For oxygen-dependent individuals, knowing the availability of oxygen or if oxygen is supported on cruises is of utmost importance. This extends to all traveling, of course. Medical conditions that require oxygen used to mean travel was a no-go, but portable oxygen containers have turned the impossible into the possible.
Unfortunately, as of right now there are no cruise lines that supply oxygen on-board for those that require it. Luckily, however, this doesn’t mean that going on a cruise with an oxygen tank is impossible. Instead, it just requires a bit of extra planning. While a lot of cruising is doable with a tank, make sure to check with your doctor before going on any cruise. It’s important that they understand exactly what you’re doing, so be as clear with them as you can be so they can advise you on how to best continue your oxygen therapy while on your trip.
A lot of cruise lines require passengers with oxygen needs to meet certain requirements before being allowed on, so that is something you are going to want to check out beforehand. For example, Royal Caribbean does not supply oxygen tanks on-board, but they are fine with those dependent on oxygen therapy being on their ships as long as tanks are of a certain size. This is so that special accommodations can be made during tours and other activities. Requirements and other info can be found by contacting a ship’s Access Department. You can find this by Googling it or making a call to the cruise line directly (for the sake of this article, you can reach Royal Caribbean’s Access Department right here: 866-592-7225). You can also go on any cruise line’s website and search terms like “accessibility” or “medical” and find more information.
While a lot of factors vary from cruise line to cruise line, they are mostly all the same in the sense that they require passengers to provide their own tanks and oxygen, as well as being responsible for any other medical supplies unique to their condition.
There is one cruise line out there that is directly working with those that have oxygen tank dependencies. Sea Puffers is owned by respiratory therapists and attends to each passenger individually to figure out what they need. They have tons of backup medical equipment on-board, and are perhaps the best cruise choice for anyone needing oxygen. The cruises are also filled with people with similar conditions, meaning you don’t need to feel singled-out. You’re welcome to take part in as many or as few of the activities as you’d like. Many passengers found Sea Puffers to be empowering as well as incredibly fun; they sail to places as varied as Russia, the Mediterranean and (of course) the Caribbean.
If you’re dependent on oxygen, you don’t need to avoid cruises, but there is a bit of extra planning involved. While you shouldn’t expect any cruise (aside from Sea Puffers) to directly cater to you with available oxygen, as long as you bring your own supplies and meet certain requirements you should be good to participate as much as you’d like!