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Medical Emergency At Sea


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People are sometimes quick to criticize when a cruise isn’t going exactly as it was planned and when something good is done and/or happens just take it in stride without a comment.

On October 11 my family and I were on the Norwegian Wind. We were just about to leave our last port of call in Kauai before going out to sea to Fanning Island. It would take us 2 days to get there, then have one day in port and then another 2 days to return. My brother had been experiencing stomach pain for pretty much the entire day and went to the ship's medical facility. While there he lost consciousness. It was determined by the ship’s doctor that he had to be evacuated from the ship for immediate medical attention. By that time the ship was already heading to Fanning Island. The Captain turned the ship around and my brother was taken off ship and transported to a hospital in Kauai. Early morning of October 12 he had emergency surgery.

His wife was unable to accompany him because the evacuation was done at sea and it was deemed to be too dangerous. During his stay at the hospital his wife was able to make a courtesy call every day to talk to him.

The operation saved his life and I am happy to say he is doing well now.

We will all be forever grateful to the Captain and his staff.

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Wow! Glad to hear it was a happy ending! Air evacs are the most dangerous (saw one being done once in the Med on an RCCL ship....scary...very, very scary....those pilots must have ice water in their veins). The ship will always safe guard the lives of their passengers but it's nice to hear that his wife was able to contact him/hospital staff every day to make sure he was doing okay. I'm sure she (and you as well) were nerve racked but at least you weren't left in the dark on his condition.

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I am glad things worked out. While ship's medical facilities are state of the art, it is something that even the most healthy people might need. When we sailed the Star in Hawaii, we had turned back to a couple having a heart attack and we got closer so the USCG could medically evacuate this person. It was very neat to watch the ship's crew turn the aft deck into the flight deck.


Granted, I thought at the time I would never need medical facility short of an asthma attack, which I never had bad. But I ended up being pushed into fire coral by wife, on another cruise. I had a blister the size of the silver dollar on knee and could not bend it. We were seen and give anti-biotics for me. It was so funny because they gave the drugs in a plastic bag with a label on it. The Docs were South African, so medical became known as our South African Drug Coneection.

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the rumors were that someone had a heart attack. thanks for setting the record straight and glad that everything went well!


did your brother receive the card that was signed by the passengers later on in the cruise??


That was such a nice, thoughtful thing to do.

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I was on the cruise at that time and was wondering what had happened. Thankfully your brother was in good hands and got the attention he needed.

We have all read about NCL's "medical emergencies" on the way to Fanning Island. Some wondering if it is just an excuse NCL uses not to go to Fanning Island.


To NCL's and the Wind's credit I thought the whole cruise was great and I was impressed by how hard the whole staff worked to keep the ship clean.

Larry M.

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I am glad to hear that your brother is doing well!


Medical evacuations at sea are the only reason I take insurance on my cruises. While I would be sad if I had to miss a cruise, I could handle the loss of a few thousand dollars should something occur before sailing.


I have heard that air evacuations can cost $45,000. My health plan does not cover me outside of the United States so I would have to pay the out of pocket. That expense added with any medical expenses in a foreign country would just break me.


Shoreguy once posted about insuremytrip.com. I always buy a policy through them and usually get more coverage then NCL offers at a better rate.


BTW. It has been several years since I sailed on the Wind but I always thought it was the perfect size ship. I will miss her when she leaves for Star.

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oops. i made a big mistake. this same thing happened on my cruise on the WIND but we sailed from 9/27 to 10/10. which would have made the emergency, also on our first sea day to Fanning, but on sept. 29!!


i re-read your post after you said he didnt receive the card and i see the dates are different.


sorry i got the 2 cruises confused, but i am still relieved that your brother is okay even if i mixed him up with another passenger. so, it was on a different cruise where we sent out the card.




what did they do to change your itinerary?


this makes 2 cruises in a row that the Wind missed Fanning Island.

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There was no itinerary change, we went to Fanning Island and my brother stayed in the hospital in Kauai. The ship lost two hours going to Fanning Island but made the time up enroute. We met my brother in Honolulu airport when the cruise was over.

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A similar incident happened to us on our first NCL cruise on the Star in Hawaii in 2002. We had left Hilo bound for Fanning and over night an elderly passenger fell and sustained serious injuries. The ships doctors, along with a surgeon who happened to be on board as a passenger (and was consulted), determined that it was a life threatening emergency and the Captain turned the ship around and returned to the big island.


We sailed into Kona harbor, they evactuated the lady that evening. We did lose our trip to Fanning, but gained a stop in Kona (not on the original itinerary) and a second day in Maui. It was still great though that the Captain (and NCL) did what was best for the passenger. NCL and the shore excursions staff also did a great job with new shore excursions for the new ports.


Like this story, it just goes to show that there are some things more important than following an itinerary and worrying about upset passengers...the well being of a single passenger!

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Glad to hear he is doing well after surgery!:)


Anyone who is angry about a change in itenary due to a medical emergency is just a horrible horrible person!!! :mad:


Unfortunately Prosephone, there were some people who whined and complained about missing Fanning Island. I overheard several whines and just shook my head at those selfish people.

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Unfortunately Prosephone, there were some people who whined and complained about missing Fanning Island. I overheard several whines and just shook my head at those selfish people.


Perhaps it's disappointment, not selfishness? If we missed a port due to a medical emergency, I'd be disappointed that we didn't go, but I'd understand, too.

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