What about cruising post liver transplant?

Posted by silverwoman @silverwoman, Wed, Aug 21 8:08am

Hi everyone! I'm Sharon and I received my liver transplant on 11/14/18 in Jacksonville. (Thank God for Dr. Burns and the entire Transplant Team). I'm doing very well and 8 months post Tx am beginning to feel stronger and more energetic than my pre-Tx self. I've started to think about traveling again; travel has been a central passion of my life. Has anyone had experience with cruising? When I think about floating around in a container with thousands of others far from medical personnel familiar with transplants and all the dietary restrictions regarding buffets and proper degrees of cooking, I'm leery. Is cruising for post transplants possible or just a bad idea?

@silverwoman my transplant was 11/28/18. I have been on a few cruises but have decided not to go that venue for vacationing just for the reasons you listed. I think I will wait at least another year before I go on a cruise so that I am completely familiar and comfortable around food choices. Aboard ship they cook on a grand scale and I believe I would avoid the buffets and attend meal service plans in the restaurants. This also goes for all inclusive island vacations. Same thing, the food is not necessarily to our code of standards (and in Canada they are pretty high ). I really want to go south this year but may wait until at least the fall of 2020 before making any real plans. Those are just my thoughts though.

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Thanks for your thoughts. Good points all! Part of my hesitation is in not wanting to be a drama queen and not wanting my travel partners to feel limited in their choices due to my restrictions. Tricky – and maybe I'm not ready for that yet. I think you are right, better to stick with less complicated venues for these first vacations.

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I wouldn't cruise, not because I of my Transplant. But because of the retroviruses common on cruise ships. I am 14 months out and I use all the precautions. Wash hand all the time. Avoid food that is not ready made etc. I do eat at buffet. I f the food looks old wait for a new batch. I have asked for fresh serving because of my Transplant and servers are more than helpful.😁

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Vacation Tips and Tricks for Transplant Patients
– In April 2019, this Newsfeed was posted in the Transplant Pages. Although it does not mention cruise safety, I think it is a good reference for all travelers with a transplant. –

https://connect.mayoclinic.org/page/transplant/newsfeed-post/vacation-tips-and-tricks-for-transplant-patients/

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@silverwoman

Thanks for your thoughts. Good points all! Part of my hesitation is in not wanting to be a drama queen and not wanting my travel partners to feel limited in their choices due to my restrictions. Tricky – and maybe I'm not ready for that yet. I think you are right, better to stick with less complicated venues for these first vacations.

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@silverwoman, This is exciting to hear that you are ready to travel again. I have not taken a cruise, but I do understand your concerns.
I have found that my family and friends have become very protective of me and my restrictions and over my 10 years of transplant living.

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HI Sharon,

Congratulations on the successful liver transplant! Great news.

I am an avid traveler and took my first trip to the Dutch West Indies just 5 months after my kidney transplant! I was so nervous but I had full approval from my medical team and I took every precaution possible. The Travel Clinic and my Transplant team worked together to advise me as they do anytime I leave the country. I was so happy to go somewhere after transplant and not be sick, I was beyond grateful to live my life!

Generally when we travel we rent apartments or houses because it allows us to cook and to live among the locals wherever we go.

I have only been on two cruises in my life and both were after transplant…

Cruise #1: was super short and a spur of the moment decision the ship went to a "Private Island" (which just means cruise owned) then to Nassau and back through the Port of Miami, it was ok and I was glad we tried it. Food wasn't a big deal for me I think I ate granola bars, bananas, bottled water, etc.

Cruise #2: was in the Western Caribbean and was much longer (Honduras, Belize, Cozumel). On this cruise we selected a plan that allowed us access to a less used section of the ship, we shared a dinning room and pools with 60 rooms. I made arrangements to bring all of my own bottled water on board. I also packed plenty of snacks in my suitcase. My hubby loves food so we'd go out to restaurants on the main section of the ship and I would be able to find something to eat like hot soup or fried shrimp which I knew it was safer, no raw veg. I never ate while off the ship. We are pretty independent travelers so we would travel all over the countries we stopped at and I would pack a granola bar and a liter of water, no big deal for me I'm not that into food. When we would go in the main areas of the ship, the bars, pools etc., it was wall-to-wall people! I never felt safe from germs! People were coughing and sick everywhere, it was gross and hard to avoid, you would see people on lawn chairs by pools shoulder to shoulder or up against each other waiting for drinks at the bars. We never ate the buffet style foods. My husband and I decided after we got home that A: it wasn't the kind of experience we were looking for and B: the risks of a large scale cruise to my health are more than we are comfortable with. We may try a smaller European river cruise sometime, but no more giant cruise line for us.

