When Sinus Infection Hits: Visiting the Health Center

Contributed by: Paige Francis

Oh the magic! On the relaxing and recharging! Look, it’s Stitch! Oh the— WHY AM I FEVERISH, CONGESTED AND COUGHING?!

Cruise ships are hot beds of germs, and DCL is no exception. Where there are people, there are germs. However, with every step on each Disney Cruise Line ship there are antibacterial wipes available and actively offered, many new washing stations in Cabanas, and a persistent message of ‘please actively protect yourself against germs’. It’s a truly pristine environment. But guess what? Illness can strike. And for me, on the 2nd-ever Disney Cruising Group Members Cruise this month, it struck. What started as a tickle in my throat led quickly to a fever and 3 days in bed. Yuck. It also prompted my first visit to the medical facility on board. This trip was the Disney Fantasy.

The Location: Deck 1, signs everywhere, you can’t miss it.
Hours of Operation: Opened at 9am and I was sipping hot tea in the Concierge Lounge at 8:30am waiting, waiting, waiting…
My Demeanor: I was NERVOUS. I did not sign up for trip insurance this time and was thinking, “Lord have mercy what is this going to set me back?” I was also antibacterial’d up, coughed in my elbow and made sure to not infect my surroundings. Also, please no flu, please no strep.

At 8:55am, I started the descent to floor 1 among all the happy, non-sick cruisers heading out for fun in Tortola. Resentment level: HIGH. My whole crew had just debarked for a full-day private excursion catamaran-ing, snorkeling, funning.

My Experience

I arrived a bit early and was let in early. I checked in at the waiting room window, I was the first to arrive, I filled out a few forms in a sparkling clean waiting area. Within 5 minutes of turning in my forms, I was called back to an examination room. The nurse did not take my weight but she did take my temperature and blood pressure. Within 1-2 minutes, the doctor walked in. She was a lovely lady from South Africa. Dr. Sandra. I explained my symptoms. She checked my throat. She didn’t see any signs of strep but she asked if I wanted the test just in case. I said not if she didn’t see signs of strep. She confirmed my symptoms didn’t indicate flu but offered the test if I wanted it. I said no after she felt comfortable diagnosing me with a sinus infection.

Dr. Sharon recommended a standard Z-Pak prescription then asked if I needed some cough drops, nighttime medication (like NyQuil) and/or anything else. I asked if those over-the-counter meds might be more smartly purchased in the gift shop and she responded, “Our prices are quite competitive here in the health center” so I said sure to cough drops and NyQuil.

Dr. Sandra left for a minute or two and returned with my medications and walked me through the medical charges that would get added to my cruise bill. Well I was shocked. The price was reasonable and, frankly, the over-the-counter meds were less than what I’d pay at Walgreens back home. Dr. Sandra also enveloped up for me a packet to submit to my insurance for reimbursement – which I, of course, still haven’t done. But very nice!

All in all, I was in the medical area for less than 30 minutes, got the medication I needed, returned to my room, was checked on relentlessly by the Concierge team but also received a follow-up call from the doctor herself the next day!

Now I get that larger, more serious illnesses and injuries occur on board the ships. But don’t fear the medical center. Clean, friendly, efficient and (for me) unexpectedly cost-effective. While I hope NO ONE comes down with anything on a magical Disney cruise, I must share that at the very least the ‘doctor’s visit’ is a very familiar, very efficient one.

Happy cruising! Also pro-tip – did you know? This little container is available right outside the door, 24/7 access if you’re feeling squeamish…