International Centre for Cruise Research
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Abstract


Brewer, P. A. and Barry, M.  "Survey of Web-based health care information for prospective cruise line passengers," Journal of Travel Medicine, 2002, 9:4, 194-197

Background: To determine the availability of information concerning medical care available onboard the ships of the major cruise lines operating in the North American market. Methods: The Web pages of the 16 members of the International Council of Cruise Lines were explored for the following types of information: ease of access of medical information, qualifications of medical personnel, description of medical facilities on board, maximum distance from nearest port, telemedicine capabilities, maximum gestational age and minimum infant age allowed, medical insurance information, and links to recognized guidelines for medical care on cruise ships. Results: Seven cruise lines had minimal or no medical information at all. No cruise line presented information about medical evacuation or telemedicine services. 10 cruise lines had no information on maximal gestational age and 11 did not specify minimum infant age. No site offered a link to guidelines concerning medical facilities on board. Conclusion: The advanced age of the average cruise ship passenger and the isolation of the cruise environment create a need for high quality medical facilities and staff onboard cruise ships. The lack of detailed information concerning medical care available onboard makes it difficult for the average prospective passenger, who has health concerns, to make an informed decision as to choice of cruise line and itinerary. Cruise lines should correct this by including more information regarding medical services as well as links to other cruise health Web sites.


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