Cruising with Busabout, or, How 35 hours on boats actually turned out to be fun

BY ONEIKA RAYMOND

The irony is bittersweet: I love to travel, but I suffer from horrible motion sickness.  Thankfully, I never toss my cookies, but nearly every ride in a moving vehicle has me feeling like I’m going to.  Liebling laughs at me but I never go anywhere without a plastic bag, “just in case” the terrible nausea that grips my stomach makes its way up my throat and out my mouth. I even have a rating system for my transport discomfort: trains are so-so, buses and cars are BAD. But boats? They are TERRIBLE.  For this reason, while I was excited about my Busabout trip, I absolutely dreaded the two 17-hour(!) overnight  ferries I was going to have to survive.  I had visions of myself clinging desperately to the ship’s railing, retching and feeling awful.  But the verdict? Turns out I needn’t have worried at all.  The cruises were fantastic!

Two summers ago, I went on a week-long sailing trip to Croatia with Liebling and some friends. The backdrop was beautiful but the sailing part was treacherous- I spent the first three days laid out like a beached whale on the top deck, willing myself not to throw up. Ever since, I’ve avoided any type of water-bound vehicle like the plague.  When Liebling asked me if I’d be interested in going back to Croatia to sail last month I hastily (but respectfully!) declined.  No way I was getting on a boat! And then Busabout and a skip through the best of Scandinavia and the Baltics came into the picture. While I already had a ridiculously heavy travel schedule planned for the months of July and August, I couldn’t pass the opportunity up.

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If I already felt trickles of trepidation at the bus part of the journey, then icicles of fear pierced my heart when I read that there were ferries, looooong ferries,  to be dealt with. 17 hours on a boat from Riga, Latvia to Stockholm, Sweden, then another 17 hours from Stockholm to Helsinki. Gulp!   Another issue I had with the proposed itinerary was the boredom factor.  While I’ve never been on a cruise, spending that much time on a boat just seemed boring and a huge waste of time to me.

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Boy, was I wrong on both counts. 

First, I didn’t end up feeling sick AT ALL.  The boats we took were so massive that the rocking was barely perceptible.

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Second, I wasn’t bored for one second during the total 35-hour journey.  While I wrote in my Busabout review that I thought we spent too much time getting to destinations and not enough time experiencing them, there were a variety of things happening on the cruises to keep me occupied.  There was a karaoke bar on the ferry from Riga to Stockholm (I indulged, of course!) and a nightclub on the top deck where I danced crazily to the latest chart toppers.

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On the ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki, we were enraptured by a vampy stage performance that looked like something out of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, followed by catchy music from a live band.

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While I still wish we had spent less time on transport in general, 35 hours confined to the high seas actually turned out to be fun!

Have you ever been on a cruise? If so, did you enjoy the experience?

I was a guest of Busabout on their Scandi-Baltic adventure trip, but they didn’t ask me to write a favourable review or shake my groove thang until 3 am at the nightclub on the ferry to Stockholm.

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56 Comments

  • I am glad this last episode on the boat did not make you sick and miserable. I have been on many cruises and only got a little queasy going to Hawaii and once on the ferry to the statue of liberty during a rainy rough weather.
    Try a scopolomine patch if you ever have to be on a small boat that doesn’t have the stabilizers that the cruise ships have. Motion sickness would be awful.

    Reply
  • I was in Alaskan Cruise in June. I really loved the beautiful scenery of Alaska but 8 days was a bit too much for me. Felt kinda boring and yeah I’m prone to motion sickness also

    Reply
    • My mom has been on a few occasions. I have had the time or inclination to go with her though!

      Reply
  • I too steer clear of boats because of motion sickness. I have always said I’ll never do a cruise because of it, even if people say you can’t feel it. I’m convinced I’d be unlucky enough to actually notice! Have you ever tried acupressure bracelets? You can usually buy them from a pharmacy. I once did a tall-ship sailing cruise in the Whitsundays in Australia for 3 days and, despite having prescription meds, I got a bit sick each day…coincidently each time the engine was turned off and we “sailed”. As much as I loved the trip, I had to go sleep it off…I can’t do the “look at the horizon” business. Your ferries sounded awesome though!

    Reply
    • Ugh, I’ve tried to do the “looking at the horizon” thing and it doesn’t work for me either! I feel better closing my eyes!

      Reply
  • I feel your pain with the motion sickness! I get sick on any form of transport and even felt ill during a surf lesson! Glad to hear you enjoyed this trip though:)

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