Skip to Content

How Much Does Medical Care Cost on a Cruise? Real Examples (X-Rays, Consultations & More)

If you are going on a cruise, you might be wondering how much medical care, such as X-rays or a consultation with a doctor would cost. 

Hopefully, you will never need to find out, but I recently took an MSC cruise, and this pricelist was clearly displayed in the medical centre.

How Much Does it Cost to See a Doctor on a Cruise?

A medical consultation on a cruise usually costs around $100 (£85) if during medical centre opening hours. This price rises to around $165 (£137) for appointments outside of opening hours and can rise as high as $205 (£170) if a doctor needs to visit a guest’s cabin.

A nurse’s consultation or cabin visit is around half of the prices mentioned above.

Prices vary from one cruise line to another. The below prices are from MSC Cruise lines.

Doctors CostNurses Cost
Consultation During Opening Times€100€50
Consultation Outside of Opening Times€160€80
Cabin Visit€200€100
Follow up Visit€60€30

How Much do X-Rays Cost on a Cruise?

X-rays on cruises usually cost between $100-$200 (£80-£160). 

A series of X-rays on a finger starts at $105 (£85). Chest X-rays usually cost $125 (£100). It costs $145 (£120) for ankle X-rays and $165 (£135) for facial X-rays.

X-Ray Cost
Abdomen Series€125 ($130)
Abdomen Single View€100 ($105)
Ankle Series€140 ($150)
Chest Series€125 ($130)
Chest Single View€85 ($90)
Clavicle Series€100 ($105)
C-Spine Series€125 ($130)
Elbow Series€125 ($130)
Facial Series€160 ($170)
Femur Series€125 ($130)
Finger Series€85 ($90)

The below photos were taken on board the MSC Seaview.

msc cruises medical centre cost of xrays and medical treatments list

Other medical costs on cruise ships:

Medical Care Cost
Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)€250 ($260)
Tracheal Intubation€100 ($105)
Medical Ventilation (Per Day)€50 ($52)
Oxygen Mask and Set-Up€20 ($21)
Oxygen Administration Per Hour€20 ($21)
Post Mortem Care€150 ($160)
Nasogastric Tube Insertion€50 ($52)
Reduction and Immobilisation of Dislocation€250 ($265)

Do All Cruise Ships Have Medical Centres Onboard?

On all cruise ships, you will find a well-equipped medical centre with a number of highly trained medical staff.

Generally speaking the larger the cruise ship the bigger the medical centre, but all are equipped to deal with life-threatening injuries and illnesses.

Photo : Love2Cruise 

Normally you will find the medical centre on one of the lower decks of the ship. 

It will have regular hours of opening, but if you need treatment outside of those times staff will be on call 24 hours a day. 

Of course, it will cost you more if you receive medical attention or consultations outside the normal opening hours.

On many of the newer, bigger cruise ships you’ll find full X-ray machines and a lot of equipment that you’d expect to find in a hospital on land.

Of course, the priority is always to try and get unwell patients to land as soon as possible but as this isn’t always an option cruise ships have to be as prepared as they can be.

Late night Medical Evacuation from P&O's Arvia
Late night Medical Evacuation from P&O’s Arvia

What Is In a Cruise Ship Medical Centre?

Medical centres on cruise ships are usually very well equipped.

It will be set up to treat minor/not emergency conditions, and you would expect to see several beds. 

They will have equipment such as wheelchairs, stretchers, backboards for protecting someone with spinal injuries, defibrillators, cardiac monitors, oxygen and laboratory capabilities for carrying out a range of tests.

Photo : Love2Cruise 

What Can They Treat in Cruise Ship Medical Centres?

They commonly treat minor injuries, respiratory illnesses, such as flu, gastrointestinal illnesses such as Norovirus, or sea/motion sickness.

You will find a wide variety of common medicines available used to treat almost any illness.

The range of medicines is not as wide as you’d find in a hospital on land but cruise ships are well equipped to deal with most situations.

To find out which medicines are available on cruise ships, check out this post:

Cruise Ships Don’t Have Full Pharmacies on Board – Here’s What They Have

Ship’s medical centres have the equipment to stabilise passengers facing life-threatening conditions such as heart attacks/strokes.  

Photo : Love2Cruise 

What Happens if You’re on a Cruise and Need Urgent, Lifesaving Treatment?

If you needed urgent, life-saving treatment and the cruise ship was in port, they would then send you to a hospital on land.  

If the ship were at sea, the only option might be to airlift you by helicopter to the nearest suitable hospital. This is stressful and costly! 

Being airlifted off a cruise usually costs at least $20,000 and this can rise into the hundreds of thousands depending on location and other factors.

This is one reason why taking out travel insurance with good medical coverage is essential when cruising.  Don’t EVER cruise without travel insurance.

Travel insurance can be taken out either with the cruise line or separately, but make sure your policy has adequate cover for medical expenses and that it covers cruises specifically.

With some policies you need to add cruise cover as an “add on” – it isn’t covered as standard.

Find everything you need to know about taking out cruise travel insurance here:

Cruise Travel Insurance – Why You Need it and How to Get It: (Step by Step Illustrated Guide)

Do You Have to Pay Upfront for X-Rays and Other Treatments?

On a cruise, medical treatment needs to be paid for upfront. Guests can then claim back the costs through medical insurance if they have a policy in place.

Will You Still Have to Pay if you Have Taken Out Insurance with the Cruise Line Itself?

If you have taken out a cruise insurance policy directly with the cruise line you usually still do have to pay upfront. You will have to pay for your treatment, and then sort out the insurance afterwards.

There may be some exceptions to this, where the cruise line claim directly from their own travel insurance company, but this is not the norm.

A reader emailed us to tell his story of Norwegian Cruiseline Travel insurance.

I had a $8000 medical emergency on a transatlantic cruise aboard the NCL Escape.  The medical staff was super and got me feeling better quickly.  However, what bothered me was that they wanted me to pay ASAP. I HAD TRAVEL INSURANCE FROM NORWEGIAN.  You would think that they would have a system where they could take care of getting their money direct from the insurer they use and let me concentrate on getting better. Instead the process is PAY NOW and when you get home file a claim and then wait for them to determine if it is a legit claim.


If you’re reading this and considering taking a cruise without getting travel insurance, please read this post first.

If you still don’t want to, fair enough, but I can’t see that happening:

5 Cruise Nightmares Caused by Not Having The Correct Travel Insurance (Real-Life Examples)

Before You Go

There are certain things you can take with you in case of emergency when you cruise. You can by some first aid supplies onboard, but they will be far more expensive than in a shop on land. Find out more about that here:

Staying Healthy When You Cruise, Avoiding Seasickness – Medications and First Aid Items to Pack

For more tips on planning and packing for your cruise, read this article next:

Planning And Packing For Your Cruise, Things to Organise in Advance, Packing Essentials And More

Free Insiders Cruise Line Guide

Ever wondered how the mainstream cruise lines compare? Cruise lines won’t tell you this, but I will.

This FREE guide shows you everything you need to know to find your perfect cruise line.