cruise ship at sea during sunset

Does Cruising = Bruising?

A long-time dream of mine became reality in December 2018, when I embarked on a cruise to celebrate my friend’s 60th birthday. We had a fantastic time! The service and food are incredible. Sunning on the top deck with ocean breezes was my favorite activity. We even rode the ship’s water slide, much to the surprise of the attendant.

Doing my research before the cruise

Going on a cruise with RA and fibromyalgia requires some pre-planning. I spent time on the website discovering what I could and couldn’t take. I packed all my medications, including Tylenol, Percocet, Voltaren gel and prednisone just in case.

We paid extra to load early, and I made sure we got to the buffet before anyone else. We made sure to eat at places where we were served after that. Fortunately, there was hand sanitizer all over the ship.

How my body felt and how I tried to manage

The amount of walking and stairs surprised me! We elected only one extra activity, snorkeling. My endurance in the water has greatly diminished, so I was grateful for the life jacket.

My friend truly does not understand how difficult RA and fibromyalgia are on the body. However, she does like to go to bed early, so that helped a great deal. Although I was sore each day, the sunshine and warmth were healing.

Dealing with the after-effects

We returned on Thursday evening, after an 8-hour drive. By Friday afternoon, my throat was a little sore. On Saturday morning, I felt like the cruise ship had run over me during the night. My doctor’s office has Saturday hours, so in I went.

I had a significant sinus infection and bilateral ear infections. So, I had to stop the Xeljanz and take antibiotics. By Monday, I was improved enough to return to work, although fatigue made a huge impact.

Tips on taking a cruise vacation with RA

So, was it worth it?? Absolutely! What are my recommendations if my RA friends want to cruise?

  1. Travel to the port the day before and get a good night’s sleep.
  2. Pay extra to board early and avoid buffets.
  3. If walking is difficult, get a room with a balcony. You will enjoy it much more than trying to find a quiet spot on the ship. Wheelchairs and porters are available.
  4. Order room service coffee—no extra charge!
  5. Take plenty of extra medications with you.
  6. If you can afford it, order a massage on ship.
  7. An early December cruise is cheaper than January and February, and you miss hurricane season.
  8. Plan recuperation time at the end of your trip.

I was grateful that I had three days to recover. Most of all, choose what’s truly important to you. Happy travels!

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