An investigation by the consumer watchdog found that the cost of medical care aboard cruise ships often comes as a nasty surprise to holidaymakers, as they commonly charge private healthcare rates.
The survey by Which? Travel revealed that one in five of the 1,368 Brits who had been forced to visit the ship's doctor while on a cruise, and the average bill came in at £233.
For 12 of those who had fallen ill while on board, the cost came in at £500 or more, and one was even landed with an eyewatering £6,500 charge.
Worse still, three out of ten passengers who saw the doctor could not claim back the cost on their insurance and were forced to stump up the whole amount themselves, and nearly one in five could only claim part of the bill.
The Which? Travel investigation cited reports from passengers who had been hit with such charges. One holidaymaker was forced to fork out £154 after forgetting to take enough blood pressure pills on her P&O cruise, while another, who was admitted to the ship's medical centre with pneumonia was billed £2,500, only £2,000 of which was covered by her insurance policy.
The report said: "These are not isolated cases. Our members reported huge variations in how much they had to pay on cruise lines."
According to the Daily Mail, five of the biggest cruise lines on the UK market said onboard medical costs were in line with UK private healthcare prices.
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