10 Warning Signs You’re In for a Bumpy Ride

December 30, 2011 | By | 24 Comments

Ship captains are notoriously understated in their weather forecasting. You know what we mean if you’ve ever sailed in foul weather: “You may feel the ship moving a bit” in the captain’s daily address probably means “The waves are going to be enormous and lots of you will be seasick.” So how are you supposed to know when it’s gonna be a bumpy one?

Here are 10 sure-fire signs there’s trouble ahead:
1. During the day, you hear the maitre d’ quietly instructing the waiters to chain down the tables in the dining room for dinner.
2. Sick bags appear at strategic locations throughout the ship.
3. All deck furniture is cleared away and lashed down and the hot tubs are emptied.
4. Rumors begin to fly around the ship: “So-and-so overheard a crew member saying it was going to be ‘horrendous.'”
5. The ship is bouncing around ominously, even though it’s still alongside, tied up.
6. The following day’s port of call is cancelled as it’s too “exposed.”
7. The advertised dinner menu changes suddenly to something comforting like plain steaks and chicken soup.
8. The cocktail of the day is an ironic Dark and Stormy.
9. Seasick pills are given out like free candy at the reception desk.
10. You pop up on deck before sailing to see what’s going on and you see the captain staring pensively out to sea.
Of course, the captain will come clean with a proper safety warning just before sailing if it’s going to get really bad. And look on the bright side. Although being seasick is horrible and no joke, you can dine out on storm stories for many happy cruises to come.
Know before you go: See where the world’s roughest waters are located.
Feeling queasy? Learn how to avoid seasickness.
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    24 Responses to “10 Warning Signs You’re In for a Bumpy Ride”

    1. Frau morgan
      December 30th, 2011 @ 12:41 pm

      Formal night is postponed As is an acrobatic act on the entertainment venue.

    2. Joanne Hice
      December 30th, 2011 @ 1:11 pm

      Been through a hurricane where urps bags were everywhere, half the ship was so sick they stayed in bed for days, ship would go up 30 feet and drop with a WHOOP!! We were stuck on ship from Sunday until Friday and only made Friday Port of Call. Took the same cruise a second time and seas were rough entire cruise and we only made 2 Ports of Call. We’re going to try it again to see if we can make all Ports. Love Cruisin’.

    3. Scott Lara
      December 30th, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

      The Captain comes on the loud speaker and tells guests that outer decks are closed due to high winds. Oh buddy, you better buckle up…TIGHT!

    4. DKSampson
      December 30th, 2011 @ 8:28 pm

      We had all our formal nights (can’t miss the photo revenue), but Pilates was canceled (need to use all core muscles to remain upright on rough seas)and we only saw one port. Sigh…

    5. Christopher Painter
      January 2nd, 2012 @ 7:50 pm

      Tounge in cheek…

      Rookies. I’ve yet to go on my first “cruise” but I have been on cruises of a different kind: Blackbeard Cruises (65′ scuba liveaboard sloops)

      I’ve been through some really, really rough seas in those boats. You know it’s going to be bad when the capt says to batten down the hatches and then mentions to not worry about capsizing, the ship’s keel will roll it back over.

    6. Deanne Emory
      January 2nd, 2012 @ 11:27 pm

      Formal night not cancelled… but women forbidden to wear high heals… formal dresses and bedroom slippers!

    7. Tracy
      January 2nd, 2012 @ 11:43 pm

      Ship was so rocky there were barf bags by every elevator on every deck, they cleared all the pool deck chairs, rinsed down the deck, covered jacuzzi and drained the pool, vacuuming and shampooing certain \spots \ ,closed ocean view windows passenger cabins with wood shutters on lower decks, and it felt like we were surfing instead of sailing! My kids ages 11, 13, 7and 21 years old laughed because only a half an hour earlier when it was sunny and no storm in sight as a precaution I had them take dramine and they were fine! The show was on the decks becauseoat of these people has started drinking as soon as they got on the ship! Not bad for the first day leaving our original port 4 hours later!

