Saturday, March 17, 2018

Cruise Ship Onboard Medical Center

“Each patient carries his own doctor inside him.” 
― Norman Cousins, Anatomy of an Illness

Cruise ships have medical centers for urgent and not-so-urgent needs. The number of staff depends on the number of passengers and crew, with a larger ship having multiple doctors and nurses. The medical center typically has office hours with access to emergency services outside the scheduled hours. Services range from dispersing medications to cleaning wounds to running blood tests to taking x-rays. There may also be an intensive care room as well as a space to conduct surgery. (Performing surgery on a moving ship is not ideal so if it can be delayed it will.)

Medical treatment is not free. It will be billed to your stateroom account and you will be responsible for the payment and claim submission to your insurance company. Shipboard doctors are usually general practitioners so you may be referred to a specialist in an upcoming port for further consultation. Off-ship services aren’t billed to the shipboard account but are paid in cash up front to the onshore provider.

There is no guarantee your health insurance policy will cover the cost, but purchased travel insurance may be able to offset the expense of medical visits. It only takes one incident to realize the additional few dollars for insurance on a 10-night cruise is well worth the peace of mind to be had when sitting in an orthopedic surgeon’s office in Aruba instead of on the beach.
Not a beach.