When many of us plan our cruise, even with the great packing list supplied by CruiseCrazies, there are some of that must think a little deeper. I am referring to those of us that must take certain medical equipment with us on our cruise. These items can be Wheelchairs, Medication that must be refrigerated, Oxygen and CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) breathing machines just to name a few.
A few years ago, my wife had used a CPAP machine. The device is completely mobile so we gave no second thought when bringing it aboard the Carnival Pride as a check-in bag. Because the equipment required the use of distilled water, we had to bring our own with us. We planned on 4 gallons being enough for the 7 day cruise. When we arrived at Port Canaveral, the check in staff stopped us to inspect the device since they had seen it when going through the X-Ray machine. They also closely inspected the 4 gallons of distilled water. They asked if we had a prescription for the device. We explained to them we weren’t aware that a prescription was needed. They retained the device for two days until Carnival received a letter from my wife’s doctor confirming it was a CPAP machine and was required treatment for my wife.
I did some research and all cruise lines have regulations and standards in place for special needs passengers. For example, if you use oxygen, you must bring enough of your own to sustain you for the entire cruise or make accommodations to receive replacement bottles at the ports of call. The oxygen in the ships infirmary is only for emergencies. If you must bring medication with you that must be refrigerated, please be aware that cabins that have mini-refrigerators are NOT sufficient for the storage of your medications. On Carnival, they have special refrigerators that meet the temperature requirements to store your medications but they must be requested and are in limited availability. If you require the use of a wheelchair, ensure that you are booking a cabin that is “Wheelchair Accessible”. NOT all cabins are designed for wheelchairs.
The best advice I could give is if you have a question regarding your medical condition, all your respective Cruise agent or the cruise line directly. We were inconvenienced for a few days. But it’s YOUR cruise, why be inconvenienced at all.
By Tim Hickey, aka Sarge6870