Choosing to travel by sea is not always straight forward – some ships don’t have the necessary access for wheelchairs and others may have to limit the number of passengers needing individual assistance in order to comply with safety regulations.
However, operators of ships and ports have to provide clear information for would-be passengers about their disabled access and provision, including procedures for carrying disabled passengers, clear information about equipment that cannot be brought on board (for instance, but not necessarily, oxygen cylinders) and any other restrictions.
Always check details with your travel agent or operator before travelling by sea.
The supply of medicines on board is limited and you should take all your child’s regular medications with you to cover the duration of the trip, plus extra just in case the ship gets delayed. It’s also useful to bring a copy of any current repeat prescriptions as back up.
Although primary and emergency care is provided on board a cruise ship, there is no fully equipped hospital for ‘inpatient’ care. Typically, there will be a doctor and two nurses who provide walk-in clinic services and out-of-hours emergency care. All medical services on a ship are private and therefore you’ll have to pay to see a doctor or nurse. Any medicines, blood tests, dressings or x-rays will cost extra on top.
Seriously ill or injured passengers are evacuated off the ship either by helicopter or at the next available port – this is worth thinking about when choosing your cruise, in terms of cruise destinations.
Having appropriate travel insurance is really important and should always include repatriation so that your heart child and a carer can be brought home if necessary.