motion sickness on ocean cruises?

My parents (both in their 60’s if that’s relevant) are thinking about going on one of those Alaska Cruises. My mom is extremely susceptible to motion sickness–i.e. gets seasick easily, gets carsick unless she’s sitting in the front seat, etc.–and we’re wondering how she would do on the Alaska Cruise.

I’ve never been on board an ocean liner type cruising vessel, so I don’t have any idea?

Anybody out there have relevant info/experience/advice?

Here’s my humble opinion:

  1. If they live in CA or work in a tall building, then they’ve probably experienced more motion in the ground they’re standing on than they will on an ocean liner. Those biggo dudes are pretty rock solid. I never felt the least bit uncomfortable. If they are really susceptible, though . . .

  2. There’s this little patch that goes behind the ear that I’ve heard is absolutely fantastic at eliminating seasickness.

The experience of an Alaskan cruise is worth puking a couple times, in my lowly, humble opinion. But that’s just me.

I’ve always had minor problems with motion sickness, but being on a ship caused me only a few moments of queasiness. I hear that motion sickness patches are fantastic, but I never had to resort to actually using one. The three people I spoke with who did get ill while on the ship all said they had a history of motion sickness, but they admitted that having consumed massive amounts of “free” food probably had as much to do with their problems as anything else. If your mom expects to have problems, tell her to be sure to purchase preventative products before she gets on the ship – otherwise she’ll end up paying as much on medication as she did for the cruise.

I get seasick pretty easily on a fishing boat but the Alaska cruise ships are much larger and gave me absolutely no problem. Plus, they’re likely going to be in the Inside Passage and it just not real “wavy”. Nevertheless, have her get a scopolamine patch from her doctor beforehand and she’ll have some recourse just in case.

Thanks everyone for your responses. Andbuddafuco welcome to the Straight Dope.

My friend who boats & cruises a lot tells me the waters north of San Francisco to the Gulf of Alaska are rough. Your parents might want to look into booking a cruise that starts in the gulf. FWIW my in-laws (in their 60’s) had a wonderful time on an Alaskan cruise.

Cruise ships are pretty solid. I went round Vanuatu and New Caledonia, and felt slightly queasy the first morning, but that was about it (and the copious amounts of alcohol I’d drunk the night before may have contributed to that).

My fine young wife, on the occasion of our honeymoon, spent the better part of the first 24 hours on board in a queasy state of green-ness. Needless to say, she didn’t accompany me to the midnight pizza buffet that evening!

Been there, done that, had a blast. Alaska cruises spend most of their time in protected waters, in fjords and in straits between islands and the mainland, with only a couple of excursions outside the most oceanward islands, and those only for a few hours. Unless there’s a major storm in the area, you’ll be almost unable to perceive any motion at all. If you’re picking a cruise based on exposure to ocean waves, Alaska is the best route you’ll find outside rivers or perhaps the Mediterranean. Nearly all of the lines use Vancouver as the southern terminus, and the protected straits between Vancouver Island and the mainland as their routes, incidentally - some continue further south, but generally only as part of seasonal repositioning cruises. Ships’ doctors hand out patches practically like Halloween candy, anyway.

Go. See. Enjoy.