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The new medically-fit-to travel forms for passengers 70 and older


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I know it's hard to think about cruising right now, but I am facing a balance due date soon for a Regent cruise in the fall. We were scheduled to be on Splendor right now, but that cruise was canceled the day before we were to leave, so we would really like to take the next cruise if the health crisis has abated by then. My concern is the proposal from the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) to require all passengers 70 and older to submit a health form signed by their doctors declaring them to be "medically-fit-to-travel.'' I believe Norwegian, Celebrity and Princess went ahead and adopted such a rule earlier this month and printed actual forms that passengers needed to complete.

 

When we were getting ready for our since-canceled cruise, Regent at that time was not requiring us to submit a physician's form, but one of the Cruise Critic posters on the Regent site said her travel agent told her that Regent would be imposing such a for all 70 and older passengers on future cruises. I have talked to my own doctor and a friend who is a doctor, and both of them said that they would never sign such a blanket "medically-fit-to-travel'' forms because there are too many unknowns in making such a definitive statement. My doctor friend said he didn't think I could ever find a physician willing to face the potential liability issues that could be involved with signing such a form. My own doctor said he would write a letter outlining the general results of my annual wellness physical, but he would not sign the form.

 

In researching the various cruise line web sites this morning, Celebrity indicates they will at least for the time being keep the medical form requirement for passengers 70 and older once cruising resumes, but I could no longer find any reference to the physician form on the Norwegian and Princess sites, and there is still no form mentioned on the Regent site. They all say that they will be adopting more in-depth health questionnaires that all passengers will have to complete at the dock, and I am all for that plan. I just don't think it is fair to single out seniors when many of them are in better shape than younger passengers and require them to get a form signed by their doctor. As I recall Norwegian's form, which I can no longer find, was more of a general overall health statement, but the passenger's physical had to be completed within a week before the Norwegian cruise, which really seems impractical. I think Celebrity's "medically-fit-to-travel'' form, which is still on the company's web site, is particularly unfair. It flatly rules out passengers who have diabetes, HIV or cancer. My own doctor was shocked at that. He said many people, young and old, with serious health issues that are under control or are being treated travel all the time with no problems. I just worry that if the cruise industry sticks with the physician medical form, I won't be able to find any doctor to sign such a statement, and our cruising days will be over. 

 

Does anyone have any knowledge or insights into this issue? Do you think Regent will adopt such a policy, or do you think the medical form proposal will be dropped once the world's health situation improves? I am just trying to figure out if I should go ahead and make my final payment. Regent's "reassurance'' policy to offer full refunds no matter when a passenger cancels will not help me because the benefit applies only to cruises that start before Sept. 30, 2020. Our cruise would leave a few days after that.

 

 

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This was done hastily while the current crisis was developing.  Surely they will have to re-think this after the virus danger passes.  I agree, not allowing pax with diabetes or cancer, let alone HIV, is outrageous.  And I also agree that any doctor would be reluctant to sign this type of form.

 

If they don't change this by the time our WC comes around (payment in July currently), we would have to think very seriously about cancelling.

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If Regent, or for that matter any other cruise-line or travel operator, has not explicitly brought this type of requirement to the notice of their guests at time of booking, confirmed at time of final payment, I cannot see how they could introduce it later without giving guests the option to cancel with a full refund.

 

If CLIA don't rethink this approach then the chances of a swift recovery for cruise-lines after this pandemic seem very slim.

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I had a laser procedure done on my eye about 20 years ago.

I asked the doctor how old a person he would do this on.

  He said he would not hesitate on a healthy 70 year that meant the requirements 

and would not hesitate to turn down a 30 year old that did not.

  SO.....I feel everyone should have to do the letter or no one.

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For our cruise to Antarctica on Ponant,  we (I assume all)  were required to get a medical form signed by our doctor about us being able to be 2-3 days away from medical help.  I do not remember how general the form was about our health but I talked with all our doctors way before final payment  and had no problem getting our PCP to sign the form.

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19 hours ago, Shippy said:

I had a laser procedure done on my eye about 20 years ago.

I asked the doctor how old a person he would do this on.

  He said he would not hesitate on a healthy 70 year that meant the requirements 

and would not hesitate to turn down a 30 year old that did not.

  SO.....I feel everyone should have to do the letter or no one.

I agree!  It's either all get the form, or no one.  People of any age can have health issues.  I can only imagine all the age discrimination lawsuits.  

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Sure hope this "Medical Form" goes away for a couple of reasons.  Getting an appointment with a doctor is nearly impossible, especially right now.  They are only seeing medical emergencies and even if I got an appointment for our May cruise, I'm not sure we want to sit in a doctor's waiting room.  In fact, we had a doctor cancel my husband's appointment yesterday because he did not want us in the waiting room because we were over 70 yrs old.

