How to Tell If You Will Get Seasick on a Cruise

Stepping onto a cruise ship should be the beginning of a fantastic adventure, but the thought of seasickness can sometimes cloud your excitement. “How to Tell If You Will Get Seasick on a Cruise” is here to put your mind at ease by guiding you through the signs that might indicate if you’ll be affected by the ship’s motion. You’ll learn about common symptoms, personal risk factors, and helpful tips for prevention, ensuring that you’re well-prepared to set sail without worry. Have you ever wondered, “Will I get seasick on a cruise?” It’s a common concern for many prospective cruisers who dream of an exciting voyage across the ocean but fear they might spend most of it feeling miserable. If you’re planning a cruise, it’s important to know how to anticipate and manage potential seasickness.

Understanding Seasickness

What is Seasickness?

Seasickness is a form of motion sickness that occurs when the brain receives conflicting signals from the inner ear, eyes, and sensory receptors. When on a moving boat, your inner ear senses motion, but your eyes and other body parts may not perceive the same motion, leading to nausea, dizziness, and other symptoms.

Symptoms of Seasickness

Knowing the symptoms can help you identify seasickness early. Common symptoms include:

Symptom Description
Nausea Feeling sick to your stomach
Vomiting Actual expulsion of stomach contents
Dizziness A sensation of spinning or losing balance
Sweating Excessive perspiration without physical exertion
Headache Persistent, dull or throbbing headache
Fatigue/Drowsiness A general feeling of tiredness

Why Does Seasickness Happen?

Seasickness is caused by a sensory mismatch. Your brain is confused by differing signals from your inner ear, eyes, and body. This confusion can create feelings of discomfort and queasiness. Understanding the mechanics behind seasickness can help you find effective strategies to prevent or minimize it.

Who is at Risk?

Anyone can experience seasickness, but some are more sensitive to motion than others. Individuals with migraines, inner ear problems, or a family history of motion sickness often find themselves more prone to this condition. Children aged 2-12 and women, especially those who are pregnant, are also at higher risk.

Factors That Affect Seasickness

Type of Cruise

The type of cruise you choose can greatly impact your likelihood of getting seasick. Larger ships tend to be more stable and less prone to rocking movements. Cruises on calm waters, like river cruises or those in the Caribbean, also offer smoother sailing compared to oceanic voyages.

Weather Conditions

Weather plays a significant role in the stability of the ship. Calm, sunny days usually lead to smoother sailing, whereas stormy or windy conditions can result in choppier water and a rockier ride.

Ship Size and Design

Large, modern cruise ships are equipped with stabilizers that minimize motion. Choosing a cruise line known for incorporating advanced stabilizing technology can significantly reduce your risk.

Your Cabin Location

Where your cabin is located on the ship can make a difference. Cabins in the center of the ship and on lower decks usually offer the smoothest ride, whereas those at the bow (front) or stern (back) may experience more movement.

How to Tell If You Will Get Seasick on a Cruise

How to Evaluate Your Risk

Past Experiences

Reflect on your past experiences with motion sickness. If you’ve suffered from motion sickness in cars, airplanes, or amusement park rides, there’s a higher likelihood you’ll experience seasickness.

Medical Conditions

Consider any medical conditions you may have. Conditions affecting the inner ear, such as vertigo, or other balance disorders, can increase your susceptibility to seasickness.

Family History

If motion sickness runs in your family, you might be more prone to it as well. Discuss with family members to gauge whether it’s a common issue among them.

Preventive Measures


There are several medications designed to prevent and treat motion sickness. Over-the-counter options include:

Medication Example Brand Active Ingredient
Antihistamines Dramamine Dimenhydrinate
Anticholinergics Scopolamine Scopolamine

Some of these medications can cause drowsiness, so it’s important to take them only as directed. It’s also wise to consult your healthcare provider before starting any new medication, especially if you have other health conditions or are taking other medications.

