Tips For Avoiding Traveler’s Tummy on Your Disney Cruise

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How to Avoid an Upset Stomach on your Next CruiseYou’re on a different schedule, eating richer (and more) food than usual — it’s going to hit you sooner or later. I’ll call it “traveler’s tummy.” It can take the form of bloating, upset stomach, or just feeling queasy. You may not be able to avoid it entirely, but there are definitely some things you can do to head it off. Following these tips can make a big difference in your enjoyment during your Disney cruise.

The first thing to know is that there’s a difference between garden variety upset stomach and genuine gastric distress, which could be a sign of a virus. If your symptoms are severe, do yourself, the crew, and your fellow passengers a solid and check in with the ship’s medical staff. Yes, they take these things very seriously. And, yes, there’s a high likelihood you’ll be quarantined, but that’s for another article.

Tips for Avoiding or Getting Over an Upset Stomach on your Disney Cruise

1) Make good decisions your first day aboard. If you traveled from home the same day you boarded the ship, chances are you got up several hours before normal, packed yourself onto a plane or into a car, maybe ate something healthy, but probably didn’t, and headed to the cruise terminal. What are you going to do first? Head to the buffet, of course! It’s a cruise, and you want to start off with a bang. And that’s great. But maybe reconsider that second slice of prime rib or plate of crab legs. It’s a cruise and there’s not going to be a shortage of food. Try some fruit, and rehydrate after your morning of travel.

Salads are readily available on the DCL buffets. Photo - Laurel Stewart
Salads are readily available on the DCL buffets. Photo – Laurel Stewart

2) Stay hydrated! I like to bring a water bottle with me and fill it every time I pass a beverage station (which is on the pool deck, and really only convenient to, well, the pools). Fill it at night and keep it in your cabin’s beverage chiller for morning or any time.

3) If you have a coffee or three as soon as you wake up every morning, try to do the same onboard. If making your way to breakfast or the beverages stations isn’t in the cards for you as early as you need, order coffee from room service. If you’re not into the taste of the ship’s free coffee, there are specialty coffees available for a charge or take the time to start a hot tea habit.

All the DCL ships have a walking track on Deck 4. Photo - Laurel Stewart
All the DCL ships have a walking track on Deck 4. Photo – Laurel Stewart

4) Take a walk. Stretch your legs on the outside decks and enjoy the sea air. It may be just what you need.

5) Pack an antacid. Sometimes a cure works better than prevention.

6) Lay off the sodas. I know, they’re “free.” “Free” with cruise fare, that is. Bubbly drinks put air in your stomach, and anyone who’s ever fed a baby knows that’s not a good thing. Water is good. Add some lemon if the taste bothers you.

7) You don’t have to eat everything on your plate. This is super tough for anyone who has or had parents or grandparents who went through the Depression, even when you’re not on a cruise. But, remember, you can always find more food if you’re still hungry. You can also skip dessert, get two appetizers instead of an entree, or order from the kids’ menu. It’s up to you, not your tablemates, and not your servers, what you eat. See also, “you don’t have to eat every meal in the dining rooms.”

8) Pack some loose fitting clothes. Be sure to pack at least one dinner appropriate outfit that you know will fit no matter what’s going on in your gut. Maybe it’s a kaftan, a maxi-dress, or palazzo pants with a draw-string waist. Guys, you’re on your own here – but try to leave a few holes to spare on your belts and you should be OK.

9) Pack Spanx (or your choice of off-brand minimizing underwear – I like the ones at Target!). Sure, you’re going to regret it, but if you must wear that one cocktail dress to Palo for dinner and there’s 1 or 2 inches between you and getting it to zip, a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do. Eat your dinner, and change into your looser clothes as soon as you can afterward.

10) WASH YOUR HANDS. The disinfecting wipes handed out every time you come within 20 feet of food are only a start. The very best way to avoid major and minor bugs is to wash your hands at every opportunity.

So that’s what I have. How about you? Don’t tell me I’m the only traveler who has learned these tricks the hard way. Share your best advice in the comments.

And don’t be this guy:

Like our frank advice about the Disney Cruise Line? You’ll love The Unofficial Guide to the Disney Cruise Line or our Disney Cruise Line subscription.

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Laurel Stewart

Laurel is a former software engineer and current student. She likes pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and Big Thunder Mountain.

11 thoughts on “Tips For Avoiding Traveler’s Tummy on Your Disney Cruise

  • May 27, 2015 at 11:18 am

    By our 3rd cruise we’ve learned that it’s best if we don’t go to the buffet at all as soon as we board. We head to the counter service area by the pool and that significantly reduces how much food we eat. Plus it is less congested and a great way to just eat and relax while watching the water.

    • May 27, 2015 at 8:33 pm

      Agree. The buffet lunch first is the least relaxing thing ever.

  • May 27, 2015 at 11:19 am

    11) Start food training several weeks before your cruise. I find that the Couch to 5K Plan can easily be adapted for this purpose. For example, enjoy one extra dessert during week one. During week two, enjoy two extra desserts and one extra snack. By the time your cruise rolls around, you’ll be good to go! 🙂

    • May 27, 2015 at 8:32 pm

      LOL. I love it. Face the challenge head on.

  • May 27, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    Ginger Candy…it’s good to take until you get your sea-legs. (and stomach).

    Also…at the Main Dining Room. Don’t feel you must have a main course. You can order multiple appetizers. In fact on some menus the making a meal out of appetizers is better than the main dish. You like the shrimp cocktail—(which is usually 3 shrimp)..get 2 or more. Same for the soup and salad courses.

    • May 27, 2015 at 8:34 pm

      Both good tips!

  • May 28, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    Laurel, Thank you so much for these insightful articles. I have my first Disney Cruise coming up next year, but it’s never too early to start getting information. And these tips will be very useful!

    • May 28, 2015 at 2:59 pm

      Congratulations on booking your first Disney cruise! I hope you have a great time!

  • May 29, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Great article Laurel! One tip I use every trip, either DC or WDW (or both :D) I always pack and take “Apple Cider Vinegar” pills every day. It has saved me on numerous occasions from complete tummy take down! ACV pills help break down any food that your tummy can’t handle elegantly on it’s own. Plus my body likes them so much better than ant-acids.

    • May 29, 2015 at 12:32 pm

      Good one. Did you know that studies show that 4 out of 5 Liners are smarter than your average traveler? Fact.
      I won’t say who the 5th Liner is. LOL.

  • May 29, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    LOL 🙂


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