A hundred years ago you might have been right to stay clear of cruise ships if you were prone to sea sickness. But technology has done wonders for passengers’ comfort and convenience. A ship’s size is a factor. The larger the ship, the less affect waves have on it. The invention and addition of Stabilizers was a big deal. These giant mechanisms engage themselves automatically to mitigate the ships movements through rough seas. Lastly, medical science brings us the Patch. Just attach this little band-aid-looking sticker, about as big as your thumbnail, and it will provide you with sea-sickness prevention medication for up to twenty-four hours. For those that feel that these advancements may not be sufficient to prevent the waves from affecting their enjoyment, there’s one more strategy to employ. Pick a cruise where there aren’t any waves.
My wife and partner, Lyn, is not only prone to sea sickness, she has an actual phobia about being out on the water. During the first many years of our marriage we traveled extensively but she refused to take a cruise until one day, while planning a graduation party for one of our sons, we asked him what he might like as a graduation gift. We just assumed he, like any normal teenager, would ask for a car, but were surprised when he looked straight at Lyn and said he wanted us to take a family cruise. He continued to speak directly at Lyn and told her that he knew how she felt about boats. He had done a little research and suggested that we take an Alaskan cruise and elect to do the ‘inside passage’. You see, there are two route options with an Alaskan cruise. The inside passage is a body of water that is protected, for the most part, from the waves of the ocean by a long set of islands. He also said we should choose a large ship with modern stabilizers, even though the inside passage was relatively calm. He also brought up the 'patch', which is how we lovingly refer to the seemingly miraculous medicine available today to treat (prevent) sea sickness. It looks like a little band-aid about the size of your thumbnail. You just stick it onto a hidden patch of skin and you're good to go for up to twenty-four hours.
He had clearly done his homework and had his request all tee'd up. Our son pleaded with her to give it a try and, bravely, albeit reluctantly, she agreed. We took the Alaska cruise, inside passage, big ship, and fell in love with cruising. Lyn never needed the Patch and was brave enough to suggest that our next cruise be in the Mediterranean Sea. You see, the Med has waves but typically does not have the sort of waves one would experience in the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans. So Lyn figured since she had such an easy time of it on the Alaskan cruise (inside passage) she would give the Med a try. We’ve since taken several Med cruises and eventually Lyn graduated to taking cruises that took us out on the wide open ocean.
So, for you sea sickness or water-phobic folks, all you need is the right ship, the right cruise, a little patch (and you may not even need that), and a supportive family and you’ll be cruising too.
And by the way, if you really want to take a baby step, take a river cruise. No waves at all.