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cruise99999

Mexican Riviera seasickness and weather?

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Hi all,

 

I'm doing my first cruise ever and I'm going to be on the Norwegian Bliss April 21-28 for the Mexican Riviera. I heard the Bliss is a pretty large ship, so I'm hoping I won't feel sea sick. I've gotten sick on some ferry rides which are much smaller boats. 

 

Are the waters pretty calm during this time of year? Anything to help put my mind to ease.

I'm also worried about us tendering in Cabo. How is the seasickness from the tender boats and how long are you normally on the tender boat? 

 

Any experience from people that have done a Mexican Riviera cruise mid/late April would be great! 

 

Thanks!

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The seas can be rough any time of the year...they are not that predictable. If you have a problem with sea sickness, you must be prepared every time you are on a cruise ship.

 

That area is known for the possibility of roughness just south of the Mexico/US border area, particularly as you head north, and you are going against the current.

 

Tendering depends on a variety of things. There is frequently more than one ship in at Cabo, so you may have a longer tender ride. If sea conditions are rougher, it will make the tender ride rougher. It is possible (although not a huge chance) the conditions could be so rough as to prevent tendering, and you will skip the port.

 

On the other hand, the seas could be calm. You just never know, and Mother Nature always has the final say.

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I only cruised that area in October, and the ocean was very calm. In the bigger ship, you should feel less motion and less seasickness, and April is before hurricane season so it should still be pretty calm. I recommend sea bands and ginger tablets. Enjoy your cruise!

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Been along the West Coast many times at that time of year and while the weather & seas can never be guaranteed, most areas are reasonably comfortable with max winds of 25 - 30 kts. Not sure if going south of Acapulco, but if you are, the Gulf of Tehuantepec can get rather snotty at times.

 

The size of ship has minimal effect on the amount of motion, as the science is based on the ship's stability characteristics, course/speed in relation to wind & seas, effectiveness of stabalisers, etc. The least amount of movement is found at the ship's centre of gravity, so the higher and further fwd/aft you go, you will experience more movement.

 

However, comparing ship motion of ferries & cruise ships is akin to comparing apples to oranges. The motion experienced on ferries is completely different to cruise ships, not due to size, but from different stability. Due to the nature of the business and ship design, Ro/Ro ferries normally have a substantially higher GM, which creates a different type of movement, as they snap back faster.

 

Cabo - I used to be there once a week, so have tendered way too many times. I note they have multiple anchorages, but all are close to shore and are fairly well protected. The trip ashore should be 10 to 15 mins, with the last few minutes within the breakwater. Have experience a couple of interesting return trips, but normally it is smooth sailing.

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Well, this is a large topic, and some background information will really help you before we get to remedies.

 

First of all, most people don't get seasick, and if you do, it almost always passes in a day, once you get your sea legs.  Yes, I know, there are some people (a very small number) who seem to take several days to get over it.  As someone has noted, a ferry and a cruise ship are as different as night and day.  Ferry's have flat bottoms, are shallow draft, and are designed for in-shore operations.  Cruise ships are designed for being out at sea, have stabilizers, etc., though they will still move.

 

The old adage of staying low and amidships is out-of-date on today's modern cruise ships.  As these ships have gotten dramatically bigger, where to stay has become more complicated.  The ship moves around its COG (Center of Gravity).  That used to be somewhere around the main deck, but now is somewhere higher, though you need to be a naval architect to figure out where it is.  If you stay half-way between the bow and stern, you will minimize the pitching motion (when the bow and stern go up and down).  But the most common motion is rolling, and you would have to stay in an inside cabin in the middle of the ship, which is about the worst thing you could do. 

