View Full Version : Helipad on board?

09-02-2004, 06:45 PM
This is neither here nor there, but a matter of trivia...

Is it true (or rather, just "urban legend") that there is a "helipad" on board the Wonder/Magic where a helicopter could land in case of emergency?

My husband and I were curious about that, after hearing that a man was evacuated from Castaway Cay last Friday (8/27) by helicopter. We were wondering what would've happened had he been on board. Just curious...

09-02-2004, 07:10 PM
No helipad ability that I'm aware of. On the 6/19 Western, we diverted close to Key West on the way to CC for a passenger medical transfer to a small Coast Guard boat.

09-02-2004, 07:58 PM
I asked this question in a bridge tour. There is no helipad. BUT....in the case of an emergency, and the patient is too unstable to make it to the next port (or a close port) what they do is this:

Drain the crew pool.

Drop the cables that to from the bridge area to the bow.

Have the helicopter hover over the pool.

Raise the patient up to the helicopter in a basket.

If it was me, I'd have to be next to death in order to convince me to get in a basket and hover under a helicopter!! But then again, if I had to do it, I'd do it!

09-02-2004, 08:04 PM
Btw, on our May 8th western, we left Grand Cayman on time. About 2 hours later we turned around and went back to Grand Cayman to drop off a patient who had been having frequent fainting spells. Then hightailed it to Cozumel and got there on time the next morning. :) Never did find out if the patient was alright. :(

09-02-2004, 08:17 PM
I was on a RCI sailing and they had a helicopter hover over and they took someone up in the basket and his wife. He had a heart attack while onboard and they thought the helicopter would be quicker then sailing back toward Miami to drop him off.

So it is possible, it probably depends on how serious the illness is and how critical the patient may be.

09-02-2004, 08:39 PM
My dad almost drowned on a snorkel excursion from Castaway Cay last Feb. He had to be put on a breathing machine. They debated having a helicopter pick him up from CC. Then decided it would be faster to go to Grand Bahamas and drop him off. Then they decided to have a tug boat meet us at sea and take us to Grand Bahamas. Finally they arranged for a medivac lear jet to meet us in Grand Bahamas and fly us to Fort Lauderdale to Northridge Medical Center. Of course, he was out the whole time and missed all the excitement. It took 9 hours from time of accident until he was admitted to the hospital. The medical staff on board Wonder were great. The medivac people were great. The staff at Northridge were great. Actually---they were all exceptional! And best of all, my dad was released 6 days later with no ill effect.

09-02-2004, 09:51 PM
A scary thought (of having them evacuate someone with a basket).

Sounds like a terriblly frightening ordeal (your Dad's snorkeling accident.) If you don't mind me asking, was that with the "inflatable" vest and all?

09-02-2004, 11:26 PM
Yes, he had his vest on and inflated and there were about 5 tour crew members on boogie boards in the water. We were on the snorkel tour from CC that takes you out to a reef. He managed to swim back to the boat by himself without anyone, including me, knowing anything was wrong. Then he collapsed into unconsciousness.

09-02-2004, 11:40 PM
How scary that must have been for all of you! Glad to hear that he was taken to the hospital and has no ill effects!

:Pinkbounc :bounce: :Pinkbounc


09-02-2004, 11:54 PM
He says it wasn't a bad vacation----just different.

BTW, ksjayhawks, my daughter just graduated from your rival---K-State. Go Wildcats!

09-03-2004, 12:04 AM
We were on a RCI cruise last August and a man had medical problems- still not sure exactly what happened. My body is VERY sensitive to movement and I asked my family if it felt to them like the ship was moving faster. They said it was probably because it was towards the end of the cruise and the ship was lighter. Well sure enough, an hour later they announced that we were full speed ahead for Port Canaveral because of a medical emergency. We were supposed to get in to port around 7-8:00am and I think we got there around 11:00pm. We were booking it!

09-03-2004, 12:09 AM
Sounds like there's a lot more medical emergencies then you'ld expect, or hear about.

09-03-2004, 09:11 AM
On our Estern cruise in February, I woke up early on Sunday morning as were approaching Nassau, they there to get a passenger off, who was very ill, he got off with we assumed his wife and daughter and all of their luggage. I felt so very sad for them, the captain later on told us he was OK......
(I am not sure if that was just a line, he really did not look OK), then we went out to sea again, and were in St. Martin on schedule.

