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Motion of the ocean - will I get seasick?


phoenix_dream
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As a person who suffers from motion sickness, and yet has many cruises under my belt, I wanted to start a thread to help those new to cruising.  I often see so much inaccurate information on posts that I wanted to help try to set the record straight.  When it comes to motion sickness, there are facts, and then there are opinions and past experiences.  

 

Here are some facts (including data I obtained from the US government NIH health site) regarding motion sickness and the motion on the ship:

 

- Approximately 1/3 of people are very susceptible to motion sickness.  Studies have shown that women are more susceptible to it than men, and that it sometimes improves as one ages

- According to the NIH website, most everyone can get motion sickness in extreme circumstances (which you may never encounter on a cruise)

- The larger cruise ships are much more stable than smaller, older ships

- Sometimes the seas are so flat that most people will not feel any motion.  Other times there will definitely be motion to be felt, although it may not bother everyone

- If you want to minimize the feeling of motion, you want to be low in the ship as close to the center as possible.  The further aft or forward you go the more the motion will be felt.  This is just the laws of physics

- There are a number of medicines, over the counter as well as prescription, to prevent motion sickness that will work for most affected people in most circumstances.  It is best to take the meds before you board or before the seas get bad.  

- Whether the ship will have perceivable motion depends on more than just the height of the waves.  Other factors include the direction the waves are hitting, what type of waves they are, and how the wind is blowing.

- Every sailing is different on every ship.  Someone may feel no motion at all on one cruise, and then the next week (or day for that matter) there could be a lot of motion.  This is why asking for others experience is not really helpful as you are not sailing on their ship, in their cabin, at the time of their cruise

- In contrast, combined experiences over time can give you an idea of what is 'normal' for certain ships and certain sailing areas.  That is no guarantee your sailing will be 'normal' but it can give you an idea of what you might expect.  For example, the Gulf of Mexico generally has fairly calm seas, and yet I experienced my worst seas there on one sailing (30' waves)

 

Here are some opinions of mine:

 

- I believe taking ginger tablets helps if there is any nausea.

- For many people, keeping something in your stomach (not greasy or spicy) and avoiding alcohol in rough seas may help.  Have heard that many people swear by green apples as well.

- I believe sea bands can be helpful.  For me they are not enough if the seas are rough, but they help combined with medication

- I believe that the front of the ship feels more rolling motion than the aft.  When sailing aft, I feel more side to side rocking motion

- I believe a balcony is the best option for those susceptible as you can look out over the horizon.  Some feel insides are better but they bother me more.

 

Hope this information helps.  And if you are new to cruising and worry about this - please don't!  I am very susceptible and yet have now sailed on more than 60 cruises with very little discomfort by taking the proper precautions.  Happy sailing!

 

 

 

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17 hours ago, phoenix_dream said:

 

- I believe that the front of the ship feels more rolling motion than the aft.  When sailing aft, I feel more side to side rocking motion

 

 

Rolling is side to side motion.  I think you're confusing rolling vs pitching.  The forward part of the ship is more susceptible to pitching motion.  Rolling motion (side to side) is more exaggerated on higher decks.

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3 different types of motion typically encountered on a ship: rolling, pitching, and yawing. Pitching (up and down) sensations may be most pronounced at the bow; rolling (side to side) on the upper decks, and yaw ((fishtailing is the best Ana!ogy I can think of) at the stern. All can be minimized by staying midships on a lower deck.

 

And woebetide you if you encounter all 3 at the same time. The crew will be supplying sick bags to all and sundry.

Edited by mom says
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19 hours ago, phoenix_dream said:

As a person who suffers from motion sickness, and yet has many cruises under my belt, I wanted to start a thread to help those new to cruising.  I often see so much inaccurate information on posts that I wanted to help try to set the record straight.  When it comes to motion sickness, there are facts, and then there are opinions and past experiences.  

 

Here are some facts (including data I obtained from the US government NIH health site) regarding motion sickness and the motion on the ship:

 

- Approximately 1/3 of people are very susceptible to motion sickness.  Studies have shown that women are more susceptible to it than men, and that it sometimes improves as one ages

- According to the NIH website, most everyone can get motion sickness in extreme circumstances (which you may never encounter on a cruise)

- The larger cruise ships are much more stable than smaller, older ships

- Sometimes the seas are so flat that most people will not feel any motion.  Other times there will definitely be motion to be felt, although it may not bother everyone

- If you want to minimize the feeling of motion, you want to be low in the ship as close to the center as possible.  The further aft or forward you go the more the motion will be felt.  This is just the laws of physics

- There are a number of medicines, over the counter as well as prescription, to prevent motion sickness that will work for most affected people in most circumstances.  It is best to take the meds before you board or before the seas get bad.  

