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Health at Sea Questions on the treatment of sea sickness and other cruise-related health topics.

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old November 25th, 2003, 02:53 PM
Debbie Kupperberg
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Default throw up before you check in!!!

My whole family is supposed to be in the Caribbean this week! Supposed to.

On Saturday night, we all went out to eat at Blimpie's. My husband had a pastrami sandwich which, by Sunday morning, made him sick. He had a stomachache and felt nauseous. But we got on the plane to catch our ship (I won't mention the cruise line) in Fort Lauderdale. We were going on a 7-day cruise which my mom and dad paid for (it was my mom and dad, me, my husband and my kids all going together). All the way down on the plane my husband did not feel well.

When we got to the cruise ship terminal, my mom and dad checked in, and then it was our turn. My husband said, "here, you take care of it, I'm not feeling well." I was at the check-in, and had all the documents out, and the woman behind the counter said, "Where is your husband?" I turned around and he was throwing up into a garbage receptacle. So the woman says "come with me," and takes us all off the line, and has the ship's doctor come down and see my husband. My husband explains about the pastrami sandwich and the doctor says, "Everybody thinks it's food poisoning when 99% of the time it's a virus. And with the viruses on the cruise ships these days, I cannot allow you to board the ship. He didn't even examine my husband. Not only that, but all 6 of us, including my parents, were denied boarding, because we were all traveling together!

They told my mom they'd refund all her money ($8,000), got our luggage off the ship, made plane reservations, sent us cabs back to the airport, and sent us home. We got home at 12:30 in the morning and had to take an illegal taxi home that charged my husband $60.

I am not angry at the cruise line. I feel the doctor should have at least examined my husband who, by the way, woke up the next day feeling absolutely fine!

We were so sad and depressed ... and still are!

I know the cruise ship was doing what they felt was right, but what do the rest of you think?

Also, this message teaches a lesson to any of you who don't feel so hot when boarding -- go to the bathroom and throw up before you check in!
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Old November 25th, 2003, 04:06 PM
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Default Re: throw up before you check in!!!

Wow! What a story! This is a tough one. I've been on a ship where the Norwalk Virus was in full blossom (Amsterdam, Nov. 02), but I did not get sick. The virus did spread rapidly throughout the ship and many crew and pax were affected. How that virus came aboard is anyone's guess.

Seems to me that, since your husband was fairly sure that the pastrami sandwich caused the whole problem, the cruise line should have allowed you onboard, monitored how he felt for the first few days and then decided what to do.

This proves how important timing is in life....had he been sick on the plane or even a few minutes earlier, all would have been fine with everyone and he'd have perked up farily soon, proving that he was not a virus carrier.

Did the cruise line offer any compensation other than the refund? Did they take care of airline charges for changing flights?

This is a tough call all around and I can see both sides of the story but sure don't have any answers!
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Old November 25th, 2003, 04:35 PM
Debbie Kupperberg
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Default Re: Re: throw up before you check in!!!

Yes, they did pay for us to fly back to NY. They gave us a $40 per person meal allowance at the airport (very generous!) plus backpacks from the cruise line's camp for each of my kids, filled with goodies bearing the ship logo.
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Old December 17th, 2003, 07:57 PM
alisonr
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Default Re: Re: Re: throw up before you check in!!!

Wow, sorry to hear about your cruise. This was my worse nightmare recently as I became violently ill 1 day prior to leaving on our cruise. Luckily the next day I was fine. I think that since the cruise line saw your husband being sick they probably couldn't risk letting you on the boat. If they let him board after knowing that he had been vomiting and he actually had the Norwalk virus and passed it on to other passengers, the cruise line might have been held accountable for ruining numerous people's vacations. Unfortunately Norwalk spreads very easily. If it is any consulation the Doctor would not have been able to rule out Norwalk by examining your husband. In fact by coming into close contact with your husband he may have become infected himself and passed on the virus to numerous passengers. I can imagine how bad you must have felt missing out on your cruise!
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Old February 23rd, 2004, 09:43 AM
McCall
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Default Re: throw up before you check in!!!

