Sharp increase in sick Dutch taken from cruise ships

Oasis of the Seas cruise ship docket in Rotterdam. Delano Boyce picture
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The number of sick or injured Dutch removed from cruise ships and taken to hospital, increased sharply over the past years, according to the Eurocross Alarm Center. The alarm center expects that by the end of the year, this number will be around 135 - a 30 percent increase compared to two years ago. This is especially remarkable as the number of Dutch opting for a holiday on a cruise ship decreased over the past years, NOS reports.

So far, Eurocross took over a hundred sick or injured Dutch from cruise ships. Most cases involved infections, such as pneumonia, heart disease or a pre-existing condition worsening. There were also a number of broken bones, usually after a fall on board. The ship's doctor determines whether the situation is urgent enough that the patient has to be taken to the mainland and hospital.

Eurocross thinks that the increase can be related to the fact that cruise ship holidaymakers are increasing in age. "A few years ago mostly people of 60 to 65 years went on such a vacation, now they are often aged 70 to 80 years", the alarm center said, according to the broadcaster.

Suzan de Wit of Eurocross warns that getting a passenger off a cruise ship can be an expensive operation.The ship has to dock at the nearest harbor, which can be difficult when traveling great distances. An ambulance or helicopter is then deployed to take the patient to hospital. Not everyone is insured for such incidents. De Wit therefore advises Dutch to make sure what their insurance covers before departing.