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Who is to blame, passengers or the cruise lines?

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    Who is to blame, passengers or the cruise lines?

    The latest two incidents of Noro virus on ships must raise the questions; are ships and their practices good enough to combat the seemingly ever-present infections or are we, the passengers, the ones guilty of poor hygiene?

    Having just come off Independence of the Seas where apparently there had been an infection whilst in Europe; the practices to make sure that it did not re-occur where superbly organised and instigated. Everyone was made to use a hand cleaner before entering anywhere with food involved and when returning to the ship from ashore, food was served by staff in a strict clean manner, the stair rails and handles and door plates were continuously being sanitised and every time you entered a toilet facility open to all a "cartoon" voice would implore you to wash your hand before leaving and a notice asked that you used a paper towel to open the door to go out.

    In spite of all this we know that there were those who ignored these pleas, many of whom were really experienced cruisers. Luckily after several days the ship was free of the virus but you wonder about other ships on which outbreaks occur and persist. What further action can be taken and should that action be taken by the cruise line on its procedures or more likely, in my mind, against the unclean, unhygienic passengers who seem to believe that prevention doesn't apply to them as they don't carry germs and never have done?

    I would be interested in your thoughts and experiences. ......Neil

    #2
    It's odd, lines like Thomson enforce hand sanitation (pre buffet and main dining room) day in, day out, all year. A staff member stands on the door and asks you to 'sanitise'.

    Many other lines only do it when they have an outbreak.

    Fred Olsen seem to have more cases than most (an observation not qualtifiable), but I undestand that the higher average passenger age can play a part.
    See my cruise blog: HERE

    Comment


      #3
      Hi Neil,

      I have been on quite a few cruises where the dreaded Norovirus has been present. But by following the guidelines given by the cruise line, I have managed to stay healthy.
      I certainly think it is down to personal hygeine, too many people these days seem to think "it doesn't apply to me, I won't get it" and disregard the measures put in place for their benefit, and then grumble when something goes wrong.


      Cheers
      Bob

      Comment


        #4
        Hi Neil
        One thing I've wondered about is what is the point of the health questionnaire?
        All it does is creates a queue at check in from what I can see.
        Seems to me if you're of a mind not to bother to wash or sanitise your hands then you probably won't own up to having just spent the last few days sitting on the throne knowing the consequence that if you own up you could be requested to stay in your cabin for the first couple of days of your cruise.
        Surely it has to be the passengers fault....the virus doesn't get aboard on it's own.
        We've never had a problem (touch wood) but have read reviews of cruises we've been on and people have said it was rife.
        Regards
        Garfield

        Comment


          #5
          I am a teacher. I have been 'sicked on', caught vomit in my hands, sneezed at, had snotty, sicky poorly children sit on my knee and cuddle up to me whilst waiting for a parent to take them home... and yet I haven't had a cold or been ill for over two years.

          I do think immunity is built up but I also am absolutely scrupulous about hand washing in school [and onboard].

          Now I believe all the handgel in the world isn't as good as regular handwashing, to Happy Birthday if necessary, with soap and warm/hot water and unfortunately, cruise staff can't dog anyone in order to makes sure everyone is a washer and not a walker when visiting the lavatory.

          Until the message reaches everyone...regularly wash your hands and elbow the automatic door opener/use a hand towel for the door handle, this problem will continue.
          As a matter of interest, Holland America had a great public lavatory door handle on one ship. It was designed so you slipped your arm through it in order to pull the door open. No hands required once you'd washed them.

          Comment


            #6
            Neil. I have been on two world cruises PO Aurora durations of 8odays and 95 days, and no sign of an outbreak of Nora, people accuse elderly people of hygiene problems but these cruises have quite a few elderly and still no Nora, I don't know but I firmly believe passengers bring it on board and if we were all to say something when someone touches or squeezes the food or doesn't wash their hans afyer using the loos we might get somewhere, a filthy , dirty unhygenic practice everyone should know without having to be told.CG
            sigpic

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              #7
              Good point on questionnaire - we were sitting in the departure hall, waiting to board when the forms were given out. The couple sat next to us were discussing the question with regards to recent sickness...........he said, you were sick a few times yesterday and spent half the night on the loo........her reply - just tick NO! We moved rapidly and my personal hand sanitizer got an extra workout.

              I have to use the public loos close to my summer office on occassion. We often have coach parties in - all of whom make the toilets the first port of call - I would estimate at least half of the passengers, do what they have to do and then walk out without going anywhere near the hand washing facilities and, I'm afraid to say, the more elderly are the worst offenders. Between the public toilets and my office - there is a gift shop which sells ice cream - which they also head for - I presume working on the assumption that you cannot catch your own germs!

              Norovirus will not be detected - until it is too late, or stemmed, until mouth swabs and instant analysis is called for.

              Comment


                #8
                The problem is that you do all you can to avoid infection but your lovely clean hands will only last until the next time you touch anything! The virus is on the surface waiting for you to pick it up and carry it somewhere else.

