Dialysis at Sea – Cruise Option for Dialysis Patients

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Dialysis-at-Sea

I did not find pictures of sick people undergoing dialysis when I went to the website for this unusual travel company. Dialysis at Sea is not selling dialysis. What they are selling is freedom. What they are selling is that you may be on dialysis but you can still take your family on a vacation and enjoy yourself.

Martin, a long time friend of mine, brought this company to my attention. He had just returned home from a cruise with his wife’s family including his father-in-law who needs regular dialysis. The family had been looking for options but most local travel companies had no idea how to accommodate this need. Eventually they discovered Dialysis at Sea which acts as a tour company. They book a limited number of dialysis patients on specific cruises that are staffed and equipped to handle them.

Martin’s mother-in-law wrote:

After checking locally regarding dialysis on a ship (even AAA knew nothing) I was told that we must go through Dialysis at Sea to book our cruise.  I found their phone number on the internet.  I talked with a couple of gals (Wanda and Brandy).  Cost of cruise through them is slightly more expensive.  Subsequence cruises could possibly be a little cheaper, since I’ve been receiving e-mails from Dialysis at Sea regarding upcoming cruises.

On this particular cruise there were 9 patients. The ratio of nurses (3) to patients was very good. There were 2 rooms for 2 patients. The rooms were very small but with all the equipment and supplies for the patients.

The first dialysis opportunity was at 5:30 am and the last one was at 2:30 pm with slots at half hour intervals. Each patient was on a machine for at least 3 hours plus a half hour on and off time. The dialysis group was very accommodating. They took advantage of time at sea to run dialysis so patients were free when we were in port. One a patient required a 4th treatment and he was taken care of.

Many people want to travel “now while they still can”. Companies like Dialysis at Sea are extending that envelope of “still can” to include dialysis patients.

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by Chris Christensen

I am the host of the Amateur Traveler. The Amateur Traveler is an online travel show that focuses primarily on travel destinations and what are the best places to travel to. It includes both a weekly audio podcast, a video podcast, and a blog.

4 Responses to “Dialysis at Sea – Cruise Option for Dialysis Patients”

Chris

Says:

Thanks for writing this article. Many people are disadvantaged when it comes to health care and travel, especially by cruise lines. We did some research and taking care of people is not that hard on a ship (and even cases where Medicare can be used). Would love to hear what other people think about what we’re doing as we move forward.

Melvina Bogan

Says:

I am very concerned, my husband is a dialysis patient who needs dialysis three times a week, 3 1/2 hours a treatment. Will Medicare pay for my husband’s treatments while on the cruise ship?

chris2x

Says:

Melvina, thats a good question but I don’t know. But I suspect the company that I wrote about would be good to ask.

Chris

Says:

Melvina,
Medicare will not normally cover dialysis on any of the currently-operating cruise lines. All of those ships are foreign and must leave the country, making Medicare invalid. A cruise ship must be within 6 hours of a US port for Medicare to be valid and none of those ships are for very long. Only an American-flagged cruise ship could do so for any length of time. https://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/11037-Medicare-Coverage-Outside-United-Stat.pdf

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