Cruise ship holidays
A wide range of holiday options now days may involve a cruise on a ship or boat of some sort. The smaller boats, often under sail power allow a very intimate exploration of the coast and area in which they operate, while the large cruise liners can travel the world. In general, the larger the ship, the more resources are available.
Many of the large international ships take their own medical staff, with extensive pharmacy and occasionally some procedural ability. It is important to remember that travel insurance is still important, and evacuation from a ship or foreign port, can cost the uninsured traveller tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The following gives some information about medical aspects of cruises.
Before you go
Before you go:
- Have a medical and dental check-up. Pre-existing medical conditions should be stabile and optimised before travel.
- Carry your medications in original containers, with doctors’ letter.
- Visit your Travel Doctor-TMVC clinic for advice about destination specific vaccinations
- If the cruise is on a smaller boat, especially if you have to do some of the sailing, consider getting fit and training beforehand.
Some conditions are specific to cruise boat travel:
- Sea-sickness is common, and medical treatment is available. (At least there’s no jetlag!)
- Influenza and respiratory infections spread around ships very quickly with very high attack rates.
- Legionnaire’s Disease is an occasional risk.
- Gastroenteritis outbreaks occur from time to time, and while viral and usually inconvenient only, they can be dramatic and distressing.
- Sexually transmitted diseases can be spread in some circumstances.
- Other medical problems are related to the tropics and the places visited:
- Any infectious disease risk related to the destination or transit locations. In general malaria is lower risk, or even nil. (The bigger the ship, the more likely that passengers spend no nights off the ship having malaria exposure. Small boats where passengers may spend evenings ashore eating etc, may have significant risk.)
- Claustrophobia is unusual
- Vaccinations include update routine vaccines, including annual influenza vaccine. Others may be
- Carry routine medications in original containers
- For ships without medical facilities, carry a Travel Doctor-TMVC medical kit
- Travel Insurance
While you are away:
- Wash hands frequently, especially before eating
- Follow any advised precautions for activities ashore.
- Practice safe sex
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