Cruise Dialysis

Dialysing Onboard A Cruise Ship – How Does It Work?

For those who have never cruised on a ship with haemodialysis onboard before we understand the prospect can be daunting.  Here are a few frequently asked questions…

Where will my dialysis take place?
Your dialysis will take place onboard the ship in the dedicated dialysis suite.

When will my dialysis take place?
In most cases the dialysis teams try to arrange your dialysis when the ship is sailing to ensure you can make the most of your time ashore.

When will I have my first and last dialysis sessions onboard?
Your first dialysis session will take place on the day after embarkation.  For example if you embark on a Saturday your first session will be on Sunday. 
Your last dialysis session will take place the day before you disembark.  For example if you disembark on a Monday then your last dialysis session will take place on Sunday.  The remainder of the dialysis sessions will take place every second day onboard.  We will send the dialysis schedule to you prior to your cruise so you discuss it with your dialysis unit. 

Will I be able to go ashore?
Yes, you can go ashore.  The cruise lines offer many different shore excursions to choose from to help you make the most of your cruise.  Alternatively you can explore independently (subject to current Covid-19 restrictions as dictated by each cruise line).

Will I dialyse for the same amount of time onboard as I do at my dialysis unit?

How do you know my dialysis prescription?
Prior to your cruise we will contact your dialysis unit to request medical documentation regarding your dialysis requirements.  This documentation will be signed by your nephrologist and reviewed by the onboard dialysis team.

Is the ship full of patients on dialysis?
No, dialysis patients make up a tiny percentage of the people sailing onboard the ship.  The remaining passengers will not know you are a dialysis patient unless you choose to tell them.

How many dialysis patients can be accommodated on each cruise?
Only 4 to 12 dialysis patients can be accommodated during each cruise therefore you are advised to book early to secure your place.

When will I meet the dialysis team?
On the day of embarkation a meeting will be held where you will meet the dialysis team, view the dialysis unit and meet your fellow patients.  The team will be pleased to answer any questions you have.

Who will administer my dialysis?
The dialysis team will be onboard for the duration of the cruise to administer your dialysis and care for you.  The dialysis team consists of dialysis nurses and a nephrologist.

When will I see the nephrologist?
The nephrologist is onboard for the duration of your cruise.  You will meet the nephrologist at the medical meeting and he/she will visit you during every dialysis session.

Can the dialysis team be contacted 24 hours a day?
Yes, at the dialysis meeting you will be given contact details for the dialysis team.  In addition, when you receive your cruise tickets you will also receive a 24 hour contact number for the Cruise Dialysis office.

Do I have to spend time with other dialysis patients?
Only if you want to.  Your time is free to spend as you wish.

How much does the dialysis cost?
The cost of the dialysis onboard ranges from £250 to £599 per dialysis session dependent upon which ship you choose.

Can I get any help towards the cost of the dialysis?
•    If you dialyse in England you may be entitled to a reimbursement of between £150 and £170 per dialysis session.  
•    If you dialyse in Scotland then it is likely your dialysis unit will pay for your dialysis in full.
•    If you dialyse in Wales it is likely the Health Commission Wales will pay for your dialysis in full.
•    If you dialyse in Northern Ireland you will be reimbursed up to the equivalent cost of the dialysis in your ‘home’ unit
•    If you dialyse in Southern Ireland please check with your Holiday Dialysis Co-ordinator or your private medical insurance.
•    If you dialyse outside of the UK please check with your dialysis unit.

How much do the cruises cost?
We have many cruises available and the cost of the cruise varies dependent upon the destination, the duration and the ship you choose.  Our lowest priced cruise is £419 per person.  Our highest priced cruise is over £10,000 per person however we have lots of cruises priced in-between.  Please enquire, there is sure to be a cruise to match your budget.

What’s included in the cruise fare?
All of your food, accommodation and entertainment is included in your cruise fare.  Some cruise lines also include free drinks packages, internet access, prepaid gratuities (tips) and shore excursions.  As this varies from ship to ship please ask us for further details.

I use a wheelchair, can I still take a cruise?
Yes, many ships are wheelchair accessible and some cruise lines offer wheelchair accessible shore excursions.  Wheelchair accessible cabins are spacious with wide doorways and a fully adapted bathroom with roll in shower and grab rails.  Accessible cabins are available onboard many cruise ships however availability is limited and we would advise you to book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.  Please discuss your mobility with us and we will advise you of the suitable ships for your needs.

Can I get a grant towards the cost of the cruise?
Many patients apply to Kidney Care UK (previously British Kidney Patient Association) for a grant towards the cost of their cruise.  Grants of up to  £1000 are available.

What is an Accompanied Cruise?
During an accompanied cruise a member of the team from Cruise Dialysis will be onboard to act as your ‘go to’ person for questions and assistance whilst onboard.  This is likely to be the person who you have spoken to during the booking process.  

Do you only offer dialysis onboard ocean cruises?
We offer dialysis onboard ocean cruises and also onboard river cruises.

Will my family be able to come with me on the cruise?
Yes, of course, you can book your friends and family directly with us.

Can I choose who I dine with on the ship?
Yes, at the time of booking we will ask whether you would like to share a table with other guests and make new friends or whether you would like the intimacy of a table just for two.  If you are travelling as a group we can arrange for you all to dine together.  Dependent upon the size of the ship there is usually a choice of different dining venues onboard.  Where you dine is up to you!

Can I keep to my renal diet onboard the ship?
Your waiter can be your best friend.  Let him/her know your preferences at the beginning of the cruise.  The dinner menu usually consists of a choice of starter, soup, salad, main course and dessert however you can skip any course you wish.  Usually the menu provides a description of each dish so you can choose or ask the waiter for details.  Most diets can be accommodated for including low salt. 

How do I get to the ship?
We have cruises departing from the UK and also departures from ports abroad.  Many cruise lines offer dedicated transport within the UK to Southampton and Dover.  If your cruise departs from overseas we can arrange flights and return transfers from the airport to the ship.

What precautions are the dialysis team taking for Covid-19?
Strict Covid-19 procedures are in place to take care of you during the cruise and also during your dialysis.  In addition to the cruise lines Covid-19 mitigation efforts your dialysis team will be wearing full PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and patients will be required to always wear masks during dialysis.
Access to the dialysis unit will be limited to staff and patients only.  Temperatures and oxygen saturation levels will be taken for all patients and staff upon arrival to the unit. To minimise entry of additional personnel the dialysis unit will be cleaned and disinfected regularly by the nurses. Your safety is our first priority.

Will all passengers onboard be vaccinated?
At the moment different cruise lines have different requirements.  Each cruise line will dictate whether it is a requirement for all passengers to be vaccinated and we will advise you accordingly.

Will all passengers be required to submit a negative Covid-19 test result prior to embarkation?
Some cruise lines do not require a negative Covid test result if you have proof you have received both vaccines. 
If you have not been vaccinated all cruise lines will require a negative Covid-19 test result taken within 72 hours of arrival to the ship.  As this is a constantly evolving situation, we will keep you advised.

Will the dialysis team be vaccinated?
Yes, all members of the dialysis team will have received both doses of the vaccine.

Who can I contact with any questions?
We appreciate you will have may questions and we will be very happy to help in any way we can.
Please contact us by clicking here or call
0844 995 1214
We look forward to hearing from you.
If your cruise were to be cancelled by the cruise line due to Covid-19 you will receive either a full refund or the opportunity to transfer your booking to a future cruise date.