The latest outbreak of the highly contagious norovirus on Princess Cruise’s Crown Princess earlier this week has re-opened the debate about how to persuade passengers to use hand sanitisers.
Many cruisers just don’t believe using the alcohol-based hand cleaners works – even though a 2004 survey of one outbreak showed hand sanitisers and washing hands before meals protected in 95 per cent of cases.
Some cruisers on Cruise Passenger social media believe that failing to use the sanitsers is the ultimate act of selfishness, risking not just your own holiday but those of scores of fellow passengers.
Some 172 people fell ill with the virus on board the Crown Princess, which resulted in the intervention of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in America.
For cruisers, it’s probably their second-worst nightmare (sinking being the first).
We don’t want to add to the hysteria. We all know these are the problems of bringing together large groups of people anywhere, including resorts.
But Cruise Passenger has compiled this 10-point plan to help you enjoy a disease-free cruise:
1. Wash your hands frequently
This simple act will stop the spread of the virus AND help get the bug off you. Just 20 seconds of scrubbing with hot water will leave your hands germ free.
2. Watch what you touch
Door handles, taps – anything presents the potential for the spread of germs, and nothing gets rid of them like washing your hands. Walking from the dining room to your stateroom can present dozens of touch points, and taking them inside your cabin and not washing your hands makes your haven a host for disease.
3. Use paper towels
Dry your hands with a clean single use towel and turn the tap off with the towel to avoid possible recontamination.
4. Don’t touch!
Don’t touch elevator buttons, railings and public bathroom door handles with your hands. Anyone with anything could have touched these.
5. Use hand sanitisers
Of course, you can’t spend your whole cruise using your elbows! There are inexpensive pocket sanitisers.
6. Washy Washy Happy Happy!
Companies like Norwegian Cruise Lines, who are sticklers for cleanliness, have a hand sanitising song. The Washy Washy gal or guy will squirt every passenger’s hands before they hit the dining room, singing the slogan. Watch them sing here.
7. Avoid the buffet
We know – the buffet is a cruise pleasure for many. But it is also a danger zone. Cruise lines know this and try to take action. Holland America, for instance, does not allow passengers to serve themselves for the first two days of a cruise.
8. Eat hot food
Bacteria love foods kept at room temperature. So take the hot dishes and don’t eat at the end of the sitting.
9. Do not shake hands
Sounds tough, we know. But experienced and careful cruisers won’t find it rude if you don’t shake their hands. Both Cunard and Holland America have a ‘no handshaking’ policy at their Meet the Officers parties. And they even post signs at the ballroom or lounge entrances.
10. Think of your fellow passengers
Because norovirus is highly contagious, think of your fellow passengers and see a doctor at once if you have any symptoms of the virus (nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea).