Pros and Cons of Seasick Patch

Welcome to Cruise Critic! If you'd like to participate on our forums by joining in the conversation, please Register Now! Be sure to visit our FAMOUS Roll Call forums, where you can meet other cruisers sailing with you and share a tour or shore excursion and SAVE MONEY!

Washington, DC
1,410 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
I get very seasick. On my first cruise, if it were not for a friend offering me patches he did not need I would have gotton off at the first port and flown home. I had sailed numerous times on very small craft without issue. The cruiseship made me sick. I was really surprised.

I always have the patch with me, and I ask my doctor to give me enough for a fresh patch every day. The box says they last three days but I've never had them last more than two. There are side affects. I find that I am thirsty, but no cotton mouth. My eyes do dilate. It is also important not to touch anything after you touch the sticky part before you wash your hands well. You don't want to ge tthe medication in your eye. I had less side effects this year than I had the past two.

The bonine is supposed to be good, I don't like taking anything that will make me drowsey as I already have allergy meds that do that. The ginger did not work for me. I also tried seabands, but they don't totally do the trick for me.

You will have to talk to your doctor to get the prescription. Tell him/her your concerns. I would be prepared with a few different options. Seasickness is just terrible.

I think it is an excellent question to raise. There are many solutions, hope you find the right one. Happy cruising.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Washington, DC

Celebrity Silhouette 02/01/2015 (Ft. Lauderdale - Labadee - San Juan – St. Maarten)
Celebrity Silhouette 02/02/2014 (Ft. Lauderdale - Coco Cay - Casa de Campo – Curacao)
Independence of the Seas 02/02/2013 (Ft. Lauderdale - St. Maarten - St. Kitts - San Juan - Labadee)
Allure of the Seas 01/29/2012 (Ft. Lauderdale-Labadee-Costa Maya-Cozumel-Ft. Lauderdale)
Allure of the Seas 02/06/2011 (Ft. Lauderdale-Nassau-St. Thomas-St. Maarten-Ft. Lauderdale)
Liberty of the Seas 01/17/2010 (Miami-Labadee-Grand Cayman-Cozumel-Miami)
Freedom of the Seas 01/25/2009 (Miami-Labadee-San Juan-St. Maarten-Miami)
Explorer of the Seas 08/09/2008 (NJ-Bermuda-NJ)
Liberty of the Seas 01/19/2008 (Miami-Grand Turk-St. Thomas-Labadee-Miami)

Next Up: Navigator of the Seas Jan 2016
Eastern Connecticut
278 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
The patch is scopalamine, jimson week. It is contraindicated if you have heart problems - especially high blood pressure, or are a stroke risk. One odd side effect that wasn't mentioned is it may dilate the tiny blood vessels in your sinuses makign you feel like someone filled them with cement [but it goes away fairly fast if you remove the patch.]

Another odd side effect is if you are wearing one, and get really sweaty, don't snuggle with someone with heart/stroke issues as the scopalamine can be carried in your sweat and effect the other person. I got to be the other person and got the cement sinuese and racing heart but since I already knew about the cement sinus issue [from a long time ago prior to heart troubles pulling jimson weed out of my pasture to keep teh sheep from eating it] I knew what it was.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
North Carolina
25,297 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
The Patch made me feel horrible and screwed up my vision.
Bonine has no side effects for me, so that is what I use and it works great.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
"I cruise because that's where the ocean is" ~~ CC Member- sparks1093

Carnival: Celebration 5/1991~ Holiday 2/2003~ Miracle 6/2004~ Inspiration 3/2007~ Legend 3/2008~ Fantasy 11/2008~ Miracle 8/2009~ Triumph 2/2010~ Liberty 12/2010~ CCL Freedom 11/2011~ Spirit 4/2012 and DONE
Celebrity: Infinity 11/2006
Royal Caribbean: Explorer of The Seas 9/08~ Serenade Of The Seas 9/14 ~Serenade Of The Seas 01/16
Norwegian: Spirit 11/2007~ Sky 2/2009~ Star 3/2009~ Dawn 11/2009~ Dawn 1/2011~ Dawn 9/2012~ Sun 2/2013~ Sun 2/2014~ Breakaway 6/2015~ Star 9/2015~ Jade 1/17

