The Medicine Cruisers Swear Cures Even The Worst Seasickness (And It's Not Dramamine)

You board your cruise, breathe in the salty air, and sit back, enjoying the rhythmic lull of the waves. And then, BAM! You start to feel dizzy and nauseous, turn an attractive shade of Shrek green, and ... well, you know what happens next. If you're a cruiser who experiences seasickness, you're probably painfully familiar with Dramamine (and its active ingredient: dimenhydrinate). The go-to motion sickness drug in the U.S. can be a savior. However, it doesn't work for everyone.

Luckily, there is an alternative that many veteran cruisers and sailors swear by. And you may have never heard of it. It goes by the name cinnarizine. Cinnarizine, like dimenhydrinate, is an antihistamine that works similarly to reduce the symptoms of travel sickness. Many keen cruisers and sailors say that cinnarizine (brand name Stugeron in the U.K.) worked when Dramamine did not. The British Royal Navy has widely used Cinnarizine to prevent seasickness. If it's good enough for them, it's probably worth a try on your next cruise.

There is a catch to cinnarizine, however. This medicine is not available in the U.S. for treating motion sickness. It is available over the counter in Mexico and many countries in Europe and Asia. If you're in any of these places and looking for a new seasickness remedy, give cinnarizine a try (after checking with a healthcare professional to make sure it's okay for you).

More alternatives to Dramamine

For those planning to stick to U.S. shores and waterways for the foreseeable future, there are other alternatives to Dramamine available. A favorite across the pond and here in the States is scopolamine (hyoscine hydrobromide). It often comes in a patch you can wear behind your ear for three days, so it's a long-term solution for cruisers. In the U.S. you'll need a prescription to get scopolamine.

Scopolamine also comes in tablet form and can be bought over the counter in many countries (one brand name in the U.K. is Kwells). However, it is notorious for its side effects. One poster in Reddit's r/cruise forum writes that a scopolamine patch is like using "a sledgehammer to crack a nut."

One side effect of scopolamine and Dramamine is drowsiness. If you'd like to avoid that, there are motion sickness remedies that attempt to reduce that side effect. Meds with the active ingredient meclizine are popular, such as the brand names Bonine and Dramamine Less Drowsy. Meclizine can still make you somewhat drowsy, however, and is generally less effective than Dramamine. The only way to practically guarantee no side effects is by taking the natural route. While natural remedies won't work for everyone, ginger candies or pills are favorites among the sickly cruising set.