Glitzy ads of luxury cruises often feature the indulgences. They skip the less glamorousstory of being sick at sea, and the limited treatment options available. When theNorovirus tore through a cruise ship in January, more than 600 passengers werestruck. Now imagine yourself days from the nearest port, on a ship without diagnosticequipment like an MRI machine, a blood bank or even specialty doctors.

Many people believe they are boarding a floating hospital, but a cruise ship is morelike a floating hotel, with a doctor at hand, says Consumer Reports medical adviser, Dr.Orly Avitzur. She says think twice about traveling with a chronic medical condition. TheCoast Guard can t always launch a rescue, if the seas are rough or the ship is too farfrom land. Next, know that most prescription drugs are not available on a cruise ship,so: Always travel with an extra supply of all medications.

Also, get ready to pay a premium, out of pocket, for any on-board care, even items likeBand-Aids or aspirin. Many people aren t aware that most cruise ships don t acceptmedical insurance.

And, Consumer Reports says: Consider travel insurance. It could be invaluable if youend up needing serious medical attention in a foreign port. Avoid commission-drivenpolicies that are sold by tour operators, travel agents and cruise-lines. Instead, checkout an online broker such as:, which sells coverage from multiplecompanies.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances,cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports website.Subscribe to
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