Live From Grand Princess: The Results of Our Seasick-Med Test Are In (and No Queasiness!)

May 29, 2011 | By | 14 Comments

While cruise lines like to brag that improvements in technology and navigation all but eliminate the movement that prompts the need for motion-sickness remedies, the bald fact is that the sea is the sea. It’s occasionally calm and serene, other times rambunctious and unpredictable.
That was certainly the case onboard Grand Princess this week. The journey from Southampton to the western coasts of France, Spain and Portugal included the famously inhospitable Bay of Biscay. While seas were relatively calm most of the time, that wasn’t the case while we traversed Biscay on the way down to Lisbon – and then back to Southampton. Result? It was a perfect opportunity to test out commonly-used seasickness medications. (FYI, I’d brought along ginger-flavored gum, and it was a nice complement to the meds, but it didn’t work for me on its own).

Bonine
The claim: “Raspberry flavored Bonine works up to 4 times longer and causes less drowsiness than original Dramamine.”
The Basics: Bonine’s chewable tablets (with a taste reminiscent of children’s aspirin) are made of meclizine (also a main property of Dramamine). Instructions are to take 1 or 2 tablets per 24 hours, not for children under 12.
The Test: The packet instructions tell you to chew a tablet “one hour before travel starts,” but one of the beauties of Bonine – with which I’m intimately familiar – is that it works just fine for me if I wait until I’m already queasy. I don’t always get sick and so don’t necessarily want to take one unless it’s necessary. In this case, I was feeling slightly nauseous already when I chewed a tablet. I climbed into bed to wait.
Results: 15 minutes later, I was feeling just fine, and though the instructions suggest you avoid alcohol, two glasses of wine at dinner had no discernable effect. Bonine did make me feel sleepier than I would have – I slept beautifully (and for 10 hours).
Sea-Band
The claim: “The Sea-Band has been clinically tested against nausea and vomiting in travel, pregnancy, post-operative, chemotherapy and other conditions which induce nausea.” And: “Sea-bands take between two and five minutes to become effective but a better result is achieved if the band is in place well before the journey commences.”
The Basics: The Sea-Band, which comes in a packet of two, is a knitted, elasticized wrist band that uses acupressure to alleviate nausea. As such, it’s all-natural.
The Test: First, I read the diagram that instructs you to “place your middle three fingers on the inside of your wrist with the edge of the third finger just below the first wrist crease.” Once your bands are in place – one on each wrist – you wait.
Results: Feeling quite queasy, I climbed into bed for the wait and sent my husband on to happy hour without me, adding optimistically, “I’m hoping these will work in time for dinner.” An hour later? Still hoping. There was improvement but a borderline nausea remained. I will say that the pressure Sea-Band exerts is a bit uncomfortable for me; it’s sort of like wearing a tight rubber band around your wrist.
So What’s the Bottom Line?
A quick nosh on a Bonine tablet saved the evening. Not only did I manage to make it to dinner, I was one of a hardy handful to close the One5 nightclub. Fortunately, we were at sea the day after, so the resulting 10-hour-night’s sleep couldn’t have come at a better time.
Feeling a little queasy? See our tips on how to avoid seasickness.

    Comments

    14 Responses to “Live From Grand Princess: The Results of Our Seasick-Med Test Are In (and No Queasiness!)”

    1. Teresa
      May 29th, 2011 @ 12:33 pm

      I used chewable ginger tabs with our last cruise and was impressed, I put it in my cheek and my nausea was gone in mins. Used it 4/day in rough seas.

    2. Lillian
      May 29th, 2011 @ 4:27 pm

      Bonine always works for me and I take it as soon as I start to feel nausea.I also will take a drink or two and have no side affects other than getting a good night sleep

    3. NJMom18
      May 29th, 2011 @ 5:59 pm

      Nice to know what works for others…I never tried Ginger, but I will on my next cruise (The Caribbean Princess in Dec 2011). Sea=Bands work for me, but only in mildly choppy seas. I always keep Bonine close by “just in case”. I’ve tried “the patch”, too, but I didn’t like the side effects of dry mouth and blurred vision.