I think the cruiseline did absolutely the right thing. You assumed it was the sandwhich you have no way of knowing that it was, and if it was you should be notifying health officials about the restaruant.
I am glad they gave you the money back, legally they did not have to do that either, though of course would be very bad PR if they had not.

Things like that are one of the reasons I don't travel without travel insurance.

Sorry that things worked out as they did though, I know it must be awful for all of you.
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Old March 4th, 2004, 10:20 PM
davidkade
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Default Re: throw up before you check in!!!

Bad scene, you have my sympathy.
The ship's doctor had no choice. The examination you think he should have done would not have been conclusive, anly time and observation would have given a propper diagnosis of virus vs. other causes.

David
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Old April 25th, 2004, 11:07 AM
RitaL
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Default Re: throw up before you check in!!!

Any possiblility your husband was too nervous for his first cruise that made him sick? and once he realized he was home, a familiar envirnment the next day that he became totally fine and sound?

It happens sometimes with us when we are extremely excited or nervous. our stomach will get sick.

Just a suggestion.

Rita
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Old May 2nd, 2004, 04:44 PM
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Default Re: throw up before you check in!!!

My 25 year old daughter and I were on the Monarch with friends last year and she came down with Norwalk. Three of us were quarantined because of this and needless to say it ruined our cruise. My daughter said she would rather have been at home than have been sick on the ship even though she did enjoy a few days of the cruise. The doctor said she got the Norwalk from someone coming onto our ship sick even though she is a very clean person. I appreciate the doctor not taking a chance on spreading the Norwalk virus onto the ship. You can not always tell if it is Nowalk or not. Do you realize how quickly the Norwalk virus can spread on a ship? A NCL ship traveling next to us had to send over 200 people home during their cruise. Our cruise was not infected as bad. It sounds like to cruise line was very generous with you as they were with us. I can understand your disappointment though.

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Old June 24th, 2004, 02:08 PM
Jane Marlow
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Default Re: throw up before you check in!!!

What cruise line was that?
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Old January 3rd, 2005, 02:37 PM
ELko
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Default Re: throw up before you check in!!!

I am glad they took precautions because that could be a real problem for everyone..I wonder how much of the Norwalk happens and we don't hear about.. JUst last week we had a cabin across the hall where this one guy stayed inside the whole 10 days. I never saw him but he had room service and a do not disturb sign on his door the whole trip...At the biginning of hte cruise they gave you some info saying that if you went to the clinic and had norwalk there would be no charge...hmmmm.. IF you were told to stay in your room the whole trip would you get your money back or credit?
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Old January 5th, 2005, 05:52 PM
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Default Re: throw up before you check in!!!

Debbie, are you planning another cruise anytime soon? If you do will you use the same cruiseline? just wondering.
(and I am very sorry to hear about this, we booked our cruise several months ago and hope this doesn't happen to us -or anyone else)
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Old January 25th, 2005, 08:42 PM
hcat
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Default Re: throw up before you check in!!!

This is a nightmare but a reality we all have to allow might happen. Seems like the Norwalk virus is more prevalent than it appears..Other than on ships where is it most prevalent.? Until recently never heard of it. Most attention is given to the flu.
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Old February 19th, 2005, 10:11 PM
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Default Re: throw up before you check in!!!

We always wash our hands before going thru the line and again after we make our plates. After touching all those buffet handles you need to wash up again. Why don't they have a hand sanitizing station (gel) at the beginning of the line. Who's going to just walk by it if people around them are using it? I know not everything is passed around this way but these tips can't hurt.
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Old April 12th, 2005, 06:22 AM
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Default Re: throw up before you check in!!!

I support the doctors decision even though it was a nightmare for you. If you think about it from his perspective...he could disappoint 8 people or risk 3000. He really had no choice.

I'm terribly sorry this happened to you...

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Old April 15th, 2005, 04:29 PM
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Default Re: throw up before you check in!!!

