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bdiva May 24th, 2006 12:32 AM

norovirus on ryndam
Just got back from a wonderful Alaskan cruise on the Ryndam (May 14-21), but the norovirus broke out on the first day. It actually started before we boarded (hand sanitizers dispensed as soon as we boarded). when we arrived in our cabins a letter stating the norovirus had broken out on "other cruise lines, but not HAL" , so please don't shake hands. The next day salt & pepper shakers were removed from tables and dispensers were put throughout the ship. Soon rumors had spread that people were getting sick and quarantined and sent to A deck for the duration of illness. then mask and gloves were wore by staff abd crew also, no self serving was allowed at the buffet. finally on thursady the captain announced the norovirus was on the ship. We washed our hands so much they started to crack. Luckily since we were on the navigation deck we were not affected. I wish they had been more honest from the start, we had learned the norovirus was on the prior cruise before us and the ship had not been dry docked for sanitation. The worst of it was that ship was continuing on for another cruise. Not only did several of the passengers came down ill, but they were so short staffed, they actually had flown new crew in from Bulgaria who boarded at Skagway (36 hour flight). If you are going on the Ryndam soon, please bring hand sanitizer ( and I mean alot) and please wash your hands before everything. Try not use the elevator and if you must, use your elbows or if you use the stairs try not using the handrail (dangerous I know). Most importantly please know the staff was more than accomodating and helpful, and it was the best vacation ever: though I admit I liked the Zaandam better. Just be conscious of what you are doing, maybe avoid the lido deck too. All in all, a great time, but I am left with one disturbing image, as we prepared to board our shuttle bus, there was a mother in total distress screaming " my son was taken into quarantine and I they won't tell me where he is". Not cool

Mike M May 24th, 2006 01:00 AM

Once there is "an actual" case of norovirus the ship does go into a "lock down" situation. All food is served in the lido, salt and peppers are removed and everything is decontaminated. If you saw that then it's time to be suspicious.

Even when a ship does have an outbreak it doesn't go into dry dock. The worst that happens is that it may miss a run of a cruise and go through a sanitation process but usually once the crew goes through their illness and the passengers leave so does the virus.

Multiple hand washing and not shaking hands are the best thing you can do to avoid it.

I find it strange that the mother would have a child taken away. Perhaps the child was an adult who was confined to their cabin. If a minor is confined to their cabin one of their parents or adult guardian is confined with them.

Take care,

bdiva May 24th, 2006 01:06 AM

I hope the child was an adult, but don't know. Have you ever experinced this situation? I have been looking up things on this virus and the Ryndam is mentioned alot. Is it possible some ships are more prone to this?

Mike M May 24th, 2006 05:08 AM

I have not experienced the situation first hand but I have had the procedures explained to me by the Hotel Captain on the Statendam. They do take it very seriously. If you go to the infirmary complaining of an upset stomach and display signs of norovirus be prepared to be confined to your cabin and have all your dining room meals served to you there and all the unlimited room service you can eat. If you don't show signs of norovirus within 24 hours you are free to join the rest of the passengers. They aren't being cruel but a large outbreak is bad for everyone.

BTW: You get no compensation for being confined to your cabin. :cry:

Take care,

DeeDee May 24th, 2006 07:02 AM

Mike is so right. The crew and staff do take an outbreak very seriously. I have been on a couple of ships where there has been an outbreak and luckily we did not get it. But, on a recent cruise I came down with a dreadful cough/sinus infection, slight temperature and because I told the nurse in the Infirmary that I had dirrahea, they quarantined me for 24 hours. Turns out I had bronchitis, but they were taking no chances.

As to the Mother screaming she didn't know where her child was, I am skeptical about this. First of all they quarantine the patient to their cabin and anyone else who is in that cabin. Sounds like the "child" was an adult and they probably didn't want to talk to anyone on the phone or answer the door if the Mother called their cabin..........I know I was so sick all I wanted to do was sleep.

Norovirus is everywhere, not only on ships. It's here in the schools, offices, hospitals, etc. etc. When you get so many people confined to such close quarters, it's very easy to pick it up if you do not take precautions.

richstacy May 26th, 2006 07:01 PM

We just returned from a wonderful long cruise on the Statendam from Hong Kong to Vancouver. Mike was on the first leg of our cruise on an earlier cycle. Anyway, long story short, there was on outbreak of Noro on the cruise just before ours and it continued when we boarded in Hong Kong. We took super precautions and the ship was "code-red" as Mike has described. Still, my wife got it two days out and we were quarantined for a total of about 36 hours ( 24 hours after her last symptoms. the medical staff, room service and our steward couldn't have been nicer. Unfortunately we missed Shanghai because of it, but at least we had a verandah so it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

I will correct Mike on one point. They gave us each 240 dollars credit for the inconvenience. It is a self limiting thing and once you have it you are immune from that strain of the virus, although like the common cold it has many strains. It certainly did not ruin our cruise. We did not miss the Great Wall or any of the other major things we wanted to see in China or Japan. On the second leg of the cruise, the disease was gone and they lifted code red, although everyone continued to use the hand sanitizers regularly (except for a few idiots).

Aside, when my wife got it, I tried to get it from her, so we wouldn't have to be quarantined twice. I never succeeded in getting it! In total there were more than 300 guests and crew sick, and an equal number on the cruise immediately preceding ours from Osaka to Hong Kong.

