Tag Archives: Cruise lines

Norovirus! When you hear this word …do you first think of cruise ships?

Well ……. think again! Yes there are cases of norovirus on cruise ships, and when there is an outbreak it gets lots of attention in the media.

According to a recent report by the CDC, more than two-thirds of the outbreaks can be traced back to restaurants and infected food workers!

The CDC estimates that only one (1) percent of outbreaks happened on cruise ships in the four (4) years covered by this study! Let me repeat that …….. only 1% of the outbreaks happened on cruise ships!

Do we need to be aware that there can be, and are, norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships? Of course, and the cruise lines, and we as passengers, must take precautions to prevent an outbreak.

The norovirus can spread quickly in closed spaces like schools, daycares, nursing homes, dormitories,and cruise ships. The virus is highly contagious and is spread in three ways:

– Person to person
– By ingesting contaminated food or water
– By touching contaminated surfaces (bathroom fixtures, etc.)

So what should you do? What we do on a cruise ship is to be proactive!

– We avoid person to person contact where possible (knuckles instead of handshakes)
– We avoid buffets when possible or either try to be there at opening or utilize stations where the food is either cooked for you or servered by an attendant. On Azamara, there buffets attendants serve all the food on their buffets for the first couple days to assure no one might have brought the virus onboard. If you ever watch people and some of there poor and inappropriate habits at the buffet you can understand why caution is needed.
– We practice proper restroom habits. First we try to avoid public restrooms if possible. If not possible, we use paper towels to avoid touching surfaces. As with buffets, if you watch people and their poor or inappropriate restroom habits, you can again see where caution is needed.
– We use anti-bacterial hand sanitizer, but remember this will not protect you from a virus!
– When sneezing or coughing use proper habits. Use tissue or sneeze/cough into your armpit and not your hand.

I personally think the cruise lines do a pretty good job in keeping their ships as safe as possible from the norovirus. Will there be outbreaks in the future ……… probably ……….. will the media take advantage of it ……… probably! Just remember the statistics from the CDC and continue to practice proper habits for prevention.

Cruise Ship Dining Options

Have you noticed the trend with cruise ships going away from the traditional two seating dining. In the past your options were to dine early or late if you dine in the main dining room. Over the past several years there has been a trend to offer “mytime” or “anytime” dining options. Some cruise lines and ships have made the change to the anytime dinning option. A lot of people have enjoyed the traditional dining option, knowing when they will dine each evening, having the same table mates, and the same servers.  With anytime dining you can still reserve the same time each evening, usually the same table and servers, and you dine either at a table for two or select a larger table and dine with others. We like the anytime dining option because it puts us in charge . Based on what is happening on a given evening we can adjust our dining time to fit our schedule.  Royal Caribbean’s two new ships  will only have anytime dining and have eliminated the traditional dining option.  I feel this is the future and we will see this trend continue.  Ships will continue to offer a multitude of other dining options with grills, buffets, and  specality restaurants.