 

Seasickness is primarily caused by a conflict between the eyes (if they are not seeing the motion) and the inner ear which detect the motion.  So, prevention is somewhat easy -- stay someplace where you can see the motion until you get your sea legs.  Staying out on deck and watching the horizon is the cure, and the fresh air will help as well.  If you are inside, stay near a window so you can see the horizon.  If you are not feeling well, do not go inside and lose sight of the seas.  The other thing is to eat normally.  While this seems counter-intuitive, an empty stomach is one way to bring on seasickness.  Keep away from greasy foods and don't overeat, but eat normal meals at normal times.

 

As for the remedies:

Ginger is clinically proven to dramatically reduce or prevent all motion sickness.  You can take ginger pills (available in any drug store), eat candied ginger or ginger snaps, or drink real ginger ale (though you might need a lot).  This is a natural remedy obviously, but proven to work.  Start taking or eating it before you get on the ship, but you do not need more than a few hours' time for it to get into your system.

 

Some people, swear by the seabands, others notice no effect whatsoever.  Again, no medications, but not always effective.

 

Bonine and dramamine are OTC medications available everywhere.  They will work for most people who get seasick.  They should be started before getting on the ship. Ships also dispense generic forms of these pills.

 

For cases of severe seasickness where nothing else has worked, there is the patch.  The most common side-effect is dry mouth, but there can be some serious side-effects as mentioned and including hallucinations.  If you know you are going to get seasick, and you have tried other medications without success, and your doctor recommends it, get the prescription filled in advance and try it for a week on dry land first -- you don't want to start hallucinating as you walk along the rail while you are at sea.

 

Perhaps most of all, don't worry yourself into it. If you don't get motion sick in other situations, you are likely to be fine or will be fine after a few hours. While cruise ships do move in the seas, and rough seas can cause a  lot of motion, bear in mind that they are not anything like small pleasure craft that bob and bounce along all the time.  Motion on a cruise ship tends to be much, much slower and less dramatic.  If it were a really common problem, you wouldn't see so many cruise ships out there.  For most passengers, the gentle motion is calming.  Cruise lines try to avoid rough seas when they can, though that is not always possible, and the seas are not always coming from the right direction (Mother Nature can be soooo finicky).  For the most part, though, relax and enjoy.  Odds are that you are going to be just fine, and the initial prevention suggestions should be enough by themselves. 

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4 hours ago, bbwex said:

First of all, most people don't get seasick, and if you do, it almost always passes in a day, once you get your sea legs.  Yes, I know, there are some people (a very small number) who seem to take several days to get over it.  As someone has noted, a ferry and a cruise ship are as different as night and day.  Ferry's have flat bottoms, are shallow draft, and are designed for in-shore operations.  Cruise ships are designed for being out at sea, have stabilizers, etc., though they will still move.

 

The old adage of staying low and amidships is out-of-date on today's modern cruise ships.  As these ships have gotten dramatically bigger, where to stay has become more complicated.  The ship moves around its COG (Center of Gravity).  That used to be somewhere around the main deck, but now is somewhere higher, though you need to be a naval architect to figure out where it is.  If you stay half-way between the bow and stern, you will minimize the pitching motion (when the bow and stern go up and down).  But the most common motion is rolling, and you would have to stay in an inside cabin in the middle of the ship, which is about the worst thing you could do. 

 

 

Great information on remedies, but I have a couple of comments on hulls & stability.

 

Cruise Ship hulls are actually very similar to ferries, as they also have flat bottoms and relatively shallow drafts. Many of the largest ships will have drafts of 25 to 30 feet, although I note the biggest RCI ships are deeper. Vastly smaller liners from the 70's & 80's had drafts over 30' - SS Oriana 32' & SS Canberra 36'. Therefore, with wide beams, today's cruise ships have shallower drafts. 

 

I have worked on many ferries that are better designed and built for open ocean passage than many of the modern cruise ships. Of the modern ships, QM2 probably has the best hull design for open ocean passage. While modern ships can still cross the oceans, they cannot maintain the same speed as we did on the old liners, when encountering heavy weather. Many ferries are also fitted with stabalisers.

