listed below, providing advice on everything from vaccinations for cruise travel, to the best month to take your cruise!

Holiday Extras Travel Insurance is sold and administered by Holiday Extras Cover Limited, registered office address: Ashford Road, Newingreen, Hythe, Kent CT21 4JF.

Holiday Extras Cover Limited is an insurance intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, registration number 828848. You can check this by visiting the Financial Services Register

Holiday Extras™ is a Trading Name of Holiday Extras Cover Limited. The insurance is underwritten by Great Lakes Insurance UK Limited. Great Lakes Insurance UK Limited is a company incorporated in England and Wales with company number 13436330 and whose registered office address is 10 Fenchurch Avenue, London, United Kingdom, EC3M 5BN.

Great Lakes Insurance UK Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Firm Reference Number 955859. You can check this by visiting the Financial Services Register