As floating cities of the sea, ships today often include medical centers on the level of mini-hospitals. Medical facilities on cruise ships have in general evolved along with the ships themselves. As you plan your next cruise, make sure you also review what medical assistance is available, as every ship presents a different setting.
Before booking your next cruise, it can be worth your while to get a physical and make sure no hidden health factors are lurking to be later discovered at sea. Heart disease that can manifest as chest pains could lead to an expensive air evacuation, one that your travel insurance might not cover. It can be good to have a basic snapshot of your overall condition before a cruise to head off any potential problems. Remember also that certain private medical insurance plans may be limited in their coverage if you are out of your country of origin.
Along with learning about a ship’s cruise details, you may want to explore what information exists about its specific medical capacity. Some of the larger and more modern ships will have an elaborate setup, such as intensive care units and labs for blood testing. Many ships also offer digital radiology with ship-to-shore consultations, along with the capability of producing a CD-ROM for patients to take with them after the cruise is over for further examination by their personal physician.
In general, most of the major cruise lines have developed their own medical programs that adhere to American College of Emergency Physicians guidelines. You can get a sense of these standards online from the ACEP in its list on its site. You may want to talk to a cruise line representative if there are specific details you need to confirm, such as supplies of onboard medications for emergency use.
As you consider which cruise line to go with, you can tour many ships’ medical facilities online to review in detail what is offered and their capabilities at covering emergencies. Some of the larger cruise lines offer videos on the Internet of their facilities with explanation of services available. The more you learn about your medical options before you book your next cruise could be valuable insight to help keep you safe at sea.
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