Before your journey
You may also find that some ships conduct pre-embarkation medical screening to identify ill passengers before boarding. Prior to your journey, it is advised that you check relevant websites for any outbreaks or travel/health notices.
Although most cruise ship passengers are from countries with routine vaccination programs, many crew members originate from developing countries with low immunisation rates, making the chances of catching measles or rubella, for example, higher than usual. Therefore, it’s important you make sure your medical vaccinations are up to date before travelling.
It is advised if you require special medical needs, such as wheelchairs, oxygen tanks or dialysis, that you should inform your cruise line provider before travelling. You should also carry a written summary of essential health information that would help the medical professionals during a medical emergency.
All prospective cruise passengers should consider purchasing additional insurance to cover any medical or health services in additional countries.
During your journey
While on board, regularly wash your hands, especially before and after meals, as well as when using the communal toilets. If you become ill during the voyage, you should seek the relevant treatment in the ship’s medical centre.
In spite of modern remedies, seasickness is a common complaint. Additionally, the stresses of cruise ship travel – varying weather and environmental conditions, as well as unaccustomed changes in diet and physical activity – can result in illness or injury, so monitor changes in yours and any members of your party’s behaviour. Foreign travel also tends to increase the likelihood of risk-taking behaviours, such as alcohol abuse, drug use and unsafe sex, so make sure you don’t go overboard as you don’t want to spend your whole holiday stuck in the cabin.