Guide to Cruising While Pregnant – What You Need to Know
“Does anyone have any medical conditions such as pregnancy that we need to be aware of?” This is a question that many cruise lines and travel agents will ask when booking your cruise.
Can you cruise while pregnant? The answer is “Yes” depending on the cruise line that you are sailing with and how many weeks pregnant that you are at the time that your ship is sailing.
Pregnant guests need to consider the fact that no Obstetrician/Gynecologist are available on the ship. Guests can be allowed to board before they reach their 24th week. They must keep in mind that attending the cruise can be potentially life-threatening and may be at sea for several days without an immediate hospital or specialist.
Here are some of the most popular cruise lines policies about cruising while pregnant to give you a Guide to Cruising While Pregnant:
- Carnival Cruise Lines: Pregnant women who have entered their 24 week trimester will be denied boarding or disembarkation without compensation or refund. Before booking the cruise, guests understand and acknowledge prenatal requirements of the cruise ticket contract. Pregnant women with an estimated gestational age of 24 completed weeks or less, on the day of disembarkation, must submit, prior to departure, a letter from her attending physician certifying that her gestational status is in accordance with this policy, and that the expecting mother is fit to sail.” Read the complete policy here.
- Royal Caribbean: According to Royal Caribbean’s Website; “Royal Caribbean International cannot accept guests who will have entered their 24th week of pregnancy by the beginning of, or at any time during the cruise or cruise-tour. A physicians “Fit to Travel” note is required prior to sailing, stating how far along (in weeks) your pregnancy will be at the beginning of the cruise and confirming that you are in good health and not experiencing a high-risk pregnancy.” Read the complete policy here.
- Norwegian Cruise Lines: According to Norwegian Cruise Lines Website, ” NCL cannot accept guests who will have entered their 24th week of pregnancy by the beginning of, or at any time during the cruise including any and all land arrangement made through NCL. An expectant mother’s application for passage must be accompanied by a medical certificate establishing her due date and fit to travel.” Read the complete policy here.
- Disney Cruise Lines: Expecting mothers who have reached their 24th week of pregnancy will be refused embarkation due to safety concerns. Neither a doctor’s medical statement nor a waiver of liability will be accepted. Disney Cruise Line cannot be held liable for any complications relating to pregnancy at any stage. Read the complete policy here.
- Princess Cruises: According to Princess Cruise Lines Website, “Pregnant women are not allowed to sail if they are entering the 24th week of their pregnancy by the last day of the cruise. All pregnant women are required to produce a physician’s letter stating that mother and baby are in good health, fit to travel and the pregnancy is not high-risk. The letter must also include the estimated date of delivery (EDD) calculated from both Last Menstrual Period (LMP) and ultrasound (if performed).” Read the complete policy here.
- Holland America: Women cannot sail if they have begun their 24th week of pregnancy. All pregnant guests who are sailing must provide a physician’s letter stating expected due date, ability to travel and include basic information such as name, booking number, ship and sailing date. Holland America urges you to have the letter faxed as soon as the reservation is made. Read the complete policy here.
Now that you are up to speed on policy, if you will be cruising pregnant, there are a million things that you can do and have fun!
Here are 10 things to do and take advantage of while you are pregnant on your cruise:
- The Food: Forgive me for saying this, but eat all that you can! Don’t go OVERBOARD with the eating of course, but you have a full range of delicious and delectable options while you are cruising so take advantage of them. When else can you have filet mignon for dinner every night if you want it?
- The Spa: Pregnancy can be hard on the body no matter how fit you are. If your cruise ship has a spa, call the cruise line before your trip and ask if any of the massage therapists specialize in pre-natal massages.
- Room Service: One of the most luxurious perks about being on a cruise is all of the great service that you get on board the ship. Feeling sick and want to stay in your cabin for awhile? Call room service and have your food delivered to your stateroom.
- The Swimming Pool: One of the best ways to stay in shape while pregnant is to take a dip in the pool. Most all cruise ships have a pool. This is the perfect way to cool down, have fun, and get some exercise that’s good for both you and baby.
- Priority Embarkation and Disembarkation: Cruise lines must know whether you are pregnant or not in order to make sure that you are safe and top priority while you are cruising on their ships. Ask if you can get on board first, or disembark first when you are at the cruise port. It never hurts to ask.
- Shore Excursions: While there are some shore excursions that you simply cannot do because they will put you at risk while pregnant, there are a ton that you can look into that will be perfect while pregnant. Look for sight-seeing excursions, tours, and entertainment excursions to do while you are in port.
- Ship Entertainment/Dancing: Some of the best performers (singers/dancers) perform aboard cruise ships, why not go and watch a show at night? Or dance at one of the on-board dance clubs (if applicable). You are on vacation, enjoy yourself!
- Shopping: Cruising allows you to visit so many exotic destinations so go shopping while you are in port. Buy something different and exotic for your little one, so that he or she will have a keepsake of their first official trip out of the country!
- Classes Aboard the Ship: Check to see if there are any Yoga or Tai Chi classes aboard your ship. A lot of ships have relaxation classes that are perfect for a pregnant woman. Some ships have craft classes, cooking classes, and more!
- RELAXATION: While you are on your cruise, simply take advantage of the time to relax; no cooking, no cleaning, no worries–just relax.
Its always good to be safe, no matter WHAT type of cruise that you are going on, but its even more important to be safe when you are pregnant.
Here are some things that you shouldn’t forget to do when going on a cruise pregnant:
- Pack your own bottled water: Yes, most all cruise ships provide water onboard the ship, but most all of them charge a ridiculous amount of money for bottled water. Most cruise lines (check your specific one) will let you bring your OWN water on board the ship. Water is crucial to drink for a pregnant woman so make sure you are stocked up ESPECIALLY on days when you leave the ship when visiting different ports of call.
- Special slippers, pillows, etc: Prenatal pillows are THE BEST things to have when pregnant as they allow you to sleep comfortably at night. Bring any and all slippers, pillows, etc that you use at home in your luggage when you go on your cruise so that you (and baby) will be as comfortable as possible.
- Sea-sickness medicine: Check with your doctor to make sure that you can bring along Dramamine (or any other sea-sickness medicine). Even if you’ve never been sea-sick in your life and you’ve cruised 100s of times you NEVER KNOW how your body will react when out at sea when you are pregnant. Each pregnancy makes each woman react differently to the same things. Most ships do sell Dramamine but usually at a hefty price.
- Make sure that you fill out required paperwork: If you read the pregnancy policies for the cruise lines above in this article, you see that most all require you to fill out (or have your doctor fill out) paperwork. Make sure that you have this paperwork filled out and submitted to the cruise line in a timely manner. Also make a copy for yourself and bring it along with you just in case.
- Know how to access onboard medical team: Once you are on board the ship ask where the onboard medical center is and make a visit. It is important to know where to go and how to access the medical team members onboard just in case a problem arises and you need assistance.
- Doctor’s Contact Information: Give your spouse/friend/travel partners your doctors contact information just so that another party on the ship with you has the information as well as you and the cruise line.
- Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is always important to have, but even more so if you are pregnant. Travel insurance (such as Allianz Travel Insurance) will cover you in case of an accident or medical emergency. A lot of times your regular medical insurance will ONLY cover you in the United States. Travel Insurance travels with you outside of these borders. Also, if your trip is interrupted or you have to cancel, they will reimburse you for travel expenses or have the cruise line give you credit for another cruise. Purchasing travel insurance OUTSIDE of the cruise line or travel agents can be a LOT cheaper for the same or MORE coverage when going through an independent company such as Allianz Travel Insurance.