"I was born in the sign of water, and it's there that I feel my best"~~ Glenn Shorrock
Medford, New York
661 Posts
Joined May 2004
Originally posted by PamelaRic
I'm the world's worst seasick sailor. I get motion sickness so easily that I cannot even ride in the backseat of a car. Well, I can, but you certainly don't want what happens when I do. I use the Scopolamine patch. Since at first it does make me a little sleepy, I put it on the night before the cruise and let it help me get a good night's sleep. The worst side effect I've ever had was "cotton" mouth. I just drink a lot of water. I have used the transderm scop for car and bus trips, scuba diving, sailing, cruising, flying. I have a continual refilling RX I use it so much. I have tried absolutely everything for motion sickness and have been sick through them. Scopolamine is the only thing that has ever worked for me. Personally, I think there is nothing more miserable in this world than being seasick. My advice would be to try it before the ship to see if you do have problems and if you do, are they manageable problems like having a dry mouth. Lately, I don't seem to have the dry mouth problem.
Good luck,
Pamela you sound like me with not being able to ride as a passenger in a car without getting sick, I don't go on vacation without my patch, thank god I have not experienced any side effects other than like you said thirsty. I put it on the day before I fly to make sure I don't get sick on the plane.
73 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
An anesthesiologist suggested benadryl to me. My wife loves to read and couldn’t in the car. She takes 50mg prior a long road trip and reads away. She tells me it works well on the boat too. The only issue is needing to take the dose 3 times a day.
7,429 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
Originally posted by Ilikeboats
Hi, I am prone to sea sickness though I only got sick on a small fishing boat and never on a cruise boat (only 2 other cruises) . I am sailing on the Oasis on Saturday, aft. Does it make you tired? I don't drink so that is not an issue, but I don't want to be "out of it". Does that Bonvine (sp) work and where can you get that? Thanks for any input.
When working on boats that are not much bigger than the lifeboats on Oasis I did get seasick, yuck!!! I used the dry mouth but decided it was better than a mouth full of barf.

Ultimately like with other RX you need to discuss your specific condition with your MD...there may be contraindications for the patch for you. Lots of other options out there though.

Hope you have a seasick FREE cruise you really enjoy!!!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Rancher Dave

<div style="width:400px; position: relative;">
<div style="background-color: #38235b; padding: 5px 0px 5px 0px; text-align: center; width: 399px; border-left: 1px solid #372060; font-size: 11px; color: #EEE; line-height: 1.4em;">
<a style="font-size: 14px; color: #FFBF42" href=""><strong>Create your own travel map</strong></a> - <a style="font-size: 14px; color: #FFBF42" href=""><strong>TravBuddy</strong></a><br/>

RCCL Diamond Plus / Celebrity Elite / Princess Elite / NCL / Disney
Tucson, AZ
595 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Originally posted by JOANN226
Pamela you sound like me with not being able to ride as a passenger in a car without getting sick, I don't go on vacation without my patch, thank god I have not experienced any side effects other than like you said thirsty. I put it on the day before I fly to make sure I don't get sick on the plane.
Joann - Looks like we are twins!!

Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

Scheduled Cruises:

My bucket list includes the Panama Canal, Alaska and round trip to Hawaii from the west coast

Past Cruises:
Aug 30, 2015: RCI - Navigator - Western Caribbean
Nov 24, 2013: Carnival - Magic - Mexican Riviera
Nov 18, 2012: Carnival - Splendor - Mexican Riviera
Jan 2, 2011: RCI - Mariner of the Seas - Mexican Riviera
Nov 30, 2009: RCI - Radiance of the Seas - Mexican Riviera
Oct 14, 2009: RCI - Radiance of the Seas - Baja
Sep 18, 2009: RCI - Monarch of the Seas - Bahamas
Sep 14, 2009: RCI - Monarch of the Seas - Bahamas
Apr 26, 2009: RCI - Radiance of the Seas - Chile to San Diego
Dec 14, 2008: RCI - Vision of the Seas - Mexican Riviera
Oct 13, 2008: RCI - Monarch of the Seas - Baja
Sep 15, 2008: RCI - Monarch of the Seas - Baja
Dec 15, 2007: Holland America - Oosterdam - Mexican Riviera
Mar 26, 2007: RCI - Splendor of the Seas - Western Caribbean
Tigard, Or
592 Posts
Joined Sep 2004
The patch is the only thing that has worked well for me, but did get sick from taking them off after having them on for 14 days. Evidently it is best to leave them on, so you come off the med gradually. They do cause dry mouth and blury vision.

Bonine makes me horribly tired.

On my next trip I'm going to try Scopace, which is the tablet form of the patch. It has to be taken every 8 hours, but hopefully I'll be able to control the dose and have less side effects.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
264 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
This may or may not help but I was extremely sea sick on an Eastern Caribbean Cruise and we were experiencing some rough tides, and I didn't want to eat dinner. Our waiter suggested Green apples. They calm your stomach down. and it actually works. The issue is trying to find them on the ship..

