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Old January 25th, 2014, 06:21 PM
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Default 200 plus passengers and some crew sick on Explorer of the Seas

Just read that passengers and crew are sick on Explorer of the Seas...So far, they don't know where it started from, but will continue to disinfect the ship and stop in St. Thomas and pick up some new crew members....Lets hope this doesn't spread any further...
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Old January 25th, 2014, 09:10 PM
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Tis the Season For Noro-Virus. Fa la la la la. Fa la la la. Blahhhhh!

I hope they quickly get it contained but I don't think this will be the only outbreak. Noro is running rampant in my area. Hospitals and care facilities are in lock down because of noro and the flu.

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Old January 25th, 2014, 09:14 PM
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Not pleasant at sea, but not unusual in so many places right now, retirement homes, seniors' centre's, schools, etc. Still, certainly not fun to be sick on your vacation!

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Old January 26th, 2014, 11:29 AM
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I just saw a newspaper report, of course I can't find it now. I believe it said now 300+ passengers and crew. They were docked somewhere and a health agency was coming aboard (the CDC?). The article said there is a new strain of noro which is more virulent. Not yet known if this outbreak is the new one.

Also there have been recent reports of the flu bug brought onboard and lots of people getting sick mid cruise. We are cruising in February and will be washing hands often and using hand sanitizers between.
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Old January 26th, 2014, 12:29 PM
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Yep more than 300 now. They changed ports to san juan where they were better able to clean the ship and pickup supplies. Seems like they will continue on to their next 2 ports of call.

I always bring a small spray hand sanitizer bottle that I keep in my pocket for port days or on the ship when not eating but maybe needing a spray.

Has anyone been on a ship during an outbreak and can describe how procedures change? I've heard effected have to stay in their room and get room service for meals, also that instead of buffet they serve all food. What other changes occur to slow the spread? Do they hand out masks? If not that might be an easy thing to bring just in case.
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Old January 26th, 2014, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by aerospace View Post
Yep more than 300 now. They changed ports to san juan where they were better able to clean the ship and pickup supplies. Seems like they will continue on to their next 2 ports of call.

I always bring a small spray hand sanitizer bottle that I keep in my pocket for port days or on the ship when not eating but maybe needing a spray.

Has anyone been on a ship during an outbreak and can describe how procedures change? I've heard effected have to stay in their room and get room service for meals, also that instead of buffet they serve all food. What other changes occur to slow the spread? Do they hand out masks? If not that might be an easy thing to bring just in case.
Never been on a ship that had a serious outbreak, but I know they do quarantine if you have symptoms. Do all cruise lines have the questionnaire when you board about nausea etc within the last 24 hours? They are trying to prevent this type of situation before it starts, but I doubt few people ever answer honestly for fear of being denied boarding or at least being quarantined for a day or two.

In the buffet, the crew will definitely be serving rather than have each passenger touch the serving spoons. That and sanitization procedures for individual cabins and public areas. Never heard of masks. Not sure it would even help as my guess is that it is being transmitted from hand to stair rail, door knob etc. nothing can prevent that except hand cleaning.

I haven't cruised with anyone other than NCL for a few years. Do any of the other cruise lines routinely use the "washy washy, happy happy" people with spray bottles at strategic locations and self dispensers of hand sanitizers at various places throughout the ship? It does seem to be effective.
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Old January 26th, 2014, 08:05 PM
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Royal Caribbean is perhaps the most ardent line when it comes to forcing hand sanitizer on the guests, even though most hand sanitizers are not effective for norovirus. You have a hard time getting past the 'gatekeeper' at the entrance to the Windjammer buffet for example who has a couple of Purell stations and sometimes a bottle of it in their hand.

Here are some statistics I found:

Setting of 1,518 Confirmed Norovirus Outbreaks, U.S., 2010-2011:

Long-term Care Facility 59%
Restaurants 8%
Party & Event 6%
Hospital 4%
School 4%
Cruise Ship 4%
Other & Unknown 15%.
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Old January 27th, 2014, 04:38 AM
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Update: they ended the 10 day cruise early, going to spend the extra days sanitizing the ship before the next voyage

Don't you just hate the people who are on a ship that provides not only unlimited food but also food 24 hours a day but they insist on eating on the buffet line. If someone in line is eating I do not choose any food they have chosen.

Fingers in mouth, same fingers on next tong, disease now on next guests fingers.. tada outbreak!
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Old January 27th, 2014, 12:49 PM
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It is a FACT that only the cruise industry reports norovirus outbreaks, which makes them look much worse than other travel options. I just happened to fond a web site that reports on many different noro outbreaks, and guess what I found?

