For any traveler around the world who loves cruising, it’s fairly likely they are paying special attention to what has been going on in the world concerning the Coronavirus that is close to reaching pandemic proportions.
When it comes to cruise ship news today and how to avoid contagious disease there are several factors to consider.
In general, this should be a wake-up call to cruise lovers. Both the Diamond Princess and Holland America Westerdam have been headlining the news around the world because of Coronavirus outbreaks onboard their ships.
THE ECONOMIC IMPACT
The 3700 people aboard the Diamond Princess were marooned off the shores of Japan for two weeks before passengers were slowly allowed to leave for their home countries under strict supervision. According to reports at the scene, more than 540 passengers were showing signs of infection.
The Westerdam was eventually quarantined in Cambodia after being denied entry into five other countries.
This will heavily impact the 45 billion dollar cruise ship industry.
Already, more than 50 cruises have been canceled and seven ports closed. Thousands of holiday plans have been disrupted as cruise ship lines take the necessary steps to help stop the spread of the virus.
The Asian market is relatively new and all the major cruise ship lines were setting up itineraries to satisfy the growing market. The passenger count grew to over four million in 2018 with half of those being Chinese.
Share prices of Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Lines have gone down between 10 and 16 percent since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, and it has the potential to get far worse.
ALWAYS TAKE PRECAUTIONS
I’ve been on over a dozen cruises onboard ships of the biggest cruise ship lines in the world including Carnival, Norwegian, and Holland America and something always struck me as odd when it comes to passenger sanitation.
Maybe it’s because I work at a place where sanitation is important in order to fend off infectious diseases like the common cold or flu. When you work in a warehouse with several hundred other people, an outbreak of the flu could cripple the business.
Or maybe it was because in 1984 when I was a volunteer for the Calgary Winter Olympic Games avoiding the spread of the flu was front and center. Flu shots were arranged for thousands of volunteers so organizers would not have to deal with a flu outbreak among volunteers during the games.
Regardless, what struck me odd about all the cruises I was on was the little regard that passengers had for taking precautions when it came to avoiding contagious diseases.
On every ship I was on there were sanitation stations as you walked into the restaurant or buffet areas. You know the ones. You press on it and a small of antibacterial liquid drops into your hand. Rub it all over your hands and in a few seconds, it dries. At the same time, you have killed any germs on your hands.
The problem is, very seldom did I ever see other passengers bother to take the time. I could never understand it, and ultimately it made me even more cautious.
Don’t think it’s at all rude to refuse to shake someone’s hand on a cruise ship. Just tell them it’s nothing personal and you are just being cautious because of all the talk about the spreading of a virus. You can bump elbows or something instead.
Disinfecting your hands as you enter the buffet is one thing, but what about all the serving spoons that you and a few hundred other guests will be handling?
My suggestion is to buy a few small personal-size bottles of disinfectant to carry on your person at all times. After you have your food and reach your table, disinfect your hands once again.
So basically there are two stages to disinfecting. When you use the disinfectant entering the buffet or restaurant you are looking out for other people by disinfecting your hands. When you use the disinfectant after leaving the buffet line, you are looking out for yourself.
WHAT ABOUT THE ONBOARD CASINO?
This is where I believe some cruise ships are missing the boat (no pun intended). They should have disinfectant stations throughout the casinos on their cruise ships. As a matter of fact, they should have them at every table game and near all the banks of slot machines.
I don’t ever remember seeing many around as they seemed to concentrate mainly on the food service areas.
There are few things more germ-laden than money as who knows how many people have handled it? The same can be said for cards and casino chips. They have been touched by a lot of people.
Again, my suggestion is to disinfect your hands as you enter the casino and carry personal-size disinfectant with you in the casino as well as the buffets and restaurants.
Every once in a while as you play cards, dice, roulette, or the slots disinfect your hands,
The most important thing of all is to remember to keep your hands away from your face and mouth as you wander around the ship. In the event you did happen to pick up some germs in between using a sanitizer, this will minimize the risk of being infected by germs.
DON’T FEAR CRUISING
I love cruising and plan to go on another one soon.
You should not fear to go on a cruise. Although Asian cruises may not be available for some time, there are some amazing Alaska, Eastern Seaboard, Mexican Riviera, Caribbean, and Bermuda cruises available all year.
Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Holland America, Costa, Disney, and Norwegian all have excellent cruises to choose from.
And you can be sure that with this latest outbreak of the coronavirus that these cruise ship lines will be even more cautious when it comes to keeping their ships germ-free so their passengers can just concentrate on having a great cruise experience.
Just be sure to do your part and take all the precautions I have mentioned and you will have an outstanding vacation on your cruise ship of choice.
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