What to Do If You Get Sick on A Cruise

When most people think of taking a dream cruise, the last thing on their mind is catching a cold or coming down with some other illness. Unfortunately, anything can happen while traveling, especially getting sick. Traveling to different environments can take a toll on the body and some people experience decreased immunity while cruising.

Here, we’ll cover several preventative measures cruisegoers can take to avoid sickness, as well as some ways to manage illness and still have an awesome vacation.

Be Prepared

Preparing for any trip is crucial but preparing for a cruise can take a little more planning, especially if you hope to avoid sickness. Considering the average capacity for large ships, it makes sense to be ready for anything should you fall ill while onboard.

While most cruise ships have the ability to treat common illnesses like a cold, some lines aren’t equipped for more serious ailments. Doing pre-cruise research on available medical services that are available at the scheduled stops at will provide insight on what resources may be available in the event of a sudden illness.

Cruise lines are very similar to on-land hotels in that the cleaning processes are in-depth and thorough. While travelers can be confident that their cabin and any common areas are clean, it is still a good idea to disinfect your cabin. Wipe objects like doorknobs, phones, and remotes with disinfectant wipes before settling into your cabin.

Another preventative measure is washing your hands frequently. Hand sanitizers are okay to use in a pinch, but nothing is as effective as cleansing your hands with soap and warm water. It’s best to use hand sanitizers with higher alcohol content as on-the-go alternatives when visiting different area of the ship or during land excursions, particularly when touching things in common areas, such as elevator buttons and ATMs.

Avoid Getting Seasick

Knowing your body is a good way to prevent sickness on the cruise ship. If motion tends to make you queasy or nauseous, pack an antiemetic to keep seasickness under control. If you want to prevent seasickness without becoming tired, there are other options like essential oils and even seasickness bands that can provide some relief without hindering your trip.

Getting sufficient rest can also ease the feeling of seasickness. In general, being sleep deprivation is one of the chief causes of seasickness, so it is best to keep that in mind while traveling. As much as one might want to stay up and see everything there is to see, it is best to listen to your body and rest as needed.

What you eat during your cruise is also important when it comes to preventing seasickness. Try to eat light snacks that aren’t too high in fat or spice as an alternative to eating a big meal. Keeping up with snacking during the first hours of the cruise can help keep your stomach calm and reduce the chance of sensitivity to motion.

Seek Medical Attention Onboard

Cruise lines employ medical professionals to be available should anyone become ill or be injured on board. Every ship is different, but the number of medical personnel available typically correlates with the size of the ship. 

Most onboard medical services are not meant to handle for life-threatening illnesses, but there are options should a serious medical event occur. If a traveler is seriously injured or in medical distress, most ships have access to specialized assistance, such as medical helicopters, for quick treatment.

Additionally, onboard mini-hospitals come equipped with basic tools that can help stabilize a patient until they can obtain proper treatment. Since onboard medical staff is readily available, serious medical events will receive an immediate response.

If a traveler has an illness that could put other passengers at risk, that patient may need to be removed from the ship. Unfortunately, any missed portions of the cruise will usually not be refunded and the patient will be responsible for associated medical bills as well. 

Know before You Go

Although we can’t control when or if we become ill, it is best to take precautions and prepare just in case you do. Knowing that medical help is available can give you peace of mind in the event that something serious does happen.

Doing your research on how to handle illness while on a cruise will be your best bet. If you have medical concerns or need to ask specific questions about the medical services available onboard, always consult with a professional cruise planner who can help answer your questions and plan a happy and healthy trip.