What Medical Care Does Cruise Lines Provide For Crew Members?

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Working onboard for months at a time can mean visiting several different countries, meeting tons of new people, and, with a little luck, moving ahead in your career, but it also means sooner or later we’re all bound to suffer an injury or illness.

While it is in the cruise line’s best interest to ensure their crew is always in ship shape condition (pun intended), they can never prevent 100% of situations that could happen to people on a variety of jobs onboard, some more risky than others in nature.

You probably already know there’s a fully implemented Medical Center onboard cruise ships (complete with a fully functional morgue, if you read our previous article about it), and crew members are treated there just like any guest onboard. There are specific opening times each day for assistance to crew, and except for rare occasions, there are no charges involved for medical treatments, medications or procedures. The medical assistance offered to crew is pretty simple, anything that needs attention is promptly addressed, no insurance paperwork to be filed or anything to claim, it’s simply extended free of charge.

While the Medical Center onboard is very complete, there are many things that cannot be attended to onboard. Dental is a perfect example. There is no dentist onboard, hence no equipment involved for that kind of treatment of care. When situations cannot be solved in the Medical Center onboard, crew (and guests alike) are referred to facilities in the nearest ports of call, according to availability.

On the flip side, when a crew member becomes pregnant, she is no longer deemed able to work onboard, and will be sent home as soon as logistically possible, with flights arranged and paid for by the company. No paid maternity leave or labor costs are extended to crew members, however, their job and seniority increments are maintained as a courtesy.

The medical coverage for crew members, while comprehensive, is only in place DURING their contract onboard, and very few workers benefit from a shoreside version of it. However, if an injury happens onboard, and it’s severe enough, the crew member might be sent home for treatment and therapy as needed, until the medical team in charge establishes they are ready to come back to work. And, if the injury happened while the crew member was on duty, they can expect every expense to be covered by the company. Not so if the crew member was off duty, and much less if they were under the influence of alcohol! Something many workers seem to be surprisingly unaware of or uninterested about! – ThatGuy (onboard)

 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. We fairly frequently see ship crew wearing dental braces. Is this a common employee benefit and how does it even work logistically? Orthodontia requires ongoing “tweaks”, but the patient is at sea for months at a time.

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