Cruise or Not to Cruise: Norovirus on Cruise Ships
You’ve probably seen in the news that two Royal Caribbean International-owned ships had issues with a norovirus recently. I received a few calls from my clients who are worried about this situation. That is why I decided to write this post about the norovirus.
Two ships were affected: Celebrity Infinity and Legend of the Seas. On Celebrity Infinity, 106 cases were reported. On Legend of the Seas, 114 became sick. Both vessels were docked in San Diego and cleaned.
Starting from January 1, 2015 total of 5 cases of norovirus were reported.
One client asked me it safe to go on the cruise ship. So, let’s take a closer look.
Personally, I’ve made 70+ cruise and ship inspections. I’ve had only 2 situations when I saw cases of norovirus.
Do the math! The percentage of risk is quite small.
First Case: It Is not a Cruise Line’s Fault
The first case of norovirus I experienced was on Prinsendam, Holland America Line, in 2010. Actually, I was not experienced myself, but we embarked in Seward and noticed that something was wrong on the ship.
We were asked to sanitize our hands in all public places, not only before entering restaurants. Crew members served us in buffet: they didn’t allow us to touch any serving utensils.
The swimming pool was dry and sanitized. So, we were not able to use it. It was too cold anyway, in Alaska, in June, to swim. The ship was cleaned and sanitized, non-stop for all 7 days.
Reason for the norovirus was very simple. One family embarked the ship in Vancouver with a sick child. They lied in Health Questionnaire Form, stating that they are healthy and didn’t have any symptoms in last few days.
I guess they didn’t purchase the cruise protection and didn’t want to lose money for their cruise vacation. At the end, they spoiled the vacation for a few thousands of guests.
So, norovirus spread among cruise guests very fast, because child’s sickness wasn’t reported. Perhaps, child was involved with kids’ activities and contaminated toys in kids’ playground.
Yes, crew members sanitize and clean all public areas, but if they knew about the first case, their efforts will be doubled and norovirus would not be able to spread.
Second Case: Guest Fault
One of my family members hated sanitizers on cruise ships, because of the smell. Every time we stepped into the restaurant, he imitated rubbing sanitizer in his hands.
Guess what? He became sick on the last night of our cruise! After midnight we called the medical facility and they sent some crew members. One crewman, with a wheelchair, rolled out my family member to the medical facility and two others started sanitizing our stateroom. Immediately!
At the medical facility, my family member was treated with shots and released back to stateroom without permission to leave it. The next morning, we were first to disembark our ship with supervision and assistance from the medical crew.
There were no charges for a medical treatments for the gastroenterological disease.
1) Be proactive.
First of all, purchase cruise protection. This is not about having some serious illness before the cruise. This is about diarrhea on your way to cruise ship. You can’t sail if you or your family members experience any symptoms of norovirus, such as vomiting or diarrhea. So, don’t lie on your Health Questionnaire.
2) Sanitize, sanitize, and sanitize some more and often!
Make it a habit to sanitize your hands every time you see a sanitizer, just in case! It is better to be safe than sorry.
3) Avoid touching staircase rails and bathroom handles.
Make a habit to have tissue handy, in case if you have to touch it.
4) Avoid touching serving utensils in the buffet.
There are crew members that can help you to put food on your plate.
And last but not least.
Even for minor symptoms of gastroenterological disease, see a doctor on duty immediately. Remember: all norovirus treatments are free.
If you wish to book with my agency, Aurora Cruises and Travel, and receive personalized insider advice, contact me by 772 777-1337 or fill out the form above.