The Exciting Southern Ocean and 5 Tips for Rough Weather

southern ocean

Our first portion of the World Cruise onboard Sea Princess took us from Sydney to to Melbourne and then across the Australian Bight to Adelaide. All things considered the sea was pretty calm and the weather fairly decent for the beginning of winter.

Right now we are on our way to Fremantle sailing in the Southern Ocean at lattitudes known as the Roaring Forties, so named for the strong winds and rough seas that are often found in these waters.

Even for a luxury cruising vessel such as the Sea Princess this stretch of ocean remains challenging even for the most experienced of Captains.

Meeting the Ship’s Captain

We were privileged to be invited to meet our Captain, Paulo Ravera on the bridge of the Sea Princess. The bridge is an impressive structure at the front of the ship and spans the whole width. The view out onto the oncoming ocean is breathtaking.

southern ocean

A large part of our discussion with the Captain focussed on his number one priority; the safety of his passengers, his crew and his ship. He told us all about the continuous monitoring of weather conditions, and how he receives weather data from various institutions around the globe to constantly build up more refined forecasts of the weather ahead.

He said that due to the location of two high pressure systems, one sitting over Australia and one off the West Coast, he was expecting stormy weather ahead.

It was reassuring to know how much focus and priority is placed on assuring the safety of everyone on board and therefore it wasn’t a surprise on our return from the shore excursion to the Barossa Valley to hear the Captain address the ship over the loudspeaker to say that we would be altering our itinerary to avoid the worst of the weather. This meant we would make an unplanned stop to anchor in safe waters near the small south west Australian town of Esperance to allow the storm to pass.

southern ocean

You’re in safe hands with Paulo who heads up a crew of 960 on the Sea Princess. His sea career started in the early 80’s in the Italian Navy and in 1990 he served on his first passenger ship before working with Renaissance Cruises, Silversea Cruises and Princess Cruises who he joined in 2003.

On the bridge he is calm, collected and considered, and in between a multitude of other tasks as well as keeping an ever watchful eye on the weather fluctuations he was happy to chat to us.

Strange sightings?

Have you ever seen anything really unusual, incredible or spooky from the bridge? I asked Paulo.

“You mean like the Flying Dutchman?” he laughed. “No! Although sailors are renowned for being superstitious I believe there is a scientific reason for most things that happen at sea. However, I have witnessed incredible natural beauty, from amazing sunsets to the wonders of the Northern Lights.

Although sea sickness is not a common occurrence on cruise lines because the ships have stabilisers to minimise the effects of the movement in the swells and their speed through swells is always monitored, there are certain things you should be aware of during inclement weather.

So in the light of the weather conditions ahead we were keen to learn about ways to help prevent Mal de Mer, just in case, and had the chance to chat to Angus Wilkinson, the Customer Services Director (below) who provided us with 5 helpful tips for rough weather.

southern ocean

5 Tips for rough weather

  1. Be cognisant of warnings. Observe signage – if the decks are closed or cordoned off with ropes, don’t go out on them.
  2. If you’re using the stairs, make use of the hand rails.
  3. For Mal de Mer (motion sickness) try holistic ginger tablets or arm bands with pressure points. Both are natural remedies.
  4. Apples and dry crackers can also help if you are feeling queasy.
  5. Best place to be when the sea is rough? Lower mid ship – such as The Atrium on Deck 5 on Sea Princess.

Days at Sea

We’re finding days at sea just as much fun as days in port as there is so so so much to do. Here’s just a sample of the things we’ve been involved in since we boarded 6 days ago.

southern ocean

Pop Choir, table tennis, spinning class, well-being lecture, digital photography class, how to use your Go-Pro, formal dinner and champagne waterfall, 3 cabaret shows, 3 cocktail soirees, a soak in the hot tub under the stars and of course getting to meet lots of our lovely fellow shipmates and share stories.

For more stories from the World Cruise you might like …

Trip of a Lifetime, Two Days to Go, A Day in the Barossa Valley, What to do in Melbourne for a DayΒ or more info on cruises …Β Princess Cruises Here.

Behind the Scenes Tours

Tip: If you’d like to do a behind the scenes tour of the ship and see the Bridge among other restricted places, consider the “Ultimate Ship’s Tour” which can be booked for a nominal sum – but do get in quick because it’s quite exclusive and limited to just 12 people.

I’m a guest of Princess Cruises. All opinions are my own.

Have you any great tips for motion sickness at sea?


  1. Fabulous Jo, it’s great to see all the ins and outs of a cruise x

    • Thanks Rae (and apologies if I don’t get back to your blog as often as I’d like. Obviously internet on board is not as fast or reliable as I’m used to)

    • Hi Rae, thanks so much. And sorry I’m not getting back to your blog as often as I’d like. Internet on board is a little challenging for the amount of content I need to be doing.

  2. On both of my cruises to date I have not been sea sick even though it was a bit rough on a couple of occasions. I do take medication as soon as I find out it there is going to be a swell. it must have been a thrill to meet the captain.

  3. g. cheater says:

    what a lot of interesting things there are to keep you busy, the photography class and spinning would be my choices Fancy meeting the captain most people have the ambition to sit at the captains table, Mary will be very jealous it is her high light of the trip is to meet the captain.

  4. Oh a Pop Choir! That sounds fun, as do days at sea and also chatting to the captain. How wise to anchor near Esperance, I hear it’s lovely from a friend who lives there. Oh I do envy you being out on the ocean blue, feeling a bit landlocked here today.

    • Yes, Esperance is lovely Seanna, we’ve visited twice. The beaches are amazing. Being on the ocean wave is amazing and we are loving it. I’m sorry you feel a bit landlocked today. Hope you can get out on the ocean soon πŸ™‚

  5. Fun following along on your adventure. We’ve enjoyed our trips to the bridge and always find it so interesting to see how computerized the bridge is.

  6. As a life long sufferer from seasickness I can recommend the ginger tablets. I’ve also found it’s best to have an inside cabin – that way you can’t see the waves tossing about outside!

  7. I love reading your report on how your cruise is going. I’ve only been on a one-week Caribbean cruise so it doesn’t even compare. You certainly are keeping busy! Those activities sound like a lot of fun and not the typical activities one hears about on a cruise.

  8. Good tips for rough seas. Luckily neither of us have ever had a problem with motion sickness. Good thing since we are in motion almost all of the time.

  9. I’ve only been on one cruise, in the Caribbean, so never had to deal with rough seas, and it looks like you made out okay judging by that sunset! Cool hanging with the Captain, too!

    • Yes, rough seas wasn’t on my list of ideas for cruising Jane, but the big ship copes well. Sunsets and sunrises are pretty amazing. It was great to meet the Captain, he’s so interesting.

  10. I’d rather avoid the Roaring Forties although it sounds like a stunning cruise! Enjoy your time and keep up posting your adventures. We will be following from the safe haven.

    • Hello Grey World Nomads, yes the Roaring Forties were interesting. Thankfully the sea has calmed now we’re in the UAE. Hope you keep following. We’re in Oman today πŸ™‚

  11. Just wondering if you received much tv coverage of the Olympics, and from which channel; an Aussie channel or overseas connection??

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