Keep seeking other opinions though, this is just one person's perspective.

Cheers.

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@jolinda

HI Sharon,

Congratulations on the successful liver transplant! Great news.

I am an avid traveler and took my first trip to the Dutch West Indies just 5 months after my kidney transplant! I was so nervous but I had full approval from my medical team and I took every precaution possible. The Travel Clinic and my Transplant team worked together to advise me as they do anytime I leave the country. I was so happy to go somewhere after transplant and not be sick, I was beyond grateful to live my life!

Generally when we travel we rent apartments or houses because it allows us to cook and to live among the locals wherever we go.

I have only been on two cruises in my life and both were after transplant…

Cruise #1: was super short and a spur of the moment decision the ship went to a "Private Island" (which just means cruise owned) then to Nassau and back through the Port of Miami, it was ok and I was glad we tried it. Food wasn't a big deal for me I think I ate granola bars, bananas, bottled water, etc.

Cruise #2: was in the Western Caribbean and was much longer (Honduras, Belize, Cozumel). On this cruise we selected a plan that allowed us access to a less used section of the ship, we shared a dinning room and pools with 60 rooms. I made arrangements to bring all of my own bottled water on board. I also packed plenty of snacks in my suitcase. My hubby loves food so we'd go out to restaurants on the main section of the ship and I would be able to find something to eat like hot soup or fried shrimp which I knew it was safer, no raw veg. I never ate while off the ship. We are pretty independent travelers so we would travel all over the countries we stopped at and I would pack a granola bar and a liter of water, no big deal for me I'm not that into food. When we would go in the main areas of the ship, the bars, pools etc., it was wall-to-wall people! I never felt safe from germs! People were coughing and sick everywhere, it was gross and hard to avoid, you would see people on lawn chairs by pools shoulder to shoulder or up against each other waiting for drinks at the bars. We never ate the buffet style foods. My husband and I decided after we got home that A: it wasn't the kind of experience we were looking for and B: the risks of a large scale cruise to my health are more than we are comfortable with. We may try a smaller European river cruise sometime, but no more giant cruise line for us.

Keep seeking other opinions though, this is just one person's perspective.

Cheers.

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Thanks for your perspective, Jolinda! So much of the cruise experience is bound to the fabulous food and its 24/7 availability. If that is not something that we, as transplants, can freely enjoy, perhaps giving big ship cruising a pass it wise. Good insight, very helpful to me.

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@rosemarya

Vacation Tips and Tricks for Transplant Patients
– In April 2019, this Newsfeed was posted in the Transplant Pages. Although it does not mention cruise safety, I think it is a good reference for all travelers with a transplant. –

https://connect.mayoclinic.org/page/transplant/newsfeed-post/vacation-tips-and-tricks-for-transplant-patients/

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Thank you for the link, Rosemary. Very good information and timely for me. This forum's responders have really helped me to sort out my ideas and feelings about cruising quickly. Very helpful.

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@luckonetj

I wouldn't cruise, not because I of my Transplant. But because of the retroviruses common on cruise ships. I am 14 months out and I use all the precautions. Wash hand all the time. Avoid food that is not ready made etc. I do eat at buffet. I f the food looks old wait for a new batch. I have asked for fresh serving because of my Transplant and servers are more than helpful.😁

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Thanks for you input. The replies to my question have been very helpful.

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@rosemarya

@silverwoman, This is exciting to hear that you are ready to travel again. I have not taken a cruise, but I do understand your concerns.
I have found that my family and friends have become very protective of me and my restrictions and over my 10 years of transplant living.

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@rosemarya My husband is coming up on his 3 yr anniversary for his kidney transplant. While he was pretty strict following all the guideline right after and for the first six months, he has let most all of it slide now. I get frustrated with him, and still try to keep him protected, but it doesn't work most of the time. All I can do is explain my point of view and let him know my thoughts.
Ginger

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@silverwoman I personally have ruled out cruises, not only because of the food, nut even more so because germs on cruise ships seem to travel and cause heavy outbreaks. Being on immunosuppressants we are so much more likely to catch something. We went to NYC in December of 2017 for my daughter’s wedding celebration and afterward I ended up having Legionaries disease. I could have caught it elsewhere over the weekend but the person who called from the board of health and I both thought it was probably the venue. No one else got sick though, nor did anyplace in the city have an outbreak of legionnaires. We are just much more vulnerable than the general population.
I do think I might one of those European river cruises mentioned by @jolinda
JK

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@contentandwell

@silverwoman I personally have ruled out cruises, not only because of the food, nut even more so because germs on cruise ships seem to travel and cause heavy outbreaks. Being on immunosuppressants we are so much more likely to catch something. We went to NYC in December of 2017 for my daughter’s wedding celebration and afterward I ended up having Legionaries disease. I could have caught it elsewhere over the weekend but the person who called from the board of health and I both thought it was probably the venue. No one else got sick though, nor did anyplace in the city have an outbreak of legionnaires. We are just much more vulnerable than the general population.
I do think I might one of those European river cruises mentioned by @jolinda
JK

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@contentandwell @silverwoman Try a small cruise line, like American Cruises https://www.americancruiselines.com My sister really liked them!
Ginger

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@jolinda

HI Sharon,

Congratulations on the successful liver transplant! Great news.

