Foods You Should Avoid on a Cruise — and What to Eat Instead

Eat well when you’re cruisin.
foods to avoid on a cruise
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Last Updated
August 8, 2023
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When you’re on a cruise, you want to enjoy yourself and not have to worry about getting sick. Unfortunately, there are some foods that are more likely to cause illness on a cruise ship than others.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that, on average, there are 22 outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness (stomach flu) per year on cruise ships.

Of course, this is just an average and doesn't mean that you'll get sick on your next cruise. Here are some of the most common causes of foodborne illness on a ship.


Don't overdo it on the spice.

Cruise ships offer a plethora of culinary options, including Michelin-starred restaurants. They also feature local fare. However, there are certain foods to avoid. Here are some ideas for avoiding these foods while on a cruise.

Make sure to check the cruise ship's food guidelines before you eat.


Don't forgo the water.

Don't forgo the water on your cruise if you want to stay healthy. You will be much healthier if you stay well hydrated and avoid high-fat or spicy food. These foods irritate the stomach lining and slow down digestion. Avoiding these foods is especially important for people with digestive problems. Drinking lots of water also reduces headaches and dehydration.

Most cruise ships provide water for passengers, though the water may be lukewarm. You can purchase bottled water on board or bring a reusable water bottle. The faucets on board may ban the use of plastic bottles, but you should still be able to fill your bottle.


Think twice about open-air dining options.

Open seating has long been an option on luxury cruise ships, but some people have reservations. Some are prone to seasickness, and greasy food or beverages with umbrellas can irritate the stomach lining. If you suffer from any of these issues, try to stay away from open-air dining options.

If you're planning on dining outside, you'll want to check your cruise's dress code. Many cruise lines include seating in their main dining rooms as part of the fare, but there may be an additional charge for eating at specialty venues. Also, some cruise lines charge extra for beverages, like soda and bottles of water, outside the main dining room.

Specialty restaurants offer more options and larger wine lists. Moreover, you'll have a better chance of finding a special request. For example, the luxurious seafood restaurant Ocean Blue offers both indoor and outdoor dining options. Its light fixtures create movement and playoff nautical decor.


Skip the alcohol if you're feeling seasick.

One of the first things you should do if you're feeling seasick is to avoid alcohol. This is because alcohol can cause dehydration, which exacerbates motion sickness. Instead, try to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Also, eat small, frequent meals throughout the day. Drinking fresh, clean water can help settle your stomach and ease nausea.

Another tip to help combat seasickness is to keep your meals light. The abundance of food on a cruise ship can overwhelm your senses. Try to stay away from spicy and acidic foods. Alcoholic beverages can increase the risk of seasickness, so skip them when you're on a cruise.

Another great way to fight seasickness is to get fresh air, which will help rebalance your senses. You can also try ginger, which many people find effective at reducing seasickness. Some cruise ships even offer ginger candy.

Another way to counteract the symptoms of seasickness is to focus on the horizon. This will help you "see" movement and align your brain with the signals coming from your inner ear. You may also want to get some fresh air by sitting near a large window.

Another way to combat seasickness is to take antihistamines, which are also available on cruise ships. These are usually available over the counter. One of the most common medications for seasickness is scopolamine, which comes in the form of skin patches and tablets. When applied to the skin behind the ear, it works to reduce nausea and vomiting. However, this medication does have side effects and should not be used for long.


Skip foods that have triggered you in the past.

If you are going on a cruise, you may want to consider skipping foods that have triggered you in the past. This is especially important if you are susceptible to motion sickness or seasickness.

There are a few reasons why it is best to avoid these foods. First, they can make your symptoms worse. Second, they can trigger an emotional response that can ruin your vacation. Finally, they can also make you more likely to overeat and gain weight.

So, if you have had problems with certain foods in the past, it is best to avoid them on your cruise. Stick to safe foods that you know won’t trigger your symptoms. This will help you enjoy your vacation and stay healthy while you’re away from home.


But remember you're on vacation.

Keeping your vacation plans flexible is one of the most important things you can do. Instead of rushing around to get to the next attraction, you can take your time, and make sure you're eating the right foods.

It may be tempting to skip meals while you're on vacation, but skipping meals has detrimental effects on your cognition and energy levels. It can also result in dramatic changes in your blood sugar levels.




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