No one likes being sick on holiday, but being sick on a cruise is a different kettle of fish entirely.
It’s enough to make you want to lather your skin in hand sanitizer and become a slippery mess smelling faintly of medical grade alcohol.
At least that’d make people think twice before going near you, thus risking your chance of infection.
Norovirus is reportedly the most common cause of mass illness on cruise ships and has symptoms that closely resemble food poisoning.
According to Business Insider, it sometimes affects hundreds of passengers on a single cruise.
But there isn’t much a cruise line can do to prevent it, Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley told Business Insider.
The employees can maintain the highest level of hygiene and clean till they turn blue in the face but if one infected passenger neglects to wash their hands, the illness easily spread.
“The simple fact is that if people washed their hands, there would be no norovirus,” Bayley told Business Insider.
The cruise line constantly reminds passengers to wash their hands using videos on screens throughout the ships.
Though, it may not be as simple as that.
Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Centre of Infectious Disease also told Business Insider the disease can spread from an infected person’s respiratory system, meaning even breathing the same air as an infected person can leave you vulnerable.
Not only that, but it can be contagious 12 hours before any symptoms emerge.
“They can do everything perfectly in terms of food and safety and overall ship hygiene, but the problem is, if someone comes on board with norovirus at the beginning of the trip, it’s very possible in that closed environment that there’ll be transmission to other passengers as well as staff,” Osterholm told Business Insider.