While no treatment is 100 percent effective, there are a number
of helpful remedies you might want to consider before venturing
out to sea.
But before you seek relief, it's important to understand why
people succumb to seasickness in the first place. Basically,
seasickness, or motion sickness of any kind, is a battle between
the senses. When you're on a ship, your vestibular system (the
inner ear's balancing mechanism) tells your brain that your
body is moving along with the swell of the sea. Your eyes, however,
look about the cabin of the ship and tell your brain that you
are not moving. This conflict causes an imbalance in the body,
resulting in fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and possible vomiting.
Obviously, this is no way to spend a vacation. When you book
your cruise, you can reduce your chances of becoming seasick
by requesting a cabin as close to the middle and bottom of the
ship as possible. Though the eighth-floor suites offer fantastic
views, they also pitch and rock more than their inside counterparts.
Before setting sail, check out a few over-the-counter medications
and natural preventatives. Nonprescription antihistamines such
as Dramamine, Marezine, and Bonine can be found at most drug
stores and offer relief to many seasickness sufferers. Unfortunately,
they can also cause severe drowsiness and should not be mixed
with alcohol. Remember to check with your doctor before taking
If you're susceptible to more severe bouts of seasickness,
your doctor might prescribe a transdermal scopolamine patch.
This circular, flat disk is placed behind the ear, adhering
to the skin and delivering medication into the bloodstream for
three days. But be aware that drowsiness, disorientation, dry
mouth, and blurry vision are a few of its possible side effects.
Many people who prefer to eschew drugs find relief in wearing
an acupressure wrist band, which inhibits nausea by applying
pressure to a particular point on your wrist. These can be purchased
at most major pharmacies and marine stores for $6 to $10 each.
Another natural remedy is ginger, said to have a calming affect
on queasy tummies. Chewable ginger tablets, ginger tea, and
crystalized ginger can be found at most health food stores.
Once you and your physician have decided on a treatment option,
it's time to cross the gangplank and set sail. Remember to use
caution when approaching the sprawling buffet tables--while
the bacon, eggs, and mimosas at brunch would be perfectly tasty
on land, they're not exactly what you want to consume when you're
feeling ill. Caffeine, alcohol, and greasy or acidic foods are
tough to digest and may add to your nausea. Crackers, dry toast,
and flat soda are better bets. And don't forget to drink plenty
of water, as dehydration lowers your body's resistance to stress.
If you begin to feel woozy, call your cabin steward or the
purser's desk--oftentimes, they will provide you with free nonprescription
drugs to help quell the nausea, vomiting, and dizziness associated
with motion sickness. For more severe cases, visit the ship's
medical facility. The office will have daily hours of operation,
but a doctor is always on-call for emergencies. (Be aware, though,
that you may be charged for your visit.)
And keep in mind that a cramped, stuffy cabin is the worst
place you can be when seasickness strikes. Head up to a quiet
spot on the deck for some fresh air and sunshine. When you get
outside, face forward and fix your eyes on the horizon--a cloud,
passing ship, or your port of call are all good things on which
Armed with these helpful hints, your cruise should be smooth
sailing all around. Bon voyage!
As with any trip, it's wise to pack as lightly as possible.
In many instances, passengers can take advantage of laundry
and dry-cleaning services in order to travel even lighter. (You
can usually find price lists and laundry bags in your cabin.)
And be sure to bring an extra fold-away bag to carry home any
souvenirs you purchase during your trip.
During daylight hours, you'll need casual, comfortable outfits.
Bring shorts, short-sleeved shirts, lightweight pants, a sweater,
swimsuit and cover-up, comfortable walking shoes, non-skid shoes
for strolling on deck, and sandals. You might want to bring
an umbrella and a light jacket, too. For seasonal cruises, plan
accordingly: Be sure to include warm sweaters, jackets, long
pants, and extra socks. If visiting a religious site in port,
please consult with your cruise's Excursion Desk to find out
what's appropriate to wear while touring.
Most cruises host several different types of evenings on board:
casual, semi-formal (dressy, but informal), and formal. For
casual nights, sport shirts and slacks are suitable for men,
while sundresses or pants work for women. On semi-formal nights,
most women wear dresses or pantsuits, while men put on jackets
and ties. For formal nights, women should wear cocktail dresses
or evening gowns, while men should don suits and ties, or tuxedos
A general rule of thumb is to plan for about $2.50 to $3.00
per person per day for your room steward and dining room waiter,
and about half that amount for your busboy. (A few cruise lines
include tipping in the price and will so inform you.)
Other ship personnel can be tipped for special services at
your discretion. Some recommendations include $1.50 per day
per person for your assistant waiter, and a total of $2.50 per
person for your head waiter on three- and four-night cruises
(for seven-night and longer cruises, head-waiter gratuities
are at your discretion). All gratuities must be paid in cash.
(Note that a 15 percent gratuity is often added automatically
to your bar bill or wine tab when you are served.)
Extending a gratuity to your guide or driver on shore excursions
is strictly optional. But keep in mind that in some countries,
these personnel may expect that if you are pleased with their
services, you will reward them. A commonly accepted guideline
is $1 per person for a half-day tour and $2 per person for a