 

Talked with a family member who is a doctor, told him about the medical form being required to cruise.  He said he would be surprised if any doctor would sign a form like that.  Said he could for see a lot of problems, for doctors and cruise lines.  Plus doctor's are going to consider this medical form a waste of their time.   

 

Will medical insurance pay for the doctor's visit and blood work, if needed?  A lot of questions and problems are going to arise from this medical form requirement.  This wasn't very well thought out.  

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I guess I should have added that this all happened before the corona virus started up; I was actually in their offices after bloodwork had already been done.

Edited by Pam
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I wouldn't worry about this.

 

The idea of a certificate of fitness to travel was floated around for a while when the Covid19 was just getting active. There was a proposed US government advisory (ban) for people over 70 from cruising.  CLIA came up with the idea of a form in order to get around this ban. The form had to signed by an MD not less that 7 days before  boarding.

 

In any event, since all ships have stopped and the world is in lock-down, this form is probably moot.  I would be more concerned that the cruise industry still exists in a year. 

 

It goes without say, but I say it anyway. Be sure you have purchased travel insurance to cover you in case you were to get sick and not be able to make the voyage.

 

Link to USA Today article

 

J

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It is unrealistic on two grounds:

 

1.  The doctor could be a close friend or a lax practitioner.  Who knows.  And be willing to sign anything.

2.  If you live outside the country where you are going to embark - the week may be way too little to bring a recently signed form.   We were in California for a week before our aborted Splendor cruise.  Our doctor here in Switzerland would never have signed a form like this knowing that her signature would be out of date before we boarded.

 

SO - back to the drawing board...

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I just read Celebrity's form.  It is specifically about being at high risk for Covid 19.  The doctor simply needs to certify that one doesn't suffer from "any chronic illness (e.g. heart, lung, liver or kidney disease or immunodeficiency status due to HIV/AIDS, cancer or diabetes) which would make this patient susceptible to complications arising after infection with the Novel Coronavirus (2019- nCoV)/COVID-19."  If you do, you shouldn't be going anyway.  I assume the cruislines are not equipped to handle someone who needs to be put on a respirator while out at sea.  I don't see why a doctor would be unwilling to certify the someone is not currently suffering from any of the illnesses listed.  

By the way, someone under 70 who has one of these chronic illnesses shouldn't cruise at this time.

Edited by papaflamingo
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2 hours ago, Hambagahle said:

It is unrealistic on two grounds:

 

1.  The doctor could be a close friend or a lax practitioner.  Who knows.  And be willing to sign anything.

2.  If you live outside the country where you are going to embark - the week may be way too little to bring a recently signed form.   We were in California for a week before our aborted Splendor cruise.  Our doctor here in Switzerland would never have signed a form like this knowing that her signature would be out of date before we boarded.

 

SO - back to the drawing board...

 

Plus they don't verify these forms...or do they? I have no idea myself.

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14 hours ago, mrlevin said:

I can't imagine cruise lines banning those with Diabetes; that is a large part of the population.

 

Marc

They won't ban anyone as long as a Doctor will certify that they are not of high risk for Covid 19.  If a Doctor feels someone is too high risk to cruise, that person shouldn't cruise anyway.

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Thing is, who is going to pay the doctor for any exams and lab work that must be done to sign the form? I am 76 so I am on medicare, which I don't think would cover that fee. I also am a disabled vet and my regular GP doc is with the VA, He might or might not be able to sign the form without further testing which the VA may or may not authorize. All of the conditions the cruise lines are concerned about could be present in a 20 something year old. Do the cruise lines have no lawyers to advise them about age discrimination?

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I don't think most people only decide to cruise 7 days before boarding.  You can make an appointment to coincide with the seven day deadline, if you think far enough ahead.  

 

Edited by Pam
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26 minutes ago, Pam said:

I don't think most people only decide to cruise 7 days before boarding.  You can make an appointment to coincide with the seven day deadline, if you think far enough ahead.  

 

And what (exactly) does one do if....they're going to be arriving in Italy 2 weeks BEFORE embarking on the ship in Civitavecchia?

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Maybe there should be some quid pro quo here.

 

I, as a passenger, provide Medically Fit to Travel form if the cruise line will provide me with a Financially Fit to Accept My Money form at each time I fork over my money.

 

I could get behind an idea like that.  🤣

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This just doesn't make any sense at all.  Next should we get a Medically Fit form before we fly? people got a virus on a plane.  What a theme park visit? People got a virus a theme parks. This list could go on and on. 

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