Captain doesn't let me re-board the Breakway in St Kitts due to...

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Feb 24, 2017
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#1
a non-contagious but serious medical condition. The ship doctor had instructed me to have a procedure at a third-world-type hospital in St Kitts . The non-sterile environment made that a non-starter. I went back to the ship but was not allowed to re-board, other than to make travel arrangements to go home. I was then escorted off the ship and was taken to a taxi and went to the airport to start the trek of getting home (St Kitts - Miami - home).

I shouldn't have been denied re-boarding in St Kitts. And given my condition, it was very risky for me to fly, and the doctor said nothing about this risk. Plus the doctor had emphasized to me that I shouldn't exert myself. Clearly, the best and safest option would have been for me to be allowed to stay in my cabin. My medical condition could have been dealt with on the ship in the medical center. I could have also been given common pills and certain beneficial and common foods, and rested a lot. I would have then been in stable condition when I arrived in New York City vs. being forced into a very stressful and very unsafe travel ordeal!

I reasonably asked NCL to 1) issue a partial refund for the 4/14 of the cruise I wasn't on the ship, 2) adjust my “final” bill to $0, and 3) reimburse me for travel expenses. No success yet.
 
R

Realitoes

Guest
#2
If you had a serious medical condition and was referred to a hospital, then accepting you back on the ship without a medical clearance from the hospital would open the cruise line to liability in case your condition worsen or worst!

I'm not sure I blame them. Unfortunately, when traveling you may have to deal with the medical system in these countries. Apparently the ship could not handle your condition. You can try writing NCL using company contacts provided by this site, but I doubt you will get much.

You should be able to recoup some if not all your expenses from your travel insurance policy. Have you already filed a claim?
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#3
Oh, what an awful story, I'm so sorry. Are you all recovered now? It must have been a nightmare. Unfortunately, when an MD advises a hospital procedure for a serious medical condition and you refuse it, no matter the reason, the Captain couldn't possibly let you reboard. The liability would be enormous, and he'd probably lose his job for making a decision like that.

So your issue is to convince the cruise line that they should compensate you for the missed days with a credit towards a future cruise. Hopefully my colleagues will have some ideas. It's probably much more expeditious, as Realitoes suggests, to just file a travel insurance claim. The cruise line is really not to be faulted here, I'm sorry to say. Please let us know how this plays out, it's a most unique travel story.
 

Carol Phillips

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Dec 28, 2014
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#4
I'm so sorry this happened to you. It's worth knowing, however, that although the captain is the master of the vessel, the ship's doctor's rulings trump even the Captain. The doctor can say whether or not a person may stay onboard ... as happened in your case.

Medical liability is a serious issue with any travel company, and particularly cruise lines. You don't want to be in the middle of the ocean and need medical care that's not available onboard. And the cruise line is very cautious about the liability.

I concur with my colleagues who suggest using our COMPANY CONTACTS (on the top of this page) to contact NCL with your requests. If you've already been in touch with Customer Service, write to the first executive. Allow a week for a reply, and if there's not one (or one you find unsatisfactory) escalate your request to the next exec in line.

We find our best successes come from polite, short, succinct letters dealing with clear facts and not emotion. The "catch more flies with honey" theory.

I also concur that your travel insurance's Trip Interruption coverage might/should be able to assist in this case.

I sincerely hope you're on the way to a full recovery. Please let us know what transpires.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#5
This is what travel insurance is for. Did you buy it?

I assume you went to the ships doctor before? If they cannot treat you on the ship and say you that you need to be treated
By a dr. then that's what you have to do. They know what they can treat and what they can't.

You should put in a claim with your travel insurance for trip interruption.
 
Feb 24, 2017
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#7
Thanks to you and all others for responding. And I'm fine now. The key point is that the doctor made a number of mistakes. He lied (by omission) by not telling me I couldn't re-board. Also, he did not tell me that it would be dangerous for me to fly. Finally, even though I understand the liability issue, the safest course of action, which I confirmed with my board certified internal medicine doctor at home, was for me to stay in my cabin, not exert myself in any way, take iron supplements and eat iron-rich foods. I was assured that this would have allowed me to arrive in NYC in stable condition vs. putting myself in jeopardy by having to exert myself and have the stress of going to two airports and taking two flights to get home. Clearly, my best interests were not a priority, getting and keeping me off of the ship was.