I am an avid traveler and took my first trip to the Dutch West Indies just 5 months after my kidney transplant! I was so nervous but I had full approval from my medical team and I took every precaution possible. The Travel Clinic and my Transplant team worked together to advise me as they do anytime I leave the country. I was so happy to go somewhere after transplant and not be sick, I was beyond grateful to live my life!

Generally when we travel we rent apartments or houses because it allows us to cook and to live among the locals wherever we go.

I have only been on two cruises in my life and both were after transplant…

Cruise #1: was super short and a spur of the moment decision the ship went to a "Private Island" (which just means cruise owned) then to Nassau and back through the Port of Miami, it was ok and I was glad we tried it. Food wasn't a big deal for me I think I ate granola bars, bananas, bottled water, etc.

Cruise #2: was in the Western Caribbean and was much longer (Honduras, Belize, Cozumel). On this cruise we selected a plan that allowed us access to a less used section of the ship, we shared a dinning room and pools with 60 rooms. I made arrangements to bring all of my own bottled water on board. I also packed plenty of snacks in my suitcase. My hubby loves food so we'd go out to restaurants on the main section of the ship and I would be able to find something to eat like hot soup or fried shrimp which I knew it was safer, no raw veg. I never ate while off the ship. We are pretty independent travelers so we would travel all over the countries we stopped at and I would pack a granola bar and a liter of water, no big deal for me I'm not that into food. When we would go in the main areas of the ship, the bars, pools etc., it was wall-to-wall people! I never felt safe from germs! People were coughing and sick everywhere, it was gross and hard to avoid, you would see people on lawn chairs by pools shoulder to shoulder or up against each other waiting for drinks at the bars. We never ate the buffet style foods. My husband and I decided after we got home that A: it wasn't the kind of experience we were looking for and B: the risks of a large scale cruise to my health are more than we are comfortable with. We may try a smaller European river cruise sometime, but no more giant cruise line for us.

Keep seeking other opinions though, this is just one person's perspective.

Cheers.

Jump to this post

@jolinda We have vacationed two times in the Caribbean and would love to go back but am hesitant since I figure if I did get sick I would need to be airlifted to the US. I know from the two times I have been hospitalized after my liver transplant that I need to be in a hospital familiar with the needs of a post-transplant patient.
Which islands did you go to? Do you know how the medical care is on those islands? I have been thinking if we decide to do a tropic vacation it would have to be Hawaii since there is an excellent hospital in Honolulu that is also a transplant center. We have been to Hawaii once and loved it, but not only is it very pricey but the flights from the east coast are very long and tiring.
Thanks.
JK

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@gingerw

@rosemarya My husband is coming up on his 3 yr anniversary for his kidney transplant. While he was pretty strict following all the guideline right after and for the first six months, he has let most all of it slide now. I get frustrated with him, and still try to keep him protected, but it doesn't work most of the time. All I can do is explain my point of view and let him know my thoughts.
Ginger

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@gingerw, I understand your concern and frustration. Keep the conversation going about how much you care, and insist that he keep up with his medicatons, his routine labs, and preventive medical screenings.

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@gingerw

@rosemarya My husband is coming up on his 3 yr anniversary for his kidney transplant. While he was pretty strict following all the guideline right after and for the first six months, he has let most all of it slide now. I get frustrated with him, and still try to keep him protected, but it doesn't work most of the time. All I can do is explain my point of view and let him know my thoughts.
Ginger

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Are you sure you aren't my wife! I'm a little over 3 years on my kidney transplant and have slipped back into some of my old habits. Thankfully my wife also gets frustrated with me and tells me her thoughts. Most of the time I agree with what she's saying and concerned about. When I believe I'm correct I go ahead and eat or drink those things. Most of the time afterwards I'll find out she was actually correct but I definitely don't let her know that! For me, her thoughts and observations help remind me of the gift I've been given and to not risk my poor judgment at times. He's lucky to have you watching out for him! Are you sure that you aren't my frustrated wife venting!

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