A little under 2 weeks ago I stepped foot on my first cruise ship (and quite possibly my last!) I was well prepared for the possibility of sea sickness, as my stomach isn’t exactly the easiest customer to work with on land, and things worked out pretty well.
I decided to share my little tricks in the hopes that it might help some other first-timers with their voyages!
1. Don’t underestimate the power of ginger! On my first night aboard a cruise ship things weren’t going so well, so I legged it down to the ship’s store. They had two types of sea sickness tablets: one that was purely ginger, and another that was medication. Since I was feeling pretty green around the gills, and with the shop closing in 15 minutes, I decided to get both packs – because lets be honest, what chance does a simple plant have at making me feel better?
I was reluctant to take the medication, as it caused drowsiness (and drowsiness doesn’t sit well with my anxiety) so I downed two of the ginger tablets. To my surprise, it worked! I continued to take a tablet after breakfast and again before sleep (sometimes again after waking up in the middle of the night feeling queasy) and it settled my stomach right down.
I know that when the stomach is doing flips, the last thing you want to do is eat (especially if you are bringing things up) but it is always important to have something, anything in there for the stomach to amuse itself with. It’s something I’ve learned from my unpredictable stomach on land.
Avoid anything that is too rich (sugars and desserts) or anything with a really strong odour (I made the mistake of ordering fish on my first night – boy, was that hard to down!) I’d recommend staying away from fats – stick to the vegetable group and easily digested meats.
If you can, bring your own snacks on board – stuff you know you definitely can eat.
3. Take some hydrating fizzy tablets, like vitamin C or dissolving tablets you get from the chemist – the ones you take after having the flu or a stomach bug. They have a lot of important minerals your body needs and ones you might not be getting if you’re not eating or losing fluids.
4. My saviour – a mini hot water bottle!
Ever since my stomach started playing up when I was 12 years old, I have tried A LOT of things to remedy it. The one thing I swear by is a hot water bottle on the stomach. What I did on the first night aboard the cruise ship (and the night I was most suffering from sea sickness) was turn the temperature right down in our cabin and stick my fuzzy hot water bottle on my stomach.
I have no idea why it works, but trust me, it does. By the next morning I was able to eat some breakfast, and by dinner that night I wasn’t bothered at all by the odours of my meals. To keep the momentum going, I slept with it every night, and each night it was easier and easier to get to sleep.
5. Before you step foot on a cruise ship might I suggest strengthening your back muscles! You might not use them much on land, but I tell you what, on the sea they are your saviors. In order to stay upright in the swaying of the ship (and also on bus rides if you go on tours) you’re gunna need them!
Once your back muscles get sore there is nothing to lift you. Your core muscles will cry out and fold in on themselves, which in turn affects your stomach. It needs space in order to do it’s work and if it has none, if you’re all hunched over, it’ll make you feel worse.
6. Take your mind off being on a boat. Granted that is hard when the whole ship is moving, but do as many activities on board as possible.
Or, you could do the opposite. I sat on the sill of our cabin window looking out at the rolling waves and it seemed to do me good. It seemed to give my stomach a legitimate reason as to why I was swaying and carrying on.
7. Wait it out. Eventually your body will correct itself, it just depends how long that will take.
I would suggest getting travel insurance if you think you might have trouble with your stomach, because the last resort is heading to the on-board doctor to have a shot. At my last dinner my partner and I chatted to a couple that said over 60 people had been to get a shot on the first day alone!
That being said, I have a pretty touchy stomach but I didn’t need one.
Then, perhaps prepare yourself for land sickness – the silent enemy!