There have been several outbreaks of the Norovirus on cruise ships already this year, with two Royal Caribbean cruise ships being at the center of them. While it would be easy to point the blame at passengers or the cruise line, it comes down to one simple thing, people not washing their hands.
Passengers really do need to wash their hands as often as possible, and staff should make certain that passengers wash their hands when they come aboard after each excursion, and when they enter dining areas. We know it is hard for them to completely enforce it in all areas of the ship, but the more it is drummed into them, the more they will get the message.
Back to the news at hand because the Norovirus strain that made more than 700 passengers and crew on the Explorer of the Seas so sick was the GII.4 Sydney strain. The reason it has this name is because this one originated in Australia.
We’re told that this is one of the most common strains of the virus from a list of 20 in Australia and was first discovered back in 2012 in Sydney. What makes it so difficult to control is how the virus cannot be killed off by the use of alcohol sanitizers, which as you would imagine is a bit of a problem. However, you should always wash your hands.
The thing is, in most cases the virus is brought onto the ship and then in a matter of days spreads quickly, but we would hate for people to be put off by a cruise because when you look at the number of passengers who go on a cruise each year compared to those who fall ill, the odds are in your favor of staying healthy.