Overall, this is a major problem for all cruise lines and they need to find ways to deal with it better. We've been on about 14 cruises now and this is the first time we've ever seen it, but it seems to be getting far more frequent, despite better sanitation and awareness.

Grdner May 28th, 2006 10:47 PM

We recently cruised on the Veendam - 22 days - there was norovirus onboard for most of the cruise. We picked up passengers in San Diego, Seattle and of course a whole shipfull in Vancouver - these passengers were not notified that there was noro onboard and given the choice whether to cruise or not.

My brother-in-law was a captain and he feels that the ships are not performing proper sanitation procedures. he said that it is costly but necessary to avoid things like noro. He never had noro on any of the ships that he sailed with.

By the way, when my husband had noro they called it food poisoning and we were not given any compensation even though he voluntarily quarantined himself until 24 hours after the symptoms disappeared.

richstacy May 29th, 2006 02:02 PM

Your story about the Veendam is not in keeping with our experience, because Holland America certainly does not try to disguise Norwalk as food poisoning or anything else. I believe they did everything they could to knock it out on the Statendam and indeed, they succeeded. The captain made a public announcement about it almost every day. By the time we got to Alaska there were no cases aboard, and all restrictions were lifted. In both Hong Kong and Osaka the ship was completely sterilized and ship sterilization was an ongoing thing throughout the voyage.
Norwalk does frequently, (too frequently) show up on cruise ships but that is not the only place. The most frequent location is schools. It has been around forever and it is what we used to inaccurately call the "24 hour stomach flu."

Mike M May 30th, 2006 12:19 PM


Great to see you back! I'm sorry that your wife became ill. Captain Regemorter did tell us that they had six people in quarantine on the second formal night and at the time of boarding in Hong Kong we too had to fill out the questionnaire. That was definitely a red flag. I'm glad you did get compensation for the quarantine, but the cruise line is not required to do so.

I did notice at the end of the cruise that no one shook hands on a one to one basis. Nino gave me an elbow rub and said that the crew was on "alert" but nothing had been made official.

It's rather humorous. I came home and four days after coming home I became ill with basically the same thing but I caught it from my own family. :shock:

BTW: Thanks for the email updates!!

One question: Do you think Dalian will become a major itinerary stop for future cruises?

Take care,

Irish Shark May 30th, 2006 12:45 PM


Originally Posted by Mike M
we too had to fill out the questionnaire. That was definitely a red flag.

Mike, is that the questionnaire that asks if you been sick in the last day or so? If so, we had to fill that out on our last three crusies. I thought that was a standard thing that the line are doing now?

DeeDee May 30th, 2006 12:46 PM

:-? Mike - since when did Diderik Regemorter become a Captain? Wssn't he the Hotel Manager on your cruise?

Mike M May 30th, 2006 12:52 PM

Sorry about that: He is Hotel Manager. I continue to use the Celebrity "Hotel Captain" term. LOL

Captain Pieter Bos was the THE CAPTAIN.

Take care,

DeeDee May 30th, 2006 02:25 PM

Mike - you're forgiven! LOL

richstacy May 30th, 2006 02:33 PM

Mike, Dalian was not the greatest port, but it was very nice compared to Petropavolosk Russia. A beautiful setting, but the streets are lined with empty vodka bottles, the opposite of clean Japan. Our favorites besides Beijing, were Nagasaki, Osaka, and Tokyo. We really fell in love with Japan and its friendly polite people and clean streets.

There was a cycle between your cruise and ours and that's when the virus really broke out. when we got on in Hong Kong the ship was in "code red" (frequent hand washing, no hand shaking, no self service in the lido. everything, even coffee was served to you and salt and pepper was in little envelopes only. Chair backs and hand rails constantly being disinfected, library closed. hand sanitizer in constant use etc. They did everything they could, and although about 300 eventually got sick, it did work because eventually the virus was eradicated and the restrictions lifted. Also about 100 of the crew who were sick were taken off and replacements had been flown in, (at Hong Kong) so things were pretty confused for a few days. We even had a different captain, Peter J. Maurik, but Regemorter was still hotel manager. Every sick or quarantined passenger was compensated. Even though we and about 500 others stayed on in Osaka for the repositioning of the ship to Alaska, we were all required to be off for several hours before the new passengers embarked so they could fumigate the entire ship. Overall, it was no more than a minor inconvenience.

You will be jealous to hear that the weather for the great wall was perfect, clear, 72 degrees and no wind! Indeed the weather for the entire cruise was great and the water was the smoothest of any cruise we have ever been on. even the Bering Sea was tame except for one day.

We had great lectures on the Pacific rim, volcanic and seismic activity, globalization, the rise of China and sports. We also had hands on cooking classes from Hsing Chao Ching, the food editor of the Seattle newspaper. (We can do great Pot Stickers now).

I have posted a few pictures to the photo gallery and am adding to them as I get them worked up. No Japan ones yet.

graylady May 31st, 2006 05:49 PM

Just got off the Ryndam (May 21-28). There was a letter in Vancouver explaining the virus and if we wanted to cancel we could right then. Of course we did not cancel. The trip was great and the third day out some of the precautions were eased, we were allowed salt and pepper at the table. This was our first cruise and I could not find anything wrong with the ship or the staff.


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