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Old March 6th, 2006, 03:08 PM
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Default Over 240 Sick On RCI Explorer of the Seas [More info???]

Mar 5, 2006 2:56 am US/Eastern
More Than 240 Sick On Miami-Based Ship

Marybel Rodriguez

(CBS4 News) MIAMI Royal Caribbean has announced many people on its February 26-March 5 sailing of Explorer of the Seas are sick with a gastrointestinal illness. In fact, a few hundred who weren't allowed to disembark at one port are being offered discounts on future cruises.

The cruise line reports 243 of the ship's 3,252 guests and 19 of its 1,184 crew members experienced the illness, which is thought to be a Norovirus brought onboard by a guest previously exposed to it. Royal Caribbean says those affected by the short-lived illness responded well to treatment administered onboard the ship.

Also, the company has taken steps to control and eradicate the illness' transmission. Some of these stepped-up procedures include:
• Implementing a three-stage illness prevention program. The program's action plan outlines specific, heightened sanitation procedures for crew members, from the captain to housekeepers.
• Implementing enhanced cleaning procedures and protocols, as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
• Using special cleaning products and disinfectants to clean all over the ships.
• Conducting special cleaning of all "high-touch" areas on the ship, like countertops, restroom and vanity surfaces, door handles, railings and grab bars, exercise equipment, TV remote controls, light switches, elevator buttons, and computer keyboards.
• Royal Caribbean also will have two additional physicians onboard (for a total of four) for the next Explorer of the Seas sailing, scheduled to begin March 5.

On Friday, Explorer of the Seas made its scheduled port call at Georgetown, Cayman Island. In an attempt to prevent any further spreading of the illness, Cayman Island health authorities mandated that any guests who were ill or had experienced symptoms of the illness at any time during the sailing remain on the ship. That mandate also applied to affected guests' close contacts.

All guests who were isolated due to the illness received a 50 percent credit for a future Royal Caribbean cruise. Explorer of the Seas sailed from Miami on Sunday, February 26, and made ports of call in Belize City, Belize, on Tuesday; Costa Maya, Mexico, on Wednesday; Cozumel, Mexico, on Thursday; and Georgetown, Cayman Islands, on Friday. The ship returns to Miami on Sunday, as scheduled.
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Old March 6th, 2006, 03:47 PM
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Old March 6th, 2006, 04:29 PM
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Was there no mention of the approx. 4200 who were NOT sick??
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Old March 6th, 2006, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron
Was there no mention of the approx. 4200 who were NOT sick??
of course not
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Old March 6th, 2006, 04:58 PM
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While I've noticed a tendency of some posters to seem to take pleasure in broadcasting every trouble suffered by the cruise industry, be it sickness, missing passengers or assaults by crew on passengers. There is also a tendency for some posters to react that there is absolutely nothing is unusual in these occurrences; stating that the cruise lines cannot help human nature or mother nature. Yes, a cruise ship is like a small city and on odds alone can have the problems of any city. Being a closed environment with so many common facilities does make it easier for the spread of illness. In this instance it appears that RCCL did everything they could to rectify the problem once they became aware of it and its doubtful they knowingly allowed the initial infected passenger onboard in callus disregard for the health of the other passengers. That being said, however, it is a disservice to turn a blind eye to the fact that sometimes things like this can happen and potential cruisers (particularly first time cruisers) ought to be aware of these potential problems. When some posters are overly defensive, it makes me wonder if they doth protest too much.

