My brother went on a Norwegian Cruise recently and has been incessantly emailing me about hand washing on board any ship now due to the Norwalk Virus...I hope I put that right.
Im not all that worried, but he has put a bit of concern in my mind. I wash my hands plenty, but he's a pretty level headed guy and told me to beware and never touch anything without washing my hands afterward. This is common sense stuff, but I dont want to worry about this crap if it's unwarranted.
Anyone have any new info on this? Is this a problem with certain ships, or a general concern and has anyone gotten sick from this before?
I've had food poisoning before so I know I dont ever want that again...but I wonder if this is similar. I'll do some google work on it but was wondering if anyone had any personal experience with this or not.
this virus isn't just confined to cruise ships,in the hospital that i work in we've had to close two full wards because of the spread of this virus to contain it.passengers bring this virus on board ships,it travels like the flu virus you catch it by coming in contact with infected people and surfaces.the best way to try and prevent getting it is indeed to wash your hands and use alcohol based hand cleanser use it correctly it must stay wet on your hands for 30 seconds and allow to dry in naturally don't rub your hands with towels or paper towels.if there is an outbreak on a ship those people who have the virus will be confined to their cabin if an outbreak does happen the self service buffet should be closed or staffed if this is not the case avoid using the buffet to protect yourself.the virus usually only lasts a day or so 24/48 hours i've never contracted it but work colleagues have.don't worry about this too much,all ships are susceptible to this as are hotels e.t.c.just use the hand cleanser regularly maybe bring your own with you and compare the number of cruisers that get the virus to the number of people who don't it is only a very very small number of people who get infected.hope this helps.
CDC Website Lists all Illness Outbreaks & Which Ships
If you want to see trends for a particular cruiseline...go the the CDC Ship Inspection website. There you can view results of onboard ship inspections by the CDC (routine inspections & results), as well as history of reported viruses/illness for individual cruiseships/lines.
Appears NCL has had the most frequent trends of illness...although they're one of my favorite cruiselines. All lines have reported something.
When we traveled with Celebrity's Summit through the Panama Canal in Jan'07 - there were hand sanitizer stations at each entrance to the buffets and dining rooms. Also a crew member was stationed there to
see that everyone used them. The ship was immaculate and even in the
rest rooms - attendants were there handing you towels and kind of keeping on eye on everyone at the sinks. Good idea. I have learned to
keep a paper towel in my hand when touching the door and toliet handles no matter whether I am home or on vacation. Not a hard habit to get into.
Why people make a stink out of cruise ships & the virus is beyond me. Funny how they ALL FAIL to mention all the times their own co-workers were sick & how the entire office came down with the flu. Or their kids got sick at school because the other kids were sick (hmmm...also an enclosed enviroment).
Stop blaming the cruise lines & put the blame CORRECTLY where it belongs - THE PASSENGERS.
A ship is made of steel, it cannot harbor a virus nor does it create one.
This topic always fires me up because of the lack of insight.
Serenade of the Seas - '05
Sovereign of the Seas - '07
We were on the Disney Magic several years ago when it was quarantined at sea by the CDC. It was a nightmare! We were traveling with two other families and they both got sick. The sick bay was full, the laundry rooms were overflowing...it was like that movie with Dustin Hoffman! It sounds funny now but at the time it was no fun being on a ship with hundreds of people vomiting
The NoroVirus is very real and it is very contagious. We just returned from a cruise on Freedom of the Seas and there was a lot of people sick on the ship from the virus. The staff were working double time and even the show performers were serving breakfast because they did not have enough staff. Cruisers and staff were quarantined for 48 hours if they showed symptoms. RCL denied there was an outbreak, but when I took my daughter to the medical facility, there were two others in the waiting room. One nurse said it was the worst she had ever seen in 8 years of working on cruise ships. Anyone that was sick was asked to go to a special room to de-board away from the other guests.
Cruise lines do not want vacationers to know about NoroVirus and how succeptible their ships are to outbreaks that can't be contained -- this is the industry's "dirty little secret".
Beware -- this is a very real risk and it is no fun to be sick on a cruise ship and quarantined in your cabin!
While I agree that it is no fun to be quarantined, or worse, sick. But, please keep in mind that this virus is everywhere, not just on ships. It shows up in schools, businesses, restaraunts, hospitals, any place where people come in contact with each other and don't wash their hands before eating. It is not a cruise line's dirty little secret. It just doesn't get the attention in other places. And, we all want our vacations to be a break from the everyday. Sadly, those little viruses tend to travel even better than we do. Talk about stowaways!
We too just returned from a cruise on Freedom of the Seas--or as we like to call it--No Freedom of Disease. This is not our first cruise--but the first cruise where we experienced illness. Two of 6 members in our party came down with "gastrointestinal symptoms". One went to the Dr. for a "complimentary" visit and left with a shot in the arm, Gatorade, a handful of Imodium and 48 hours of stateroom quarantine. His wife received 24 hours of quarantine although she never had or developed symptoms. They asked for copies of the paperwork that they were required to complete and were told that the information was confidential and no copies would be provided. (As the Dr. visits were complimentary, no paperwork would be necessary for insurance purposes.) When you are quarantined, food is brought to your room on paper plates and disposed of in red bio-hazard bags. A sanitizing team cleans your room while you stand in the hall or on your balcony. You receive free pay-per-view movies and free pop and candy from the mini-bar. You are reimbursed for shore excursions that you miss.
