Cruise passengers warned of expensive on board medical treatment

Updated: 

Cruise passengers warned of expensive on board medical treatment


Cruise holiday passengers who are taken ill on board ships are being hit by expensive medical bills, a new report has revealed.

Holidaymakers used to getting free NHS treatment at home are complaining of the sky-high medical costs that are charged at private healthcare rates, according to a Which? Travel investigation.

The report, published by the Daily Mail, found that the average medical bill is £233, while some passengers have paid £500 or more and one holidaymaker was even charged £6,500 for treatment.

One in five of 1,368 Which? subscribers who have been on a cruise ship said they had visited a doctor on board.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Which? asked some of the UK's biggest cruise liners for their basic medical costs but most lines, including Cunard, Fred Olsen, Princess Cruises and P&O, declined.

Travel medicine expert Dr Richard Dawood told the newspaper: "Many of the bigger cruise lines are US-owned and land-based care in the US, even for minor problems, can be very expensive and considerably more costly than the average UK passenger would ever expect."

With cruise holidays attracting older travellers, often with existing medical conditions, cruise lines ensure they have state-of-the-art medical facilities on board, Dr Dawood adds.

Which? Travel said that one passenger who forgot enough blood pressure pills on a P&O Cruise had to pay £154 for them.

Another was charged £2,500 after being admitted to the medical centre with pneumonia.

In many cases, although insurance policies cover medical costs passengers have to pay the excess, which can be hundreds of pounds if treatment costs are over £2,000.

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