I’m still relatively new to the world of cruising. The first time I even set foot aboard a cruise ship was in 2010, when I went on a press trip aboard Norwegian Epic. But I was immediately hooked. With all the restaurants and activities, the solo-friendly rooms and the big production shows, it reminded me of a floating Las Vegas, and we all know how much I love Las Vegas.
The only downside of that 2-night cruise was that I got a little nauseated. Not enough to be stuck in my room or anything, but enough that eating food wasn’t all that appealing. I wasn’t sure if it was because I had an aft room, or whether I was just sensitive to the motion of the boat, but there it was: I was seasick.
Last year, when I took my Mediterranean cruise aboard the Epic, I made sure I was prepared for seasickness. I purchased sea bands and–despite my deep distrust of pharmaceuticals–got a prescription for the scopolamine patch, which you place behind your ear. I’d heard from other people that the patch worked great, so I had high hopes. Unfortunately, neither the patch nor the seabands worked for me. Again, I tried not to let it slow me down too much, but I definitely was not able to enjoy the ship as much as I otherwise might have.
So when Norwegian offered me another press trip aboard their new ship The Breakaway this May, I decided to give cruising another try. I really, really wanted to find a cure for seasickness so I can add cruises to my travel repertoire. It seemed like the best time to try something was aboard a 2-night cruise, rather than a week-long cruise. Right?
Enter my faithful SoloFriendly readers, who reacted to my post about my tribulations with seasickness with their own experiences aboard cruise ships. Ginger pills work for some people, but I knew from past experience, they do not work for me. Someone mentioned peppermint. But one medicine was mentioned a few times: Bonine.
A few weeks before my cruise, I called my nurse practitioner to ask for a prescription for Bonine—only to learn that it’s an over-the-counter medicine, like Benadryl or Dramamine. Duh. So I went around the corner to my neighborhood drugstore and bought a box.
It was actually a pretty easy medication to take. The morning you plan to board your ship, take two tablets. Chew them. They taste like orange Flintstone vitamins (which I always loved). Then take two more every morning of your cruise.
How did it work out?
BRILLIANTLY. I felt fantastic all weekend long—and we sailed through a thunderstorm Saturday night that was bad enough that it cancelled the fireworks show. I had been concerned about whether or not I could drink alcohol while taking this medication; it was not a problem. (Of course, I only had two cocktails per day, it’s not like I was getting hammered or anything.) And best of all, it didn’t make me drowsy, either. From now on, as far as I’m concerned, Bonine is my “go-to” choice to combat motion sickness.
I cannot stress enough how much I hate biopharmaceuticals as a rule. So many of them have negative side effects and they don’t all play nicely together (or even alone), which can wreak havoc with the human body. I use sleeping pills and over-the-counter cold medicine as necessary, but I’m really not a big fan of pumping foreign chemicals into my body. If there’s a natural way to deal with health issues, I’m all over it. But sometimes, the natural ways don’t work. Everyone’s DNA is different, and so what works for one person won’t work for another.
So if you have a tendency to get motion sickness or seasickness and you haven’t yet tried every possible remedy, keep trying until you find something that works. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to wave goodbye to seasickness. Now I can look at cruises again—in Alaska, in Europe, and anywhere else I feel like seeing from the water. This marks a new day in my travel life. Thanks very much to everyone who suggested it to me!