Medical care on cruise ships, as in hospitals, continuously improves and develops over time, with new technologies and treatment options enhancing the care that can be delivered on board. Most cruise lines apply the American College of Emergency Physicians Health Care Guidelines for Cruise Ship Medical Facilities to their ship designs, and cruise ships today boast an impressive range of primary care and outpatient services, in-patient care, and medical emergency response teams. Depending on their size, cruise ships can accommodate many in-patients to the medical centre, with some ships accommodating ten or more patients at the same time and with the ability to care for patients requiring intensive care support. With new ships also comes new equipment, with state-of-the-art laboratory analysis equipment, radiology services, onboard pharmacies, and advanced and emergency equipment, such as ventilators and heart monitors. 


New ships also bring cleaner and less environmentally impactful ships, with more efficient engines that generate less nitrous oxide and other air pollutants and the routine ability for shore power connection. Countries and ports throughout the world are becoming more strict, with the ambition to become carbon neutral by 2050. Currently, about half of cruise ships globally can connect to shore power, but with new and retrofitted ships, this is increasing, meaning that ships can switch off diesel engines when in port, which can reduce diesel emissions by up to 80% and CO2 emissions by up to 66%. Cunard has committed to fitting its entire fleet, including their newest ship, Queen Anne, which launches in May, with shore power capabilities.  


According to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), 35.7 million passengers are expected to take a cruise this year, a 6% increase from 2023 and more than pre-pandemic 2019. As cruise destinations get more exotic and the onboard experience and facilities become more varied and exciting, the new cruise ships of today can offer more sustainable, environmentally conscious, and medically advanced experiences to both guests and the crew that operate them.