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Do I need a doctor's letter to bring needles onboard?


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Hello fellow wise travelers.

 

I am going to be cruising with needles for the first time in November. I called Celebrity today to ensure a sharps disposal container is made available in my room upon embarkation. The call was smooth enough, but I wasn't expecting the request that I bring a doctor's letter "proving" that I need use needles. I asked if it was OK to simply bring my prescription for the needles, and he said that would definitely not suffice.

 

Question: Does anybody have any experience with Celebrity actually checking for this doctor's letter when boarding?
 

The needles are super tiny, and the medicine itself is in a "pen". The whole set-up is very low-profile (and it's not insulin). I am doubtful it will get noticed when my carry-on bag goes through the scanner at embarkation. It's also not life-saving medicine so if it got lost/denied at embarkation, I would survive.

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I’ve never been asked why I need a sharps disposal container, though it was just for lancets for blood sugar finger sticks.  When my sister was on Victoria we weren’t questioned.  She’s on Trulicity now, so only weekly, but you need a much larger container for those..  on checkin, I would not mention them, and if there is not a container, just ask your steward.  EM

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Never been asked for Drs letter, but asked for sharps container across multiple lines, but I guess in the world of Covid we may be asked for more doctor’s letters proving fitness to cruise, I guess I’m lucky that my doctors would write me one unless they had major concerns.

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8 hours ago, It'sWineO'Clock said:

Yah, I just can't be bothered to go see my doctor at this stage (a few weeks before we depart). Especially for the purpose of getting a letter saying I am allowed to have needles.

 

If you already have a relationship with a physician and that's who prescribes your meds and needles/etc., then can't you just phone the office and have them send or email a letter?

 

GC

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I routinely carry prescription medication, 3 items are 'controlled' or restricted in most countries. I make sure I have a copy of the prescription, a letter from doctor, and all items are in original packaging. 

Also check requirements for any destination countries and transport directly with them. 

So far no problems 

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20 hours ago, It'sWineO'Clock said:

Yah, I just can't be bothered to go see my doctor at this stage (a few weeks before we depart). Especially for the purpose of getting a letter saying I am allowed to have needles.

Why is it such a problem? Contact doctor, get letter, pay any bill for letter. Job done. Enjoy cruise. 

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19 hours ago, GeezerCouple said:

 

If you already have a relationship with a physician and that's who prescribes your meds and needles/etc., then can't you just phone the office and have them send or email a letter?

 

GC

 

Because of the way our medical system works, I can't just phone my doctor. I have to make an appointment which is going to mean potentially taking time off work for an in-person visit. It seems silly to go through this for a letter when I already have a prescription on-hand for the needles. Which is why I was originally questioning whether Celebrity cares about this "letter".

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I don't know about Celebrity but we've never been asked why we need a sharps container on Princess.  My husband is on Trulicity and the container they provide is large enough for the used pens.  However, you could just take the used pens home with you in the same pouch or whatever you use for travel as the needle part retracts into the pen, no sharp points to worry about.

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12 hours ago, It'sWineO'Clock said:

 

Because of the way our medical system works, I can't just phone my doctor. I have to make an appointment which is going to mean potentially taking time off work for an in-person visit. It seems silly to go through this for a letter when I already have a prescription on-hand for the needles. Which is why I was originally questioning whether Celebrity cares about this "letter".

 

I'm not at all sure about what the cruise lines require.

Our concern is more about international borders.

 

But about that letter... perhaps at least in the future, when you *do* have an appointment with your physician or office, you could ask for letters like this for any equipment or specific meds so that you have it for future travel.

 

When we submitted materials (by email/pdf) to Japan (who had some surprising requirements), that included some "older" materials:  a letter dated a few years earlier, a copy of actual Rx scripts that were also old, and everything got approved, all in less than 24 hours.

 

So in your case, I'd bring along whatever materials you do have:  a prescription (or copy), perhaps a label from the little packet that the needles/syringes came in, like the label on a prescription bottle.  (Needles/syringes are usually in a small ziploc-type plastic bag.  Tiny vials of medicine are often put together into a large amber prescription bottle that has a label with my name/physician's name/etc., but each little vial has nothing other than the manufacturer's label.)

 

However, I should add that we've never yet been seriously "challenged" such as in some countries with the most strict "drug" laws.  We haven't gone to any of those countries, so it's an unknown, and not something I'm necessarily eager to "know".  OTOH, we also assume that small quantities that are commensurate with the travel duration, with some appropriate documentation... we doubt that's what causes concern.

AFAIK, the oddball draconian event with a tourist seems to involve unusually large quantities of seriously controlled substances, perhaps with sketchy explanations.

 

And again, that's not a cruise line.  I've mentioned some meds/etc., on the advance "special needs" forms from cruise lines, and nothing was ever mentioned again about it during the cruise.  Never any questions when we were first arriving, etc.

We just keep the same packet of docs (and a copy in the cloud, plus a copy with pdf attachments that we've each emailed to ourselves)... and the same stuff just sits there, waiting in a carry-on bag, etc.

 

These days, there are so many people who carry needles/syringes with them, even counting only those requiring insulin (and there are many other injectable meds), that I'm not sure how big a deal it is, if there is nothing else "unusual".  We just prefer to be prepared, which takes no extra effort once we've got those materials gathered.

 

GC

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My husband is a T1D. He carries both the lancets and reserve syringes in case his pump fails. On our Celebrity cruise in 2018 we did not get any questions. We cruised Mardi Gras last month and did not have any problems and there was no pre-notification either. 

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