Originally posted by Pippa:
I'd also like to hear from anyone who has a strong opinion on whether cruising deserves the bad press it gets regarding hygiene standards and so on.
welcome to Cruise-Chat.com. In my humble opinion, those people who claim that mass norovirus outbreaks are a result of low hygiene standards on cruise ships have no idea what they are talking about. Cruise ships have very high hygiene standards and in contrast to hotels, restaurants etc. in many parts of the worlds, these standards are checked regularly and extremely thoroughly by government agencies (such as the CDC in the United States) in the various ports of call.
Cruise ships are not particularly susceptible to norovirus outbreaks, but any more or less confined spaces with many people (schools, old people's homes, airplanes etc.) are, as well. In recent years the cruise industry has worked hard to further help decrease the number of norovirus outbreaks.
But it doesn't lie in the hands of the cruise lines to successfully put these into action: The passengers must play their part. This includes washing hands often and using disinfectant dispensers that many cruise lines have set up in their buffet restaurants (and some even in the dining rooms).
Most norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships are caused by passengers who come onboard sick already. While nobody likes to cancel a cruise at the very last minute due to sickness, not only do these people risk their own health but others', as well.
It is, by the way, not a good solution to so as if these outbreaks were not a problem at all. But instead of making ridiculous claims, the media should sharpen awareness for the problem and should concentrate on offering advice for travelers instead of bashing the cruise industry, which doesn't solve the problem, at all.