Q – (5.14.24) I won’t bore you with my medical history. I am going to be 79 and I have type-2 Diabetes along with several other maladies – some related, some not. We are going to be going on a 54-day sailing on Seabourn in Asia that combines several shorter sailings. Can you confirm that should my wife or I need the on-board doc’s services they are included in the fare. I seem to have read that on so-called Grand Voyages” and the Around-the-World’s” the physician’s services are all included. Can you verify? 

A  –  No verification here. This must be explored with your travel advisor and Seabourn management. Here is what you need to know and what you need to do:

  • Have your physician prepare a detailed list of your current medical concerns and a full list of your medications. Have your travel advisor submit that list to Seabourn or do it directly for reasons of privacy. The on-board physician will need your medical summary information.
  • Your assumption was, at one time, correct. But cruise lines have been getting away from unrestricted commitments to include medical services on any length of voyage. There are just too many insurance issues. It is more likely that your initial consultation will be included in your fare but additional services will not be complimentary. You need to get this policy in writing. You need to know exactly what will be included in onboard medical services and what won’t be. Your advisor can assist with this.
  • We want you to understand that the ship’s onboard physician does not work for Seabourn. They are independent contractors. Seabourn insurance will not, generally, cover interactions with the shipboard physician. 
  • You need to investigate the potential of a huge medical bill should something unexpected happen. Will Medicare or your private insurance cover you? To what extent? Have you taken out medical insurance? What are its provisions? Have you taken our advice to never take out travel insurance unless it specificifically provides at least $500,000 in medical evacuation coverage?

Going on a cruise with Diabetes is not unusual. But going away, anywhere, out-of-country for two months and traveling to areas where the local hospital situation may not be up to US standards, is something we would urge you to consider carefully. Your medical; health issues and paperwork must be in order and you need to know who to notify if you encounter unexpected issues. Your Advisor should be discussing all of this with you in some detail. As you have not mentioned that a professional advisor is involved, the possibility exists that you are not using one or that you are making your arrangements online or directly with the cruise line. Don’t.

You are going to be paying many thousands of dollars in travel agent’s services even if you don’t use an agent. It makes sense to share your concerns with a specialist who will adviuse you on the above. In your case, you might want to contact someone locally so you can sit down face-to-face to discuss these medical concerns in person.

Wishing you a smooth, healthy 54 Days seeing some of this planet of ours.