- Whether the ship will have perceivable motion depends on more than just the height of the waves.  Other factors include the direction the waves are hitting, what type of waves they are, and how the wind is blowing.

- Every sailing is different on every ship.  Someone may feel no motion at all on one cruise, and then the next week (or day for that matter) there could be a lot of motion.  This is why asking for others experience is not really helpful as you are not sailing on their ship, in their cabin, at the time of their cruise

- In contrast, combined experiences over time can give you an idea of what is 'normal' for certain ships and certain sailing areas.  That is no guarantee your sailing will be 'normal' but it can give you an idea of what you might expect.  For example, the Gulf of Mexico generally has fairly calm seas, and yet I experienced my worst seas there on one sailing (30' waves)

 

Here are some opinions of mine:

 

- I believe taking ginger tablets helps if there is any nausea.

- For many people, keeping something in your stomach (not greasy or spicy) and avoiding alcohol in rough seas may help.  Have heard that many people swear by green apples as well.

- I believe sea bands can be helpful.  For me they are not enough if the seas are rough, but they help combined with medication

- I believe that the front of the ship feels more rolling motion than the aft.  When sailing aft, I feel more side to side rocking motion

- I believe a balcony is the best option for those susceptible as you can look out over the horizon.  Some feel insides are better but they bother me more.

 

Hope this information helps.  And if you are new to cruising and worry about this - please don't!  I am very susceptible and yet have now sailed on more than 60 cruises with very little discomfort by taking the proper precautions.  Happy sailing!

 

 

 

I take Bonine but I fall asleep at the dinner table and at the evening show.

My wife uses bands but they do not work for me.

I tried green apples and also ginger and neither worked.

For my cruise last month I tried ginger pills they gave me a very bad stomach ache.

For my next cruise I am going to try self hypnosis.I have been using this for many things and perhaps it will work for sea sickness.I may also try meditation.

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Some find lower decks make it worse as the seas appear higher from lower down, there is no one rule fits all, partially because there are many triggers, visual, actual middle ear movement, psychological etc. The root is motion, real or perceived then you can add in various medical conditions.

 

so with multiple causes there is no one answer.

 

 

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21 hours ago, Aquahound said:

 

Rolling is side to side motion.  I think you're confusing rolling vs pitching.  The forward part of the ship is more susceptible to pitching motion.  Rolling motion (side to side) is more exaggerated on higher decks.

Good point.  Not an expert on the technical sailing terms.  But I do know being forward bothers me a lot more!

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21 hours ago, mom says said:

3 different types of motion typically encountered on a ship: rolling, pitching, and yawing. Pitching (up and down) sensations may be most pronounced at the bow; rolling (side to side) on the upper decks, and yaw ((fishtailing is the best Ana!ogy I can think of) at the stern. All can be minimized by staying midships on a lower deck.

 

And woebetide you if you encounter all 3 at the same time. The crew will be supplying sick bags to all and sundry.

Good information.  I have unfortunately been on a couple of cruises (thankfully rare!) where we did encounter all 3.  One of the few times I still felt under the weather even with all the meds and other precautions.  Half the crew was sick we were told.  These were in the olden days when mainline ships were smaller and one felt the seas more.  Thankfully on the bigger, newer ships I have no longer had that issue.  Not saying it couldn't happen if we got caught in some really bad weather but overall the bigger, newer ships handle the seas much better so it takes a lot worse conditions to bother me.

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On 11/24/2019 at 8:01 AM, phoenix_dream said:

These were in the olden days when mainline ships were smaller and one felt the seas more.  Thankfully on the bigger, newer ships I have no longer had that issue.  Not saying it couldn't happen if we got caught in some really bad weather but overall the bigger, newer ships handle the seas much better so it takes a lot worse conditions to bother me.

While you may experience less motion on bigger ships than older smaller ships, there are many variables that can cause this effect and the size of the ship isn't one of the major factors.

 

The ship design is much more significant in sea keeping ability than ship size. Personally, I would much rather sail on a real ocean liner such as the QM2 or older QE2, Oriana, Canberra, etc than one of the mega ships, if crossing the North Atlantic in Winter.

