Most cruises allow future passengers to book their tickets up to 18 months in advance – and a lot can happen while you are looking forward to your future cruise.
Falling pregnant can be an exciting time but it can also throw a spanner into some of your plans.
So, if you have booked a cruise and expect to be pregnant during that period, can you still go or is it a better idea to stay at home?
Check out the guide below to learn everything you need to know about whether or not you can go on a cruise while pregnant.
Do Cruise Ships Allow Pregnant Passengers?
Most cruise ships do allow pregnant passengers on board but there are some restrictions.
Whether or not a cruise ship allows pregnant passengers depends on two conditions – how risky your pregnancy is, and how far into your pregnancy you are.
Talk To Your Doctor First
Most cruise ships will allow pregnant passengers on board if they have had a healthy pregnancy so far and have their doctor’s permission.
This is because while you are on your cruise, the medical facilities onboard may not be enough to accommodate your needs.
The medical staff checks over every medical condition all their passengers have so they can accept or refuse you depending on whether or not they can accommodate your medical needs.
For example, say you need daily dialysis – a cruise may not have the facilities and equipment onboard to provide you with this procedure and as a result, refuse you as a passenger.
The same goes if your pregnancy is high-risk.
Not all emergencies can be foreseen but if there is a high risk that you may need emergency treatment while on your cruise then a cruise ship can refuse you as a passenger.
This is because by not having the correct equipment, facilities, and personnel aboard, the life of you and your unborn baby could be put at risk if you were to experience a serious medical emergency.
This is why you need to talk to your doctor before going on a cruise. They have the medical expertise to evaluate your condition and provide you with reliable advice on what to do next.
They may recommend you stay off your cruise ship so you can stay within easy access to whatever hospitals and doctors you need.
On the other hand, they may say that your pregnancy is as healthy as can be and there’s no high risk of you experiencing an emergency while onboard.
Cruises will require you to come clean of any medical conditions you have before you step on board.
Once they find out you are pregnant, they may request evidence from your doctor saying that they believe you are safe to travel on the cruise. If your doctor refuses, then you will not be allowed to board the ship.
No Third Trimesters Allowed
Most cruise ships do not allow pregnant passengers if the pregnancy is in the third trimester. The exact week changes from cruise to cruise but on average, the cut-off period is between 23 and 24 weeks pregnant.
This means that if you expect yourself to be in the third trimester during the cruise, you won’t be allowed to board.
This is because when you enter your third trimester, you are much more likely to go into labor. All cruise personnel wants to try and avoid any births onboard as it’s a very risky medical procedure.
Some cruises may not have the equipment and staff to deal with this kind of situation. If something goes wrong, there’s no guarantee for the safety of you or your baby.
So to keep you both safe, pregnant passengers in their third trimester are not allowed on board.
There are some cruise lines that even ban passengers in their second trimester just to be on the safe side!
The only rule to this exception is river cruises. These cruises stay very close to the mainland so if you do go into labor, the ship can easily transport you to the nearest land-based medical facilities.
Can I Hide My Pregnancy On A Cruise?
Trying to hide your pregnancy so you can get on board is definitely not a good idea.
Firstly, lying like this can affect your travel insurance. If you require medical assistance while on your cruise, you could end up facing thousands of dollars of bills!
Secondly, you could be putting yourself (and your unborn baby at serious risk).
Staff needs to be aware of all of their passengers’ medical conditions so they can make sure they are ready for any complications or emergencies.
If you lie and hide your condition and then something goes wrong – the medical staff on board may not be prepared to help you!
Can Pregnant Passengers Get A Refund?
If you discover that you are pregnant after you have booked your cruise, it is possible for you to get a refund – but it all depends on the cruise’s policy.
Because cruises are usually booked months in advance, it’s likely that you have enough time to discover your pregnancy and cancel your ticket in time for a refund or rebook your cruise.
If you have travel insurance, this may cover the cost of your ticket in the event that the cruise does not refund cancellations.
Basically, it all comes down to the cruise line and how soon you are canceling your cruise ticket. Get in touch with your travel agent and the cruise line to see what they can do for you.
What Happens If You Get Sick?
Medical emergencies can come out of nowhere, whether you are pregnant or not! So, what can the medical staff on a cruise do for you if you are not feeling well?
Aid For Morning Sickness
Morning sickness is the main concern for a lot of pregnant passengers.
Your typical morning sickness may be enhanced due to the motion of the ship – and the last thing you want to do through your entire cruise is to stay miserable inside your cabin.
Luckily, cruises are well prepared to help their passengers experiencing motion or seasickness.
Onboard shops and pharmacies will have medications available to help treat these symptoms but be warned – they come at a premium price!
You can always try more natural remedies – like ginger. Ginger is the go-to remedy for both morning and seasickness so try some ginger tea, non-alcoholic ginger beer, or ginger candy.
In The Event Of Complications
If you experience complications with your pregnancy like irregular bleeding, a potential miscarriage, or go into premature labor while on your cruise, the staff will do everything they can to help you.
All cruises will have their own medical staff on board with a limited selection of medical equipment. However, they will be limited in how they can help.
The medical equipment found on a cruise is usually equipment that can help keep you alive until you can be transported to a more appropriate facility like a hospital.
However, most cruises have no obstetricians, gynecologists, or facilities to provide childbirth or prenatal care. This is why those who are more likely to give birth soon are not allowed on board!
Cruises will arrange for ‘emergency disembarkation’ to help transfer sick passengers to the nearest hospital for specialized care.
In time-sensitive situations, you may end up stuck onboard for a long time – so cruising while pregnant does come with its risks!
What Can Pregnant Passengers Do On A Cruise?
Another factor for you to consider is that, as a pregnant passenger, the activities and facilities you can use on a cruise will be restricted.
Some spa treatments, hot tubs, and saunas are not advisable when you are pregnant. You may also not be able to enjoy any cocktail bars as you had hoped, go zip lining, skating, or try out the water slides!
However, there are still plenty of cruise activities and facilities you can use while pregnant.
You can still enjoy a swim in the pool, enjoy selected spa treatments, attend yoga sessions, and enjoy the restaurants and shops available on board!
If you have a planned cruise coinciding with your pregnancy, talk to your doctor and make the cruise line aware of your condition.
You may still be able to enjoy your cruise but there are restrictions in place to help protect you and your unborn baby – so be honest and enjoy your cruise!
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