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Sarge Apr 21st, 2014 07:10 AM

Okay, not only are my wife and I handicapped, but there is this great news about the very ship we're set to be on in early May:

Passengers sailing on the Grandeur of the Seas from the Port of Baltimore have been sickened on two consecutive trips, federal health officials say.

The most recent outbreak occurred on the Royal Caribbean International vessel, which left Baltimore on April 5 for a seven-day cruise to the Bahamas, Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez said in an email Friday.

Would those of you who read this still go on this cruise ship?
We have been really looking forward to this.

Luv2travel15 Apr 21st, 2014 07:29 AM

Hi Sarge,

Yes, I would still go on Grandeur. We have sailed her twice and really liked the ship, size being smaller than some of the newer and larger ships.

Besides, your cruise isn't until early May so they will be diligent about keeping the ship clean and ridding her of any viruses. The important thing for you and your wife to remember is to constantly wash your hands, this is how viruses can spread. Use the hand sanitizers as you enter your eating areas on the ship. I always bring packages of handi wipes when we travel/cruise and you can wipe your cabin remote, door handles, etc. down in the cabin if it makes you feel better.

We sailed on Celebrity Constellation in Dec. '12 on a transatlantic and the ship's previous 3 voyages had major norovirus outbreaks. Did we even think about cancelling? NO, as we were really looking forward to our cruise. They did delay embarkation to do an extra cleaning and this was ok with us. Unfortunately, this is the nature of the beast when you cruise but you could get norovirus on land as well in hotels, etc.

Go and enjoy your cruise, I know you will! Start thinking cruise! :)


traveller69 Apr 21st, 2014 08:42 AM

I agree with May. We have done a lot of cruising and did have norovirus once years ago but it was before it became such a common problem. We have cruised many times on ships that had reported a problem just previously and I think that is probably a good time to cruise - they would have had an extra thorough cleaning and disinfecting. The one caution that May didn't mention - that is the handrails on the staircases. I have seen some passengers wear gloves. Be sure to use sanitizers if you have used the stairs or handrails in the elevator. If you take these precautions you should be just fine - so relax and enjoy!!!

Sassafrass Apr 21st, 2014 10:06 AM

One simple thing is too use your knuckle to push elevator buttons and avoid touching your face with your hands after touching other things. If you need to touch your face, wash your hands first.

I would not cancel the cruise, especially since you are going in warm weather when most people will be outside. I worry in cold weather when everbody is cooped up more at inside activities.

Mostly, I am more concerned about germs in security lines and being in an airplane, which seems to me to be one of the dirtiest places in the world.

Luv2travel15 Apr 21st, 2014 12:40 PM

Traveller69 - good advice about the handrails, I had forgotten to mention them as well as elevator buttons. Because I have bad knees that don't allow me a lot of flexibility, I do have to use hand rails IF I have to use the stairs. However, it is good advice to carry hand sanitizer w/ you while on the ship and use it every time u need to use stairs, etc. They have the small travel size bottles w/ hooks on them that you could attach to your purse, etc.

Relax and enjoy that cruise. Do post when you return so we know how much you enjoyed the Grandeur!

Eschew Apr 21st, 2014 10:38 PM

Info right from the CDC web site regarding "Keeping Your Hands Clean on a Cruise"

When to wash your hands:

Touching your hand to your mouth, including:
Eating and drinking, Smoking.
Brushing your teeth.
Helping a sick person.

Going to the bathroom.
Changing diapers.
Touching high-hand contact surfaces, such as:
Door knobs, Elevator buttons, and Railings.
Returning to your cabin.
Helping a sick person.
Blowing your nose.

How to wash your hands:
Wet your hands with warm water.
Apply a generous amount of soap.
Rub your hands together for 20 seconds.
Rinse your hands.
Dry your hands with a paper towel.
Use the paper towel to turn off the faucet and open the door.

