On a cruise you can really relax and put your faith in the ship’s captain. Once at sea, the captain is the law and your trust is well placed; unless the captain steers too close to Italian rocks!
You are well protected in matures nautical. What about matters infectious?
The cruise sector is plagued by outbreaks of Norovirus. When that affects the crew, as it does, the captain can have a problem. There was a case in Britain where a cruise ship was not allowed to leave port because too many of the crew were incapacitated by the virus. The authorities felt it would be unsafe to have a ship at sea with such a high proportion of the crew unable to perform their duties.
What happens when outbreaks occur at sea? The captain has no control over which strain of Norovirus comes on board. If it’s one the crew haven’t met before, the captain’s crew will be as susceptible as the passengers.
Do ships carry sufficient reserve crew just waiting to do the jobs of those who are ill? Trust me; they do not. So what contingency do they have to prevent this perfectly plausible eventuality?
Alcohol hand rubs. If you’ve been on a cruise, it’s likely you were offered a hand rub containing alcohol. It provided confidence as you could smell the alcohol being released as you rubbed your hands together. You felt good knowing the cruise company had prepared for all eventualities by having the alcohol rub.
Sadly, Norovirus survives alcohol hand rubs. Alcohol evaporates before it completes the task of killing Norovirus. Every time you were offered alcohol hand rub, the captain was effectively allowing the level of Norovirus on the ship to increase.
How do I know this? Because I have advised cruise lines on preventing Norovirus outbreaks. One very important step is to replace the alcohol hand rub with an alcohol-free equivalent.
Why don’t they do it? Because passengers expect alcohol rubs. Cruise lines know it pays to satisfy customer expectations; they are profit driven businesses. Since passengers also expect Norovirus outbreaks, the cruise companies don’t need to change anything when an outbreak happens. After all, they provided alcohol rubs and the passengers thought they were being protected. When the inevitable outbreak happens, they supply alcohol wipes!
Interesting? It’s more like alarming, isn’t it?
If you doubt this, ask whether alcohol hand rubs are deemed satisfactory to eliminate Norovirus in hospital outbreaks. No, they are not. Even hospitals fall foul of this so don’t ask them; take your investigation higher. Ask whether your national authorities openly state alcohol rubs are not adequate against Norovirus. Now you will find the true evidence which the cruise lines already know.
When your cruise is disturbed by a Norovirus outbreak, use this knowledge in your questions. They know. Now, you do too, don’t you?
Don’t rock the boat with known facts seems appropriate here. Any conspiracy theorists want to comment? Please do, as Norovirus outbreaks on cruises represent needless infections.