Cruise Bruise

Linda Hardy
Mal de Debarquement Syndrome

Danube Princess - April 2005

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Linda Hardy Mal de Debarquement Syndrome

Danube Princess - April 2005

Linda Hardy
Submission Date: August 12, 2007
Event Date: April 2005
Cruise Bruise: Mal de Debarquement Syndrome
Bruise Location: Passau,Germany
Age: 62
Home Town: Denton
Cruise Line: Peter Deilmann River Cruises
Ship: Danube Princess
Details: Linda Hardy has come to Cruise Bruise to tell her story, in hopes of letting the cruising public know about a risk each and everyone of them takes, each time they cruise. It is a little publicized condition, and Cruise Bruise agrees, it needs to be told so the cruising public knows an additional risk cruising presents.

In April of 2005, I flew from the USA to Germany and I took a Danube River Cruise. We left from Passau, Germany boated down to Budhapest, Hungary and returned to Passau 7 days later.

I shared a room with two friends. They slept in couch type beds while I slept in a bed that pulled down from the wall. On the other side of the wall was what I believe to be an engine room of some type.

There was a constant vibration, particularly when we were going through the locks. I complained after the first night but was told there were no other rooms available. We were the last room in the hall.

At the end of the cruise we took a van to Prague. It was then I first noticed a feeling of movement or vibration similar to that of the boat.

I have never recovered and have been diagnosed with a vestibular disorder called Mal de Debarquement at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.


It is a chronic type of vertigo. It is a terrible feeling and has diminished the quality of my life in drastic ways. I am certain this syndrome was a direct result of the cruise and I would give anything to have never gone on that boat.

The Danube Princess, or as it is known in German, Donauprinzessin, has 94 cabins carrying 198 passengers. The ship was built in 1983 and completely refurbished in 2004.

Mal de Debarquement Syndrome (MdDS), or in english "disembarkment syndrome" is a rare balance disorder that most often develops following an ocean cruise, other type of water travel, or motion experience. MdDS persists for months to years. Common symptoms include a persistent sensation of motion such as rocking, swaying, and/or bobbing. This sensation of motion is often associated with fatigue, difficulty maintaining balance, and difficulty concentrating (impaired cognitive function).

Sailing in a cabin that is in the end of a ship, where more motion is felt, or in rough seas, places passengers in danger of becoming afflicted with this condition, even on a large cruise ship. Sleeping in an upper bunk, where the motion of the ship is more easily felt, especially in rough seas, increases the risk even more. With more people cruising, the numbers of MdDS are increasing, and becoming more common.

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