If you choose not to visit the Dr. and instead rest and recuperate on your own in your stateroom, your cabin steward can report your behavior. If you do not leave your stateroom for 24 hours, the ships medical staff can request a stool sample--if you do not provide a stool sample, you are quarantined to your cabin until you do provide a sample.
I believe the post that said a nurse had not seen an outbreak to this degree in 8 years. Our friend was on an elevator where everyone on the elevator exited on the first floor and went to the Dr. The waiting room was full and additional seating was set up down a hallway--complete with buckets for vomiting! We also talked to staff that were working 19 hour shifts due to the number of employees that were ill.
We were told our ship had 1,000 children onboard. At one time we were by the ice cream station near the children's pool--they were out of cones and the kids were licking their fingers and sticking them up the holes where the ice cream is dispensed.
We have certainly heard of offices and schools that have flu outbreaks and we are aware that hand washing is essential. I do, however, believe a ship can support a virus if for no other reason than it was impossible for the skeleton crew to adequately clean the ship before the new group of passengers boarded in less than 5 hours! We were advised by the Royal Caribbean info-mercial TV station that the illness on the ship was the Norwalk or Norwalk-like virus...it is imperative that we wash our hands and that the crew has been ordered not to shake hands with the passengers. There were no samples taken at the Dr. visit--how was it determined that it was not food poisoning or another type of illness? Maybe it is not the cruiselines "dirty little secret" but dirty or a secret none the less...
Thanks for the information, Bill. I, too, had found this website...it's interesting that Freedom of the Seas was not listed in 2009. The CDC met our ship at the dock. Our friends that experienced illness were issued luggage tags that were not part of the usual "rainbow" of luggage tags indicating when you can depart the ship. Instead, passengers with these tags were required to meet with the CDC. After a miserable cruise, our friends refused to sit in a giant room with a crowd of sick people; they were told they could leave. Royal Caribbean advised them that they would "calculate their inconvenience" and compensate them accordingly. Several weeks later they received one $100 voucher.
Norovirus is not spread by sneezing, coughing or kissing or even by being in the same room with the same air that others breath
It is spread by people not washing their hands after going to the toilet and wiping their butt. Leaving their ass germ on doors, the handles, lift buttons, buffet tongs and even the food you may eat if they touch it and then leave it for you to eat later.
Ships have this repuation because it is so confined, doors, tongs, lift buttons, lots of people in a small place.
If you have some dirty b****s on board that after a dump do not wash their hands. Then everything they touch as they go around the ship is a potential source of infection, and you could be a healthy person who has just done your business and washed your hands in the wash room. But then touch the door handle left infected by another.
You may have done the right thing, but some dirty bugger left you a present on the door handle, so you go back to your table and happen to lift some bread out of the basket, but at the same time slightly touch another piece,,,there you go infection spread
We realize how the virus is acquired--we realize it is not airborne. Our friends that were asked to visit with the CDC when our cruise arrived in port, had already been quarantined to their room for 48 hours. They chose not to sit with a crowd that had the same miserable experience; people that were still vomiting and cramping with diarrhea--no matter how it was spread!
It is not from bad bathroom hygiene! What you usually get from that is E.Coli food poisoning. That is a bacteria. Norwalk is a virus, which is entirely different. E.Coli can be mild or it can be fatal. I spent time in a hospital a few years ago thanks to the really bad kind. Caught it at a restaraunt near where we live, not on a cruise. But, basically, the Norwalk is what we used to call the 24 hr stomach flu. Unpleasant, but passes (so to speak) fairly quickly.
The captain stressed the importance of hand-washing after using the bathroom...we were reminded constantly on the never-ending info-mercial in our cabin. We received information sheets in our cabin every day about the Norwalk/Norwalk-like virus detailing how it can be spread, including not washing your hands after using the bathroom and before eating. Seems like any Dr. onboard over many years would have called them on the misinformation.
It is not from bad bathroom hygiene! What you usually get from that is E.Coli food poisoning. That is a bacteria. Norwalk is a virus, which is entirely different. E.Coli can be mild or it can be fatal. I spent time in a hospital a few years ago thanks to the really bad kind. Caught it at a restaurant near where we live, not on a cruise. But, basically, the Norwalk is what we used to call the 24 hr stomach flu. Unpleasant, but passes (so to speak) fairly quickly.
Marty: You're great but I really have to correct these statements. Feces is the main carrier of noro-virus.
Noro-virus is spread by not washing your hands after going to the bathroom. The only way it is spread is via feces, mucus membranes, vomitis and saliva.
It is spread when a person does not wash their hands after going to the bathroom, wiping their nose, sneezing into their hand or other transfer of bodily fluids and then touches another person or surface. The virus is then transmitted to another person when they touch that area.
If anyone still doesn't believe it here is the quote from the CDC:
Epidemiology of transmission
Noroviruses are highly contagious, with as few as 100 virus particles thought to be sufficient to cause infection. Noroviruses are transmitted primarily through the fecal-oral route, either by direct person-to-person spread or fecally contaminated food or water. Noroviruses can also spread via a droplet route from vomitus. These viruses are relatively stable in the environment and can survive freezing and heating to 60°C (140°F). In healthcare facilities, transmission can additionally occur through hand transfer of the virus to the oral mucosa via contact with materials, fomites, and environmental surfaces that have been contaminated with either feces or vomitus.