You have set sail in the most magical cruise in the world but what happens if you get sick and need a doctor while aboard the Disney Cruise line? This is exactly what happened to me. This is my experience of visiting the doctor aboard a Disney Cruise.
When You Need A Doctor On A Disney Cruise
Backstory and TMI
We live in the north east where it is cold in January and staying hydrated in January is not the first thing on our minds. So when my family and I were attending the 2017 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Land and Sea in January I did not take into account the amount of sweating I would be doing in relation to the amount of water I was consuming. This coupled with a high stress level from a recent sudden death in our family (see my post on Easy, Practical Ways To Support Friends and Family After The Death of a Loved One) is what I believe led to me developing a UTI.
I have had them before and ironically, when I was in a tropical environment (Florida is a tropical zone) and under a lot of stress. So you think I would have known to take precautions.
But at 10:30 at night I was in PAIN and I knew that we were getting on a bus the next morning at 7 am to board the Disney Wonder. I also knew that there was not a pharmacy in Disney Springs and the gift shop on property did not have the medication I needed. This was a full blown UTI.
We were way beyond the cranberry juice remedy. This had escalated quickly.
So I did what every panicked person who is getting ready to board a cruise ship yet, has a UTI, would do. I called Uber and had them take me to the pharmacy. I was in need of medication.
Once at the drugstore, I picked up AZO. If you have never used AZO it is a fabulous over the counter medication that has always helped with UTI pain and fixed my UTIs. For less than $15 I had a round trip Uber to the pharmacy to help fix my pain.
If you would like your first ride on Uber free (value varies by location) use my code 8f47x.
But it didn't work.
It would figure that the ONE TIME I was away from my family doctor and had a raging UTI the AZO didn't work.
It was time to head to the belly of the ship and see the Disney Doctor. That is right. Head to deck one and go to the Forward, or front, of the ship.
Follow the signs for the Health Center. You will feel like you are not suppose to be on this deck because there are no windows and not a lot of color, compared to the rest of the ship, but you are doing fine.
On the Disney Wonder there is a bit of a zig-zag to get to the health center.
Keep going. You are almost there.
What are the hours of the clinic on board a Disney Cruise?
The office hours are NOT 24 hours a day but there is a doctor on call 24 hours a day. I made the decision that I needed to be see at about 1 pm. If you are waiting for the Doctor to open up walk the halls and check out all the Disney Cruise Fish Extenders. They can be so creative!
So I had to wait it out until 4 pm to be seen. My pain was not life threatening or an emergency so I didn't feel the need to have the Doctor called. But if there was a life threatening emergency or if I had a child who was in a lot of pain, I would have called the Doctor.
What happens if you get seasick on a Disney Cruise?
If you are in need of seasickness mediation, they are on the counter and from what I could tell, free to take.
Please excuse the cell phone pictures but I wasn't taking my DSLR with me to the doctor office.
The waiting room was small, yet comfortable. The Doctor and the receptionist were very polite, compassionate and I was seen immediately. This is a big change from my normal primary care doctor. I typically show up 10 minutes early for my appointment but then have to wait an additional 33 minutes past my appointment time to be seen.
I was liking the Disney Doctor already!
What are the Medical Exam Rooms like on a Disney Cruise?
The exam room was just as it is at my primary care doctor. Even though you are on a cruise ship and everything is small and more compact, they did not skip out on any of the medical care equipment.
I poked my head in other rooms and there was a machine for taking x-rays. I was going to wander down the hall to see if there was a surgery center but I thought that might be pushing the limits for a blog post.
The doctor tested the urine sample I provided and confirmed I did have a raging UTI. (thanks Doc!) She inquired what medications I was taking and I turned over the box of AZO. She said she was going to prescribe this exact medication and was surprised it wasn't working for me. So she decided my next course of treatment was an antibiotic.
How much does a doctor cost on a Disney Cruise?
None of these services are covered under your cruise ticket. All charges will be charged to your room.I thought for SURE I was going to be in major debt for going to see a Disney Doctor in international waters. Nope.
The exam, urinalysis and prescription was $171. Total. This is just about what it would have cost me if I was at home. (It think it might have been cheaper to get sick on the sea.)Once home, I was able to submit my bill to my HSA and I was reimbursed.
I hope you don't need the Disney Doctor while aboard a Disney Cruise but if you do, know that you will be well taken care of and you won't have to walk the plank to cover the charges.
originally published April 2017