Norovirus Linked to Rio and other Hotels in Las Vegas | Food Poison Journal

Norovirus Linked to Rio and other Hotels in Las Vegas

POSTED BY BILL MARLER ON DECEMBER 2, 2013

Based on the results of positive laboratory testing, the Southern Nevada Health District has confirmed the illnesses it is currently investigating among a group of attendees of the National Youth Football Championship event as norovirus. As part of this type of investigation the health district often obtains appropriate samples in an effort to confirm the cause of the illness. Norovirus is common and can spread easily through person to person contact. It can also be difficult to eliminate.

Initially, the health district received reports of illness among people affiliated with the event which was held at the Rio Hotel. Team members and supporters stayed at the Rio and a variety of other hotels. Other area hotels have been asked to report similar illnesses to the health district.

Last edited by Mike M; January 27th, 2014 at 05:05 PM.
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Old January 27th, 2014, 04:30 PM
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It's now over 600 people including some crew members!
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Old January 27th, 2014, 05:11 PM
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I watched a short interview of one of the RCI passengers who swore he would never sail with Royal again! Of course, it he books with any other line, he may run into it as well! You are in a confined space with a lot of other people. Pretty hard to avoid the virus if it is present.

But it got me wondering if Royal, or any other line, has more problems than the rest. I went to the CDC website and found the listings of Noro or similar outbreaks by cruise line by year. I must say I was surprised by some of the results.

One thing that surprised me was that the number of outbreaks per year seems to have decreased beginning around 2008. Form a high of 34 in 2006, it seems to have leveled off at around 14 or 15 per year, although 2013 only had 9. Just chance? Or did the cruise lines start taking it more seriously at some point with more preventive measures? These stats are for all cruise lines above a certain size.

2003 24 incidents 2007 21 incidents 2011 14 incidents
2004 32 incidents 2208 15 incidents 2012 16 incidents
2005 17 incidents 2009 15 incidents 2013 9 incidents
2006 34 incidents 2010 14 incidents 2014

Although the annual listings include every cruise line above a certain size, for comparison sake I just looked at the stats for RCCL, NCL, HAL, Celebrity, Princess and Carnival. Here are the total number of incidents for each of the 6 cruise lines for past 8 years, 2006 through 2013. You tell me if anything surprises you.

NCL. 15
RCCL. 15
Celebrity. 22
Princess. 25
HAL. 33
Carnival. 6

I don't know how many cruise ships each of these lines has. Probably most have many more than NCL and that could skew the results in NCL's favor. But I thought RCCL had quite a few more ships than NCL, yet their number of outbreaks are equal. The big surprises to me were that HAL at 33, Princess at 25, and Celebrity at 22 had significantly more incidents than the other lines. Do the numbers of their ships account for it, or is there something else going on?

The biggest surprise to me was Carnival with a paltry 6 incidents over the past 8 years! Well done Carnival!

Anyone care to offer any insight?
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Old January 28th, 2014, 08:49 AM
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I wonder if the higher incidence on Celebrity, Princess and HAL could related to the length of cruises? Or maybe they are just more up front in their reporting?
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Old January 28th, 2014, 04:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter View Post
It is a FACT that only the cruise industry reports norovirus outbreaks, which makes them look much worse than other travel options. I just happened to fond a web site that reports on many different noro outbreaks, and guess what I found?

Norovirus Linked to Rio and other Hotels in Las Vegas | Food Poison Journal

Norovirus Linked to Rio and other Hotels in Las Vegas

POSTED BY BILL MARLER ON DECEMBER 2, 2013

Based on the results of positive laboratory testing, the Southern Nevada Health District has confirmed the illnesses it is currently investigating among a group of attendees of the National Youth Football Championship event as norovirus. As part of this type of investigation the health district often obtains appropriate samples in an effort to confirm the cause of the illness. Norovirus is common and can spread easily through person to person contact. It can also be difficult to eliminate.

Initially, the health district received reports of illness among people affiliated with the event which was held at the Rio Hotel. Team members and supporters stayed at the Rio and a variety of other hotels. Other area hotels have been asked to report similar illnesses to the health district.
And you'll never hear anything about this is the press - but then again, that would scare away tourists from visiting Las Vegas and we certainly can't have that!

But I do find those numbers on which cruise lines have had outbreaks to be interesting. Like was stated, I can't help but wonder how the lengths of cruises have an impact on the numbers. For example, Carnival has alot of shorter cruises whereas Holland America has alot more longer cruises. Yet, Carnival attracts a younger crowd and Holland America attracts an older crowd. It's one thing to just see the numbers, but it's quite another to analyze them to determine why they are the way they are in order to help better understand causes to help in prevention.

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Old January 28th, 2014, 05:16 PM
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What a shame...nobody wants to go on vacation just to have to stick close to the bathroom and feel horrible. Hope those affected get better soon and don't have second thoughts about cruising in the future.

