As a patient who requires oxygen, it may seem that your travel options are limited, but this couldn’t be further from reality. Cruising with a portable oxygen concentrator can be an easy endeavor; with the correct preparation, you’ll find using oxygen on a cruise ship doesn’t differ much from how you deal with it at home. Let’s take a look at some of the ways to properly prepare to use a portable oxygen concentrator to enjoy a fantastic cruise.
First, visit your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to travel. Talk to her about your travel needs and double check the amount of oxygen you’ll need and whether you can use pulse dose oxygen or need an oxygen concentrator that provides continuous flow. This distinction will be significant especially if you usually use an in-home unit that is not mobile. Some portable oxygen concentrators provide both types of oxygen delivery, but many do not. If you are purchasing or renting a unit just for travel, make sure it delivers the amount of oxygen that you need. You’ll want to check on the various ways in which you can travel with your oxygen concentrator and how much it weighs — with and without the battery. Different brands come with belt attachments for wearing the unit around your waist, with travel backpacks, or with rolling carts, much like you would use with a suitcase. You want to know the weight and means of mobility that works with your personal ability and comfort level. Also, be sure to schedule that the portable oxygen concentrator arrives a couple of days ahead so that you can try it out and make sure it works for your needs before you embark on your trip.
Before you book your cruise, be sure to check the cruise line’s policy on oxygen use on board. You can find this information through your travel agent, or by looking online at the cruise line’s website, usually in their information about travelers with disabilities. While some cruise lines are very laid back about oxygen use, others may require a doctor’s letter detailing your diagnosis and approving your ability to travel.
Just like at home, you can plug your portable oxygen concentrator into any available electrical outlet in your cabin and charge the attached battery so you can use it when walking around the ship, participating in onboard entertainment, or during on-shore excursions. You can also ask to be seated for dining near an electrical outlet, so you can charge your unit while eating. If you are traveling with an overseas cruise company, make sure you have an adapter that will allow you to use electricity from a foreign outlet.
To make sure your on-shore excursions are appropriate, be sure to ask a cruise line customer service representative on board the cruise, or by telephone before travel, about the particular difficulty of any sightseeing you are interested in undertaking. It’s better to speak with an experienced staff person than to rely on printed material that rates excursions according to difficulty. Just because a tour is labeled “easy,” doesn’t mean it will be for a person using oxygen. You’ll also want to pay particular attention to how long the battery power lasts when choosing a portable oxygen concentrator, and how long it takes to charge. These factors will determine exactly how long of an on-shore excursion is suitable for your needs.
You can enjoy the freedom a portable oxygen concentrator will allow you on board a cruise. Portable oxygen concentrators are now lighter than ever, easier to transport, and a wonderful way to continue having an active, enjoyable lifestyle despite needing oxygen support.