I've reached out to two executives (CEO and VP of Passenger Services), and have not received a reply to my emails or voice messages. I believe I made a reasonable request. I simply want to break even on expenses and be reimbursed for cruise days denied to me.

Finally, I didn't purchase travel insurance, because my health had been very good, and my last physical exam (3 months ago) confirmed this. But when I go on another cruise, I will purchase it, just in case.




I'm so sorry this happened to you. It's worth knowing, however, that although the captain is the master of the vessel, the ship's doctor's rulings trump even the Captain. The doctor can say whether or not a person may stay onboard ... as happened in your case.

Medical liability is a serious issue with any travel company, and particularly cruise lines. You don't want to be in the middle of the ocean and need medical care that's not available onboard. And the cruise line is very cautious about the liability.

I concur with my colleagues who suggest using our COMPANY CONTACTS (on the top of this page) to contact NCL with your requests. If you've already been in touch with Customer Service, write to the first executive. Allow a week for a reply, and if there's not one (or one you find unsatisfactory) escalate your request to the next exec in line.

We find our best successes come from polite, short, succinct letters dealing with clear facts and not emotion. The "catch more flies with honey" theory.

I also concur that your travel insurance's Trip Interruption coverage might/should be able to assist in this case.

I sincerely hope you're on the way to a full recovery. Please let us know what transpires.
 
Aug 29, 2015
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#8
The trip from St Kitts to Miami generally involves two sea days. Depending on the route chosen by the master of the vessel, they may be quite far from land, and even farther from good medical treatment.

My assumption is that the MD felt uncomfortable having you on board knowing how far from good medical treatment they were. Since you declined treatment at the island medical provider, the doctor had no choice but to decline to allow you to continue. He is not your primary doctor, and does not know how you will respond without treatment. Ships don't have surgical suites.

Had they allowed you to remain on board and you declined, they would have been forced to divert to the closest port with facilities to remove you from the vessel. That could have easily cost upwards of $200,000 US. Your insurance would have been on the hook for those costs, and if you didn't purchase insurance you would have been sent a bill (I've been told by a reliable source they work out a payment plan). Alternately, a medical extraction might have been arranged, usually by the US Coast Guard, but that is a last resort when the patient MUST be extracted and the ship cannot get to port.

How do I know this? From being on a cruise that had a medical emergency. We were between two islands, St. Thomas, USVI and Sint Maartin. We were nearly exactly half-way between. The captain drove the ship at full speed to our next port, Sint Maartin and we arrived in under 3 hours. The time it would have taken to get a medevac chopper was actually longer than the time it took us to get to the port.

Hopefully you had insurance to pay for your costs to get home. If you declined to purchase travel insurance, you may wish to check with your credit card to see if it has any travel insurance benefits.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
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Dec 27, 2014
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#9
Thanks to you and all others for responding. And I'm fine now. The key point is that the doctor made a number of mistakes. He lied (by omission) by not telling me I couldn't re-board. Also, he did not tell me that it would be dangerous for me to fly. Finally, even though I understand the liability issue, the safest course of action, which I confirmed with my board certified internal medicine doctor at home, was for me to stay in my cabin, not exert myself in any way, take iron supplements and eat iron-rich foods. I was assured that this would have allowed me to arrive in NYC in stable condition vs. putting myself in jeopardy by having to exert myself and have the stress of going to two airports and taking two flights to get home. Clearly, my best interests were not a priority, getting and keeping me off of the ship was.

I've reached out to two executives (CEO and VP of Passenger Services), and have not received a reply to my emails or voice messages. I believe I made a reasonable request. I simply want to break even on expenses and be reimbursed for cruise days denied to me.

Finally, I didn't purchase travel insurance, because my health had been very good, and my last physical exam (3 months ago) confirmed this. But when I go on another cruise, I will purchase it, just in case.
Your health being good has absolutely nothing to do with buying travel insurance. What if you fell and broke your leg a week before you were supposed to leave? What if there was a weather issue and your flight got canceled and you had to fly to your first port? What if you had to be medically evacuated off a cruise ship because you had a heart attack? (Which just happened on Anthem of the Seas). Do you know the average cost of a medical evacuation is $72,000? Can you afford to pay that? Does your health insurance cover you out of the country? Were you handed a bill on the ship for seeing the doctor?! That's what insurance is for it has absolutely nothing to do with being healthy. It's for unexpected things just like what happened to you and if you had the right insurance it would have reimbursed you.

