Question about tips to prevent or stop motion sickness while cruising.
Q: "What do you suggest to avoid, prevent and/or stop motion sickness while cruising? We are planning our first cruise aboard a ship that holds about 2500 people.. Thanks. Mary."
Answer: My significant other Jack and I are now "Elite" Black Card holders on Princess Cruise Line. Below are some suggestions about getting the most cruise for your money and avoiding locations on the ship that are more prone to motion sickness if you hit some rough seas.
- Book a cabin mid-ship or just behind mid-ship. Avoid forward cabins especially at the bow where the front of the ship is going to bounce up and down.
- Book a cabin on decks 5 through 8 if possible. Remember that you want to avoid being close to public areas where it could get noisy. The higher you are the more the sway.
- The Captain puts out stabilizers to help reduce the rock and roll from rough seas.
- Remember that Scopolamine patches do work but can cause side effects like blurry vision. dilated pupils,dizziness, etc. To be effective, the patch must be in place 4 hours before needed.
- Over the counter medications often have restrictions about drinking alcoholic beverages and can make you drowsy. Ginger helps some people. Most medications must be taken before you get ill.
- Consider buying a Reliefband Voyager. My own experience with Reliefbands (and the experience of employees and customers) has been extremely positive. When the seas get moderately rough and I begin to feel a little ill, I activate my Relief Band for 10 to 15 minutes. Generally that is all it takes. When the seas are truly rough, my method of coping is to take a nap wearing the Reliefband. If your bed is situated so that the sides are parallel to the outside of the ship, that is even better. You just get rocked to sleep. The Voyager requires no prescription and has about 120 hours of activation time. Unless you are in a typhoon or hurricane, the rough seas don't last long. On one voyage to China, our captain missed one stop and changed course to avoid rough seas (and he succeeded).
Here are some tips about cruising that we learned through the years:
- Choose a cruise line and stay with it. We chose Princess Cruises who has a great loyalty program. They also have laundromats so you can do laundry if you are not Elite (we get free laundry, a mini-bar, a special cocktail hour and much more.)
- Put money on deposit on your first cruise. On Princess, $100 per person holds a cabin until the final payment is due. Jack usually keeps $600 in his account. Any time you want, you can get the money back. If not used within a certain number of years, Princess sends it back to you.
- Buy Carnival stock. As a shareholder, you get "cabin credit" for owning the stock. The minimum used to be 100 shares to get that.
- A Veteran of the US Armed Forces? Get your DD214 and get extra cabin credit.
- Check the prices on line. Every time the price goes down (and it may be only for a few days to get the ship filled), you can request that your cabin cost be reduced.
- One dining room is open for lunch on almost every boarding day when you get on the ship before lunch. Avoid the buffet if you can.
- Any time dining for us is the best. The first night is always a crowd during the earlier hours. You can get a reservation. Set dining puts restrictions on important activities like tours and naps.
- If you want Eggs Benedict and they are not on the menu, just order them. Also you can have fresh fruit like papaya or berries at any meal. And you can order breakfast in your room even earlier than the sign says (great if you have an early shore excursion.)
- Remember that you can book shore excursions through private companies. However, if a Princess excursion is late in returning to the ship, you won't be left without clothes, a passport, etc. If a private one is late, the ship may leave without you.
- Interior cabins are great for most cruises where (1) you've been there before or (2) the weather is so cold that a balcony would rarely be used. The mirrors make the room appear larger and how much time are you in there anyway? Our least expensive cruise was $48 each per day from Galveston to Southampton, England.
- Repositioning cruises and cruises at the least popular times of year are the least expensive. We spent 24 days on Alaskan cruises in September 2013 and had a lot of fun with our new friends (and people on cruises are quite sociable, typically) and just walking around the ports. First run movies. A great library. Magicians. Shows, etc.
- Tip your cabin steward $20 or so on the first day: your service will be even better
- Request a top sheet, a blanket and a new piece of memory foam on your bed. Don't be surprised if the sheet goes on top of the duvet. And the blanket on that. That is especially great for us older women who are hot and cold during the night.
- Bring a night light for the bathroom. Choose one with identical prongs, the old fashioned low wattage type. There are two outlets in every cabin. One in the bathroom and one at the desk.
- There is a hair dryer, one of those rectangular ones hung on the wall.
- If you have a CPAP, bring a cord at least 12 feet long, again with identical prongs, not grounded. Otherwise request an extension cord when you get to your cabin. You can also request distilled water and a cord in advance. I figure on 2 gallons per two week cruise because I might spill some!
- We find the soap, shampoo, hair conditioner, etc. quite good. If your nose is tender, bring your own Kleenex, theirs is not as soft.
- We find that if there are visas or plane reservations, it is best to turn this over near departure time (sometimes earlier) to a travel agent to handle. Jack lets her get the paper work done and make a few dollars. Also on our last cruise, the travel agent handled our change of airlines, etc. when Princess asked us to change ships as ours was overbooked to San Francisco. That saved us a night in a hotel and from getting up at 4 a.m. to get a 6 a.m. flight. We got our transfers to the LA airport from Princess free for being such nice people.
I hope this has helped. We learned most of this from other travelers and our own more than 30 cruises. Remember you can use a cruise ship as a floating resort. Where else is your room cleaned twice a day, you can have excellent dining room food three times a day, snacks even in the middle of the night and a huge buffet if you choose that. Tea, coffee and lemonade are free in the dining room
And do remember the ReliefBand. I would never travel without one.