The thing my daughter has done was when she started feeling nauseated she took one of those sea sickness pills that they give out for free at the medical area. Not sure what it was but it worked and she didn't have an issue..

Dramamine also works well and you can buy that at any drugstore.
2 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
My wife and I have cruised twice on RCCL (Ambassodor of the Seas 6/08 and Serenade of the Seas 12/09). She is a physician and we used the patch both times. No ill effects to report. We put the patch on immediately on boarding which gave about 4 hours prior to departure on a 7 day cruise. We changed in out on Wednesday for the remaining days.

If there are any concerns ask your doctors, but the peace of mind going into the cruises were worth the prescription which is pretty reasonable.
Wichita Falls, Texas
4,339 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
Ginger capsules have always worked well for us with no side effects. They are available at most drug stores,

On a Myth Buster's episode last year ginger, bonine, dramamine and the patch all proved effective. The wrist bands didn't.

People who rountinely get motion sickness while riding in a car have an excellent opportunity to try the different remedies before getting on a ship.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
ROYAL CARRIBEAN CRUISES: GRANDEUR May 2003 ~ SPLENDOR Nov 2003 ~ GRANDEUR Apr 2004 ~NAVIGATOR Dec 2004 ~ RHAPSODY Feb 2005 ~ RHAPSODY Aug 2005 ~ NAVIGATOR BTB NAVIGATOR Nov 2005 ~ BRILLIANCE Feb 2006 ~ RHAPSODY Apr 2006 ~ NAVIGATOR Jun 2006 ~ VISION Sep 2006 ~ FREEDOM Nov 2006 ~ BRILLIANCE Feb 2007 Panama Canal ~ EXPLORER Apr 2007 W Caribbean ~ RADIANCE Sep 28,2007, 15 Day Hawaii ~ RADIANCE B2B RADIANCE Jan 13 & Jan 19, 2008 E & W Caribbean ~ VOYAGER Mar 2 2008 W Caribbean ~ LIBERTY Sept 13 2008 E Caribbean ~ JEWEL Dec 8 2008 Panama Canal ~ VOYAGER Jan 18 2009 W Caribbean~ LIBERTY Oct 24, 2009 E Caribbean ~ OASIS Sept1, 2012 W Carribean ~ NAVIGATOR Nov 24, 2012 from New Orleans ~ ALLURE Apr 7,2013 from Ft Lauderdale ~ JEWEL ~ Aug 31, 2013 from San Juan ~ BRILLIANCE ~ Sep 22, 2013 from Boston ~SERENADE, Dec 12, 2013 from New Orleans ~ ALLURE, Feb 9, 2014, from Ft Lauderdale ~ MAJESTY, Feb 16, 2014 from Miami ~ SERENADE, Mar 29, 2014, from New Orleans ~ VISION, Jun 9, 2014 from Ft Lauderdale ~ NAVIGATOR B2B, Sep 7 & Sep 14, 2014 from Galveston ~ NAVIGATOR B2B, Oct 19 & Oct 26, ** SERENADE B2B2B, Nov 29 & Dec 6 & Dec 13, 2014 from New Orleans ~ ADVENTURE B2B, Feb 1 & Feb 8, 2015 from San Juan ~ NAVIGATOR B2B Aug 30 & Sep 6 2015 from Galveston ~ OASIS Mar 16, 2016 (9 day) from Ft Lauderdale ~ LIBERTY B2B May 15 & May 22, 2016 from Galveston ~ALLURE B2B Sept 4 & Sept 11, 2016 from Ft Lauderdale ~ LIBERTY B2B Oct 30 & Nov 6, 2016 from Galveston ~ ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES BOOKED: NAVIGATOR B2B Feb 12 (5 day)& Feb 17, 2017 (9 day) from Miami ~ LIBERTY May 14, 2017 from Galveston ~ VISION Repositioning from New Jersey to Galveston Oct 23, 2017 (14 day)
10,556 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
If your motion sickness isnt terrible go for bonnine and ginger pills. Definitely consult your medical Doctor to see if the scopalamine patch is indicated for your experience with sea sickness. No one has mentioned, so I thought Id throw this out there, Dr's will not prescribe scopalamine for kids, it is a strong medication and as others have stated there are many side effects that can happen and alter your cruise experience.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

8/2017 Celebrity Summit
11/2017 Equinox Southern Caribbean
1/2018 Eclipse Exotic Southern Caribbean

7/2018 Adventure of the Seas
3/2019 Celebrity Edge
*Above subject to change and additions!

