Perhaps the COVID test result was a false negative but world Traveler Donna Lamp-Helffrich didn’t want to get on another cruise without conducting her due diligence and completed an exam with a physician. She called Global Rescue. Here is her travel story.

Cruises in Northern Europe feature rugged landscapes and cutting-edge cities, epic history and distinct wildlife, diverse cultures and cuisine from the Scandanavian Peninsula. The grandeur and expanse of the region host more than 60 million people annually, including Florida resident Donna Lamp-Helffrich who wrapped up one cruise and prepared for a second one after a few days in Denmark.

“I had been on a cruise for a week; it ended in Copenhagen on a Friday morning,” she said. “We were scheduled for another cruise on Sunday, a couple of days later.”

Helffrich knew the coronavirus protocols required cruise ship crew and guests to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at least two weeks before embarking on the vessel. She also knew that pre-embarkation testing requirements meant “fully vaccinated guests must hold proof of a valid Antigen or PCR negative test result performed within two-to-three days of embarkation,” according to the cruise line.


“I took the Binax COVID-19 nasal swab test on Friday,” she said. “It was negative.”

Unfortunately, by Saturday things started to change.

“I had a little sore throat, so I stayed in my hotel room for the day and rested. We had been running a lot the week before on the previous cruise so I thought I was just run down a bit. The following day the sore throat was gone but I had a sinus headache with lots of sinus pressure,” Helffrich said.

Could It Be COVID-19?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed the symptoms for coronavirus including: sore throat, congestion, fatigue, coughing, shortness of breath, fever, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea. Some of these symptoms can be attributed to different conditions, like a cold, the flu or allergies.

[Related Reading: Not All Symptoms Lead to COVID-19]

Perhaps the COVID test result was a false negative. According to the test manufacturer, the test correctly identified more than 80% of positive specimens and just over 98% of negative specimens. “Based on this information, negative results may require additional testing to confirm your result,” according to the test-maker.

Helffrich was concerned. She didn’t want to get on another cruise without conducting her due diligence and completed an exam with a physician.

“It was the weekend so my doctor at home was not working.  I tried the international number for my health care provider hoping to get a telemedicine appointment. But I had no luck getting through,” she said.  

Helffrich tried downloading a telehealth app on her phone but that didn’t work either.

“Then I remembered we signed up for Worldwide Lifeline provided by Global Rescue. I called right away and got through immediately,” she said.  

Glad to Have Global Rescue

Helffrich knew that membership benefits with Worldwide Lifeline provided by Global Rescue included 24/7/365 medical advisory services from nurses and paramedics trained for any medical situation as well as direct traveler assistance to help with local health care systems.

“Within 30 minutes they did all the research, gave me directions on how to proceed, talked to the front desk at the hotel, and coordinated with them to get me a doctor’s appointment,” she said.

Helffrich was impressed with the speed and effectiveness of the service.

“I saw the doctor within a couple of hours. He diagnosed me with a sinus infection, gave me a prescription for an antibiotic, and sent me on my way. All within a few hours,” she said.

It’s almost impossible to plan for the unknown. Whether it’s an emergency due to a head wound, heat exhaustion, heart attack, COVID or a minor problem like a twisted ankle, upset stomach or a snake bite, that’s when a Worldwide Lifeline membership is essential for peace of mind. Helffrich agreed.

“It was most comforting and appreciated to be able to reach out to Worldwide Lifeline’s Global Rescue medical operations team and get the help I couldn’t find anywhere else,” she said.