Dialysis while cruising

Keith has heard of cruises that offer dialysis sessions and would like to know more about what’s on offer and whether Medicare will cover the cost.

Q. Keith

I have heard of cruises where you can have dialysis of the kidneys done while onboard. Do you know of such a cruise? I need to have dialysis three times a week and this greatly reduces my options when choosing a holiday.

Is it expensive, and if the cruise were in Australian/New Zealand waters, would Medicare cover the cost of dialysis?

Have any other YourLifeChoices members been on such a cruise? I’d be keen to hear their experiences.

A. There’s good news and bad news. Yes there are companies and cruise lines that offer a dialysis service at sea; however, as a sailing ship is deemed to be in international waters, the cost won’t be covered by Medicare. Some private health insurers may cover a portion of the cost, but you would need to confirm this before booking.

Dialysis at Sea is one company through which you can book a cruise with Holland America Line, Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean International. You can find out more by visiting Dialysisatsea.com

Another similar company is Dialysis While Cruising which deals with trips operated by Gérard Pons Voyages and MSC Cruises. You can find out more by visiting Dialysiswhilecruising.com 

The cost will depend on the cruise selected, and the duration and the level of care you require while onboard. As a guide, a private dialysis session in Australia can cost up to $900.

Of course, you can contact a cruising travel agent in Australia who should be able to advise of any other cruise lines offering this service and whether you can book direct without going through a specialist company.


Written by Debbie McTaggart

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