The Sails that Started it all.......
It started way back, when I was a kid.
My Grandparents often sailed on The Oceanic and to say the Bon Voyage Parties were memorable is an understatement!*
Orlando, FL
305 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
I did the patch for my first 8 or so cruises. Then when I took it, on the following cruise, my vision was blurred. My vision stayed blurred until the medication wore off. The blurriness was not for long distance but for close-up distance (like a foot away from my eyes). So there was no putting on make-up!

I was about 28 yrs old when this happened. So now, I don't take anything unless the seas are VERY choppy..I'll take Bonine. I think after awhile, you kind of get use to the movement and don't get sick anymore. This is coming from someone who get extremely motion sick in every situation.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
[color="Blue"]Always cruisin' with my BFF (hubby). Going on cruise #21 during Thanksgiving
This 5th grade teacher needs her pampered vacations!
35 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
I was seasick after I got off my last cruise. I took 1 Bonine and it made me sleep for 2 days. I am so glad that I didn't take it on my cruise. If you haven't taken it before, be sure to try it first. Medicines usually do make me sleepy. I only take a kid's dose of cold medicine.
Hawkinsville, GA
9 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
my wife gets motion sickness and sea sickness very easy;not only on the water but traveling in a vehicle. We also have a motor home that sways a lot and that motion will get to her frequently. Someone recommended the wrist bands to her as opposed to medication and they have worked very well for her. There is not any medication involved; it is a pressure point thing on the underside of your wrist. They can be purchased in a pharmacy such as Wal-mart or Walgreens. For her they work much better than any medication.
New Jersey, the Philly end
7,083 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
Originally posted by carkosh
I am one of those who still use the patch. However, I learned several cruises ago that cutting them in half & wearing just the half works just as well (& it saves me having to buy more for the next cruise lol). Now I don't get any of the side effects that I used to. Please note, this is my experience; I know that people have different reactions to all medicines; don't want to talk you into anything that might be harmful or uncomfortable, just explaining how I use them.

Cutting "the patch" in half is not recommended by the manufacturer. It totally destroys the dosing mechanism and allows all the medicine to leak out.

Good chance that you just do not get seasick.

Originally posted by MellyBell
Just to give you a heads up the patch can dilate your eyes. I know several people that have had one eye dilate and they freak out thinking they are having a medical emergency.
Dilated pupils are not real good to have in the bright Caribbean sun.

Originally posted by Don Pedro
Ginger capsules have always worked well for us with no side effects. They are available at most drug stores,

On a Myth Buster's episode last year ginger, bonine, dramamine and the patch all proved effective. The wrist bands didn't.

People who rountinely get motion sickness while riding in a car have an excellent opportunity to try the different remedies before getting on a ship.
Myth Busters is entertaining, but not a real good place to get medical information.
South Jersey
311 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
For me the side effects are VERY dry mouth, and by day 3 I can't read magazines, or the menus. Very frusterating. I also brought along bonine and dramamine. Worked just fine. I won't be using the patch anymore unless there is extremely rough seas. Over the counter meds are fine for a little motion.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Oasis Of The Seas 11/3/12
Explorer of the Seas 8/28/10
Liberty of the Seas 2/7/10 (Super Bowl)
Independence of the Seas 3/7/09
Explorer of the Seas 8/08
Jewel of the Seas 3/2/08
Jewel of the Seas 3/10/07
Norwegian Dawn 10/06
Majesty of the Seas 2/06
Carnival Ecstasy 5/96
Beaumont, TX
484 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
Cutting "the patch" in half is not recommended by the manufacturer. It totally destroys the dosing mechanism and allows all the medicine to leak out.

Good chance that you just do not get seasick._____________________________________

Yes, I did read that on the package yrs ago when I first started using them. I asked my pharmacist before I decided to try the 1/2 & he said that not much will leak out. He must be correct as I do get terribly seasick evidenced by the times I cruised when the patch was not being made (there was some equipment failure at the drug manufacturer & thus couldn't make the patches & took them off the market). Those several yrs I got seasick even when I was taking Bonine or ginger pills....almost gave up cruising or boating of any kind. Fortunately, they came back on the market. With the 1/2 I use I don't get the least bit ill. I will, tho, ask again when I pick up my next batch before my May Oasis cruise.

181 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
I get sea sick watching the moon traverse the sky at night so I use Bonnie. The lower dose medication is the same used to help people whom are dizzy, (vertigo)??. Cost is about 5 bucks for 16 pills. I don't leave home without it.