 

In addition to design, the ship's transverse stability significantly impacts how ships move in a seaway. Tender ships roll slowly, but they achieve higher angles of roll and stiff ships roll quickly with a jerky motion. The amount of water, fuel & stores, or lack of, impact the transverse stability (GM)

 

Many other variables also affect wind waves & swell, with depth of water and fetch being  key factors. Confused seas is another variable that impacts the Master's ability to provide a smoother sailing.

 

Other changes from years ago are the huge improvements in weather forecasts and the almost continuous weather information available. We now have routing services to provide the Master with routing suggestions for smoother sailings. Ship speeds have also dropped significantly, as the modern ship's top speed is frequently well below our cruising speed back in the 70's & 80's. Years ago we routinely cruised across the oceans at >25 kts. With slower speeds & improved hull designs and propulsion systems, modern ships also experience significantly less vibration, cavitation, etc which improves the motion.

 

Another technology enhancement is stabalisers, which are way more effective than the 70's & 80's liners.

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On 11/23/2019 at 1:21 PM, Aquahound said:

 

Rolling is side to side motion.  I think you're confusing rolling vs pitching.  The forward part of the ship is more susceptible to pitching motion.  Rolling motion (side to side) is more exaggerated on higher decks.

While the forward part of the ship is generally more subject to pitching motion,  the fact is that pitch will be felt more the further you are from the “center of pitch” - that point, somewhere aft of midship, around which the ship tends to rotate.

 

That means that the further forward, or aft, you are from that point, the more you will sense the pitch. Because there are no cabins located very far forward - cerainly none forward of the bridge - the far forward part of the ship should not be a concern. Those balcony cabins at the stern will experience far more pitch than most of the other cabins on the ship.

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I get motion sickness super easily.  I was worried about it on my first (and only-thus far) cruise.  Now, we did do Alaska and only had rough seas one day during a storm, but I never felt sick.  I took with us my ginger chews, had motion sickness bands, bonine, etc.I never needed them once.  I actually felt the rolling to be relaxing.  We were mid deck in the aft section of our ship.  I asked my doctor about the patches before we went and he said that he and several others have found ginger to be more effective and doesn't make you sleepy like the patch can.

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I haven't always been affected by the motion of the sea even though I can get nauseous on a swing in a kids park, or just a rocking chair. It sucks.

 

However, when I do get nauseous while cruising, I have found that Ginger Ale helps, as well as some ginger root pills that I find at home. It's important to have a full belly and not to be hungry as it will make you more sick. I go for starchy food, like brad, tost, potatoes or pasta and stay away from liquids like soups, broths, coffee or alcohol. But, it's also important to stay hydrated. Water and Ginger ale will do the job. Green apples help too. Acupressure wrist bands and aromatic oil like menthol or eucalyptus also aid in relieving sea sickness.

 

If the weather is really rough and none of this helps, I go for some Bonine or Dramamine. I go to sleep for few hours and wake up starving.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 12/1/2019 at 9:55 PM, navybankerteacher said:

While the forward part of the ship is generally more subject to pitching motion,  the fact is that pitch will be felt more the further you are from the “center of pitch” - that point, somewhere aft of midship, around which the ship tends to rotate.

 

That means that the further forward, or aft, you are from that point, the more you will sense the pitch. Because there are no cabins located very far forward - cerainly none forward of the bridge - the far forward part of the ship should not be a concern. Those balcony cabins at the stern will experience far more pitch than most of the other cabins on the ship.

Because I see your name...  ever have a birth aft under the flight deck?  loved the pitch on good ole CG30 when the screws would leave the water....never felt such a shake, includin SoCal earth quakes

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1 hour ago, VtMac said:

Because I see your name...  ever have a birth aft under the flight deck?  loved the pitch on good ole CG30 when the screws would leave the water....never felt such a shake, includin SoCal earth quakes

That was the Horne?   I did have a berth on the old Boxer (LPH 4) on a training assignment in early 1969 all the way forward , just under her flight deck - fair movement, but nothing like what we’d get on a DE. 

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I’ve always had a very strong stomach...roller coasters, deep sea fishing...no problem. But I found that on my first cruise, the motion was *just* subtle enough to catch my stomach off guard and test my reputation as an iron stomach. I put a seasick patch on my belly and it seemed to help a bit. And I drank alcohol, which ironically helped because it seemed like me being off balance was from it instead of the boat! Essentially, seasickness isn’t something that can be predicted based on prior experience with a different type of motion.