Anyone who thinks they don't need travel insurance needs to read this:

http://forum.elliott.org/threads/the-right-travel-insurance.1283/


You need the give the executives at least a week to get back to you. We recommend starting at the bottom of the list and write one at a time. But since you've written to the highest, you won't be able to appeal.

I don't believe you will get anything but sometimes you find a sympathetic exec. Good luck.
 
R

Realitoes

Guest
#10
Thanks to you and all others for responding. And I'm fine now. The key point is that the doctor made a number of mistakes. He lied (by omission) by not telling me I couldn't re-board. Also, he did not tell me that it would be dangerous for me to fly. Finally, even though I understand the liability issue, the safest course of action, which I confirmed with my board certified internal medicine doctor at home, was for me to stay in my cabin, not exert myself in any way, take iron supplements and eat iron-rich foods. I was assured that this would have allowed me to arrive in NYC in stable condition vs. putting myself in jeopardy by having to exert myself and have the stress of going to two airports and taking two flights to get home. Clearly, my best interests were not a priority, getting and keeping me off of the ship was.

I've reached out to two executives (CEO and VP of Passenger Services), and have not received a reply to my emails or voice messages. I believe I made a reasonable request. I simply want to break even on expenses and be reimbursed for cruise days denied to me.

Finally, I didn't purchase travel insurance, because my health had been very good, and my last physical exam (3 months ago) confirmed this. But when I go on another cruise, I will purchase it, just in case.
Okay, your shooting way out in left field. There is no lie concerning letting you re-board, he sent you to the hospital for treatment of, in your words, a serious medical issue. They refused letting you re-board because you refused treatment against a doctors orders and the cruise line was not going take liability. Even if he had specifically told you the outcome would have been the same. As for flying, he sent you to the hospital not the airport.

The safest course would have been for you to be treated at the hospital until such time as the medical officials determined it was safe for you to travel again.

Most US medical insurance policies do not cover medical treatment outside the US. A good travel insurance policy would have covered many of your expenses, including medical. As Neil stated, if you had to be evacuated from the cruise ship, you would be facing some serious cost.

In my opinion, I don't see the cruise line giving you much back beside taxes and port fees, but stranger things have happen. Good Luck.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#11
Since we don't know what your medical condition actually was, I think it would be safe to assume it was something the ship Captain was worried could worsen while at sea necessitating an emergency evacuation. You are withholding information from us and insisting you could have stayed but I am tending to think that they didn't feel you were stable enough to continue on the ship.
 
#12
Okay, your shooting way out in left field. There is no lie concerning letting you re-board, he sent you to the hospital for treatment of, in your words, a serious medical issue. They refused letting you re-board because you refused treatment against a doctors orders and the cruise line was not going take liability. Even if he had specifically told you the outcome would have been the same. As for flying, he sent you to the hospital not the airport.

The safest course would have been for you to be treated at the hospital until such time as the medical officials determined it was safe for you to travel again.

Most US medical insurance policies do not cover medical treatment outside the US. A good travel insurance policy would have covered many of your expenses, including medical. As Neil stated, if you had to be evacuated from the cruise ship, you would be facing some serious cost.

In my opinion, I don't see the cruise line giving you much back beside taxes and port fees, but stranger things have happen. Good Luck.
One point of clarification - - Medicare, together with supplement Plan C or Plan F, indeed covers hospitalization outside the country. Travelers who are "age challenged" as most of us are should be aware of this. Other supplement plans do not provide this coverage. You'll have to pay out of pocket but you will eventually be reimbursed by your supplemental insurer with Plan C or F.
 
Feb 24, 2017
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#13
I appreciate the varied feedback. In hindsight, my initial post should have been better and provided a few more details. The doctor on the ship said I needed a blood transfusion. But the doctor in the disgusting and unsanitary looking St Kitts hospital told me it would take a day or two to get blood from a blood bank. I (and likely most others) wouldn't feel comfortable waiting in such a place for up to 2 days.

I understand that other cruise ships have had volunteers (ship officers, I think) donate blood, but this was not presented as on option to me. I wish I would have thought to ask about it. Even without it, it would have been safer for me to stay on board (take iron supplements and eat iron-rich foods and rest a lot). If a board certified internal medicine doctor told me (even without the transfusion) I would have stabilized and not been in danger... And there's no need to discuss potential liability. It's been made quite clear to me.

