Dealing With Seasickness and Homesickness


Certainly cruise lines prefer that you don’t suffer from seasickness or homesickness. They want you to complete your contract as a healthy and happy employee and to possibly come back for a second contract or more.  The following are tips to deal with seasickness and homesickness while working on a cruise ship.


Suitability for the Job

From the start, while a cruise recruiter is seeking a candidate who is qualified in terms of work experience and skills, they are also looking for an individual who can handle cruise ship life. How do you convince the recruiter that they can count on you?

You need to convey to them that you understand what it’s like to live onboard and that you have the tools to deal with these challenges. Explaining to the interviewer how you would prevent seasickness or homesickness addresses their concerns head on.

They definitely don’t want to hear that you suffer from any type of motion sickness or that you are going to miss your family terribly. Instead they want to hear that you are excited to pursue a career in the cruise industry, make new friends, work in a multinational environment, and love everything about the sea.


Passing the Pre-Employment Medical Exam

The pre-employment medical exam is another tool for the cruise employers use to figure out if a career at sea is right for you. You will be asked if you have ever suffered from seasickness and if you have, how badly. The doctor will also try to determine if you are a candidate for homesickness with questions that don’t even seem to be part of the exam.

There is a big unknown when it comes to knowing if you will suffer from either, if you’ve never been put in such a situation before. Do you suffer from any type of motion sickness? Have you ever been away from your family or friends for an extended period of time? Have you ever suffered from depression? What types of medications are you on?

Proving to the doctor that you will be able to mentally handle working on a cruise ships is just as important as being physically fit. Furthermore, minimizing concerns about seasickness will demonstrate to your doctor that seasickness will not be an issue for you.


Seasickness Facts

If you’ve never been on a cruise ship, the fear of not knowing if you will be seasick is most likely on your mind. What is seasickness and will you get it? What are the symptoms and can you prevent it?

Here are some facts about seasickness:

In modern cruise ships, crew and passengeres rarely experience the movement of the ocean due to stabilizers that limit the ship’s movement from side to side. Unfortunately, there are times when rough weather or even the direction of the waves makes the ship pitch, rock, and roll. Certain itineraries are also more susceptible to rough weather and excessive ship movement.

What does this have to do with seasickness? All this motion can play havoc with your inner ear equilibrium making you feel off balance. When your brain and inner ear are confused with the movement, you can feel nauseous. The good news is that the nausea is preventable and it’s easier to prevent it than to cure it.


How to Prevent Seasickness

To be clear, seasickness is not contagious nor a virus. If you do feel nausea setting in, there are some precautions you should consider. Staring at things such as a computer screen or a book can make you feel more seasick. As well, there are some foods that will help ward off the feeling just are there are some foods that will make you feel worse.

It’s important to keep something in your stomach, but be careful not to over eat or drink. Breads, crackers and bland items are ideal. On the other hand, stay clear of greasy or spicy foods and alcoholic beverages. Fresh air also helps fend off the feeling of nausea.

In addition, some crew members resort to taking medications such as Gravol® or Dramamine® or a medicated ‘patch’ to prevent seasickness, but these can make you feel drowsy. Herbal remedies include eating ginger or taking ginger tablets. Alternatively, you can try an anti-sea sickness band such as Sea Band or Bio Band available at most pharmacies.


Homesickness for Cruise Ship Crew

It’s only natural to miss your family, friends and comforts of home while working on a cruise ship. Contracts can be long and for many crewmembers it may be their first time in this type of situation. You are in a new environment with new people. You will have to give up texting your friends 20 times a day. You may miss having weekends off or even miss eating certain foods from home.

Almost everyone onboard suffers a little from homesickness but if and how it affects you and your work is the difference. For example, mild homesickness may cause some stress that can lead to overeating or drinking or a lack of concentration. Extreme symptoms lead to depression, anger and withdrawal.


Dealing with Homesickness

Working on a cruise ship should be a positive experience where you meet lots of great people from all over the world. You try many exotic foods and visit lots of exciting new places. Having a positive attitude is a great way to start.

The best way to deal with homesickness is to stay connected with your family and friends through phones and email. But, making new friends and surrounding yourself with other positive people will make this experience fun and rewarding. Keep busy and avoid dwelling on the negatives of long contracts and limited contact with back home. Enjoy ship life for all it’s worth.

You will soon see that it takes a certain type of person to work on a cruise ship. It certainly isn’t for everyone. And, once you finish your contract and go back home, don’t be surprised if you find yourself longing for the sea and ships again. You’ll start missing your home away from home and wonder how soon you can get back onboard.


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