    8. Tom in long beach
      January 3rd, 2012 @ 11:22 am

      While I myself love rough weather, I hate to see other people suffer.

    9. Vpoopsy
      January 3rd, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

      Been on 4 cruises and sick on 3!! Last cruise they locked the doors to get outside and a woman was stuck outside. Thank goodness my DH saw her and pried the door open so she could get in.

      Going on 5th cruise in February and have my meclizine and ginger pills ready!

    10. annemarie
      January 3rd, 2012 @ 1:54 pm

      Bags hanging by all the elevators assured me that my unstable walk was not due to a few too many drinks.

    11. Rachel
      January 3rd, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

      Coming back from Bermuda during a hurricane and had to stay way out to sea all the way up the coast then cut in at the last minute. We were warned we may be late arriving back. Also sea sick bags everywhere, all deck furniture strapped down and decks closed, people in the food court trying to carry trays while being tossed from side to side. It was one of the most interesting cruises I’ve been on for sure.

    12. Art
      January 5th, 2012 @ 6:49 am

      On the Radiance of Seas out of Sydney on Dec 4 we were kept posted as to weather conditions in an excellant way often by the captain on the ship’s onbaord television. Seas were roughish and we missed the final port but the communications on the matter were absolutely first class.

    13. Lost Sailor
      January 5th, 2012 @ 7:33 am

      It appears that these articles are very low mentality and that the bottom of the barrel is scraped to find something about which to write and that it must be negative and sensational. Thus the commenters are keyed to also write their input in that same tone.
      The other side of the coin is that we go to the Ocean to experience the many faces of the Sea and to do so might include rough water cruising. So the choice is to enjoy the excitement of the rough water and appreciate the ship and its ability to care for you in any and all conditions. To be in the Ocean and be as you are firmly on the ground at home is to deny yourself the experience of being at Sea.
      I have had 15 cruises and just returned from Voyage number 16. I have been to Europe 34 times. I seek out the Trans-Pacific (2) and Trans-Atlantic (12) Crossings to permit myself to experience the many personalities of the Sea and the persons aboard ship. My Voyage was 4 months and we visited Thirteen Ports in a dozen countries and were six days in each to allow for learning and developing an appreciation for the culture and peoples of each area. The focus was uplifting and educational. The shipboard community lived in the environment nurturing a positive attitude and each supported the other in the pursuit of wonderful experiences. Remember that Life is What Happens When You Plan to Do Other Things. The Measure of a Person is how that person handles what comes in life. When you embrace and maximize the moment, you give yourself the gift of personal growth. This is true of travel during which the opportunities to meet others and positively interact and the opportunities to experience life elsewhere blend to offer to you enlightenment not found at home. So be open to what comes your way and decide that you will go and accept and grow as you nurture your I See expression to become a WOW – I experienced emotion. True travelers experience to great depths not known to those, who can and merely see from a distance though they may be standing in a place offering an appreciation of historical greatness and the personal achievement of those who came before us. I do pray that those persons willing to read and think of my input be open to a new perspective and a great Year of traveling in 22012.
      Rolf Thursday Jan 05 2012 7:26 am

    14. OBX Ron
      January 5th, 2012 @ 8:05 am

      No one mentioned what they always said on some of our first cruises:
      You can tell it is a rough night when the only people walking straight are the people who have been drinking a lot.

    15. Matt
      January 5th, 2012 @ 8:51 am

      On our last cruise, we had some rough seas in the Gulf of Mexico. The CD commented that you can tell who had been drinking heavily–they were the only ones walking straight since their weaving was compensating for the ship! LOL I think there may have actually been some truth to that.

      Now if only the housekeeping staff had tied down the carts in the stairwell next to our inside cabin in the bow…

      Between the “whoop” of the bow coming down and the constant rolling sound of the carts before they hit the bulkhead (back & forth) all night. We should have complained harder earlier–got an outside stateroom upgrade for the last two nights.