 

Sorry, do not agree that the adage of staying low and amidships is out of date. While the ships keep getting bigger, the science of ship stability hasn't changed. For a ship to be stable, the KG of the CoG must be low to ensure that the Metacentre, in inclined conditions, remains above the CoG. The CoG is available to the Master in the ship's stability booklet for multiple intact and damaged conditions. It is also available from onboard stability programs by entering tank conditions and drafts.

 

While I no longer have access to stability booklets, best guess is the areas of the ship with least movement is midships from the waterline to just above the Prom Deck. Cruise ships have lower GM's than ferries, which provide a smoother rolling motion, but will roll further. Due to the nature of the business, many ferries have a higher intact & unloaded GM, which causes a harsher movement, as the ship doesn't go over as far, but snaps back quickly.

 

While serving on ships fitted with stabalisers, my experience also indicates that rolling is not the most common motion. Ship's movement is a factor of ship's course in relation to the prevailing seas. Beam seas cause rolling, while head and following seas cause pitching. The stabalisers generally eliminate a large percentage of the rolling, but have no effect on pitching. The Master's tools to reduce pitching is course & speed adjustments.

 

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7 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

Great information on remedies, but I have a couple of comments on hulls & stability.

 

Cruise Ship hulls are actually very similar to ferries, as they also have flat bottoms and relatively shallow drafts. Many of the largest ships will have drafts of 25 to 30 feet, although I note the biggest RCI ships are deeper. Vastly smaller liners from the 70's & 80's had drafts over 30' - SS Oriana 32' & SS Canberra 36'. Therefore, with wide beams, today's cruise ships have shallower drafts. 

 

I have worked on many ferries that are better designed and built for open ocean passage than many of the modern cruise ships. Of the modern ships, QM2 probably has the best hull design for open ocean passage. While modern ships can still cross the oceans, they cannot maintain the same speed as we did on the old liners, when encountering heavy weather. Many ferries are also fitted with stabalisers.

 

Sorry, do not agree that the adage of staying low and amidships is out of date. While the ships keep getting bigger, the science of ship stability hasn't changed. For a ship to be stable, the KG of the CoG must be low to ensure that the Metacentre, in inclined conditions, remains above the CoG. The CoG is available to the Master in the ship's stability booklet for multiple intact and damaged conditions. It is also available from onboard stability programs by entering tank conditions and drafts.

 

While I no longer have access to stability booklets, best guess is the areas of the ship with least movement is midships from the waterline to just above the Prom Deck. Cruise ships have lower GM's than ferries, which provide a smoother rolling motion, but will roll further. Due to the nature of the business, many ferries have a higher intact & unloaded GM, which causes a harsher movement, as the ship doesn't go over as far, but snaps back quickly.

 

While serving on ships fitted with stabalisers, my experience also indicates that rolling is not the most common motion. Ship's movement is a factor of ship's course in relation to the prevailing seas. Beam seas cause rolling, while head and following seas cause pitching. The stabalisers generally eliminate a large percentage of the rolling, but have no effect on pitching. The Master's tools to reduce pitching is course & speed adjustments.

 

You are certainly correct that modern cruise ships no longer have the deep v-shaped hulls of cruise ships of days gone by, and I was not talking about the ocean-going ferries, but rather the in-shore ferries.  You are, of course, correct that stabilizers have no effect on pitching, but they do cut down on rolling motion, and a gentle rolling motion is fairly common aboard cruise ships, at least in my experience. 

 

The master knows where the CoG is, but for the non-expert passenger, figuring out where that is is impossible, and it certainly isn't quite as low as it used to be.  And if pitching is the most common motion, then being in a midships cabin will minimize the motion.

 

As your reply indicates, this is a complicated discussion, and I tried to make it shorter than it was when I first wrote it.  I used to write letters home to my DW when we were newly married, and I was deployed to the Western Pacific, and she confided in me that she never read the parts about the ship's operations!  So I tried to keep it brief now.

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