Those that were not sick may have been nervous about catching it.

I hear it's over 650 cruisers and crew.
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Old January 28th, 2014, 06:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by green_rd View Post
I wonder if the higher incidence on Celebrity, Princess and HAL could related to the length of cruises? Or maybe they are just more up front in their reporting?
I think the reporting is mandated, I don't know how they could get away with not reporting.

A cruise line which has lots of ships/sailings would probably have a higher incidence than one with a smaller number of ships and sailings. And some cruise lines may have better prevention or react quicker when an outbreak starts.

But, how to account for Carnival's very low numbers? Lots of ships. One thing I did wonder about was how serving is done in the buffets. I would think those that have the crew doing the serving would avoid a lot of contamination from affected passengers. But are there any cruise lines left where it is not all self serve by passengers? Have not sailed Carnival in several years so I don't know if that is the case.
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Old January 28th, 2014, 07:49 PM
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I just heard on the news this evening, that Royal Caribbean is giving passengers 50% off their cruise and also another 50% off a future cruise...I guess some are requesting their entire fare to be refunded and that is not going to happen....I think they are being more than fair with their efforts to keep people happy and come back cruising Royal Caribbean again...
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Old January 28th, 2014, 08:12 PM
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Yep, our news said the same thing and now the total is 674 people (passengers and crew). And I agree 50% refund and 50% off the next cruise is being rather generous.

If you notice, as usual, the press is talking only to those who got sick or are very unhappy because the cruise was cut short. They're not talking to any of the majority of the 3,541 people on the ship who did not get sick or who are not overly unhappy because they understand stuff happens!

Like the infamous 'poop' cruise - press only talked to those who wanted to complain. They never give you both sides of the situation - they always and only want to show the negative. And that's why those figures of where norovirus is contracted will not be shown on the news because it would show the real story.

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Old January 28th, 2014, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Travelbuggs View Post
I watched a short interview of one of the RCI passengers who swore he would never sail with Royal again! Of course, it he books with any other line, he may run into it as well! You are in a confined space with a lot of other people. Pretty hard to avoid the virus if it is present.

But it got me wondering if Royal, or any other line, has more problems than the rest. I went to the CDC website and found the listings of Noro or similar outbreaks by cruise line by year. I must say I was surprised by some of the results.

One thing that surprised me was that the number of outbreaks per year seems to have decreased beginning around 2008. Form a high of 34 in 2006, it seems to have leveled off at around 14 or 15 per year, although 2013 only had 9. Just chance? Or did the cruise lines start taking it more seriously at some point with more preventive measures? These stats are for all cruise lines above a certain size.

2003 24 incidents 2007 21 incidents 2011 14 incidents
2004 32 incidents 2208 15 incidents 2012 16 incidents
2005 17 incidents 2009 15 incidents 2013 9 incidents
2006 34 incidents 2010 14 incidents 2014

Although the annual listings include every cruise line above a certain size, for comparison sake I just looked at the stats for RCCL, NCL, HAL, Celebrity, Princess and Carnival. Here are the total number of incidents for each of the 6 cruise lines for past 8 years, 2006 through 2013. You tell me if anything surprises you.

NCL. 15
RCCL. 15
Celebrity. 22
Princess. 25
HAL. 33
Carnival. 6

I don't know how many cruise ships each of these lines has. Probably most have many more than NCL and that could skew the results in NCL's favor. But I thought RCCL had quite a few more ships than NCL, yet their number of outbreaks are equal. The big surprises to me were that HAL at 33, Princess at 25, and Celebrity at 22 had significantly more incidents than the other lines. Do the numbers of their ships account for it, or is there something else going on?

The biggest surprise to me was Carnival with a paltry 6 incidents over the past 8 years! Well done Carnival!

Anyone care to offer any insight?
The answer is very simple.
The CDC's 2% threshold for reporting suspected NLV outbreaks is PER VOYAGE.
If you have a large ship with large numbers of pax and crew, on a short cruise, it is rather difficult to hit 2% unless there is a major outbreak.

I visited some colleagues at a major Las Vegas hotel recently. We discussed NLV problems in the hospitality business in America.
My Las Vegas colleagues admitted that they were aware of very high numbers of hotel guests sick with suspected NLV in their hotel.
I asked them what their action plan was.
They admitted that there was no action plan.
"The guests get sick and they go home. Then more guests come and get sick and they go home."
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Old January 28th, 2014, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Bruce Chafkin1 View Post
The answer is very simple.
The CDC's 2% threshold for reporting suspected NLV outbreaks is PER VOYAGE.
If you have a large ship with large numbers of pax and crew, on a short cruise, it is rather difficult to hit 2% unless there is a major outbreak.