Natural Remedies

If you prefer natural remedies, consider ginger, which has been shown to ease nausea. You can consume ginger in several forms, such as ginger tea, ginger candies, or supplements. Acupressure wristbands, like Sea-Bands, are another popular, drug-free solution that applies pressure to specific points on your wrist to relieve nausea.

Behavioral Tips

Adopting certain behaviors can also help mitigate seasickness:

  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration, which can worsen symptoms.
  • Choose the Right Foods: Eat light, bland foods and avoid heavy, greasy meals that can upset your stomach.
  • Maintain Fresh Air: Spend time on the deck and breathe fresh air.
  • Fix Your Gaze: Focus on a distant, stationary object like the horizon to stabilize your vision and reduce dizziness.
  • Rest: Get plenty of sleep and take short naps to combat fatigue.

How to Tell If You Will Get Seasick on a Cruise

Onboard Strategies

Selecting the Right Cabin

As previously mentioned, choosing a mid-ship cabin on a lower deck can help minimize the sensation of motion. If you’re particularly prone to seasickness, prioritize these locations when booking your cruise.

Onboard Activities

Engaging in various activities can serve as a distraction and help alleviate the feeling of seasickness. Participate in entertainment programs, visit the spa, go for a swim, or take part in onboard classes to keep your mind occupied.

Stay Active

Light physical activity can sometimes help to settle your stomach. Walking around the ship, participating in gentle exercise classes, or spending time stretching can make a difference.

Monitor Your Diet

Be mindful of what and when you eat. Small, frequent meals are generally better than large, heavy ones. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods, as they can exacerbate symptoms.

What to Do If You Feel Seasick

Immediate Actions

If you start to feel seasick, take swift action to prevent the symptoms from getting worse. Go to the middle of the ship and sit or lie down. Focus on your breathing to help calm your system. Fresh air can also be beneficial, so step outside if possible.

Use Available Resources

Cruise ships are well-equipped to handle seasickness. Visit the medical center for medication or advice. Some ships also provide complimentary seasickness remedies, such as green apples and crackers.

Professional Help

If your symptoms are severe and persistent, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. The ship’s medical staff can offer stronger medications and other treatments to ensure you’re comfortable for the rest of your journey.

After the Cruise

Reflect on Your Experience

After your cruise, take some time to reflect on what triggered your seasickness and what methods helped you manage it. This insight can be invaluable for future voyages.

Consult a Healthcare Provider

If you experienced severe seasickness or if the symptoms linger after your cruise, consult a healthcare provider to discuss further preventive measures and treatment options for your next adventure.

Plan for the Future

With your newfound knowledge and experience, you can plan future cruises with confidence. Consider shorter cruises to begin with, or trips on calmer waters to gradually build your tolerance.

FAQs About Seasickness on Cruises

Can Everyone Get Seasick?

Yes, it’s possible for anyone to get seasick, but susceptibility varies. While some people never experience it, others are more sensitive to motion.

Are There Long-Term Effects?

Generally, seasickness is temporary and subsides once you’re back on land. Persistent symptoms should be evaluated by a healthcare professional to rule out other conditions.

Will It Ruin My Cruise?

Seasickness can be uncomfortable, but taking preventive measures and knowing how to manage symptoms can help ensure you still enjoy your cruise.

Is Medication Safe?

OTC medications are generally safe if taken as directed. However, consult with a healthcare provider for personalized advice, especially if you have underlying health conditions.

How Quickly Do Symptoms Appear?

Symptoms can appear within a few hours of being at sea. Acting quickly when you start to feel uneasy can make it easier to manage your discomfort.


Understanding the factors that contribute to seasickness and taking proactive measures can significantly reduce your risk. Whether you’re a novice cruiser or a seasoned sailor, being prepared and informed allows you to enjoy your voyage with minimal discomfort. So, set your worries aside, take these tips to heart, and embark on your cruise with confidence!