In the last blog, I talked about food borne illness on cruise ships. But, as one of my readers said,
"So, what's your advice?" Good point.
I am not going to advise you not to go on a cruise (much as
I personally hate them, though I love the sea, sailing, and love travelling on cargo ships). If it gives you pleasure, go ahead. But if you want to stay healthy and enjoy the trip, I suggest that you:
1) Check out the ship's outbreak record and inspection scores before you buy your ticket. The CDC's "green sheet" which is a "Summary of Sanitation Inspections of International Cruise Ships" and records from its inspection program are the best sources (available on: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/InspectionQueryTool/InspectionSearch.aspx. If there has been an outbreak on the cruise before yours, or, on several recent cruises, don't book on that ship. But two words of caution - the inspection scores are not completely up to date, and some ships score 100 or just below, and still have outbreaks - as in the case of the Royal Caribbean Ship "Radiance of the Seas" this year.
2) Try not to eat at the buffets, which are known to be the riskiest places, or, at least be in line first, which could reduce some of your food contamination risk.
3) Don't eat any on-shore catered food (It has been found to account for about the third of the foodborne illnesses on cruises - or, maybe just gets blamed). Buy your own - carefully - instead.
4)Try to avoid the shrimp and other seafood served on board, which often seems to be the source of illness.
5)Be on your best hygiene behavior throughout the cruise, so you don't catch Norovirus from someone else who may have got it from their food - or, pass it on if you yourself have it. Surveys comparing passengers who became ill with those who did not have found that hand washing made the difference.