    4. Wendy Craig
      May 29th, 2011 @ 6:49 pm

      I cover all options – medication, wrist bands and ginger! So far,so good!

    5. Carole Rosenthal
      May 30th, 2011 @ 9:18 am

      Having had seasickness hit me the 2nd day out on the Dream, I took Walgreen’s pink pill for the above, plus chewed mint gum and a lot of ginger ale. Made it, eating lightly, for dinner that eve.

    6. Steelercruiser
      May 30th, 2011 @ 9:49 am

      Good Review of these 2 seasick remedies. We always travel with Bonine as it works pretty good! And makes us way less drowsy than its counterpart Dramimine!

    7. lloydgregory
      May 30th, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

      Does anyone know if Bonine is available in Spain and is it under the same name? Thanks

    8. Iain
      May 30th, 2011 @ 5:58 pm

      A large Hendricks and tonic works quite well too! :-)

    9. cruiselover04
      May 30th, 2011 @ 5:59 pm

      I always use Bonine! I start taking it 3 days precruise and take it every day on the cruise whether it is rough or not. If the Capt says we are going to “have some motion in the ocean” I take a second Bonine at night. I also take ginger root pills. I have gone from spending my first 7 night cruise in the cabin 4 out of the 7 days to being able to tolerate a 14 day transatlantic.

    10. Cindy
      May 31st, 2011 @ 2:13 am

      Thanks for a great review on that medication. I always take it while I’m cruising cause I don’t want to get sick. Bonine (it’s not what it’s called here in Belgium) does the trick

      @lloydgregory: I don’t know what it’s called in Spain, but go to a drugstore and ask for a seasick medication containing Meclizine. In Belgium it’s called Agyrax, but I suppose that doesn’t help much

    11. Matt
      June 2nd, 2011 @ 10:32 am

      Some Brand names of products containing meclizine:

      Ancolan Antivert Bonadoxina Bonamina Bonamine Chiclida Dramine Duramesan En-Vert Meclicot Meclizine Hcl Meclozine Medivert Navicalm Peremesin Postadoxin Postafen Postafene Sea-Legs Suprimal Yonyun

      FOREIGN BRAND AVAILABILITY:

      Bonadoxina (Colombia)
      Bonamina (Argentina)
      Bonamine (Germany; Canada; Japan; Philippines; Taiwan; Thailand)
      Chiclida (Spain)
      Dramine (Spain)
      Navicalm (Portugal)
      Peremesin (Germany)
      Postadoxin (Germany)
      Postafen (Denmark; Finland; Germany; Norway; Sweden)
      Postafene (Belgium; Hong-Kong)
      Sea-Legs (New-Zealand)
      Suprimal (Netherlands)

    12. Jeanine
      June 15th, 2011 @ 9:16 am

      Great info, what has worked for me is to simple ask the waiter/room service for some fresh ginger (chopped fine) take a tsp with water and within minutes all is right with the world (well at least with your tummy). No drowsy side effects.

    13. Charlene
      June 16th, 2011 @ 4:21 pm

      Unfortunately I am one of those people who are highly susceptible to motion sickness of all types. After one very rough cruise the effectgs lasted for months & nothing but time cured the problem. My doctor now prescribes the patch & I start wearing it 12 to 24 hours before the cruis begins and continue to wear it for 24 to 36 hours after the cruise ends. Neither bonine or dramamine work nearly as well as the patch.

    14. Ann S
      March 6th, 2012 @ 5:30 pm

      I’ve had pretty good luck with Sea-Bands in moderately rough seas, but good to know that Bonine seems to be as advertised.

      Have heard that ginger is available in capsules and may have to try that, too.

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