We noticed a couple of years ago that Royal Caribbean took its hand sanitizers off its ships. I think there is still one to use when you board the ship in some ports.
We carry sanitizer with us on land and sea, just to give it our best shot. It was proven, though, that hand sanitizers don't prevent certain kinds of viruses like norovirus. Only hand washing with soap and water can do that. But it's the next best thing, and probably does prevent a bunch of other potential risks.
I read one report from some medical source that simply rubbing your hands under a good stream of running water - even without soap - is more effective than hand sanitizers. The idea being rinsing away the nasty stuff rather than hoping to kill it chemically.
Hand sanitizers are psychotherapy for the timid. It's handwashing that keeps you healthy. Sanitizers at the gangway are nonsense - you pick the bug up eating ashore, carry it on board in your guts, not on your hands. A disinfectant enema at the gangway might do the trick, not the hand sanitizing.
Last year on our Alaska cruise on the Serenade there were no hand sanitizers at all the first couple days and then a virus broke out and after that, RCCI had everyone they could get,even the show people handing out the food and everything including ice cream (no cones,bowls only).There was no more self serve for the rest of the cruise. We never got sick thank goodness.
Frankly I don't like self-serve. I prefer it when the crew is doing it. It is simply a more sanitary approach to it. How many of us have seen passengers pawing over the bread and rolls instead of using the tongs? Using the same tongs to get different items? Drop the tongs on the deck and just put them back in the tray? I've seen all three, and many more examples.
Dave I have also seen people doing that and I don't like it either. I saw a boy about 14 one day stick both hands in the french fries.I saw where he sat down and told his mom he needed some manners.She was still chewing on him when I walked away.I am not bashful about letting someone know about it when I see it
Pardon my norovirus ignorance. I'm pretty new to cruising. I used to cruise back in the 70's and only recently started cruising again so the norovirus is new to me. How do you get it? I am assuming from all the posts, it is food borne?
When I was on the Freedom, the only buffet food I ate was bananas and yogurts at breakfast in the morning. We ate in the dining room only once, prefering the other restaurants on board. I don't drink soda and am a vegetarian so don't know if this makes a difference. Does this lower my chances of getting sick or does it not matter WHERE you eat when the norovirus breaks out on a cruise ship?
Look here to get the factual information about norovirus. Note that it is a common thing and the failure by passengers and crew to use basic personal hygiene is the reason it spreads. Since the crew is typically more driven to wash their hands frequently, it is reasonable to blame most outbreaks on the passengers - including those who are sick and still insist on boarding the ship. Those who fail to wash after using the toilet and then rush to the buffet and grab the ladles, etc.
Once it spreads it is hard to kill because of the small enclosed environment of a ship.
Party, norovirus is not a food borne illness. More often referred to as "stomach flu," it's a gastrointestinal illness that is spread from person to person. You get it from someone who has it. If someone gets onto a cruise ship and has the virus, s/he can spread it to countless people, just like spreading a cold. The food concerns center around people who are sick who handle the food -- or the handle! -- and can spread the virus that way.
Because norovirus is contagious, it's often found in places that hold a lot of people, such as schools, jails, nursing homes, hotels, resorts and cruise ships. Cruise ships get a lot of publicity because, unlike resorts or other facilities, cruise lines are obligated to report outbreaks that affect more than 3% of the passengers and crew. Once reported, the press picks up on it and creates a lot of publicity.
The best defense against norovirus is frequent hand washing with soap and water.