The Complete Guide to Staying Healthy at Sea


Cruise holidays allow you to relax, unwind and truly get away from it all, so of course they’re cause for celebration. But in the weeks leading up to a seafaring break, many people have concerns and queries relating to their health and wellbeing during a cruise. To help ease these worries, take a look at our top tips for staying healthy and happy at sea.

Existing Health Conditions

Travelling with an existing illness or medical condition can add stress and worry to your holiday. But with the right preparation, guidance and support, you can enjoy a relaxing and fulfilling cruise break.


Around 1.7 million Australians live with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, and it’s thought that 280 people develop the condition every day. While diabetes isn’t likely to hamper your ability to travel, it’s important to carry enough insulin for the duration of the itinerary, particularly if you’re travelling on a longer sailing. It’s also worth speaking to your doctor about your dietary requirements, so you know exactly what you can and can’t eat during the voyage.

This week marks Diabetes Week here in Australia, an important event led by Diabetes Australia which aims to highlight the dangers and effects of the illness. Diabetes Australia has this to say about Diabetes Week 2016:

“This year Diabetes Australia’s campaign will focus on the tragedy of diabetes-related amputations and the need for a Diabetes Amputation Prevention initiative.
85% of diabetes-related amputations can be prevented. A Diabetes Amputation Prevention initiative could help end the tragedy of diabetes-related amputations within a generation.”

For more information on Diabetes Week 2016, or to show your support, please click here.

Travel insurance

Sadly, for people with pre-existing medical conditions, insurance companies tend to hike their prices as soon as you divulge your condition or illness, leaving you with a hefty overhead on top of your other travel expenses. Shop around for the right insurance however, and you may be able to find a specialist provider offering reasonable rates for those with health complaints. We’d recommend InsureandGo, which offers flexible and affordable insurance regardless of your pre-existing condition.

Dialysis Nurse

Dialysis at sea

If you rely on dialysis treatment and aftercare, it’s still possible to enjoy a relaxing cruise break. Our guide to cruise lines which offer dialysiS can help you find a cruise ship which accommodates your needs, and includes lots of tips and advice for dialysis patients interested in booking a cruise holiday.

Medical oxygen

As above, if you rely on medical oxygen there’s no reason why this should inhibit your ability to cruise. Provided your doctor has confirmed you’re able to travel, it’s possible to rent a portable oxygen concentrator (POC) machine to take with you on your cruise. Special Needs at Sea gives you the option to rent a selection of medical supplies and equipment for an upcoming cruise, all of which are approved for use aboard most ships (though we’d recommend you check with the individual cruise line).

Heart conditions

If you suffer from a heart condition, taking a holiday can be risky as it can be all too easy to over-exert yourself. Make sure you’re aware of how much exercise is healthy for your condition, and choose an itinerary which matches your physical capabilities.

Healthy Eating and Drinking

With culinary temptation lurking on every deck, it can be easy to overindulge on delicious food and drink during an all-inclusive cruise voyage. Couple that with the threat of dehydration, and it’s important to eat and drink healthily on a cruise.

Drink plenty of water

The combination of warm weather, unforgettable excursions and copious amounts of food and drink might sound like the recipe for a perfect holiday, but they also spell dehydration if you neglect to drink enough water. Drink alcohol with every meal, and you’ll soon become dehydrated, so it’s important to drink water in between and carry a bottle with you when you head ashore.

buffetBe careful at the buffet

Indulge at the all-inclusive buffet morning, noon and night, and you’ll soon find your shorts are growing a little snug. Instead of piling every dish on to your plate during each meal, space them out over the course of your cruise to truly savour each and every mouthful.

Don’t overdo it at the bar

While it’s absolutely OK to get in the holiday spirit with a glass of vino or two, try not to overdo it on every night of your cruise. Not only does excessive alcohol equal bad dancing and terrible hangovers, you stand to double the day’s calorific intake by sinking glass after glass of the hard stuff.

Pay a visit to the spa restaurants

Searching for light bites and lean meals? Ditch the buffet hall and head for the ship’s spa. Many of the major cruise lines now fit their spas with a handy restaurant/café, so fitness and wellbeing fanatics can complement their health regime with some clean, low calorie fodder.

Overcoming Seasickness

Whether it’s your first cruise or your thirtieth, seasickness can strike when you least expect it. To combat such queasiness, here are some simple tips.

Choose the right cabin

If you’re worried about getting seasick, the first thing you can do to prevent it is to choose a cabin in the right place aboard the ship. Opt for a suite in the middle of the ship, and you’ll suffer significantly less rocking than you would at the back or front of the vessel.

Try Sea-Bands

A wristband capable of alleviating travel sickness might sound too good to be true, but this is precisely what is offered by Sea-Band. When worn on the high seas, these simple bands are clinically proven to reduce the effects of seasickness — and with no side effects.

Pack ginger sweets or tea

Ginger has been used to prevent the symptoms of motion sickness for centuries, and it remains one of the most cost-effective treatments available. While it doesn’t work for everyone, ginger is an all-natural remedy that could spell the end for your seasickness woes.

General Health Tips and Advice

If you’ve recently booked a cruise for you and your family, here are some general tips and advice for a happy and healthy journey atop the world’s waterways.

Check immunisations

Visiting far-flung foreign lands is the greatest joy of a cruise break, but it’s important to ensure you are vaccinated against any local diseases which could put you and your party at risk. For a full list of recommended immunisations, visit the Department of Health website.

Keep sunscreen topped up: Your main mission may be to get a summer glow, but that doesn’t mean you should scrimp on the sunscreen. Use a high factor lotion in intense sunshine, and reapply regularly to ensure maximum protection against the sun’s harmful rays.

Wash your hands regularly: Sharing a ship with hundreds, if not thousands, of other guests means that illness-causing germs can spread, so it’s important to wash your hands regularly. This is exactly why you’ll see hand sanitisers positioned at regular intervals around the ship’s public spaces.

At Cruise1st Australia, our helpful and friendly travel advisors are experts in cruising, and can help you plan the perfect holiday. To browse our complete range of affordable cruise breaks, visit our homepage or call our team today on 1300 857 345.

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