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Our 1st cruise was  REALLY rough....especially doing stairs...you'd go to take a step, and the ship would "drop" from under you...we found that being "tipsy" helped a bunch!  Neither of us became seasick...but I did suffer from dizziness AFTER the cruise for about a week.

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On 11/23/2019 at 1:36 PM, mom says said:

3 different types of motion typically encountered on a ship: rolling, pitching, and yawing. Pitching (up and down) sensations may be most pronounced at the bow; rolling (side to side) on the upper decks, and yaw ((fishtailing is the best Ana!ogy I can think of) at the stern. All can be minimized by staying midships on a lower deck.

 

And woebetide you if you encounter all 3 at the same time. The crew will be supplying sick bags to all and sundry.

Why do so many find the need to correct others. I certainly understood what he meant. I do not need anyone to tell me what he meant. This is about sea sickness not how a ship rolls or pitches. Please stop this.

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29 minutes ago, twodaywonder said:

Why do so many find the need to correct others. I certainly understood what he meant. I do not need anyone to tell me what he meant. This is about sea sickness not how a ship rolls or pitches. Please stop this.

Touched a sore spot, did it? At least no one mentioned the difference between port and starboard.

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I believe that some folks psych themselves out by simply worrying about getting sick.  We saw an excellent example of this a few years ago when taking the Rotterdam from Rotterdam to NYC.  We were docked in Rotterdam until late at night (after which the ship did a late night transit of the river to the sea).  As many folks know, Rotterdam is not actually directly on the sea and it is very calm at the well protected port.  While still tied-up at the pier we had dinner with a younger German couple.  The lady turned shades of green, shortly after arriving for dinner and her DH was quite angry.  As she ran out of the MDR (heading to the nearest toilet) her DH explained "she always gets seasick...sometimes while on the dock looking at a ship."  Was kind of sad.  We never saw her for the entire very calm crossing to NYC.  According to her DH she never left the cabin (or bed) which is her norm.

 

Hank

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  • 2 months later...

Okay. . .first time ocean cruiser here.  I have never had a motion sickness problem.  I have heard it is best to take dramamine before the ship leaves port.  However, I am inclined (unless it is stormy) to wait and see if I need it.  My husband thinks I am insane to tempt fate.  Advice?

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1 hour ago, mlld3536 said:

Okay. . .first time ocean cruiser here.  I have never had a motion sickness problem.  I have heard it is best to take dramamine before the ship leaves port.  However, I am inclined (unless it is stormy) to wait and see if I need it.  My husband thinks I am insane to tempt fate.  Advice?

 

I would evaluate which risk bothers you more: potential side effects from medication that isn't needed, or potential discomfort while waiting to for medication to kick in if you do need it.  If I don't feel the side effects matter much I would also consider my husband's comfort level/attitude if I don't take it and do get sick.

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Thank you very much for such valuable advice! I have been on a cruise two times. The first time was wonderful, but my second cruise was remembered by me because for three days I was very sick. The pills for motion sickness really helped me, it's a pity that I didn't know that they exist before I went on this cruise. I'm a little afraid of the third cruise, but I think that if I feel bad, then I can take your advice!

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On 12/20/2019 at 8:25 PM, Dancingnurse79 said:

I’ve always had a very strong stomach...roller coasters, deep sea fishing...no problem. But I found that on my first cruise, the motion was *just* subtle enough to catch my stomach off guard and test my reputation as an iron stomach. 

 

My Mother was like that.  She could not stand larger ships (back in the 50s), but was fine on a sailboat on the Chesapeake Bay.  Go figure.

 

But then again, she thought she had air sickness issues.  And took a pill for that on every flight.  Until one time, we flew DC to Honolulu non-stop, and she was fine.  They realized, she had forgotten to take her pills.  And never took them again

 

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9 hours ago, Cristoff said:

Thank you very much for such valuable advice! I have been on a cruise two times. The first time was wonderful, but my second cruise was remembered by me because for three days I was very sick. The pills for motion sickness really helped me, it's a pity that I didn't know that they exist before I went on this cruise. I'm a little afraid of the third cruise, but I think that if I feel bad, then I can take your advice!

 

A caveat I would add is that if you do wait until symptoms develop before taking (thus having some time of suffering), I would likely continue taking them the entire cruise as directed (hopefully avoiding any recurrence) rather than only taking one dose to relieve suffering and then waiting for symptoms again before taking the next dose.

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