Hope all the sick passengers are recovering well and are able to take advantages of their discounts soon.
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Old March 6th, 2006, 05:25 PM
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I was very happy to see that the cruiselines have implemented having the antibacterial hand cleaner at various locations on the ship. What disturbs me is seeing people walk right by them. I sincerely feel that if everyone would use it, illness would be much less on the ships.
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Old March 6th, 2006, 05:43 PM
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I cruised on Ncl last year and I was happy to see antibacterial dispensers. It is a good thing and should be mandatory on every ship. deeteach
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Old March 6th, 2006, 06:19 PM
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It could be helpful if at some time during embarkation, maybe during Muster, if all passengers were reminded of the importance of washing your hands after using the bathroom. Also, signs in the bathrooms reminding people to wash their hands should be posted in several languages. Another thought is to have the staff in Windjammer to serve the food to stop so many people from touching the serving handles. I really do not think this is stressed enough to the passengers. Like a previous post states the ship is a small city and we must all take responsibility to keep it clean along with RCCL.
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Old March 6th, 2006, 06:33 PM
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This story is just further point to me how out of whack society is. First of all let's compare it to airline travel. You have non stop news coverage for days when a plane crashes but there's no fanfare for the thousands of flights that go off without a hitch daily, come on people its like buying a lottery ticket and really, REALLY thinking you will win. Let's be real here, look at the numbers and odds. The other problem that I have is do we really have to start babysitting people that are too crude or foolish to wash their hands, if society as a whole used some common sense we all would fare a lot better and I would be betting to wager that things like this wouldn't happen as much. Sorry to rant but I couldn't stay quiet on this issue any longer.
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Old March 6th, 2006, 11:30 PM
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I may be one of those who may be thought of as " defensive " of the cruise lines--- I am not really. I just honestly don't know what the public and especially the media are becoming to expect from the cruise lines. If a ship with 4500 people has 200 or so sick, thats news. How many of those are actually sick from a virus as opposed to seasickness, sick from over indulging in alcohol, food, etc??

In my town in the past couple of weeks there has been an outbreak of flu-like illnesses that has closed a couple of schools for a couple of days and had several hundred kids sick. In the surrounding counties it has been basically the same. All totaled, there has been hundreds of kids out with flu---intestinial-type illnesses. I haven't seen anything about it on Fox, CNN, ABC, etc. I have seen it mentioned a couple of times on local t.v.
Not newsworthy because it's kids in school. If those kids were on a cruise ship and a couple dozen got sick, it would be all over the media.

The other poster hit it right on the head about people not washing their hands, etc. You shouldn't have to force or remind grown people to wash their hands after picking their nose, scratching their rear, using the bathroom and a hundred other things they do. But, unfortunately, there are those amongst us that don't care and we all pay the price. Washing ones hands often may not stop all the illnesses but it would go a long way toward helping.

One more little speech while I'm on the soapbox please. I just a few minutes ago caught a couple minutes of Greta talking with some young lady who had apparently written a book about crimes on cruise ships.
( I wonder if the young lady has ever cruised ). Anyway they were discussing some couple who had supposedly had $ 7000.00 in jewelry stolen from their safe on a cruise ship. The big bad cruise line did nothing--- wouldn't reimburse them for the $ 7000.00 Now , would you, if someone said they had left a bag of jewelry in the safe and now it was gone, but couldn't prove they ever had it to begin with? No, I wouldn't.

With the millions of people who cruise each year and the number of real incidents, I have to say cruising is one of the safest vacations you can have.

Just my opinion which doesn't mean a thing to anyone but me.
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Old March 7th, 2006, 12:28 PM
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Enough with the hand washing.

I wash my hands all the time; especially on a ship. It did not help me when I got the Norwalk virus on the Island Princess. It was real fun being confined to the cabin for 3 days. There were 20 other folks who also got sick.

So, I did everything "right" and still got sick. I guess from now on I'll wear scrubs and a mask.
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Old March 7th, 2006, 12:48 PM
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Wrong Ron! It means a lot to me and I am certain to many, many other cruisers!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron
With the millions of people who cruise each year and the number of real incidents, I have to say cruising is one of the safest vacations you can have.
Just my opinion which doesn't mean a thing to anyone but me.
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Old March 7th, 2006, 01:13 PM
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Ron.... great points and I couldn't agree with you more. And what is someone bringing $7000 worth of jewelry for on a cruise???? I am sure they were wearing it for the formal nite.... but come on?? Common sense should tell someone to leave that at home and bring the cheap costume jewlery. Its like traveling with $7000 in cash... its something you just don't do because of the risk involved.
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Old March 7th, 2006, 01:38 PM
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Irish Shark, sorry you were sick on a cruise. Been there, done that.
However, you seem to think that keeping your hands clean didn't do anything to prevent you from being sick. But keeping your hands clean may very well have prevented others from catching what you caught.

