If you're one of 22 million people setting sail on a cruise ship vacation this year, you should listen up! Even though cruise lines have taken steps recently to raise the bar on their health and sanitation practices onboard, germs always find a way in the picture when you're living in such close conditions with other travelers and crew. The last thing you want during treasured vacation time is getting sick with a case of GI or foodborne illness. Especially keep in mind that alcohol gels and wipes do NOT kill Norovirus, the leading culprit of cruiseline outbreaks. Here are a few things to think about before you take a sip of that piña colada….
According to the American Association of Port Authorities and the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association, cruises are a $37.85 billion industry in the United States, with the annual number of cruise passengers averaging well over 20 million. That’s a lot of people willing to be isolated with their new closest friends on a boat in the middle of the ocean. With all of these bodies in one relatively small space for days at a time, the chances for spreading germs around are high. The spread of norovirus is typically associated with cruise ships because the close living quarters increases the amount of group contact. Most of us have heard of the recent virus outbreaks on cruise lines, so how can you prevent being the next big news story involving wide-spread illness on a cruise ship? Other than choosing not to cruise, take a look at these cruise ship hygiene tips, including cruise ship hand washing and ways cruise lines can improve their VSP scores.