    16. Sue
      January 5th, 2012 @ 9:20 am

      On our last cruise, they canceled the pub crawl because of high winds on the decks. Barf bags were at all the elevators. and they not only locked the doors to the deck, they closed the metal storm doors over the sliding doors in the main entrance. No sunbathing on our last sea day..it was sooo funny, we would be walking along taking 2 steps one way and then 2 steps back the other…the only ones walking straight were the drunks…lol…cant wait till the next cruise!

    17. Phillip Good
      January 5th, 2012 @ 12:58 pm

      Nonsense; this is a great opportunity to get a windows seat at a reservations-only restaurant. Most injuries on our Antarctic cruise came on the following sunshine-filled day as passengers slipped on the icy deck.

      Have you read, Confessions of a Gentleman Host?

    18. Dave n Linda
      January 7th, 2012 @ 5:12 pm

      We experienced most of these as we set sail from Tahiti in December 1991 on (I think Island) Princess. Cyclone Val. The list should also include “removing the long string of lights that usually stretches overhead from bow to stern” and “putting wooden shields over some of the portholes on lower decks,” which I think is related to “battening down the hatches.”

      You know you’re really in the thick of it when you wake up at 3am to the sound of shattering glass, and the next morning the grand piano is not in the lounge it was in the night before.

    19. Bill Hays
      January 8th, 2012 @ 5:46 am

      The wife and I were on NCL and ran into a New Year’s Day hurricane off the coast of Cozumel. Really a wild intense low pressure system with hurricane force winds (yeah, I’m a amateur meteorologist). We love roller coaster rides and since our ship wasn’t one of the larger ones, the ride didn’t dissapoint. More than 2/3 passengers and crew were down. Elevators shut down … “lunch bags” everywhere, Dramamine being thrown at people (too late by this time), and the best seating you could want at the dining rooms. We would walk down the hallway to our cabin and every 3rd wave there would be a rogue that would cause the back end of the ship to go airborne and wiggle. Actually the only ones that were walking down the hallways straight were the drunks! There would be a “wiggle” and we would hear “Horrible” sounds coming from the cabins we were passing (you know what I mean. Kudos to the little women running back and forth with their clean-up carts … one job I would NOT want. Yougotta have a rough rideon at least one cruise so when someone complains about a little rocking on another cruise you can use that as a conversation starter “Let me tell you about what a rough cruise is …”

    20. bottom barrel
      January 9th, 2012 @ 4:27 pm

      With the exception of a pompous lecture, I found all the comments interesting. Someone told me once that if you can focus on the horizon and move your legs and neck to keep your head level it may work to keep you from getting sick. (I did this once on a cruise and it worked for me). If your stuck with no view, close your eyes do the same keeping you head level. In addition irregular pressure of the bowels against the diaphragm can be minimized if you tight-in your stomach muscles on those up and down drops………

    21. near philly
      January 10th, 2012 @ 4:56 pm

      When the Captain announces 75 MPH sustained winds, 10 meter average swells ( abt. 35 feet) and that the crew will be putting covers on the lower deck portholes.

      Drake Passage from Antarctica to Ushuaia on HAL Veendam late December 2011.

    22. Elisabeth
      January 10th, 2012 @ 10:41 pm

      You hear the jugglers for that night’s show discussing whether or not to drop the knife throwing portion of their show : O

      We were on a ship during a storm – there was a comedy acrobatics troupe performing – one of the girls fell off her unicycle … it was obviously not intentional and looked like it reallly hurt – but they blended it in with the show flawlessly.

    23. Dave
      January 13th, 2012 @ 11:57 pm

      On a gay cruise a few years ago that headed right into a hurricane. The captain announced \Mother Nature is about to show you ladies what a really rough night feels like.\ Everyone cheered.

    24. Daniel Cox
      January 27th, 2012 @ 3:45 pm

      We went through 3 days of the most horrendous weather any of our crew members had ever experienced on an early season crossing of the Bering Sea. We were not originally supposed to go to Northern Russia, but the Japan Earthquake caused a detour. The Captain and crew of the MS Volendam (Holland America) took excellent care of us, even as the ship was tilting at up to 13%.

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