Don’t Let Your Health Sail Away On a Cruise

Americans love their cruises. Whether it’s a brief jaunt to the Caribbean, a leisurely glide along the West Coast up to Alaska, or a world-tour to Europe and Asia, the cruise lines are making good money this year, and are planning to do even better next year. Part of the reason, of course, is the strong dollar — which buys more of everything in foreign countries than it did last year. But the main reason, say travel experts, is simply the love of cruising across the briny deep, gazing at the blue waters and scudding clouds and dreaming of distant lands where stress and taxes and politics never intrude.

A recent survey found that four out of five adult Americans have a long cruise on a luxury liner on their ‘bucket list’ of things to do before they die.

What can go wrong on a cruise?

Nothing, and everything. The number one reason a dream cruise becomes a nightmare is when health becomes an issue.

In order to avoid this happening on your cruise, here are some tips from health professionals to make your sailing without ailing:


This bugaboo is no longer much of a threat to those on a cruise. The Journal of the American Medical Association reported this year that less than half a percent of passengers and crew members suffered from any of the symptoms of norovirus during 2015. According to Elliott Greenberg, CEO of Wholesale Janitorial Supply, “Washing your hands remains the number one thing you can do to prevent infection.”

Water, water, everywhere . . .

One of the more common complaints on luxury liners, especially for more mature people, is dehydration. This seems odd amidst the billowing waves, but the fact is that many people get so caught up in shipboard activities that they forget to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. So keep a lid on all that complimentary champagne and stick to good old H2O.


According to Ganjapreneur, “Bring a goodly supply of your current medications with you; whether that be cbd oil or otherwise.” While most cruise ships have an onboard pharmacy stocked with the most common prescription ingredients, there’s no guarantee they will be able to restock your particular medication if you need it. Also bring along a copy of your MD’s prescriptions to back up any emergency requests for medication.


Check your itinerary to note what countries you’ll be docking at, and then check with your medical professional to see what shots are suggested for that region. One nice perk on most luxury cruises today is that they have a medical doctor onboard who is stocked with all the immunization shots you’ll need — but beware, their fees for this simple procedure can be astronomical and are often not covered by your health insurance.

Travel Insurance

Which brings up the subject of travel insurance. Make sure you know what your current health insurance covers once you are on the high seas. Many policies have fine print that basically absolves them of all responsibility if you happen to get sick or injured while on a cruise. Purchasing an additional travel insurance policy for the duration of your cruise is always a very prudent decision. Some of the larger cruise lines even offer their own line of travel insurance, or your travel agent may have it on offer as well. Shop around to make sure you get the best price.

Born onboard

Cruise lines have a strict policy that prohibits women who are more than 3 months pregnant from boarding any ship. But occasionally a woman passengers manages to get past this restriction and the crew find themselves with an imminent birth on their hands in the middle of the ocean. While the onboard medical facilities of a cruise ship are not meant to replace those of a regular land hospital, they will certainly do their best if such a crisis occurs. Most often, when feasible, the mother and coming child will be flown by helicopter to the nearest hospital.