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10 Seasickness Remedies for Avid Expeditioners

A fresh ocean breeze on your face, endless horizons and the freedom of exploring the most remote places on earth aboard a small and comfortable expedition ship – a dream for any adventurous expeditioner, right? But what if you aren’t a natural born sailor and you haven’t quite gotten your sea legs yet? Don’t let the fear of motion sickness ruin your explorer’s spirit! We’ve collected the best tips and recommendations for seasickness remedies for your next cruise!

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What causes seasickness?

Imagine your brain being heavily confused by a mismatch of signals from your senses. Picture yourself on a bumpy car ride or being on a ship on open water: your muscles feel unusual movements while trying to keep you stable, your eyes are trying to make sense of it all and your inner ear is attempting to control your sense of balance. Your inner ear is part of the vestibular system, containing semicircular canals holding fluid that moves whenever you turn your head, while two sacs (called the saccule and utricle) detect gravity. In the open sea, your body can send a flood of unusual senses to your brain for processing. If the data is too confusing, it might not be able to determine whether you are stationary or in motion and, as a result, you’ll experience motion sickness.

Who’s most likely to get motion sickness?

While anyone can experience seasickness, children age 2 to 12, people with migraines and women (especially when pregnant, on hormones or during their period) are more prone to develop motion sickness. A word to the wise: attitude! Be optimistic and positive to trick your brain into not getting seasick. From our experience, passengers who worry too much about motion sickness prior to the cruise have a harder time adjusting.

What are common seasickness symptoms?

You’re queasy, sweating and just not feeling all that well. You may experience one or a combination of several symptoms at times. How do you know it’s really seasickness and not just a common flu or food poisoning? Look out for these symptoms:

·         Nausea

·         Vomiting

·         Cold sweats

·         Pallor

·         Excessive salivation

·         Apathy

·         Hyperventilation

·         Increased sensitivity to odors

·         Drowsiness

·         Headache

·         Vertigo and dizziness

If the symptoms subside once you get off the ship, you’re likely experiencing seasickness. In case they persist, your culprit may be a stomach bug, flu or something similar.

What are the best seasickness remedies?

1. Eat moderately

The boat is pitching and rolling and while some travelers are enjoying the beautiful scenery, waves and ocean views on deck, you just don’t want to leave your cabin at all. We get it – you want to rest and manage your motion sickness in private, but don’t be a stranger at meal times! Even though food may be the last thing you’re thinking about in this state, it actually will make you feel better! It’s a natural seasickness remedy and an empty stomach makes things much worse. Eat moderately and often, but avoid overeating, excessively greasy or acidic food. Choose bread, cereals, grain-based meals, bananas, crackers, ginger candies and drink plenty of water.

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2. Avoid alcohol

Talk to an “old salt” and he’ll recommend a glass of liquor (or two) to battle your seasickness. While some people may claim it worked for them, we highly recommend you avoid alcohol altogether. Rather than getting your sea legs, you may just end up with an even more upset stomach. Alcohol also dehydrates you, which may worsen the condition. And just imagine the terrible feeling of a good old solid hangover amplified by pitching and rolling aboard a ship. Stick to water, ginger ale and non-acidic fruit juices.

3. Don’t lose sleep

A good night’s sleep can make the difference! Give yourself the time you need and tuck in early. Use days at sea to rest and by the time we start our excursions, Zodiac cruises and exploration, you’ll be as good as new.

4. Seasickness pills

While there is no magic pill that reliably prevents seasickness altogether, there is medication that can help ease it. There are various over-the-counter drugs such as Dramamine and Bonine. Ask your physician prior to your cruise about what could work best for you. We also have an onboard physician in case you need assistance.

5. Acupressure bands

Looking for something natural and reusable? Try acupressure bands! These are worn on both wrists and apply pressure to the Nei-Kuan acupressure points to help restore your body’s balance.

6. Slap on a patch

It looks like a small band-aid that you wear behind your ear that releases a steady dose of scopolamine for up to three days. These patches interfere with the nerve transmission to the brain that induces vomiting and may save you from a few unnecessary bathroom trips.

7. Watch the horizon

Don’t hole up in your cabin, try to take a walk on deck! Find a good spot from where you can watch the horizon to ease your seasickness and breathe the fresh air.

