Taking a cruise is an excellent way to travel – unlimited food, entertainment at every turn, and the beautiful sea as a constant backdrop makes a cruise hard to resist.
The only downside is it can take you an adjustment period of a day or two to get your sea legs.
But what if all that nausea is from something else lurking amidst the ocean air?
Choosing a reasonably-priced vacation like a cruise will provide you with Instagram worthy pictures, but cruise ships often port in countries that don’t have the cleanest water or safest hotels.
Being seasick on a cruise can definitely put a wrench in your romantic getaway, but passengers are now experiencing a new kind of seasick – the norovirus.
Fox News reports that the 2,000 passenger Sun Princess cruise that departed on November 1st from Perth, Australia to Singapore experienced an outbreak of the virus.
More than 200 travelers had their plans interrupted by debilitating symptoms that included nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
I hope the ship was equipped with plenty of restrooms, because being trapped in the middle of the ocean with hundreds of vomiting people is closer to a nightmare than a vacation.
The cruise ship had to evacuate all passengers in Singapore to scour the ship to rid the vessel of the virus.
Carnival Australia, the parent company of Princess Cruises, decided to clean the terminal as well “out of an abundance of care and in line with best practice,” reports The Sun.
The Sun Princess got back on track to return to Australia, but some passengers refused to get back on board and chose to fly home instead.
Although “the vast majority of the 2,000 guests on Sun Princess were unaffected,” a Carnival Australia spokesperson stated, it still raises concern for sanitation aboard cruise ships.
This is not the first time a Sun Princess cruise had a norovirus outbreak. Almost a hundred passengers contracted the virus during a 10-day cruise to the South Pacific.
And last January, the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas returned a day early after 277 passengers had caught the unforgiving virus.
But while this may cause some reservation about trying out this popular form of travel, most cruise ships are still safe and can offer a memorable experience that doesn’t involve the inside of a toilet.
And don’t be so quick to blame the cruise ship’s sanitation team either.
Big cruise lines have every passenger fill out a health questionnaire and it shouldn’t be surprising that they aren’t always truthful.
While totally understandable that someone wouldn’t want to miss a vacation they’ve spent an entire year saving for, it’s still totally uncool to put others at risk.
However, be comforted in knowing there are things you can do to minimize the likelihood of contracting a virus during a cruise.
Wash your hands
This is the best advice you will hear. Washing your hands before and after you eat, after using the bathroom, and any other time you pass a sink will prevent many viruses from reaching an entry point into your body.
Keep your hands to yourself
With thousands of people confined in a small area, a virus can spread from person to person quickly.
Avoid hand rails, elevator buttons, bathroom handles, and any other areas that attracts dirty fingers.
Keep your space clean
Wash your hands as soon as you get into your stateroom so that you keep your living space uncontaminated.
Keep your belongings, especially snacks and drinks, off the floor and countertops. Make sure to put toothbrushes in a special holder and keep it in your bag after using it.
Skip the buffet
I know what you’re thinking – the buffet is the best part of a cruise – and we at Proud American Traveler recognize that. Unfortunately, this is also an area that can be a catalyst for contracting a norovirus.
Say you get caught up in an exhilarating game of hide-and-seek with the kids on the ship and only catch the tail-end of the buffet – leaving you to munch on room temperature food.
As food cools down and sits out in the open, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria or something worse.
Or, say the guy in front of you at the buffet wanted to beat the rush, so he hustled out of the bathroom without washing his hands and now you’re both handling the same serving utensils – yuck!
You may be an avid hand washer, but people don’t realize how many things they touch throughout the day.
Carry hand sanitizer so you can occasionally splash a bit of safety on those palms to err on the side of caution.
What happened on the Sun Princess is surely unfortunate, but don’t let it hinder your sense of adventure.
Cruise ships offer traveling perks that no other vacation can give you, such as an unadulterated view of the most vast ecosystem in the world and an environment that promotes bonding.
Stay safe and keep sanitation practices at the forefront of your mind so you can enjoy your vacation without interruptions from any pesky bugs.
Please let us know in the comments section if you are deterred from taking a cruise when you hear of outbreaks or if you’re a die-hard cruise connoisseur.