experiences

Terror on the Seas: My One Cruise Experience

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A few years ago I got an unbelievable opportunity to take a cruise for free, on the Queen Mary 2 no less! A friend was gifted the cruise for her birthday, and upon discovering there was only a nominal charge to add someone, offered me a spot in her cabin.

I get notoriously seasick, but was assured by all the QM2 was large and stable enough I’d probably never know I was on the sea. And of course I could always take a daily Dramamine for good measure.

The north Atlantic crossing in November from New York to Portsmouth shouldn’t be a problem…

heelsfirsttravel QM2 transatlantic crossing

And it wasn’t that first night. We settled in, enjoyed dinner, explored the ship, and made grand plans to work out every day and attend shows every night. The next morning though I woke up in trouble.

Me: Do you feel that wave that just hit the boat?

Friend: What wave?

Me {teetering for the bathroom}: Ugh. Or that one…or that one…

Sure enough, I could feel the gentle rocking motion of the ship as clearly as if I were standing in a canoe. I skipped breakfast and was hanging in there, but about mid-morning I became violently and repeatedly ill.

I stumbled down to the infirmary but was told they couldn’t give me a shot of the powerful stuff since I was still able to walk and consume food. Apparently I wasn’t that bad! They did suggest I try a different type of motion sickness tablet (since apparently my Dramamine) wasn’t working, as well as homeopathic bracelets.

Keri motion sickness bracelets

I eventually found that with the bracelets and about 6-8 tablets a day, I could skip breakfast and lunch and semi-enjoy the amazing teas and dinners without too many consequences. Though the motion sickness tablets were NOT non-drowsy and no one could understand how I was managing to stay awake.

high tea on the Queen Mary 2

Sheer force of will got me pretty far, but it did not make me the fun traveling companion my friend was probably hoping for. I did manage to spend a few hours every day being social, checking out the casino, etc. I even made it to one of the Shakespeare company shows and a live jazz performance.

Queen Mary 2 formal dinner

It was such a shame because the Queen Mary 2 truly was amazing. There were so many fun onboard attractions that had I felt better, I could have stayed happily entertained 20 hours a day. And the food in the formal dining room!! Well worth any later discomfort. Yet the 4 days which originally felt so short, couldn’t pass quickly enough for me!

If I cruise again (and I have no desire to) I will probably shoot for the calmest possible season in a region known for still waters!

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Heels First’s Travel Advice–Sophisticated Travel, Uncomplicated Advice. The travels and tribulations of two frequent flyers jumping into the world of travel, sharing their travel advice. Join Keri and Jeanne as they tackle mileage runs, elite status, and of course–the perfect travel accessories.

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Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world. www.twitter.com/klatravel

9 Comments

  1. Michelle Pammenter Young

    September 6, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    It is unfortunate you had such a hard time on this cruise. I have cruised quite a lot, and have only felt sea sick once, and that was on a repositioning cruise from Vancouver to San Diego. I know the crossing you did can be quite uncomfortable for those of us who get queasy on ships. If you do get the opportunity to cruise again, may I suggest a nice 3 or 4 day cruise from Florida to the Bahamas or something within that area. The seas are typically calm and the stops everyday at an island help keep you grounded (pun intended).

    Cruising is one of my favourite holidays and I’m looking forward to my eleventh cruise this spring.

    Do try it again one day 🙂

    Michelle

  2. jimltravels

    September 6, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    Like you, I’ve been on a cruise once and had the same experience you did. I thought it was an anomaly. I went deep sea fishing twice and fed the fish. Some of us need to stick to the skies. I am fine flying, which if I have any sense I will continue to do and leave cruising to those with the stomach for it.

  3. Marshall Jackson

    September 6, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    I’m sorry you fell ill on your first cruise. The north Atlantic is no joke, especially in the winter. Try a shorter cruise….. Bahamas or Caribbean next time if you get the nerve to go again.

  4. Rebecca LaMantia Seibert

    September 6, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    Bonine supposedly does not cause drowsiness, but neither that nor Dramamine are cures. They are preventatives. I’ve been on several cruises and never had issues with seasickness during rough seas, but before my first someone told me to get the prescription patch for behind the ear and said it worked wonders for them. Other people I’ve met on ships have said the same. Otherwise, stick to the Caribbean… I remember talking to a cruise staff member who was moving to a transatlantic ship, and he said that the seas are far rougher on those trips than on Caribbean cruises.

  5. FreeTravelGuys

    September 7, 2013 at 1:22 am

    Agree with the prior posts. Being from Miami, I definitely suggest you try a 3-day cruise to the Bahamas in the summer. Of course, summer runs the risk of hurricane season, so I would shoot for June or July at the latest, which is where less hurricanes hit.

  6. Tiff

    September 7, 2013 at 3:07 am

    Avoid the Caribbean during hurricane season if you’re prone to sea-sickness!

  7. Wendy

    September 7, 2013 at 3:25 am

    I was seasick on inside passage cruise to Alaska. But I enjoyed every moment on board ship when I did a semester at sea in college. I want to do a long repositioning cruise someday.

  8. Jane

    September 7, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    I think anytime that you are in the Atlantic, it can be rougher than being in the Caribbean (excluding hurricane season). Knowing the you get sick, take precautions before you go: get the patches for behind your ear that are prescription only, prescriptive anti-motion pills and talk to your doctor.

  9. sandy

    September 8, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    So sorry to hear you’ve gotten sick on your cruise. If you do decide to go on another cruise, you should ask your doctor to prescribe scopolamine patches….it worked wonders for my husband when Dramamine didn’t work. The patches do not cause drowsiness.

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