Did you know your European Medical card has an expiry date and needs to be renewed? Did you know you can use it in certain places in the Caribbean but should still be insured as you may have to pay and claim back? We jest not, here is a quote from our own governments web site   –  ‘You should get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. The EHIC provides emergency health cover for treatment in Martinique by the French state health service for which you will have to pay but you will be able to claim back up to 70% of the costs on your return to the UK. Visitors travelling (or being air lifted) to Martinique from other non-French islands specifically for medical treatment should be aware that such treatment will not necessarily be covered. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.’ Full details  

The Card is issued free of charge and allows anyone who is insured by or covered by a statutory social security scheme of the EEA countries and Switzerland to receive medical treatment in another member state free or at a reduced cost, if that treatment becomes necessary during their visit. The card is applicable in all French overseas departments (Martinique, Guadeloupe, Réunion and French Guiana) as they are part of the EEA, but not non-EEA dependent territories such as Jersey, the Isle of Man, Aruba or French Polynesia. However, there are agreements for the use of the EHIC in the Faroe Islands and Greenland, even though they are not in the EEA. Saint Martin is the only overseas collectivity of France with the status of being an outermost region of the EU. 

The EHIC card is valid for up to five years. Each card has an expiry date! It entitles you to treatment if it becomes necessary during your trip, it doesn’t allow you to go abroad specifically to receive medical care. Check your card date, it may have expired. You can apply online at for delivery within 7 days, by telephone (0845 606 2030) for delivery within 10 days and via the Post Office for delivery within 21 days. Make sure you do not go nto a website that asks you for £35. The service is free. If in doubt click here

On a cruise ship, the country may suggest you have no local address, but that is a complex point debated by those in power. Show it, prove you have shown it. Note, if your partner gets taken ill and leaves the ship for a hospital stay and you then stay with them, you now have a local hotel address and you should be entitled to use that card if you fall ill, even if the use of the first person’s cost of care is contested because of small print. Amazingly,  the EHIC allows one country to cross bill back to your resident country, so effectively, treatment I have had in Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary while working abroad, my GP can see the bill and record of. It is often why treatment is better abroad because they can charge it all back, so all costs are covered, but that is another longer complex debate. The straight answer is always be insured, always call your insurance company before treatment, always expect to pay and charge back, always carry your EHIC and show it and email it to the clinic you are in. So keep an image copy on your phone of insurance and EHIC.

You must have insurance when you travel, it can be very expensive We have found a cover that works even for ages way above most insurance companies cut off, and for cruising.

We get lots of questions about insurance and we know it can be hard. Recently Doris Visits partnered with Holiday Extras because they solve that problem. We all know they are there for airport parking, but they also specialise in CRUISE INSURANCE so we jumped at the chance of working with them because it is providing a service we all need. You need to have insurance to cruise. This link will take you directly to the page, as we find and work links like this throughout our resource site.



Though ships have a medical centre and doctor on board, insurance could be needed to cover anything from being airlifted off to being flown home. You will find even the cruise ships themselves may recommend or sell a policy by Holiday Extras, here it is with nothing added on by us. It is the quickest way to the right page. Use the boxes to mark a single trip or whole year, answer whether you are going far away,  eg: the USA, all in simple boxes, age and details and they do the rest.

Your EU card has nothing to do with the European Union that we have voted to leave, it is an exchange within Europe which is supposed to work between countries. Though trying to use it within the major EU countries can be difficult, always has been. Try using it in France! The card has to be carried with you to be valid. You might write your EU medical card number in your passport, and your medical insurance policy number, and put them both on your phone or even photograph the card. Always remember to act as the insurer says you must, which normally means ringing them to give permission for medical work to start. On a ship, they will always assist you.

This is important as we all need it, so it is here to help. Don’t forget to take a look at our packing tips. Any ideas to add, please let us know. Need some advice on VISA’s, click here. If you can think of anything else we can help others with please let us know.



Now we need your help, we need more numbers and more subscribers on YouTube to hit another level. This allows us to use better facilities there. While on YouTube please subscribe to Doris Visits and share with others so that they might share. If you are worried how to choose which cruise, which ship and where to go, take a look at our how to choose a cruise blog. Why not have a look at the LATE DEALS over a coffee. Doris Visits allows you to SEE THE CRUISE BEFORE YOU CRUISE THE SEA.