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8. Stick to the middle

Avoiding seasickness is all about location! Feeling queasy? Go to the center of the cruise ship and to the lowest deck. The pitching and rolling is at a minimum there.

9. Avoid clusters of seasick passengers

Your cabin mates are experiencing seasickness? There is really no reason to stick around and gather to indulge in your misery. You won’t feel better by looking at other seasick passengers, so why not take a stroll on the ship to clear your mind? Believe it or not, a good deal of easing motion sickness is attitude. Don’t think of it all the time; don’t let others remind you of how green you look and how queasy you feel. In some cases, a good walk on deck with fresh Arctic or Antarctic air can be the best cure and once you spot your first whale, you may forget that you were seasick altogether.

10. …and if nothing else helps: steer the ship

Did you ever get carsick while being in the driver’s seat? Probably not. The same applies to cruising! While we may not actually let you steer the ship (after all, your seasickness is no reason to sink our entire expedition), you’re very welcome to visit the captain’s bridge! Have a chat with the captain, get the best tips on how to get your sea legs and enjoy the spectacular views!

What else can help?

It’s a personal thing….motion sickness depends on many factors and every person reacts differently to available remedies for seasickness. We’ve collected a few more tips on how to avoid, cure and ease seasickness:

·         Decongest:
Try to keep your nasal passages clear to not upset your inner ear canals any further. Over-the-counter nasal sprays and menthol rubs can help clear up a stuffed nose.

·         Breathe:
Proper breathing techniques may ease your nausea and prevent you from hyperventilating and vomiting.

·         Hydrate:
Drink plenty of water to replenish fluids, especially when vomiting. Dehydration fuels seasickness! Avoid acidic drinks, caffeine and alcohol.

·         Stay active:
Try to distract yourself with exercise and other activities. Walk on deck, visit the bridge and chat with the captain, work out in the onboard gym or meet fellow travelers in the lounges. Indulging into one’s feelings of seasickness may actually make it worse.
Don’t read:
Try to avoid reading or looking at a screen; try an audio book instead while watching the horizon.

·         Wear a magnetic wrist band:
Applying pressure and using magnetism may help prevent seasickness.

How long does seasickness last?

The good news is that should you experience seasickness, your trip won’t be ruined! According to a survey conducted by The Yachting World, 83% of seasick passengers see their condition improve within 48 hours. And with a variety of remedies for seasickness available, you’ll likely find one that eases your discomfort. How you feel onboard is very individual and may vary from one cruise to another. Most of our cruises have a couple of days at sea before we reach the gems of the Arctic or Antarctic, so you’ll have plenty of time to get your sea legs and recover.

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What should I take on the cruise to avoid seasickness?

While our onboard physician can provide medicine to relieve seasickness, we advise that you come prepared! It’s always best to bring what you’re most comfortable with:

Over-the-counter medication

We provide over-the-counter medication like Dramamine and Bonine on our cruises for treatment, but ideally you should start taking it one or two days before you board! Once you’re experiencing the first onset of seasickness, it may already be too late. Talk to your physician prior to cruising and take medication as advised.

Sea band

These acupressure wristbands battle seasickness naturally. A major advantage is that you can reuse them!

Ginger

A tasty and natural treatment that comes in the form of chewy candy and tablets with none of the drowsiness that you may experience from regular motion sickness drugs. You can also try candied ginger or even chewing on fresh ginger root (another idea: at it to your tea)!

Transdermal patches

Easy to pack and use, these little patches go behind your ear. Make sure you slap them on at least four hours before you experience rough sea weather and leave them on up to three days.

Sleeping mask and ear plugs

Shielding your brain from excessive stimulation is a method some travelers prefer. Given that seasickness occurs because of the brain’s confusion in processing conflicting signals from your eyes, ears and muscles, protecting it from overstimulation may help you feel better. Wear your sleeping mask, earplugs and attempt to reduce strong smells that could trigger nausea (especially at night). Even your favorite perfume could suddenly make you sick!

Aromatherapy

We know we just warned you about excessive smells, but for some people aromatherapy can help! A spray bottle of your favorite essential oil mix may freshen your senses and reduce the feeling of nausea. Popular extracts are lemon, cedar wood, lemongrass, lavender and spearmint. We recommend you experiment with this ahead of time to test your reactions and tolerance.


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