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Cortney 02-20-2008 04:33 PM

I was just reading some reviews on another web site by other people who were on the Explorer of the Seas at the same time I was (2/3-2/15) and I was surprised to find that the other two authors had been horrified by what they perceived as a lack of sanitation procedures on the ship.

My husband and I thought the crew seemed to be on top of things in that regard. A few days in, the crew started handing out hand sanitizing wipes at the dining rooms, buffets, gangway, etc. We figured there were people with noro...sure enough, after a day or so, the captain announced that an unusual number of people had complained of gastrointestinal distress and advised us to wash our hands regularly and use the wipes. For the rest of the cruise, everywhere we went, crew members were handing out the wipes, and we constantly saw them wiping down the railings, cleaning the public areas, etc.

I guess I don't know how many people ended up coming down with noro, but it seemed to me like they were doing a good job. But some of the reviewers noted there was a lack of hand sanitizing dispensers...I guess I don't remember whether there were such dispensers on previous ships.

Just curious to hear other people's thoughts, and wondering if anyone heard any numbers about norovirus patients on the 2/3-2/15 sailing of Explorer.

Berick1234 02-20-2008 05:33 PM

We just got off the NCL Pearl and you couldn't go anywhere on the ship that they didn't have dispensers of sanitizer....At any of the food stations they had a crew member standing by a dispenser and made sure you used it....The whole trick of staying well on a ship is WASH YOUR HANDS....AND OFTEN....Happy and healthy sailing....

Bob E

Cruise Fanatic 02-21-2008 06:35 AM

Sanitizers should be there on day one, not several days into the cruise.

Sandy 02-21-2008 07:45 AM

Unfortunately, it has been shown that alcohol-based hand sanitizers are NOT effective against noro virus! The one real defense against it is hand washing.

The hand sanitizers are still a good idea and should be used frequently, as they are effective against other types of illnesses. But they are not effective against many viruses, including noro.

See this fact sheet about noro, published by the Michigan Dept of Community Health. Take note especially of the last paragraph on page 2. Many other documents are available, if you research it on the internet.


jodiroadie 02-22-2008 11:22 AM

When I was on Navigator in January, there was NO sanitizer when you entered the Windjammer, unlike on all the other RC ships that I've been on. I thought that was strange--I think it's a great idea when you are dealing with so many people!

Sandy 02-22-2008 01:14 PM

I was on Enchantment of the Seas in January, as I had been the previous January. This time, however, there was no hand sanitizer as you walked onto the ship, and none in the dining room or Windjammer.

We carry some with us. It may not be as good at preventing some things as hand washing, but better against a lot of things than nothing, when hand washing is not possible.


billybuzzy 02-22-2008 01:38 PM

It has become standard procedure on board NCL ships to offer hand sanitizers at numerous locations aboard the ship and to monitor use of them by posting staff members to remind passengers of the need to use them. While this measure will not entirely prevent the spread os germs-it certainly reduces the hazards to a more acceptable level. I hope many other cruiselines will adopt this practice.


cruisechick77 02-24-2008 07:49 PM

hey cortney,

my boyfriend and I just came off of the Majesty of the Seas at the end of January. I dont recall hand sanitizers on the ship, but there sure were a TON of signs everywhere about repeated hand cleaning. Especially in bathrooms.

I had left a great review of the Majesty when I got back, we had a great time, and I still feel the same way regardless - but, my boyfriend and I BOTH caught the FLU either while onboard, or in Miami a day prior to sailing.

Ironically, and I think this is a sign - my symptoms got SOO much worse as soon as my plane landed back home! Its a sign - dont fly home, cruise FOREVER!! ha ha. (his symptoms got worse one day after we arrived home)

Anyway, after a few days, and some antibiotics, we were fine. I did call RC to let them know what happened. I told them that I wasn't complaining, cause we had a great time, and cant wait to cruise again. But, I thought they should know, for sanitary reasons, what happened.

Next time I cruise, I'll probably bring a bottle of hand sanitizers with me, and use them as often as possible. (dont know if it fights off the flu, but its worth the try!)


Cortney 03-08-2008 09:08 PM

Just as a follow-up...

I found this website:
CDC Vessel Sanitation Program
and it appears that any cruise ship sailings on which 2% or more of the passengers/crew become ill will be listed.

It seems to be up to date, and the 2/3-2/15 sailing of Explorer of the Seas is not on there. So that suggests to me that less than 2% of the people on the ship came down with noro, unless I'm misinterpreting something.

I say that because one of the people who wrote a review on another site lambasting RCCL's sanitation procedures claimed that 25% of the people on the ship became sick on that sailing. 25%!!! That's what initially led me to post this topic...I was shocked and skeptical. If I'm reading this website correctly, it appears that the number of people infected was nowhere near what this person stated.

I think people should feel more than welcome to express their viewpoints on sanitation or anything else on a ship and to be critical if need be that's the point of a review, after all, to highlight the good and bad, what's done well and what can stand to improve. And obviously people reading reviews have to be savvy enough to take some things with a grain of salt and know that some people embellish or insert data and figures without backup. But to say that 1 out of 4 people on that ship became ill is so exaggerative, it just fuels the whole noro panic and makes newbies nervous about cruising.

OK, I'll get off my soapbox now.

RichC 03-09-2008 04:21 AM

I don't know about RCI but on Princess ships the use of hand sanitizers is sporadic. They'll push it for a few days & then suddenly forget all about it unless there's an outbreak & then go into warp mode with the sanitizers, serving food with gloves on, etc. They do encourage the use of the sanitizers but leaving bottles all over the place (for whatever good it does) but it's not a forced issue.

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