I went thru' the same thing with a cruise we were booked on for March 19th on the Veendam with HAL. Having travelled 2 days by road - Type 1 diabetic - road food - blood sugars abit off - not exercising - my system was thrown off and I had a slight case of the runs - which was better on the day we were supposed to leave. When filling out the questionnaire I answered the questionnaire truthfully - and because of my stupidity - when asking the chap taking in the forms and pointing out what I had written (he didn't speak English very well) - the Lead Medical Officer Ms. Capparelli said that even with what I had explained to her she had to deny me and my husband passage incase I was infectious. I have never cried so much in my life before - - it was our anniversary cruise and more so because of almost losing my job in order to take the cruise and having to put one of my animals at home in a boarding house. We had to scramble to find a place to stay for the remainder of the week since we had already booked accommodation for a 2nd week in Florida. Between HAL and the insurance company - they will be fighting things out. I have to admit this has put a damper on my ever going on a cruise again - this would have been our 4th cruise - 2nd with HAL. We were in shock for the next 3 days - I took up smoking/drinking - yuck - something I don't normally do - but I was crying every 2nd minute - I felt so stupid. I am planning on submitting a letter to HAL to hopefully get them to understand what can happen to an insulin dependent diabetic when travelling - and hopefully their medical staff will be less harsh on people such as myself. Of course, the medical officer said that I should be proud for being honest and that was supposed to make me feel better??? She said that many people lie on these forms and this is the reason for the outbreaks that are occurring - tho' I feel much of it may be with the staff - since they are under contract to work 6 months - and when they are sick - they are stuck on the ship - can't see the cruise lines dropping them off at a port and picking them up later - can you?
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 10:12 AM
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Well, since I am a germ freak...Im glad they keep a watchful eye out on sick passengers. If I was that sick..I would not want to be on a cruise anyway.

I hope and pray that my first cruise is sick-free.
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Old January 20th, 2007, 12:43 AM
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ok...i understand all this and all but i have what some may think is a stupid question...i have been reading post on here like a crazy person and it seems to me that sea sickness and this virus have the same symptoms...sooooooo...how does someone who has never cruised before know the difference? thanks
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Old April 18th, 2007, 03:49 PM
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That is very unfortunate, but I think the cruiseline handeled it perfectly.
I would not have wanted to miss my cruise either - no ones does.
No ones wants to be sick on a cruise either.
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Old June 13th, 2007, 09:02 PM
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Default Sad Story...

...No names, no cruiseline mentioned...10+ years ago, my uncle was one of 200+ people who caught food poisoning on a Baja cruise. He died from esophogeal hemorrage. He took the cruise he looked forward to and stayed with the ship for the remaining 6 days... while his wife and daughter flew home from the first port of call. My mom had to ID his body when he came home. Major cover up involved...Lawsuits...Ugly...I see why they are extra, super careful these days.

I am the first in our family to forgive and take a cruise...Everyone was nervous for us but all went well, of course. (Old School Family Phobias)
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Old June 14th, 2007, 03:07 PM
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Just FYI, Norwalk is not food poisoning. Earlier this year, I almost died from food poisoning here where I live. Never knew that there are over one hundred types of E.Coli. I caught the one where you can bleed to death. Assumed at first that I had something that you just grin and "bare" it. But, my veins collapsed and I went into shock. Not looking for sympathy here, but just to let people know that cruises are no more dangerous than any place where there are a lot of people and that the Norwalk is, so far as I know, not a potentially fatal illness.
Marty, not a doc, just a too experienced patient!
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Old August 24th, 2007, 06:46 PM
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The cruise line is authorized under a public health law to implement this action. You don't have to name the cruiseline, they all have to follow the same rules. and DO They did the right thing.

Cruise medical staff actually walk through the terminal observing passengers before they board for signs of illness. Its better to be detected before you board then to possibly end up quarantined onboard in one tiny stateroom.

its sad, but they did were protecting themselves and the other passengers. I hope you can travel again soon.
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