Despite the luxurious splendour and opulence, most cruise ships do not have hospitals on board and are therefore not as equipped as might be expected
to deal with certain major medical emergencies. There are, of course, clinics and medical facilities. Most even have a morgue.
But whereas the medical capabilities are essentially geared to deal with issues such as an outbreak of stomach virus, most doctors on board do not have hospital emergency room qualifications, according to one lawyer who has led litigation against cruise lines. With ships carrying up to 6,000 passengers and crew in port, port managers, especially in smaller cruise destinations, should remain conscious of this reality.