09-03-2004, 10:18 AM

If I may ask, was your dad covered by trip insurance, and if so, how did it work out? Which one, and were they helpful in covering medical/evacuation expenses? Hard to find examples of insurance experiences. Thanks in advance

09-03-2004, 10:50 AM
I would love to know about the insurance aspect too! Glad you dad is doing well. How scary. We took a Costa cruise about 10 years ago and an elderly gentlemen had a heart attack. We saw a group of crew and medical staff running down the hall with the defibrilator and equipment and the announcment was being broadcast about his location. It was horrifying. The word was that he did not make it, although we did not get official confirmation. His wife and family were escorted to the purser's office. Sitting by the pool that day about 10 of us (total strangers) were talking about it and collectively decided to join hands and pray for him. ONe man said a prayer in spanish, one said a prayer in hebrew, I prayed in English. It was very touching, how humanity and compassion comes out in the most unusual places.

On that same cruise a couple were arrested and taken off the ship in Jamaica. We walked out into the hall and there were senior crew members packing the couples bags into plastic evidence bags with police standing by. They tried to bring drugs onto the ship.

09-03-2004, 11:27 AM
We did not buy trip insurance. It was the first trip for either of us and I didn't realize it covered such stuff as medical emergencies. My dad (even though he was 71 at the time) is in great shape, so we wouldn't have considered the possibility of a medical emergency. Anyway, he is retired military so was covered by tri-care for life (for being out of the country---the ship is foreign) and medicare (which doesn't cover out of the country, but did cover most of the Ft. Lauderdale hospital stay). So although it was a hassle rebooking transportation home ( paying the change fees, renting a car, getting back to Orlando for the flight, a few more days in a hotel) and filing for reimbursement, he was covered for all the medical bills but about $900---which isn't bad considering the Lear jet medivac, $4000 ship medical fees, and about $25,000 for 5 nights in the hospital. I understand if you have the insurance they cover those costs up front---no one asking for money right then (before being evaced I had to charge his onboard medical bill) and all the different people who constantly needed insurance info. It's quite a process to go through! I hear it's even worse if someone dies while "out of the country". I'd say the trip insurance is worth having.

I think the insurance also takes care of new travel expenses---not sure about the extra 8 nights I was in a hotel (the airlines couldn't get us on a flight in the category we were booked until 4 days after he was released). Disney travel tried to help with finding a car rental, hotel stay and rebooking, but it was an unusual week in Florida---the Daytona 500 week and everything was booked up past Miami. Cheapest airfare they could find for us from Ft. Lauderdale was about $1200 for my Dad to get back to Oregon. Mine would have been $200 to get back to St. Louis. To rebook the original itinerary with the $100 @ change fee, I had to do it myself---and get us back to Orlando. I had to sleep in the hospital the first night, then the hospital people got me into a hotel near the hospital. Later I found a car on my own and rebooked our flights. I understand trip insurance covers travel arrangements, too, which would have been a big help. THere's a lot to deal with in an emergency away from home! I would think having travel insurance would be a great piece of mind.

09-03-2004, 02:18 PM
ok... hypothetical question...
I am wondering if you have medical insurance
thru your work... why you'd need trip insurance
if an emergency happens on the cruise...

just wondering... I've never been more than
1000 miles from home, nor out of the country...
so I hope this isn't a stupid question.

09-03-2004, 02:31 PM
Originally posted by Goofy4Pluto
ok... hypothetical question...
I am wondering if you have medical insurance
thru your work... why you'd need trip insurance
if an emergency happens on the cruise...

just wondering... I've never been more than
1000 miles from home, nor out of the country...
so I hope this isn't a stupid question.

I had to really fight with my HMO to pay the $300 ambulance fee to transport me from one hospital to another within the same city. There's no way they would pay for airlifting me off a ship or back to the US from an island! Plus, trip insurance can cover all the things slabeaume mentioned - changes in travel plans for the whole family who had to leave the ship, stay in a hotel, change flights, rent a car.

09-03-2004, 02:53 PM
MOST medical insurance does not cover you once you leave the country.

09-03-2004, 03:04 PM
"ok... hypothetical question...
I am wondering if you have medical insurance
thru your work... why you'd need trip insurance
if an emergency happens on the cruise..."

Just make sure you know what your work insurance covers. Make sure it covers you out of the country---the cruise ship is actually registered out of the Bahamas so even emergencies on board are foreign. It's a hassle, but my Dad's insurance did come through on the medical part.

But can you afford an extra week or so for room and board for those staying who aren't hospitalized? The previous responder said that's covered under the trip insurance---that I don't really know. I do know they would have covered sending my dad home from Ft. Lauderdale for the $1200, thus we wouldn't have had to stay 3 more nights and make it back to Orlando. As it was, we use that time as an excuse to see Key Largo and some of the Everglades. I ended up being away from home for about 3 weeks. Fortunately I have a great husband and work for a very understanding company.