Staying healthy at sea

Cruise expert Jo Hall shares a few tips to ensure you stay healthy on the high seas.

Staying healthy at sea

A high seas holiday shouldn’t pose too many health risks beyond seasickness if you’re prone. If you’re planning to cruise for more than a few days, or travelling to a distant country or somewhere remote, however, there are several things to consider to ensure you have a happy and healthy holiday.

1. Existing health problems

If you have an ongoing health problem, choose a ship with a doctor on board, and avoid cruises to remote places, or itineraries with many sea days. Also get a full health check before you travel, and if you have special dietary needs, check with the cruise line before booking, although large ships generally cater for common diets such as low salt or low cholesterol.

2. Medications

Carry enough supplies of any medications you take regularly for your trip, plus a little more in case of any delays, also pack prescriptions for anything vital, in case your supplies are lost or destroyed. A basic medical kit containing aspirin or paracetamol, band aids and other over-the-counter medications, may also save you a trip to the ship’s doctor. If you need oxygen, most cruise lines can usually provide tanks if you pre-order.

3. Vaccinations

If you haven’t been overseas for a while, check up on the status of your childhood vaccinations including tetanus. If your cruise is spending extended time in a less developed country and you’re eating ashore a lot, consider having a hepatitis A shot. The risk of malaria is very low on a cruise, however, if travelling through at-risk areas take insect repellant in case its not available on the ship, and be prepared to use it and cover up for protection.


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    To make a comment, please register or login
    27th Sep 2014
    (1) Carry Anchor Raspberry Cordial. It can be obtained in a tube from travel supply shops. Treat any water by making up cordial the night before you are going to use it. (2) Beware ice in drinks. (3) Use only boiled water (carry a small travel immersion heater).(4) do not believe that all bottled water or drinks are safe (sometimes local refill used bottles with their local products). (5) Keep in mind that Cholera and other nasty diseases are indemic in many countries. (6) Check health and safety warnings on the Australian Government website before you travel.(7) Check out "reviews" for the ship or company you are considering travelling with.
    14th Oct 2014
    And most of all why not have Australian Health Authorities do an inspection of all cruise ships moving in and out of Australia. Swabs could be taken, air conditioning could be investigated and on board operations of hand and other treatments enforced. This way a fair chance that Norovirus and pneumonia type problems may be reduced if not eliminated. I have been on cruise ships where hand cleansing is not required until the ship is infected and people confined to cabins. I was this year on a cruise to the tropics where the airconditioning was turned off at 10-00pm and untreated air pumped through the system until 7-00am. This ship was run down lifts did not work and other problems were obvious. No wonder it sat in dry dock for some time and cruises were cancelled. Yet when I complained I was shrugged off as just another complainer. Health Authorities must become involved to ensure that overseas diseases are not imported through this back door.
    14th Oct 2014
    I would like to know if you were referring to the Sea Princess, for us while we were onboard, cleanliness was paramount, in fact, some passengers were stopped at the dining room entrance and asked to cleanse their hands before entering and nobody complained to my knowledge.

    Cleanliness should be a personal regime, wash ones hands before touching food, after visiting a toilet, after handling money; in fact, I wash my hands before I touch food if I've been on my computer, and that gets cleaned often, too. If we are out, we always carry hand steriliser liquid to keep our hands sterile, and, for the record, none of us have ever come down with anything we don't want!

    If we listen to what happens through lack of hygiene, then we should ask, what didn't we do right?

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