What if I get sick or hurt on a cruise? Here’s what to know

  • Cruise ships can treat a wide range of illnesses and injuries on board.
  • Some onboard medical facilities look like urgent care centers, while others are more like doctor’s offices.
  • Health insurance often does not cover medical care on cruises, but travel insurance might.

“Safety in Travel” is a six-part series focusing on the travel safety tools available in different industries, how they can affect the overall experience, and how travelers can make use of them. If you’d like to contribute to our future reporting and share your experience as a source, you can click here to fill out this quick form.

When Jennifer Lautenschlager woke up with sniffles and a headache last month, she canceled her plans and went to see the doctor. The nurse took her temperature – she had about a 102-degree fever – and ran some tests, and the doctor examined her, before sending her on her way with several prescriptions.

It was a mostly normal sick visit, except the 51-year-old software engineer was on a cruise ship along the coast of Mexico.