Report From The High Seas: Cruising with IBS

frame #1:   (waiter #1): "Oh no Madame-What is wrong? Oh please can I get you anything?"   (waiter #2): "Wine, Madame?"   (me): No Thank you! I am only eating a little...no wine, please   (dining companion) "Right here!" chomp chew   Unfortunately, most of a cruise social life revolves around eating. The watistaff seemed to take it personally when I didn't eat much. Many jokes have been made about the amount of food on cruise ships - the jokes are funny because they are true. For someone like me who eats next to nothing, and skips meals, a cruise is an exquisite form of torture. The food on the ship could feed a small country...   frame #2:   20 questions would ensue if someone I met found out I had skipped dinner (which I did frequently)...I had to in order to attempt to sit through the shows which were late (for me!) at night   (me thinking): Nothing I can say will make any sense to them.   (Woman): What's the matter are you sick?? WHY did you skip dinner? What about your husband?"   (Man): "Oh My!! You skipped dinner WHY? Why?"   "Where did you eat?" was a familiar refrain that was hard to avoid. Socializing was almost impossible.

Cruising is not my travel mode of choice. All my limitations stand out in stark relief. I felt like the only person who wasn’t able to eat and drink, much less eat normally or overeat like everyone else. I did not go on any excursions in ports because of my fear of discomfort and urgency on the long bus rides. So I missed out on that also. When I could walk around on my own, it was OK. I just yearned to be “normal”, but that was not going to happen. There are lovely moments on a cruise, but I want to explore, in a future posting, the possibility of a cruise with an IBS theme! All with tongue firmly in cheek, but maybe not?

2 thoughts on “Report From The High Seas: Cruising with IBS

  1. My fiance wants to go on a cruise so bad for our honeymoon, but he’s kindly put his wishes aside for me. I told him that I’d love to go as well, but I knew that it would mostly be as you described above. And my anxiety gets out of control when I’m confined to a space, no matter how large. So we’ll have to travel on the ground wherever we decide to go, with the bathrooms carefully mapped out along the way.

    Did they have anything at all you felt comfortable eating?

  2. Rachel,

    First of all, congratulations on your upcoming marriage, and I hope you plan a terrific honeymoon!

    If it’s any comfort to you, I prefer travel on the ground anyway. You don’t get to see the ports in any depth anyway. I was not affected by the confinement to the space of the ship as you describe, but I was conscious of taking so very long in the morning with my “routine”, as the stewards, etc. wait to do your room. I tried to work that out by having them do my room early, before I went to breakfast. But I was affected by mealtime, especially dinner. On this particular ship, the earliest you could have dinner was 6:30. But by the time you ordered, etc., you weren’t eating until 7-7:30. With my eating issues (my sleep is affected every night), the later it gets until I eat, the more anxious I get. As far as choices, yes there were things I could eat. But so many courses offered! And the overabundance of food at every meal caused temptation to eat things I normally would not have. Also, wine and liquor were free-flowing, included in the price,which was also a temptation. I do find, however, that sometimes if I have a glass of wine with dinner, it kind of numbs my symptoms temporarily, so I might be able to relax and enjoy the dinner. But the symptoms come raging back with a vengeance later. Can you tolerate wine at all?

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