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-   -   Cruise ship illness research (http://www.cruisereviews.com/forum/general-cruise-chat/33489-cruise-ship-illness-research.html)

Pippa 05-17-2006 04:05 AM

Hi all - I'm a student journalist in London and am looking for case studies for a feature I'm writing about people falling sick on cruises. If anyone has had a bad experience with stomach bugs etc. on a cruise themselves, or knows of someone who has, I'd really appreciate it if you could get in touch as soon as possible. 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. Many thanks!

Pippa 05-17-2006 04:05 AM

Hi all - I'm a student journalist in London and am looking for case studies for a feature I'm writing about people falling sick on cruises. If anyone has had a bad experience with stomach bugs etc. on a cruise themselves, or knows of someone who has, I'd really appreciate it if you could get in touch as soon as possible. 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. Many thanks!

Raoul Fiebig 05-17-2006 04:49 AM

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">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. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Pippa,

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.

Karen Knowlton 05-17-2006 06:41 AM

In my observation over 10 cruises, hygeine standards on cruise ships are as good or better than in hotels on land. Our cabins have often been cleaner than the hotels we stayed in before or after the cruise! These days, most cruise ships have hand sanitation stations in the buffet area, as Raoul mentioned. On our cruise last week, there were hand sanitation stations at ALL the restaurants and food lines, plus in other areas scattered around the ship, and I saw many passengers using them without even being reminded.

IMO, the media loves to jump on a story that has a sensational component, as it attracts more readers (or listeners, or viewers), and then, like a dog with a bone, they just won't let it go. Illness on cruise ships is not really a big news story.

Dave 05-17-2006 08:12 AM

Hello Pippa,

I've been cruising since 1992 and have never had a reason to think the ships had questionable sanitation. The crew is constantly cleaning things, much more so than I've ever seen at a hotel or in a shore-based restaurant. Cruise ships are subject to surprise inspections by various agencies and when a ship gets a low grade the hotel manager for that ship is in serious trouble with the company.

As Raoul correctly notes, the problem is primarily with the passengers. Some board the ship knowing they are sick, but they don't wish to miss their cruise figuring they will get better in a day or two. They then pass it on to the other passengers. Personal hygiene - or should I say the lack thereof - is probably the biggest contributor to illnesses spreading. People use restrooms and don't wash their hands when finished (yuck). They cough and don't try to contain it. I can go on and on.

I personally am a fanatic when it comes to hand washing. I carry hand sanitizer with me on trips. I think if more people simply washed their hands more often the problems would largely go away.

The media has long abandoned what they should be doing - reporting the news - and have moved on to creating news where it doesn't really exist. They trumpet it as an outbreak when 20 people get sick on a cruise ship that has 3000 people aboard. That is probably less of a percentage of illnesses than you'd find in a typical town on any given day.

penny3333 05-17-2006 10:07 AM

I've only been on 16 cruises, wish it could be a million and 16. I've been sick on two cruises, once on Carnival and once on Royal Caribbean. Neither times do I believe it was the cruise lines' fault. I truly believe I would have become sick if I had been at home as well. I can't speak for everyone who has become ill, but I firmly believe my body was worn down from being stressed out at work. Maybe I picked up a germ on board, maybe at work, maybe on the plane, maybe in the airport, maybe in my own home. The media sensationalizes everything, they don't report news anymore, they try to make a mini-series, multi-dollar extravaganza to get their ratings up. It's totally ridiculous. With all the people who go missing daily, few are reported. If it happens on a cruise ship, it's blasted on tv, radio, front page headlines, they'll do 20/20 reports, 60 minute reports; like I said they'll make it a mini-series. It's not reported how many people get sick in any city, on any particular day. I've only been on NCL, RCL, HAL, Costa, Carnival, and Princess. All of these lines have people working continuously cleaning, painting, vacuuming, emptying garbage, etc. I've stayed in hotels that were 5 star rated that weren't as clean as most of the ships I've been on. As one person recently posted, and now Geraldo reports from on board...


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