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I have been reading lots of horror stories about sickness onboard I don't understand it, how can you get sick when you have alcohol gell everywhere, you have to complete a sickness questionaire before you travel and if you do feel queezy you use common sense and stay in your cabin. I am fed up with newspapers saying there are 'outbreaks' of sickness onboard if other passengers weren't selfish there wouldn't be!

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well said!!! when we were last on a cruise a fellow passenger asked the captain what he would do if people refused to stay in their cabin if they were poorly and he said he would leave them at the next available port or even stop the ship where possible for them to be disembarked! thats how it should be. its a minority that always spoil things for the rest!

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i even went on fred olsen who have a lot of sickness on board and i do not know how it spreads so easy !! ,( but really do know why )  as the gel is everywhere , the toilets have tissues to open the doors they are permently cleaning the hand rails down the stair cases ... so is it just an age thing  ??? as i saw the numerious olders , who should realy know better ! walking out of the loo without washing their  hands .. Disgusting !! :angry: thats how it spreads ..........

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Unfortunately the Nora Virus by nature thrives in confined areas such as hotels, hospitals, air liners, cruise ships etc. and by chance all will suffer outbreaks. The media have presently highlighted Fred Olsen's "Black Watch" but in past times other cruise liners/companies have been in their spotlight.  Earlier this year my wife and I went on a river cruise and there was an outbreak on board which affected about a third of the passengers.   Companies and their customers can only strive to follow sensible hygienic practises but I am of the opinion that if you cruise regularly you will come in contact with the bug at some point.

     My personal tips are :-   Try to avoid using toilets other than the one in your cabin.

                                            Use the dining rooms other than the self service buffets

                                            Avoid the unnecessary use of handrails. 

Not withstanding the above, put it out of your mind and enjoy your holiday.

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It's not correct to say that it's "olders" who walk out of the toilets without washing their hands; it's all ages and all nationalities.  We aren't too keen on the buffet areas, prefering to eat in waiter-served restaurants whenever possible. In the buffets we've seen people coughing or sneezing into their hands and then picking up the serving spoons.  Yuk.  No wonder that these viruses spread.  However, despite all these on-board health risks we love cruising and just accept that if we fall ill, which we haven't yet,  it's just unlucky.

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One of the suggested things to do to help cut down on the spread of germs is to wash your hands and then use a tissue to open the external toilet door and put the tissue in the bin outside the door - my husband has said on numerous occasions when he has been waiting for me that I was the only person out of the number who used the toilet at the same time who actually enforced this.  Not sure why this should be but an observation made on several occasions - so simple to do but either people can't be bothered or just don't read/listen to the suggestions made by the cruise line.

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3 in a room on Cunard QE, 2 got norovirus day 1 and confined to cabin 3 days, special diet and ghostbusters cleaners daily. Other cabin member allowed to leave cabin and go freely anywhere on board! That helped stop the spread then. To cap it all, had to pay 200 dollar medical bill for getting sick on their ship day 1 when previous day we were perfectly well. Very tempting to take own meds and ignore the cabin confinement in future??

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We were on P&O Azura earlier this year and were amazed and disgusted how many of the passengers brought their own empty bottles to the water dispenser in the restaurant.  They inserted the nozzle of the dispenser into the water bottle - despite all the notices asking passengers NOT to fill their bottles there

We stopped an officer and told him that this was a regular occurrence and he told us that passengers are advised to fill a glass and pour it into the bottle - but that the stewards dont challenge these people because of the abuse they get.

Is it any wonder the viruses spread and how can people who can afford a cruise, not afford to buy a few bottles of water?

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We were also on Azura in September and were disgusted to see two women by the water dispensers who then proceeded to drink what was left in their water bottles and then fill them up from the dispenser!  I could not believe what I was seeing.  But as there were staff standing close by who said nothing (fear of getting an earful of abuse?) I did not wish to get involved by tackling them either.  So yes, it's no wonder viruses are spread so easily when people behave in this way.  I have also in the past, witnessed people opening sandwiches in the buffet to see what's in them then leaving them lying on the tray and licking their sticky fingers whilst moving along the buffet and handling different sets of serving tongs!  There are, unfortunately, disgusting people out there who have no regard whatever for the rules of hygiene and it is because of this that we will never get rid of the norovirus.  My general rule whilst onboard is to avoid the lifts wherever possible (especially crowded ones!), try not to touch any handrails and use my own cabin toilet (even if it means a long walk back).  I also avoid jacuzzis - I mean, would you sit in a hot bath at home with a stranger?

