Saying Goodbye to Seasickness

by Gray Cargill on June 5, 2013

Post image for Saying Goodbye to Seasickness

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.

Bonine tablets

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!

Look ma! Not seasick!

Shayna A. August 26, 2014 at 8:45 pm

YES! Bonine works! I generally get car sick if I am riding and not driving, so on the sea its worse…and I LOVE CRUISING! But when I tried Bonine, it saved me! Dramamine took too long to work. Since these are chew-able, its much easier to travel with. You don’t have to go find water.

Gray Cargill August 27, 2014 at 7:22 pm

Yay, another Bonine fan! Thanks for sharing your experience, Shayna!

Kirstin June 17, 2013 at 5:22 am

Now I just have to figure out if they are sold under the same name in New Zealand. I remember trying to buy nurofen in USA and the pharmacist just looked at me blankly. Just for the record if you are wanting to buy ibuprofen in New Zealand it is called nurofen 🙂

Gray Cargill June 17, 2013 at 6:17 am

Oh, that’s good to know, Kirstin! I hadn’t really thought about the different names drugs have in different countries.

Kelly July 7, 2013 at 8:46 pm

When I lived in New Zealand, OTC pills called “Sea Legs” saved me.

Gray Cargill July 7, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Thanks for the tip, Kelly! “Sea Legs” seems appropriate. 🙂

Shannon J June 17, 2013 at 1:49 am

Thanks for the tip. I get horribly seasick – I may just try this next time!

Gray Cargill June 17, 2013 at 6:18 am

Good luck, Shannon!

Lauren Katulka June 7, 2013 at 3:30 am

What a great post! We’ve included it in our latest web wrap:

Gray Cargill June 7, 2013 at 6:06 am

Thanks, Lauren, I’m glad you liked it!

Monique June 6, 2013 at 7:32 am

I have a friend that gets seasick just with the thought of a cruise 🙂
I will tell her about Bonine, hopefully it will help her and I am glad it worked for you!
It was very nice meeting you at TBEX, even if briefly!

Gray Cargill June 6, 2013 at 12:02 pm

It was good to meet you too, Monique (and agreed, it was all too brief!).

Brittany @ Paws for Beer June 5, 2013 at 2:57 pm

I didn’t use anything my first cruise and had headaches the whole time. My next cruise I used Bonine and everything was perfect even through a huge storm with rolling waves. The boat was moving around so much that the cruise director said “you can tell the people who are drunk because they are the only ones walking straight!”

Gray Cargill June 5, 2013 at 5:23 pm

LOL! Oh, being drunk! Maybe that’s what I should have tried on my first cruise! 🙂

Donna Hull June 5, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Bonine works great. I’ve even waited until the queasiness quicks in and Bonine stops it right away.

Gray Cargill June 5, 2013 at 5:26 pm

That’s good to hear, Donna. I think first-timers should see if they will get seasick–they might not–before taking a drug for it.

Lisa @chickybus June 5, 2013 at 11:03 am

Good to know about this! I’ve only tried dramamine. Love that pic of you, by the way. You look like you’re having a wonderful time and doing so, motion-sickness free! 🙂

Gray Cargill June 5, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Thanks, Lisa. I had a GREAT time. It was such a joy to be able to look out on the water and not feel queasy. 🙂

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