Claustrophobia or Cabin Fever on a Cruise

Claustrophobia or cabin fever is a very valid concern on a cruise for many cruisers. Here are some tips and advice.

seasickness on a cruise
Medical expert and travel enthusiast Joe Springfield explains some simple facts about claustrophobia and cabin fever.

What IS cabin fever? Well, let's find out.

Claustrophobia and Cabin Fever

Many of us experience anxiety in various forms. Fear of flying, fear of water, fear of leaving your home, fear of visiting in-laws...and claustrophobia is a very real problem for a good number of people.

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 most pleasant experience – it certainly has been for me – but your wife's need for personal space may not be the same as my own. Your concern is valid.

The key is to know your own limitations – as I am constantly fond of saying – be those physical or mental, and we are all somewhat in touch with our limitations regarding space around us. In recognizing your wife's anxiety, there are some things you do to avoid problems.

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

Secondly, I would suggest 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 the cabin is small, limit time spent there to sleeping.

If you have a choice of tables in the restaurant or dining room, pick one in the centre 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 your wife.

Until next time, enjoy the view on that outside deck...and remember: slow, deep breaths!

Please note that the information on these pages is provided for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

 Cruise Advice - Tips

• Running on a Cruise

• Advice for an Alaska cruise
• Avoiding putting on weight
• Bringing Alcohol Onboard
• Cabin Fever
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• Choosing a Cabin
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• Packing for a Cruise
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• Sun and the Topics
• Swine Flu
• Table Assignments
• Taking Alaska photos
• The real cost of cruises
• Tipping on Cruises

 Ship's Doctor

Medical expert and travel enthusiast Joe Springfield offers some tips and advice about typical travel concerns.

• cabin fever
• cold climates
• food poisoning
• jet lag
• norwalk virus
• seasickness
• tropical concerns

For more advice on all sorts of topics, take a look at the Prow's Edge Cruise Forums and Cruise Message Boards and see what fellow passengers have to say about cruises.

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