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Norovirus is a topic that gets discussed on all cruise forums over time and it does seem that some ships are more susceptible than others to get plagued with it. The newspapers of course have a field day when they learn of it. There is a web site that shows the ships that have been affected over the years but it does not include the smaller shipping lines. This is a link to the site. http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/vsp/surv/gilist.htm

I sometimes wonder if the crew bring it on from the various ports. My reasoning behind this is there have been instances where the virus has continued over a period of weeks and despite the change over of passengers and the constant cleaning it persists, and the only factor that hasn't changed is the crew.

We had an outbreak on our last cruise and what astounded me was the person diagnosed was restricted to their cabin but their partner wasn't. As Norovirus is spread by touch that person could easily carry the virus around, infecting everything they touch whilst not displaying symptoms themselves.

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Within a couple of days of getting on Arcadia recently the noro-virus broke out... this lasted for the best part of two weeks and the captain did daily announcements requesting people to continually wash their hands. As soon as the all clear was given it was amazing to see how many people walked into dining areas without using the gel. Some of the people who had colds were sneezing and coughing without covering their faces aswell. I have never seen so many disgusting habits on a ship, including that which Ron has posted. 

 

For anyone going on a cruise the Boots Antiviral foam is good. The bottle is a bit large but it lasts well and I would recommend paying that bit extra for it.

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As bad as Norovirus is, it isn't the only problem.

We cruised over Christmas last year. All passengers had to complete a health questionnaire before checking in at the uk airport.

I was perfectly healthy on the day of travel, but thanks to the kind soul and his missus on the plane seats in front of us, who coughed, sneezed and spluttered, I got Flu.

The ships' doctor (who I had to see by day 5 of the cruise because I felt so ill) told me that he had seen very many flu patients that cruise, although only one person declared an illness on the day of travel at the airport.

My holiday was completely ruined and my family's spoiled because I was laid up.

I spent more time in my cabin than seeing the Caribbean and the after effects of the Flu remained with me until the end of March.

Hygiene is of paramount importance, I too have seen both young and old women leaving the toilets without washing their hands. Disgusting,

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It should be noted that one of the problems appears to be that the gel does not kill norovirus.  Plus some people do not know how to properly clean their hands, i.e. don't rub between fingers, don't do the two lots of Happy Birthday.  I'm often still washing my hands having seen two or even three people having "washed" theirs in the basin next to me.

 

Alas norovirus is getting smarter and avoiding face touching and lots of washing is the way to go.  On the other hand, it is easy to catch.  Bear in mind you can wash your hands bare and then come out of the toilet to touch one little thing and wham, rub an eye and oh my!  It is a constant battle for ships and other closed environments to keep on top of things.

 

One thing I can say from my experience is that the Government would like the ships to do a 24 hour turnaround instead of same day but this has been refused.  A ship is rarely ever fully cleaned whilst empty except when in the shipyard!

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Agree with most points raised. On speaking to a 'professional' in this field - he stated the only way to clean a ship to eradicate viruses is to steam clean everything, and this would take about 3 days. On Oriana last Christmas cruise. ( the one after the much publicised one) we could not get on the ship until after 3 and then straight to our cabin. Tea was served in the restaurant from 4.30 and then back to cabin. We did not leave until after 9 that evening as we had to have the ship given all clear from the Health Port Authority. It was supposed to have had a thorough clean BUT we found the last people in our cabin's Welcome on board pack on one of the shelves! I did take (and still take for every cruise) bacterial wipes and wipe everything in our cabin. To date no norovirus, but have had flu and food poisoning ( they said it was too but was treated as for norovirus).

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It should be noted that one of the problems appears to be that the gel does not kill norovirus.  Plus some people do not know how to properly clean their hands, i.e. don't rub between fingers, don't do the two lots of Happy Birthday.  I'm often still washing my hands having seen two or even three people having "washed" theirs in the basin next to me.

 

Alas norovirus is getting smarter and avoiding face touching and lots of washing is the way to go.  On the other hand, it is easy to catch.  Bear in mind you can wash your hands bare and then come out of the toilet to touch one little thing and wham, rub an eye and oh my!  It is a constant battle for ships and other closed environments to keep on top of things.

 

One thing I can say from my experience is that the Government would like the ships to do a 24 hour turnaround instead of same day but this has been refused.  A ship is rarely ever fully cleaned whilst empty except when in the shipyard!

You're so right Caroline.  The people who don't wash their hands properly - I call them the 'splash and dash' brigade and unfortunately, they are many!  Also, as you say, it doesn't matter how careful you are, it's so easy to catch and just one touch of a contaminated surface is all it takes.  Still, we can only do our best to avoid it and avoid the not so careful people who don't do their best.

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My tip is to take some kitchen wipes on board with you and clean door handles, safe buttons, telephone and sides of doors of your cabin as soon as you arrive into the cabin.

If you need to use the lift use knuckles to press the deck number.

Entirely agree about everyone's comments re people filling up their water bottles from the water dispensers.

Gill

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