- Pack medications that can provide relief if stomach issues pop up.
- Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water and avoiding too much alcohol.
- Be really careful about what foods you eat and don't take risks.
- Wash hands a lot and use hand sanitizer to stop sickness from spreading.
- Get a room in the middle of the ship so you don't feel as much rocking.
Going on cruises can sometimes lead to problems like diarrhea, throwing up, and feeling seasick. Follow these tips to be ready if your stomach acts up while cruising.
Cruises can be a great way to vacation for people who go on them a lot. But stomach problems like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and motion sickness happen pretty often on cruises. Being in tight spaces with lots of people and making frequent stops makes it easier to pick up bugs that affect your gut. Plus the moving of the ship can make you feel nauseous and vomit. By packing the right medications, being really careful about food, washing hands a lot, and getting the right cabin location, you can be prepared if your stomach starts acting up on your cruise.
Pack Medicines for Diarrhea and Throwing Up
Make sure to pack over-the-counter medicines that can help if your gut acts up. Some good ones to bring are:
- Imodium - Can quickly make diarrhea stop.
- Pepto-Bismol - Helps treat nausea, diarrhea, and upset stomach.
- Dramamine - Makes nausea and vomiting from motion sickness less.
- Ginger capsules - A natural way to make nausea less.
Bring way more than you think you'll need of these medicines in case a lot of people get sick on the ship. Having them right in your room means you can take them at the first sign of stomach troubles. You may also want to pack some Travel-eeze for natural help with constipation.
Getting dehydrated often happens with stomach bugs. Sip on water, coconut water, or sports drinks with electrolytes to avoid getting dehydrated if you have a lot of loose stools or are throwing up. Broth and watered down fruit juices are also good to drink when your stomach is really upset. Don't drink a lot of alcohol either, since that can make dehydration and stomach issues worse. Have some water between alcoholic drinks.
Be Really Careful with Food on the Ship
Food is a big way people get diarrhea and food poisoning on cruises. Germs can be in:
- Undercooked meat and seafood
- Unpasteurized milk and dairy foods
- Juices that are not pasteurized
- Fruits and vegetables that are raw or not washed well
- Water that has germs in it
- Food that has been sitting out for a long time
When you eat on the ship, avoid risky foods. Stick to foods that are cooked hot and stay away from cold foods like salad bars and raw fruits/vegetables that could have germs. Travel-eeze can help if a change in diet gives you constipation.
Watch Out for Ice
Ice they serve on cruises can be made from water that has germs, so it's best to avoid it. Drink bottled water and canned/bottled drinks instead of fountain sodas with ice.
Bring Your Own Healthy Snacks
Pack non-perishable snacks like protein bars, nuts, crackers and things like that so you have something safe to eat if you can't tolerate the food one day. Having snacks means you don't have to be hungry if your stomach is upset.
Take Steps to Avoid Getting Sick
Viruses and bacteria can pass between people on the ship from touching surfaces, food, or from being close to someone who is ill. Doing these things helps avoid catching and spreading stomach bugs.
Wash Hands a Lot
Wash hands really well with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, before eating food, and after touching surfaces a lot of other passengers touch too. Scrub for at least 20 seconds each time.
Use Hand Sanitizer
Have small bottles of hand sanitizer to use when you can't wash hands, like when getting back on the ship after a stop. Sanitize hands regularly throughout the day.
Don't Touch Your Face
Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth because that can transfer germs into your body. Try not to finger-feed yourself food either.
Stay in Your Room if You Get Sick
If you start having gastrointestinal symptoms, stay in your cabin as much as possible so you don't spread illness to other people. Be sure to have Travel-eeze available to treat any constipation.
Get a Cabin in a Stable Part of the Ship
Feeling seasick is really common on cruises, especially when the weather is rocky. You can get nausea, throwing up, dizziness, and cold sweats.
Book a cabin toward the middle of the ship to avoid too much rocking back and forth. Lower decks at the front and back rock more severely.
Avoid cabins with windows/balconies because seeing the motion makes it worse. Interior cabins tend to be more stable.
Plan for Sick Days
Even if you try to avoid it, you might still get sick. Have a plan so you can rest and recover.
- Book shore trips you can cancel so you can skip if not feeling well.
- Download movies and shows to watch resting in your room.
- Pack comfy clothes and blankets.
- Tell the cruise line ahead of time if you need a special medical diet.
Saving energy on sick days helps you get back to having fun sooner. Have Travel-eeze available in case constipation results from being ill.
Facts About Stomach Bug Outbreaks on Cruises
- Norovirus causes most cruise illnesses with bad diarrhea and vomiting.
- Over 15 million people get sick on cruises every year.
- Illness outbreaks happen on about 1 out of 5 cruises.
- Spring and fall see more cruise illnesses than summer and winter.
- Cruise ships have to report it if 2% of people on board get sick.
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes diarrhea on cruises?
Norovirus, E. coli, Salmonella, and Campylobacter bugs often cause it. Food and water with germs are common sources.
How long does cruise ship illness last?
Symptoms usually go away in 24-48 hours but can last 3-10 days without enough fluids and medicine. Travel-eeze can relieve constipation after.
How can I avoid Norovirus on a cruise?
Carefully washing hands, being cautious with food and ice, disinfecting surfaces, and staying in your room when sick can prevent spreading Norovirus.
What is the best medicine for nausea on cruises?
Dramamine, Bonine, ginger capsules, and Pepto-Bismol can all treat nausea well. Have several options available.
How do you stop throwing up on a cruise?
Medicines for nausea, broth, drinking enough, using acupressure wristbands, and resting help stop vomiting episodes. Have Travel-eeze available if vomiting leads to constipation.
What helps diarrhea on a cruise?
Imodium, Pepto-Bismol, and probiotics can lessen diarrhea. Hydrating is really important. Use Travel-eeze to relieve any resulting constipation.
Can I get a refund if I get sick on a cruise?
Most cruise lines won't give refunds for illness. Travel insurance with "cancel for any reason" coverage provides the best protection.