Hi: I talked a good friend into going on her first cruise...now with Norwalk..she is a little scared although I did point out the % of sick people to total passenger count is no more than what you would see in the general population.
Her question to me concerned cruise popularity and prices. Does anyone feel that the cruise companies will start haiving less than full ships due to Norwalk and then commence a "fire" sale on cabins?
In a word, No. The "Norwalk thing" is basically a creation of the media during a slow news period. This gastrointestinal ailment is the second most common affliction in the United States and Europe, after the common cold. It is not the flu or, for that matter, any kind of upper respiratory ailment.
The Centers for Disease Control has repeatedly stated that the bug, if you can call it that, has nothing to do with the ships... their equipment, food or common areas. Rather, it is passed from person to person, generally from someone who picked it up in the local supermarket or shopping mall and then embarked on a ship. There really is nothing to it at all other than a media frenzy.
The ships have been sailing with passenger loads typical for this time period, with many sailing quite full. The frenzy seems to have died down and I would not expect to see any effect on rates or the popularity of cruising.
I have to disagree that the Norwalk virus has been around a long time. I teach school and last week we had over 400 students down with it (half the school). That had never happened before. It isn't the same as the flu. Presumably, the North American population must build up antibodies against it, just like flu's and colds, etc. I do wish we could just get a shot for it, though!