I visited some colleagues at a major Las Vegas hotel recently. We discussed NLV problems in the hospitality business in America.
My Las Vegas colleagues admitted that they were aware of very high numbers of hotel guests sick with suspected NLV in their hotel.
I asked them what their action plan was.
They admitted that there was no action plan.
"The guests get sick and they go home. Then more guests come and get sick and they go home."

Yes, I get that the reporting is per voyage and it would be harder to hit the reporting threshold on a short 3 day cruise, but aren't most of Carnival's ships doing 7 day or longer cruises?

The hotel business is really a different animal, with guests coming and going after 1 to 3 nights mostly. And a lot of guests never venture anywhere other than their rooms and the hotel lobby. Would be much more difficult to end up with 300 or 400 hotel guests sick at one time I would guess, unlike a cruise where the passengers are often there for 7days and all using the same public areas. I did see a Vegas hotel with an outbreak a few years ago and they did appear to have some sort of action plan. We had gone there for brunch, and I believe there may have been a notice on the entry doors. They had sanitizing stations set up at the buffet doors.

Cruise lines are rather forced to have "action plans". I'm sure the current outbreak on the Royal ship cost the line plenty of money in lost revenue with refunds and vouchers for a future cruise. And even if it never reaches the level of this current one, sick passengers don't spend money on drinks, specialty dinners, excursions and you name it, not to mention the bad publicity which may hurt sales.
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Old January 29th, 2014, 04:22 AM
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If I went to a hotel and contracted the noro virus during my trip I wouldn't even think to notify the hotel. On a ship it's the same 3k people for a week you can't get off(except ports obvs) so if you need medicine going to the medical center is the only option. Big difference.

This is one of the largest outbreaks I've heard of on a ship. Wondering if their action plans needs to be revisited as every report has the numbers jumping.
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Old January 29th, 2014, 09:24 PM
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A Carnival ship with 3,500 pax and 1,500 crew on a 7-day cruise wants to avoid the CDC's 2% threshold of illness onboard for reporting and declaring an official outbreak. For them, that 2% comes to 101 people reporting GI problems over the 7 day voyage, or approximately 15 per day. Unless there is a serious problem onboard, they will never hit the 15 per day reporting ill.

A HAL Ship with 1200 pax and 600 crew on a 49-day cruise wants to avoid the CDC's 2% threshold of illness onboard for reporting and declaring an official outbreak. For them, that 2% comes to 36 people reporting GI problems over the 49 day voyage, or less than 1 person per day.

On any cruise ship in the world, we see more than 1 person per day reporting GI problems - usually as a result of over-eating, over-drinking, seasickness, flu, problems with medications, travelers stomach problems, etc.

In theory, according to the requirements, any small ship on a long voyage should be reporting an official outbreak on nearly every voyage. But since there is no reliable test available to confirm NLV infection in a timely manner, we must rely on guestimates made by the medical staff and mandated by CDC.

If someone reporting GI problems has a fever over 101 fahrenheit, and has experienced both vomiting and diarrhea at least once, or vomiting or diarrhea more than once, the medical staff MUST by CDC regulations declare that person reportable for suspected NLV, and isolated.

Unfortunately, the symptoms listed above and mandated by CDC also exist for many other illnesses and conditions - especially with older cruisers.

Cruise lines with smaller ships, longer itineraries, and older passengers will automatically have far more potential outbreak situations - even though they have far fewer ill and contagious passengers onboard. Most or all of the people who get sick on a 49-day cruise will report it and recover from it before the cruise ends.

Cruise lines with larger ships, shorter itineraries, and younger passengers will automatically have far fewer potential outbreak situations - even though they have far more ill and contagious passengers onboard. Many of the people who get sick on a 7-day cruise will not have any symptoms until the end of the cruise - or on the way home. Their numbers will not be reported.
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Old January 29th, 2014, 10:50 PM
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Here we go again!

Just got a notice from Princess that the Caribbean Princess, which was due back into Houston on Saturday will now come in a day early on Friday due to Norovirus on the ship. We have clients on this cruise, so I'm waiting to hear what's going on. Nothing yet in the news, but I'm sure we'll hear about it by tomorrow.

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Old January 30th, 2014, 10:17 AM
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Here we go again!

Just got a notice from Princess that the Caribbean Princess, which was due back into Houston on Saturday will now come in a day early on Friday due to Norovirus on the ship. We have clients on this cruise, so I'm waiting to hear what's going on. Nothing yet in the news, but I'm sure we'll hear about it by tomorrow.

Pete
We are booked on the Getaway in February. Hope this is not going to be a pandemic year for Noro.
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Old February 2nd, 2014, 09:09 PM
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I just read Paul's article on the noro virus and about the questionnaire the cruise line has you fill out before boarding. I do remember doing so on my first cruise back in 1998 but I have never been asked since...are the lines still doing this , is it just at random?
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