Medical Preparedness on a Cruise

Being medically safe on your journeys, or at least making sure that you are as safe as possible, is all about “preparing” and being adequately informed about the destinations, the cruise ship and your medical insurance coverage.

seasickness on a cruise

Cruise Medical Insurance
Medical care abroad can be horrendously expensive. So can trying to get back home in the case of an emergency. The only way to cover this is by making sure you have adequate insurance.

1: Speak to your existing medical insurance company or state run care organisation to find out to what extent you are covered for medical care while travelling abroad.
2: If you are covered, find out to what extent the coverage will take care of your needs. For example: is medical evacuation covered.
3: If you are not covered, which is usually the case, make sure you arrange adequate additional insurance before you leave.

Cruise Ship Medical Facilities
You need to realise, before taking a cruise, that it is YOUR responsibility to know about the medical facilities and level of care onboard your cruise ship.

In fact, before you book your cruise and hand over that deposit, you should find out about the medical status of the ship and its crew and staff you’re about to entrust your life to.

Here are a few logical questions you might want to ask about the medical care on board.

1: What medical facilities are provided on board the cruise ship?
2: What are the operating hours of the medical facilities?
3: How many beds does the ship’s hospital have?
4: What contingency plans are in place for mass illnesses like the Norwalk virus?
5: What is the ratio of medical staff to passengers.
6: In which country is the doctor licensed?
7: Does the doctor speak English?

These questions may seem a little obvious, but you may be surprised at the answers. You need to know how swiftly you can expect to receive medical attention should you need it. You need to know that there is space for you when you are not the only one requiring attention, and most importantly, you need to know that can communicate with the doctor and his staff in your own native language.

Destination Health Issues
As the cruise industry grows, so do the number of truly exotic ports you may potentially be visiting. Along with those palm trees, and jungles, temples and cheap leather goods, come a bevy of diseases and health issues that you need to be aware of.

1: Check out for any government health warnings about the destinations you may be thinking of visiting during your cruise. If you discover something unpleasant, you may just wish to stay on board at that particular destination.
2: Find out about specific destination health issues that you will need to vaccinate against. Your own doctor should be able to advise you on this. But make sure you make these enquiries a long time before you leave. Some vaccinations need a while before they take effect.

Personal Health Issues
If you have any specific, existing health issues, make sure you travel prepared.

1: Keep a record in your papers of your medical condition, your doctor at home and the medications you require and/or are allergic to.
2: Make sure you have an adequate supply of your medications, ensuring that you add a few more days supply so as to cover the possibility of your cruise ship being delayed or held up.

This may all sound a little overcautious, and a little alarmist. Perhaps. Most of us travel on cruises, and many of us to exotic destinations without anything ever happening.

It is not a question of expecting the worst, but of being prepared for any eventuality.

Find out everything you can - before booking your cruise and make sure you are comfortable with the answers before you confirm your cruise.

 Cruise Advice - Tips

• Running on a Cruise

• Advice for an Alaska cruise
• Avoiding putting on weight
• Bringing Alcohol Onboard
• Cabin Fever
• Child Free Cruises
• Choosing a Cabin
• Cold Climate Cruising
• Cruise Dress Codes
• Cruise Etiquette
• Cruise First Aid
• Cruise High Fashion
• Cruise Ship Entertainment
• Cruise Ship Laundry
• Cruise Ship Libraries
• Cruise Ship Officers
• Cruise Vocabulary
• Dealing with Disabilities
• Disembarking
• Early/Late Seating for Dinner
• Family Cruises
• Food Poisoning
• Healthy Eating
• Healthy Cruising
• Internet on a Cruise Ship
• Jet Lag
• Lifeboats on Cruise Ships
• Maintaining mental health
• Medical Preparedness
• Norovirus/Norwalk
• Packing for a Cruise
• Packing for a Cruise (more)
• Phoning from a Cruise
• Rewards Programs
• Safety at Sea
• Saving Money on a Cruise
• Seasickness
• Shore Excursions
• Smoking on Cruise Ships
• 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 the topic of bringing alcohol on board, take a look at the Prow's Edge Cruise Forums and Cruise Message Boards and see what fellow passengers have to say about bringing alcohol on board and many more topics besides.

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