                The ships I have been on have certainly tried their best but I have seen passengers wave away the sanitiser on entering the restaurant and the staff have had to stand back. I am not sure what more the cruise lines can do, hospitals who have infection control staff who do nothing else still can't avoid it, so it shows how easily it can get a hold.

                All we can do is take responsibilty for our own health and avoid touching high risk areas...Carol

                Comment


                  #9
                  I know it's very easily spread when people are confined together - ships aren't alone in this, of course - but I fail to understand just why folks are so reluctant to wash their hands; for pity's sake, it's not rocket science!!!!! No doubt the crews do their best, but there really is only so much that they can do to prevent it, when people insist on this kind of behaviour

                  Cheers,
                  Lynn

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Neil, we were on Boudicca for 35nights in January and within the first few days the Captain announced that there had been a confirmed case of Norovirus on board. He emphasised that in order to minimise the spread of the virus, it was essential for every passenger to wash their hands thoroughly after using the toilet. Every day from then on, he would finish his noon update on the PR system with the sentence........... 'and don't forget to wash, wash, wash.'
                    The virus was contained and we didn't hear of anymore confirmed cases.
                    Last edited by Smith7; 13th December 2012, 01:53 PM.
                    Jill

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Mrs M View Post
                      I am a teacher. I have been 'sicked on', caught vomit in my hands, sneezed at, had snotty, sicky poorly children sit on my knee and cuddle up to me whilst waiting for a parent to take them home... and yet I haven't had a cold or been ill for over two years.

                      I do think immunity is built up but I also am absolutely scrupulous about hand washing in school [and onboard].

                      Now I believe all the handgel in the world isn't as good as regular handwashing, to Happy Birthday if necessary, with soap and warm/hot water and unfortunately, cruise staff can't dog anyone in order to makes sure everyone is a washer and not a walker when visiting the lavatory.

                      Until the message reaches everyone...regularly wash your hands and elbow the automatic door opener/use a hand towel for the door handle, this problem will continue.
                      As a matter of interest, Holland America had a great public lavatory door handle on one ship. It was designed so you slipped your arm through it in order to pull the door open. No hands required once you'd washed them.
                      As another primary teacher I can definitely say 'been there, done that, got the (vomit-encrusted) t-shirt!'. I certainly think you're right that immunity can be built up. Teachers do seem to avoid many of the 'bugs' and I'm sure we've both seen student teachers who've gone down with everything going! I also think you're right when you say that far too many people (and I suspect it mostly men) don't seem to know how to wash their hands after visiting the lavatory, UGH!!!!!!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Neil,

                        Like you I have experienced the strict hygeine regime enforced on IOTS. We were even given sanatised pens to sign for items in the shops. The pens were then put in a 'used' tray for cleaning. Very strict and for us help to keep us virus free for the entire cruise.

                        Our most recent cruise was perhaps where we witnessed the strictest regime but on past cruises on IOTS they have always been quite strict and very visible. No one get into the MDR or the Windjammer without clensing your hands on entry.

                        I think cruise lines should add to their T&Cs what is expected from guests in terms of hygiene and that guests are required to sanatise their hands on entry to all food outlets and venues.

                        Vinny
                        sigpic

                        Comment


                          #13
                          One observation is that the hand sanitisers won't kill norovirus, only bacteria but that should not be seen as an excuse for not using them. I have cruised on two lines, P&O and Thomson and my experience is that Thomsonmseem to be much more thorough in their preventitive measures. ON P&O Ventura they did not even bother with hand sanitisers outside the main dining rooms.

                          It seems obvious that Norovirus is brought onto the ship by passengers who probably are incubating it but not yet had the symptoms.

                          Look at the opportunities to catch it before you board, transport, the hotel if you use one, the taxi etc etc.

                          Use your own pen for signing slips etc and wash, wash, wash, plus keep your hands away from your face!

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Hi Legally all passengers and companies under European Health and Safety Laws have a legal obligation to work in a safe manner. As the cruise ship is the "work place" the company is duty bound to ensure the safety of visitors. It is not acceptable just to ask passengers to wash their hands frequently; the employee must have systems in place to check that the procedures are being followed. Unfortunately, lawyers may argue that cruise ships are often registered in "Banana Republics" and sail international waters and may be exempt from European Laws. However, I don't know whether this true in the EU but any ship using a USA port has to pass its inspections laws. I was told that this was a factor in a cruise line pulling out of their Caribbean itineraries from USA ports. In summary passengers have to take some responsibility but cruise line need to be pro-active rather than just suggesting increased hygiene standards.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Hand sanitisers don't clean hands, they only cover up what is on there. At least that's better than nothing.

                              I remember someone trying to argue with a crew member that they were allergic to the hand gel when getting back onto Voyager of the Seas after an excursion. The crew member would not let them pass until they had accepted some. I don't like the gel, because i feel that it dries my hands out, but I do always use it.
                              2018-
                              Queen Victoria - Mediterranean Explorer

                              2019 -
                              NCL Getaway - Norway and Iceland
                              Adventure of the Seas - Fall Foliage

                              2020 -
                              Jewel of the Seas - Abu Dhabi & Dubai
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