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The Dorland's Medical Dictionary definition for claustrophobia is “a morbid fear of closed places”, but there are numerous levels of this panic disorder, and different people react in different ways to different situations.

Being aboard a cruise ship on the high seas should be a pleasant experience but the fact of the matter is that there are a number of enclosed spaces on a cruise ship, and this may be a problem for some passengers.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to avoid problems.

Firstly, and most obviously, if you have a choice of ships, pick a bigger one.

Secondly, it is suggested that you avoid booking an inside cabin or stateroom, or a cabin that is smaller than usual. For most, inside accommodation (a cabin or stateroom without a porthole, window or balcony) is not a problem, but for a few people this can lead to what is commonly termed “cabin fever” – a desperate need to get away from the small, enclosed space. If you have no choice in cabin assignment, make sure that the time spent there is limited to sleeping.

There is no need to spend too much time in your stateroom, anyway. There is simply too much to do. In fact, if claustrophobia is a problem, you might want to pick an itinerary with more ports of call giving you the opportunity to be on land and in open spaces for much of the time

If you have a choice of tables in the restaurant or dining room, pick one in the center of the room rather than in a corner, and choose a table for eight rather than for two.

Make use of the open spaces on the ship. Take frequent leisurely walks on the outside decks – there's a wide open ocean to stare at – and if the weather is too rough, keep to the open and spacious activity areas. Time spent there along with being active can help in relaxation.

Relaxing is an important way of dealing with this problem. Some herbal remedies like chamomile tea can be beneficial.

If the trip does seem within your limits but you are concerned, seeing your physician may be an answer. There are many prescription alternatives that will not overly fatigue you.

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