Medical Exams for Cruise Ship Jobs

Do you need a Medical Exam to Work on a Cruise Ship?

The International Labour Organization requires that all crew wanting to work at sea must undergo a medical examination. This is to reduce health risks to other crew members and safeguard each and everyone’s health and wellbeing. This Agency International Labour Organization (ILO) is a specialised company dedicated to improving labour conditions throughout the globe. They say that every employed person on a ship must have a certificate, signed by a medical practitioner. Also, it must state that the person is fit to work for which they are to be employed.

Ensuring that the seafarer is medically fit is the primary purpose of this medical exam, and they must, in turn, perform their safety duties assigned to them once onboard. Most Companies want to know of any medical conditions that would endanger or affect any other person onboard.

What is the purpose of a cruise ship medical exam?

The individual seafarer must be fit for duty to work at sea and be employed. The medical exams purpose it to make sure of his. Many tasks are required to complete the medical. Some assessments might be:

  • Be able to navigate the ship safely at all times
  • Be physically fit to deal with any emergencies that may occur out at sea
  • Be free from any diseases while at sea especially the spreading onto others
  • Be responsive at all times and absence of discrimination based on disability or any medical conditions.

How to prepare for your cruise ship job medical exam

Well, you will need to take your passport with and copy of vaccination record if you have one. If you wear any contacts or glasses, make sure to bring along, most likely you will be doing a vision test and audible test. At the start, it will be those boring papers to fill out and a questionnaire. Also, it will ask for all your previous medical history and any current ones. Not forgetting how much you smoke, drink, exercise and sleep. Depending on where you do your medical you might get a nurse to first do all your vitals and personal details like height, weight etc…She might also do your urine sample, blood tests and chest x-ray.

The doctor will eventually call you in when you have done and then you would go through a physical examination with some questions then he would assess all your other details like balance, endurance, strength and fitness levels. Depending on how long and busy they are you should get most of your results to expect blood tests as that takes a couple of days. If you do not, they will contact you when they are ready. Keep in mind the medical exam is not cheap and will cost. Some companies reimburse while most others do not.

What tests are done for a cruise ship medical exam?

What type of questions will be asked during my medical examination?

Have you had any of the following conditions?

Heart Problems

Blood Pressure

Eye/vision problems




Kidney problems

Memory Loss

Sleep Disorder




Thyroid Problems

Above is just a  few questions they might ask you during your cruise ship job medical exam. 

Questions you might be asked before you join any cruise ship

Due to recent outbreaks like Ebola and Zika, ships have taken extra precautions to keep most ships healthy and safe.

  1. Do you have shortness of breath?
  2. Do you have any muscles aches?
  3. Have you had any Diarrhea?
  4. Any unusual headaches?
  5. Any Fever or Chills?
  6. Recent coughing?
  7. Any Skin rashes or infections?
  8. Have you had any recent Stomach aches?

Some medical symptoms to look out for while working on a cruise ship

Most cruise ship medical exams will also require a full body check

Some examples of what medical examinations would take place?

Abnormal or Normal

Lungs & Chest


Head & Neck

Varicose Veins

Heart ECG

Eye Movement 



Abdomen & Viscera


Ear, Nose & Throat

Mouth & Teeth

Breast Examination

Above is just a  few questions they might ask you during your cruise ship job medical exam.

How much does a cruise ship medical cost?

Most medical cost will vary dependant from country to country.  Make sure to call a medical practitioner office and check before time so you may prepare your budget. Sometimes you will be given pre-approved medical practitioners details from the company recruiting you. 

How long does a cruise ship medical last?

A medical exam will last for two years, and then you will have to renew it.  In the olden days, they used to last around five years, but nowadays they have changed things and have shortened the length to two years.  Medical exams are serious while onboard cruise ships.

Can I do my cruise ship medical in another country?

Dependant on the compnay you applying with but most of the time it shouldn’t be an issue. The only factors would be dependant on the company and approved medical practioiners that thye have selected. If they are in the country you want to do it in and they are part of the selection , you in luck.

What happens if my medical expires while onboard?

If you are on board and it’s about to run out the ship will find an appropriate approved medical practitioner and will send you shoreside to do a medical. The beautiful thing when this happens while you onboard the company pays for your medical exam.

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