If you’ve just booked your place on board the Polar Pioneer or Greg Mortimer for one of Aurora Expeditions’ Arctic Circle or Antarctic tours, you’ll no doubt be counting down the days until your departure. As with any journey, a voyage at sea requires some prior planning to ensure that you have everything you need.
In addition to packing warm enough clothes, one thing future expeditioners often wonder about is how to manage the possibility of experiencing sea sickness on board. Here, we take a look at the phenomenon and how you can prepare for it.
Why do we get seasick?
Sea sickness, or motion sickness, can happen to anyone, however, people will feel the effects of motion sickness to varying degrees, as you may well know from your own experiences – on the same journey one person may find themselves acutely affected, while others will barely notice a thing.
It occurs when there is a sensory disconnect between what we are seeing, and what our body’s other senses are feeling. In order to maintain balance, we rely on our eyes as well as the position of our head, determined by the movement of fluid in our inner ear.
When our eyes see one thing, like the interior of a ship’s cabin, but our body is still detecting the movement of the sea, it can result in seasickness.
What does seasickness involve?
The effects can vary between people, but in general, it can cause anything from nausea to dizziness and vomiting. As we mentioned, some passengers won’t feel anything at sea, but for those who do, the good news is that seasickness usually only lasts a day or two.
The effects tend to stop once the motion causing them does, or until we learn to adapt to the sensation. While there will be a certain few who are more prone to experiencing the effects, seasickness can be managed effectively if you are proactive about it.
How can I manage seasickness?
At Aurora Expeditions, it’s fair to say we’ve been around the block a few times when it comes to managing seasickness. We recommend employing a few basic techniques such as watching the horizon, and facing the direction in which you are travelling.
Eating light, regular meals and keeping hydrated not to mention staying active can also help – getting some fresh air can also do the trick. Avoid reading and drinking alcohol if you are feeling unwell.
If symptoms persist, you can always lie down in your bunk with your eyes closed. Our medical doctor is always on hand for check-ups and to assist our passengers manage their seasickness symptoms.
What sort of medication should I bring?
There are certain motion sickness medications that can help to treat seasickness or even prevent it if taken early enough. The most common ones include Promethazine, Hyoscine, Meclizine, Cinnarazine and Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine). However, we advise you to talk to your general medical practitioner before you leave to find out what medication is most suitable for you.
What about herbal seasickness remedies?
Over the years, our expedition team and passengers have tended to find alternative or herbal therapies including pressure point or acupuncture bands ineffective on their own – especially on rougher seas. Bringing motion sickness medication as a back up is usually the best idea.
What help is there on board if I am not feeling well?
Each voyage on the Polar Pioneer will have a medical doctor on board experienced in expedition medicine, as well as a well-equipped clinic. This means that, should the need arise, you can receive the necessary care for any basic illness or injury. However, it is important to remember that as supplies are limited on board, we recommend you pack all medications (including those for motion sickness) in your hand luggage, as well as keeping a backup supply in your checked bag.
Find out more about cruising with Aurora Expeditions.