All The Knowledge You Need To Enjoy Your Cruise
There's been a lot of confusion about stomach viruses and cruise ships. Any kind of illness can certainly "put a damper" on your fun but the better informed you are - the better your chances of having a great cruise!
Eileen Tener, a Cruise Planner at CruisersParadise.com contributed the following article. The way she explains it certainly puts the whole situation into proper focus:
The Norovirus And You
I have to say, I watched this video on YouTube about a passenger who had some "past the freshness date" soft drinks in their mini bar and posted an accusation linking their expired drinks to poor sanitation and all sorts of other stuff. I got a little grrrrr!
I emailed Coke and they said that Coke is not perishable and does not spoil, it just starts to lose it's taste. Yeah, I was a little irritated to say the least that someone could make such a huge leap like that without doing some research first. Then they started bringing up the Norovirus and the CDC because of expired Coke! Silly isn't it? That made me think a little bit about the Norovirus and peoples perception of the problem and what causes it.
I wrote this little explanation to help you understand a little better:
Now if you want to talk about why the Norovirus and cruise ships are always in the news, I'll help you out. Cruise ships are required by law to prepare a report for the CDC if an outbreak affects 2% or more of the passengers or crew. The CDC launches an investigation if 3% of passengers or crew members become ill, unlike your office at work, your dormitory, the land resort you stay at or the hotel you check into. That's why outbreaks seem to hit cruise ships all the time, they're the only ones required to report it!
Illnesses like Norovirus happen all the time in confined spaces like resorts, casinos, schools and hospitals just by the very nature of disease itself. Cruise ships are often hit by Norovirus less than any other setting due to stringent sanitation standards. They simply get negative press because of news reports and overall misinformation. Now that makes sense, doesn't it?
Now let's talk about some ways the Norovirus gets on cruise ships in the first place:
Let's say I 'm an uninformed consumer who booked an expensive trip on a cruise ship with my family. I declined to take the travel insurance recommended by my travel professional that would have protected me financially in the event I was ill and couldn't go. I get a stomach bug but if I fail to go ahead with the trip, I lose my money and disappoint my family. I decide to go anyway. When I check in as I arrive at the port, I lie to the cruise company staff and tell them I'm not currently ill and do not have any symptoms, then board the ship. I then spend all my time on my trip spreading the illness to other people. Despite being told by staff, hearing it in the news and being told by Mom 100 times a day as a child, people still fail to wash their hands often enough or use the PROVIDED sanitizing solution stations positioned around cruise ships and end up sick. Even people that show no symptoms when boarding but get sick during their journey often fail to report it for fear of being quarantined or losing ship privileges and continue to roam the ship infecting people.
No matter how often the staff disinfects the ship, wipes down rails or begs people to stay home if they are ill or report it if they get sick on the ship, they cannot stop it 100% of the time. I can tell you, we've been on tons of cruises and have never gotten sick, not one single time. The incidents of illness on cruise ships are very low and if you've been on a cruise ship you know why... they are CONSTANTLY wiping down the ship, every square inch. They want you to have a healthy and safe voyage!
That's about it. Word to the wise, when you are on a cruise ship or any vacation for that matter, my suggestion is to wash your hands often and use provided sanitizing stations to keep your hands as clean as possible to protect yourself and DON'T travel when you are sick. You'll have a better vacation and so will everyone else sharing the experience with you. Don't forget to buy travel insurance to protect yourself and your family. If someone tells you it's a waste of money, have them call me and I'll explain the many reasons why it is worth every penny.
Author: Eileen Tener