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Travel Unravelled: Avoiding Seasickness

Q: I’m going on a Caribbean cruise this winter, but I’m worried about getting seasick.  Are there any ways to prevent this from happening? – Margaret O’Leary, Ottawa, ON

A: Seasickness is a  common and unpleasant affliction for many cruise-goers. In its simplest terms, it is motion sickness that happens to occur on a ship. The rocking of the boat causes stress on the brain and inner ear, which regulates balance, causing nausea.

Prevention is the best policy when it comes to seasickness. A number of remedies are available to combat it before it strikes, although it is possible to relieve the symptoms after the nausea has set in.

Over the counter remedies, such as Dramamine and Bonine, can be taken a few hours before boarding the ship. These are offered at most pharmacies and are readily available in a non-drowsy form.


The most common treatment comes in the form of a small patch, called Scopolamine, which is worn behind the ear. The patch has a time release and can be worn effectively for as long as three days. Scopolamine is also available as a pill.

Many cruise-goers can be seen wearing a seasickness bracelet or wristband, which applies light pressure, or acupressure, on the wrist. These too can be found in a pharmacy.

As far as herbal remedies go, ginger capsules are your best bet, although these may not be as effective as drugs or bracelets.


If you can, select a room mid-ship, where the rocking motion is felt less. If you begin to feel nauseated setting in while you’re on the deck, face the front of the ship and keep your eye on the horizon. This usually deceives the brain by offering a sense of stability.


As a last resort, although not the most popular option when sailing through the beautiful Caribbean, is to just sleep it off. A hearty nap below deck can often beat seasickness successfully.

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