The point of being clean is that if EVERYONE practiced some common sense hygiene, as you apparently did, then maybe ( no guarantees) but maybe you and some others woud not have been sick.

I guess the whole point with most folks is that why is something such a big deal when a cruise ship is involved? I guess before long we will have anti-cruising groups as we have anti-war, anti-smoking, anti-this-that groups.
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Old March 7th, 2006, 02:35 PM
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Here is my .02 cents to contribute to this thread:

We would all like to believe that because we've paid lots of cash to go on a cruise vacation, nothing should ever go wrong! The airline will NOT delay my same day flight, so that I miss the ship. Bad weather dare NOT cause the captain to skip a favorite port-of-call. And, NO way I'm I going to be sick while on vacation. The truth is that no matter how much scrubbing the ship's crew does, sickness happens! And, it is not just on cruise ships either. I once paid a lot of money to spend a week at Walt Disney World. What happened? I caught the Norwalk Virus (or some variant thereof). Spent an entire day in my hotel room, sick as a dog!
Would I refuse to ever go to Disney World again because of this incident?
Well, I've been back several times since then-all of which were incident-free! So, while it is unfortunate that so many persons were ill on Explorer, at least not all the passengers and crew were ill. Hats off the Royal Caribbean for taking extra precautions for future cruises.

Since 3,000+ people are packed in a relatively small space for 4-5-6-7 or more days, I cannot stress the importance of each passenger taking on the responsibility of personal hygiene. Let's wash those hands after using the restroom. Pack a large bottle of hand sanitizer to refill smaller-sized bottles-and carry the small bottles for frequent use throughout the day.
If we each do our part, and, if the cruise lines continue their efforts, then at least these types of illness outbreaks will happen a little less often.

Well, that is my .02 cents worth.
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Old March 7th, 2006, 05:44 PM
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I simply CANNOT understand the stupidity of people blaming the cruise lines when people get sick!! It ticks me off to no end & most of the time when the Media has a field day with those stories, I wonder if they were dropped on their heads as children.

Irish - you plan on wearing a mask & scrubs. What do you do when your entire office is sick with the Flu? Everyone who has ever worked in any sort of office environment knows how fast that gets around once some idiot drags their heels into work. How do others get sick? TOUCHING! BREATHING! Irish, you can wash your hands until your skelton shines through, but if you are in an elevator with another passenger, standing in a line or anything to do with someone who is sick or even has the start of it & you breath it in? Guess what? If your immune system is down, you are a goner!

I'm not bashing you, but like another poster said - you are on a small city for a week (not much different than an office atmosphere), you are bound to run into something if you are unlucky.

I think the Medical world needs to analyze this further. The passengers who got sick....what was their current health like? Prone to catching something? Low immune system? Exhausted when they came on the cruise which affects your body? Older folks? Younger folks? Are their shots up to date (100% guaranteed probably not!). So there's more factors involved here than the run of the mill excuses. Washing hands - Why would you NOT wash your hands? Germs can be absorbed through your skin, eyes, mouth, a cut, open wound, etc.

And here is the #1 cause of the common cold catching - SNEEZING! Ever see an actual video of what a sneeze actually looks like? There are BILLIONS of germ cells flying anywhere from 5-10 feet away. Add some wind to that & you get the idea. Now, put a passenger who unknowingly is getting sick in a elevator & voila! You have now 7 people who just breathed it in.
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Old March 7th, 2006, 06:18 PM
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You missed my point. Washing your hands all day long will not prevent you from getting sick. That is what I was saying.

As you correctly said, there are a millon ways to get sick and all that hand washing does not do any good.

As far as the office is concerned, I have not been in one for the last 5 years.
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Old March 8th, 2006, 07:09 PM
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I hope not to offend anyone by saying this, but think about it you get that many people on a boat together that is just asking someone to get sick. I mean no one wants to get sick, but it is like playing the lottery when you travel by boat or any other means of travel.
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