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Staying Healthy When You Cruise, Avoiding Seasickness – Medications and First Aid Items to Pack

In this post we talk about seasickness, and staying healthy whilst cruising.

It may surprise you to know that I do get seasick – but it has never put me off cruising!

We will look at:

  • Preventing Seasickness.
  • How to treat Seasickness.
  • Everything else that can help you stay healthy on your cruise.

I know I always say that I pack light, but I don’t pack light when it comes to medication! I usually pack:

  • Antiseptic cream.
  • Plasters / Band-Aids.
  • Allergy / Antihistamine tablets.
  • Pain killers.
  • Indigestion tablets.
  • Cold and Flu medications.
  • Seasickness pills.

Anything that you might think could go wrong with you – pack for it just in case!

There is a section in the ship’s gift shop that sells some medications and toiletries, but there is a huge markup on this. It’s better to take your own.

medical centre cruise

Medical Centres Onboard

All cruise ships have medical centres on board, but it could cost you $100 just for a consultation.

Make sure you have Travel Insurance to cover the cost of your treatment and any medications needed.

Find out more about the cost of medical treatment onboard here:

​Cost of Medical Care onboard​

Ways to Help Stay Healthy on Your Cruise

  • Don’t overeat.
    • It is very tempting with all the wonderful food on offer, but try not to overdo things.
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol.
    • Again, as tempting as it might be – particularly if you have a drinks package, watch how much you drink. Try to keep hydrated with water and soft drinks instead of just drinking alcohol.
  • Stay out of the Sun.
    • If you are in a hot country you don’t want to end up with sunstroke!
  • Drink plenty of the free water onboard.
    • You will find water offered with meals in restaurants, in the buffet, and the cabin water in the cabins is drinkable too! It doesn’t always taste the best out of the bathroom sink, but it is perfectly safe.
  • Take the stairs instead of the lift/elevator if you are able.
    • Wear your fitness tracker and you will be amazed at how many steps you are actually taking.
  • Take any free exercise classes
    • Some cruise lines offer free Zumba or Dance Classes, it is worth checking the daily schedule to find out.

How to Prevent Seasickness

I am a person who can feel sick in cars or buses, but I don’t often get seasick on cruise ships. There are certain steps you can take to minimise the risk:

  • Pick an itinerary with few sea days.
    • If you are at sea for days on end, and you don’t feel well it will make your holiday miserable.
    • Maybe avoid transatlantic crossings.
  • Pick a central cabin that is lower down.
    • This is where the movement of the ship will be felt less.
  • Get a balcony cabin.
    • If you can afford a balcony cabin, then it is nice to have access to the fresh air when you open the balcony doors.
  • Take medication.
    • If the Captain says we could be in for some rough weather, I immediately take some medication!
    • Most cruise ships sell seasickness pills at Reception. On one particularly rough P&O cruise, I bought ten tablets for £3. I was very grateful for them!
  • Get some fresh air.
    • If you go up on deck, the fresh air may make you feel much better.
  • Try and get some sleep.
    • When I feel seasick, sleep is the best cure. If I can shut my eyes and sleep, I often wake up feeling much better.
  • Eat bland, basic foods.
    • Avoid big meals, greasy food and alcohol.
    • Try eating green apples and things made with Ginger. They really help me.
Green Apples for seasickness
Eating green apples may stop you feeling seasick
  • Sail on newer, mid-sized ships.
    • Small ships and older ships seem to deal with bad weather worse. If the ship is less than twenty years old, it will probably have stabilisers which reduce the movement of the ship.
  • Buy some seasickness bands to go around your wrists.
    • These are usually very cheap. I can’t say for sure that they work, but it is worth a try!

Find out more about preventing seasickness in my handy guide: ​Seasickness Tips​

One of my worst experiences of seasickness was on a rocky Christmas cruise from the UK to the Canary Islands.

Find out all about that in the video below:

I was very seasick on my Christmas Cruise to the Canary Islands.

Buy Cruise-Specific Travel Insurance

Do not ever consider cruising without insurance! Most policies cover:

  • Medical cover.
  • Lost Luggage.
  • Missed port cover (so you get a payout if you miss a port.)
  • Repatriation to your own country in case of emergency.
  • Missed flights, cruises and connections.
  • If you can’t afford the cruise travel insurance, you can’t afford the cruise!

Make sure any Travel Insurance Policy you take out is cruise-specific!

  • Cruise lines often offer their own policies.
    • Very convenient, but you can often get cheaper and better cover elsewhere by shopping around. To find out more about whether it is better to book directly with the cruise line or organise your own policy, click here:

Should You Buy Your Travel Insurance Through The Cruise Line or Directly from an Insurance Company?

  • Banks may offer travel insurance free with some Current Accounts.
    • These often don’t cover cruises so it is important to check.
  • If you are travelling more than once a year, check out the cost of annual policies.
    • I find that if I am taking more than one holiday a year, it is cheaper to have an annual policy in place.
    • Check maximum length trips are covered for – some may say for trips up to 14 days or 21 days – no good if you are on a world cruise!
  • Look at insuring as a family or as a group.
    • I always had a travel insurance policy with my family. We were all covered if we were travelling separately or together as a group. This is far cheaper than individual policies.
  • If you have a single trip policy it will cover you for set dates.
    • Take out the insurance policy as soon as you book the cruise. You should then be covered if you have to unexpectedly cancel your trip.
cruise ship medical evacuation
Medical Evacuation From A Cruise Ship Can Be Hugely Expensive!

Read my handy guide to travel insurance here:

​Travel Insurance – why you need it and how to get it​

Before You Go

If you are concerned that you may feel seasick on your cruise, which cabin should you choose to minimise feeling the movement of the ship? Find out how to choose wisely in the post below:

What is The Best Cabin Location on a Cruise For Avoiding Seasickness? (I’ve Tried Them All!)

Find out what suffering from seasickness/motion sickness has taught me about cruising here:

What My Worst Seasickness Experience Taught me About Cruising

Taking a Cruise: Recommendations and Resources

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