Stepping out of your routine, even if it is only for a few days, can sometimes affect your body. Thankfully, there is a few habits you can adopt to keep the bugs away on your next cruise!
1. Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands is fundamental, even when you are not on a cruise! However, it becomes even more crucial when you share a small environment with hundreds or thousands of other individuals. Wash your hands as much as you can throughout the day. It should become a reflex when you leave common areas where you have spent extended periods of time. Dining rooms, lounges, casinos, libraries, the gym and obviously, washrooms, are the important ones! Most cruise lines have also implemented hand sanitizers dispensers in strategic locations throughout their fleet. Feel free to use them anytime you cannot access the washrooms. They will never replace soap, but it is definitely better than not washing your hands! Carrying a mini bottle of hand sanitizer is also a great idea; especially when you are on shore excursions.
2. Drink Loads of Water
We’ll never say it enough: drink water! Water is essential for our wellbeing so don’t underestimate it. Set up reminders on your phone if having a glass of water frequently is not natural for you. Feel free to bring your reusable water bottle to the buffet restaurant and fill it up there. You may want to fill up glasses of water first and then pour the precious fluid into your reusable bottle for ease. If you get dehydrated easily in hot weather, you should consider packing an electrolyte power that can easily be mixed into a glass or bottle of water.
3. Don’t Drink Tap Water
Alright, this may sound contradictory to the above recommendation but it’s not! Depending on your destination, you may want to only drink water from sealed bottles. Water treatment processes vary from one country to the next. Even though locals are used to drinking tap water, your stomach may not handle it very well. Don’t take the chance of making yourself sick and plan a small budget to buy bottled water each time you're ashore. Play it safe; avoid ice and fruit and ensure all vegetables and meat have been thoroughly cooked before eating them. Visit the government’s Travel Advice and Advisories website for more information on your next destination and find out whether it is safe to drink the water there.
4. Fight Jet Lag
The best option to fight jet lag and enjoy your cruise vacation to the fullest is to arrive in the embarking port a couple of days before the sail date. It will help you recoup from your flight(s) and acclimate yourself to the new temperatures and time zone, if different from your home country. When a pre-cruise stay is not a possibility for you, try and embark the ship as soon as check-in opens. It will give you ample time to settle into your room, enjoy the buffet and relax. Take a nap if you really need to, but be sure it is short and sweet. You don’t want to start your first night in the middle of the afternoon. It is also important to try and stay up until a reasonable bedtime, local time. If it is a sunny day, spend as much time as you can on the Sun Deck. Taking in natural light and fresh air will help your body adjust to your new environment more quickly. You only have so much time onboard... Make the most of it!
5. Protect Your Skin
Applying sunscreen can be a burden for some travellers, and yet it can save you from a lot of pain! Be mindful of your skin anywhere you travel, whether it is on a European exploration or on a relaxing Caribbean cruise. Unlike you, the sun does not take vacations and will burn regardless of your location. Take a couple of minutes to protect all body parts exposed to the sun and enjoy your cruise! Remember to reapply this action every two hours if you’re spending the entire day outside. This could be another reminder to add to your phone to avoid the unpleasant surprise of becoming a lobster instead of enjoying one for dinner! Avoid putting yourself in the situation where putting on some clothes is painful!
6. Eat What Your Stomach Allows
Anytime you board a ship, the surprising urge and need to eat all the food arises...Stay wise, resist the temptation and listen to your body! There is no worse feeling than a bloated stomach before your shore excursion. Of course, you can (and should) treat yourself, but you can do so by indulging in small portions of everything you want to try. Perhaps enjoy a lighter lunch so that you can indulge at dinner. You can ask your waiter for half the portion should you decide to order a three-course-dinner, or better yet, simply order two courses and minimize waste. Remember that you’re on a cruise ship. You will have the possibility to order additional items, room service or visit the buffet at almost any time of the day, or night. Eat until your stomach is full and munch on some healthy snacks throughout the day if your body demands so. You'll enjoy not having to loose those 10lbs on your return home.
7. Bring a Pack of Ginger Candies
Are you prone to seasickness? To help, make sure to pack ginger candies to help with nausea, wear acupressure wristbands, take in as much fresh air as possible and look at the horizon. All these tricks should help you feel better, but if they don’t, medications may be your saviour. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for seasickness medications that are best suited to you before you leave. You can also consider booking a cruise that has fewer sea days. Europe’s rivers and Alaska’s waters are usually pretty calm so they may be your best bet for your next cruise.
8. Stay as Active as Possible
Yes, you are on vacation, but it does not mean you should stop all physical activity to become a cruise potato. You need to find the right balance of activity and relaxation time. Assuming your physical condition allows it, staying active can be as easy as taking the stairs. This will also help you skip the unavoidable line up at elevators. Most cruise ships also offer a very well equipped promenade deck so you can enjoy the horizon as you take a brisk walk. Some cruises offer yoga or tai chi classes as well as a gym for those of you that have a more active lifestyle.
9. Limit Your Alcohol Consumption
Do enjoy a glass of wine at dinner or a cocktail or two on your balcony, but remember there is a reasonable limit to every pleasure. It would be a shame to waste one cruise day because of that "last" drink...
10. Be Truthful
Most cruise lines ask passengers to fill out a form before embarking. They need your honesty! If you have been feeling under the weather, do not be “scared” to say so up front. They may kindly put you in quarantine in your stateroom the first day to ensure your health and that of everyone onboard, but don’t be offended. This is a normal procedure to prevent other passengers from becoming ill. You wouldn't want to spread your bug all over the ship any more than you would want to catch something from someone else.
Stay Healthy, Cruise Happy!