Traveling with Diabetes – Cruise Specifics

Traveling with Diabetes – A New MJ on Travel Series

Traveling with Diabetes – The Basics

Traveling with Diabetes – No Sweat Security

Traveling with Diabetes – Cruise Specifics

Traveling with Diabetes – Insulin Pumper Specifics

We all know that I love to cruise. With 30 cruises under my belt, all of them as a type 1 diabetic, I feel safe saying that with just a little bit of preparation, you can enjoy your cruise just like anyone else. When preparing for your cruise, I think it’s a good idea to start with a read of my “The Basics” post for a good primer on general travel as a diabetic. I allude to cruising in that post, and I’ll expound just a bit here.


Keeping insulin cool is not an issue. Many cruise ships have mini-fridges in the room. Like a typical hotel mini-fridge, they are stocked with goodies for sale. In these cases, I have always been able to fit my insulin in with everything else. If you find that’s not working for you, just contact your stateroom attendant and ask them to have the items in the mini-fridge removed. Issue resolved. If your stateroom is not equipped with a mini-fridge, it is usually possible to simply request one through the special needs department of your cruise line, or if you work with a travel agent, they can make the request on your behalf. If you don’t want to deal with a mini-fridge (I never do if it’s not already in the room), you can try my old trick of keeping your insulin in a zip top bag, and just placing on top of the ice in an ice bucket. Finally, while you should never take my advice over that of your physician, as long as you keep your insulin cool, not necessarily cold, it will be fine. The following guidelines were snipped from the Eli Lilly website ( I am not a physician or pharmacist, and this is for informational purposes only. Do what your doctor says!


Syringes, lancets, etc. should be disposed of in a sharps container. You can request a sharps container in advance through the special needs desk of your cruise line, or just ask your stateroom attendant when you get on board. They don’t want to get stuck by your needles and are happy to provide the container for your use.


If you want to reach out to your cruise line in advance, I’m including links to the “big 3” lines’ special needs departments here. If your cruise is on another line, just go to their website and search for “special needs.” If you work with a travel agent, have them make any special requests on your behalf in advance.

In summary, with just a bit of planning, you will be sailing in no time. Enjoy your cruise!

-MJ, June 12, 2013

About Marshall Jackson

Marshall Jackson is a former airline pilot, grounded by diabetes. After spending several years in operations management, he exited the airline business for a more stable career. But that hasn't dampened his interest in airplanes, airlines and travel in general.

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  1. First time cruising Carnival May 2014 and our daughter is a Type 1 diabetic. She wears an insulin pump, but can switch to shots. Our main concern is her getting a virus or getting sick. Do you know what kind of treatment would be available for her if this happens? Normally she would be admitted to a PICU. Any info would be great! Thanks.

  2. When you say “virus or getting sick,” do you mean getting norovirus? I have never had it so I don’t know what the treatment regimen is. I expect it’s take anti-nauseal meds and remain quarantined in your room until it passes. My only recommendation, based on experience, is to just wash your hands often, and enjoy your cruise. I know that noro happens on ships from time to time, but I’ve never had it happen on any of my 32 cruises.

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