What about alcohol-based hand sanitizers?
CDC recommends that cruise ship passengers use warm water and soap to wash their hands. Washing is always best.
If water and soap are NOT available (perhaps on excursions), use an ethanol alcohol-based hand sanitizer, preferably in a gel form. The sanitizer should be at least 60% ethanol.

Mis523 Apr 22nd, 2014 11:58 AM

We just returned from an 8N RC cruise on the Independence of the Seas (Apr 12-20). The Norovirus spread to 23% of the passengers. The crew was very diligent in following CDC guidelines and no one could no longer serve themselves on the buffet lines and they took away s&p shakers, lids on tables, etc and they were constantly sanitizing hallways, carpets,handrails, casino, etc. With that being said, I am glad we were in a suite. Suite guests have the option to dine separately from the rest of the passengers (bkfst & lunch)allowing for continued full service dining. Suite guests also have a concierge lounge for comp bkfst & happy hour and to hang out anytime you wish. The Oasis class has the best concierge lounge (bigger and more variety). This allowed us to stay away from the general population. You also have your own "suite" area on the pool deck which is close to the bar and pool. With that being said, nothing keeps you safer than following the hygiene guidelines described by "Eschew" in the previous post. I enjoy RCCL and will continue to cruise with them but only at the "Suite" guest level and preferably the Oasis Class (Quantum is VERY tempting for 2015).

Eschew Apr 22nd, 2014 03:19 PM

Not everyone can afford suites, but everyone can wash their hands!

Sassafrass Apr 22nd, 2014 06:29 PM

We are in the "inside" price range category of passengers, and still cruise. Sarge, take normal precautions and have a wonderful time.

sparkchaser Apr 23rd, 2014 03:22 AM

Go for it, OP.

You only live once and you gotta die of something.

jacketwatch Apr 23rd, 2014 05:46 AM

I would go w/o hesitation. Just be careful as noted above. I assume that cancellation at this late stage would cost quite a bit so you would really lose out some big bucks. Let's face it there is a risk as nv is hard to eradicate but with due precautions your chances are excellent.

Bon voyage!

Larry. :)

BTW I had nv on a cruise once and though it's no fun it is short lived. It hit me in the afternoon, the next day was a sea day and the following day I was able to get off in Athens. We did have to cancel a full day tour but it was really much better by then.

gail Apr 25th, 2014 02:13 AM

Go. And be careful what you touch - not just the obvious. You are more likely to catch it from railings, common salt shakers - that sort of thing. There is some controversy about whether non-weater cleaners work against NoroVirus, but I would get some of those disposable/individually packaged hand wipes with the same alcohol gel on them. The gel plus the actual rubbing your hands with them should help. I would especially use them as I sat down to each meal - at the table. Using them on you is going to be more effective than using them to clean your cabin and other surfaces.

And call your MD before the trip and ask for recommendations and possible prescription if you should become ill. In the unlikely event there is an outbreak, the ship's medical personnel may be a bit busy.

doug_stallings Apr 28th, 2014 05:51 AM

There's actually no controversy about alcohol-based hand sanitizers and norovirus. They are relatively ineffective against norovirus. Hand-washing is very effective and is always the best option.

And heed the warnings about touching common bannisters, etc. Those are the places you are most likely to pick up the virus.

gail Apr 29th, 2014 02:07 AM

According to recent CDC studies, there remains some controversy. The issue is difficulty studying the actual efficacy of specific sanitizers since the Norovirus is very difficult to grow in a lab to study, so many studies are done using similar but not identical viruses. The problem with Noro is that it takes only particles of the virus to infect. Any hand cleansing action involves both friction and a solvent, which is why I recommended alcohol-based hand washing disposable wipes. There are ongoing studies which are based on actual clinical results - comparing long term care facilities where careproviders use soap/water versus gels. The CDC currently recommends that soap/water handwashing is preferable, but that when this is not available or practical, alcohol-based gels plus friction should be used.

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