Cruiser Questions: Do I need to bring my prescription bottles on a cruise?

We're kicking off an occasional feature on the Blog today, called Cruiser Questions. From time to time, we'll answer a frequently asked or interesting question relating to cruises.

Our first Cruiser Question is about prescription bottles: 

Cruiser Questions: Do I need to bring my prescription bottles on a cruise?

Tags: Cruiser Questions Prescriptions Medicine Medical Care

10 Answers


As it was explained to me by both my Doctor and my TA. the reasons are simple.

If you are unable to respond to emergency responders, the prescriptions tell the story.

Also, security at the dock and airports will sometimes check the bottles.

Thirdly, it is easier to get a short fill when you run out or have other issues.

Hope this helps.

Narcotics should most certainly be kept in their original bottles. The labels should be intact and legible with the prescribing physician and the pharmacy readable. My wife and I both travel with medications that fall under this description.

We don’t have any prescriptions right now (thankfully) but we do travel with a baggie full of loose over-the-counter pills (vitamins, aspirin, etc). Honestly, we’re amazed no one has ever questioned us about it! Surprised

Yes, keep your prescriptions in the bottle. For the reasons John stated above. The second reason is if they are not in the original container and you are contacted by law enforcement how do you explain what they are and you have a prescription for them.

Ab-so-freakin'-lutely! Another suggestion: bring a copy of the prescription itself, the printed one you get from the pharmacy, fold it up and put it somewhere that isn't where the meds themselves are. The longer the cruise, the more important this is. The more countries and international borders you cross, the more important this is. The more prescriptions you've forgotten to completely refill before sailaway, the more important this is. If you require any kind of device from a CPAP to a wheelchair to aid your traveling, you'd better have some kind of doctor's or professional's documentation. Plus, you'll get better service. (I found out the hard way.)

Getting a little off topic here, but MrChocoholic is absolutely right about “better service” with a wheelchair. Dad refused to use one and struggled through several trips before we convinced him to use a wheelchair. Then he was first in line at the airport; literally the very first person to board the cruise ship; the room stewards would open the door when they saw him coming; the head waiter wheeled him to the elevator after dinner every night. Dad loved all the extra attention he got!

I do not take any prescription medication but my husband does. On longer cruises he always takes copies of his prescriptions with him. He also takes along the original bottles just in case. On our last cruse he didn't need the copies or the original bottles but you never know. We also took plenty of over the counter pills and cough medicines with us but we didn't need them either, thank goodness.

I agree, with most of the above. I take each container as well as the written counseling information the pharmacy provides with each med.

Never had a problem but the least I want to worry about is some overzealous immigration or customs agent suspicious that I might be doing the "white powder" thing.

We always do. We also bring a list of our medications, strengths, dosage, frequency.

We also bring our pill cases for convenience and small plastic ziplock pouches so we can have our meds w/meals.

Best to have it all with you in case of a problem.

My last trip (land-based to Venice). I didn't take the bottles/packets. I took the strips of pills, BUT I took the dispensing sticker off the packets and stuck each to the ziplock bag I put the strips of pills in.


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