There's also no need to mention trip insurance again. That ship has sailed. Yes, I wrote that. I realize my error and will never repeat it. But bad medical decisions by the doctor and agreed to by the captain. I simply want to be treated fairly. I'm not looking to profit. Perhaps my prior 17 cruises on NCL and/or a sympathetic exec will see my point and/or make a gesture.
 
Likes: jsn55
R

Realitoes

Guest
#14
One point of clarification - - Medicare, together with supplement Plan C or Plan F, indeed covers hospitalization outside the country. Travelers who are "age challenged" as most of us are should be aware of this. Other supplement plans do not provide this coverage. You'll have to pay out of pocket but you will eventually be reimbursed by your supplemental insurer with Plan C or F.
You have to purchase the Medigap insurance, and it has a lifetime limit of 50K. If you already have it, great. Would still recommend additional insurance to cover additional medical cost, evacuation....
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#15
Umm I am not sure that cruise lines do blood transfusions unless it is a critical life or death situation where emergency transport (helicopter evacuation) may be too late --

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1761160

My father has diabetic related kidney failure (bad genes which I did not inherit) and has chronic anemia; he had a blood transfusion recently, which involved testing crossmatching, and antibody screening, both of his blood and the donor blood; and we were still concerned with issues such as acute immune hemolytic reaction.

Do you really think that a cruise ship has an appropriate lab to perform such tests? Would you trust them?

I understand your concern over using blood from a hospital in St. Kitts but I have to say that I think the Dr. was very cautious. The ship dr, does not know your health history and he may have thought that you had a condition that could not be managed by eating iron rich foods and supplements or that the risk was unacceptable to him, and the Captain agreed.
 

AMA

Verified Member
Dec 11, 2014
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#16
Your primary care doctor in the US really had no business diagnosing you over the phone without speaking to the ship's doctor who actually examined you. It was irresponsible of him/her to recommend a course of treatment without reviewing your examination results. If you had followed his advice, stayed in your cabin, and had a crisis, you probably could have sued him/her for malpractice. The ship's captain and doctor were correct in refusing to re-board you.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#17
Andrew, I'm sure you're feeling pretty beaten up by this forum, and I'm sorry. We hear such horror stories from travellers that could have been prevented with insurance and we all feel such sympathy for those who don't understand until it's too late. We just keep beating that drum to educate all our readers. It's not meant to be a repeated assault on your case. I never gave a thought to travel insurance until a few years ago, because I just didn't understand what would happen to my money if I were injured or ill. Now that I've been through it, I want everyone to know about travel insurance. We don't mean to harp, really we don't.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#18
I have Medicare and an outside secondary and it does not cover me outside of the US.

They do not do blood transfusions on a cruise ship. My wife just asked her friend who is friends with the Captain on an NCL ship and he told her they don't do blood transfusions.


One point of clarification - - Medicare, together with supplement Plan C or Plan F, indeed covers hospitalization outside the country. Travelers who are "age challenged" as most of us are should be aware of this. Other supplement plans do not provide this coverage. You'll have to pay out of pocket but you will eventually be reimbursed by your supplemental insurer with Plan C or F.
nhave K
 
Feb 24, 2017
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#20
I completely disagree. My PCP (she) knows me and my medical history quite well, and is much more qualified than the ship's doctor to know what's best for me. But you're entitled to your opinion.

Your primary care doctor in the US really had no business diagnosing you over the phone without speaking to the ship's doctor who actually examined you. It was irresponsible of him/her to recommend a course of treatment without reviewing your examination results. If you had followed his advice, stayed in your cabin, and had a crisis, you probably could have sued him/her for malpractice. The ship's captain and doctor were correct in refusing to re-board you.
I have Medicare and an outside secondary and it does not cover me outside of the US.

They do not do blood transfusions on a cruise ship. My wife just asked her friend who is friends with the Captain on an NCL ship and he told her they don't do blood transfusions.



nhave K
I have Medicare and an outside secondary and it does not cover me outside of the US.

They do not do blood transfusions on a cruise ship. My wife just asked her friend who is friends with the Captain on an NCL ship and he told her they don't do blood transfusions.

NCL might not due blood transfusions, but Royal Caribbean does. Use a common search engine and you'll see it, including an RCL-generated article. NCL is behind the curve on this.
 
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