Seasickness remedies explained

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Just thinking about seasickness is enough to make some people feel queasy. However, if you’re embarking on a cruise and don’t know the state of your sea legs, it’s best to play it safe and take something with you in case you hit inclement weather. The good news is that there are a number of options, but if you’re taking any other medicines, either over-the-counter or prescription, check with your doctor or pharmacist in case any interact. Also note that most remedies need to be taken a few hours before you sail, and not every remedy will work for everyone.

Over-the-counter medicines

One of the most common travel sickness remedies is Travacalm, which contains an antihistamine that also has an anti-vomiting effect. It can cause drowsiness, though, so be careful not to drink too much alcohol when taking. 

Prescription medicines

Stemetil® (prochlorperazine) can now be bought from a pharmacy in small amounts, or by prescription for those who need more. It works by correcting chemical balances in the brain, including those that control nausea and vomiting. Maxolon® (metoclopramide) does a similar job, acting on the stomach and upper intestine to increase muscle contractions for proper stomach emptying, but it’s only available on prescription.  

Wrist bands

These work by using a form of acupressure. There’s a point about two centimetres above the inside of your wrist called the Nei Kuan acupressure point, where the wrist band applies pressure using a plastic bead or button. You will need to wear it all the time to prevent seasickness.


This is a common herbal remedy for sickness. There are many options for taking it, including capsules, eating crystalised ginger and drinking ginger tea, all of which are readily available from supermarkets and health food stores.

Green apples

Green apples are an old remedy used by sailors in the past; you may notice that many cruise ships have bowls of them in reception and at the buffet at all times. If you don’t see them around, ask for apples through room service.

The ship’s doctor

If your remedies of choice don’t work and you do become seasick, call the ship’s doctor and claim the bill on your insurance. The likely remedy administered will be an injection to stop the vomiting, which will also help you to relax and sleep.

Make smart choices, such as:

your ship: a large, modern cruise ship equipped with stabilisers is better able to handle the rolling and motion in rough weather.

  • your accommodation: book a stateroom that is right in the middle of the ship and close to the waterline, as this is the natural balance point with the least movement. Make sure it has an ocean view, and if your budget can stretch to it, a balcony so you can get fresh air if needed.
  • itinerary: don’t pick a cruise with too many sea days or long crossings in open ocean. Also avoid destinations where the ocean is known to be rough, such as the far North Pacific or the Great Southern Ocean, or a time of year when weather can have an impact, such as cyclone or hurricane season.
  • do’s and don’ts: during the first few days, spend as much time as you can outside in the fresh air and use the horizon as a point to help maintain your equilibrium. Also be careful when reading a book or using a computer if the ship is experiencing some motion, and avoid enclosed spaces.
  • food and drink: avoid rich or fatty foods, and drinking too much alcohol, as it speeds up dehydration, which can cause nausea. Also, don’t cruise on an empty stomach.

To find out more about cruising or to find the cruise of your dreams within your budget, visit

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Written by joannaha


Total Comments: 11
  1. 0

    Travelcalm is the best!! That’s from someone who can’t sit in the back of a car.

  2. 0

    My wife gets seasick so wears a wrist band on each arm and never feels Ill at sea, yet without them, no, you don’t want to know. Yuk!

  3. 0

    I use Quells and find them very reliable. Have had to use travel sick pills all my life, never grown out of it. I am going on a 23 day cruise in Sept and have all the aids. Fingers crossed.

  4. 0

    Cannot stress enough if you take prescription drugs check with your doctor for interaction between your drugs and sea sickness medication you want to take. I didn’t and became seriously ill, almost fatal.

  5. 0

    In response to Action, my Dr has approved the Quells, no problem with my prescription drugs, but you made a good point for others to take note and get the all clear.

  6. 0

    Maxalon and Stemetil are very powerful drugs. When I had cancer surgery I got sick and nauseaus from morphine. First they gave me me Maxalon to counteract that, but it made feel really wierd. And then they tried Stemetil but I got severe akathisia.

    I like Travacalm. Kwells are good too. Phenergan can be tried but it will put you to sleep. Check with your doctor or chemist for any meds interactions.

    I get train, car and seasick at the moment. Before it was just seasick. I‘m getting my ears syringed and then looked at. I‘m hoping it is just a wax build up making me travel sick so badly in the last 8 months.

  7. 0

    We were coming back from Lombock when he hit rather rough weather, and I’d read somewhere that sucking ice would help with sea sickness, so I tried it and yes it helped

  8. 0

    We were coming back from Lombock when he hit rather rough weather, and I’d read somewhere that sucking ice would help with sea sickness, so I tried it and yes it helped

  9. 0

    We were coming back from Lombock when he hit rather rough weather, and I’d read somewhere that sucking ice would help with sea sickness, so I tried it and yes it helped

  10. 0

    Just got back from extended holiday which included a week cruising the Greek Islands. Never used the seasick pills (prescription) I got before we left. For sale…….chuckle.
    Unlikely you will need these on modern ships unless you go around Cape Horn maybe.



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