Simple steps can reduce risks of illness or crime while on a cruise

Health and safety

News of cruise ships in quarantine always makes big news. Nearly everyone has an upset stomach and you can’t get away. It is usually the norovirus that causes the problem as it is highly contagious. In your home or a hotel, it’s not too bad as you can get away from the problem, but even though it only lasts 24-48 hours, when in a confined space it is a real problem. It is rare though, despite the news stories.

After all the media isn’t going to report ‘cruise ship docks at end of tour. No illness and everyone had a great time’ are they?

You can reduce the chances of illness

Just remember to always clean your hands before handling your food, smoking or even brushing your teeth.


Medical centres

Ships do have their own medical centres on board as well, which isn’t surprising when you think about how old the average age of the passengers used to be (yes ships do have a morgue). However, they may not be able to replace your prescription drugs, so ensure that you have a spare supply when you go away. Also check that your travel insurance covers the cost of treatment.

Finally, you will probably eat more than usual while on a cruise, and not all the food will be good for you, so take it easy with the cream cakes.


For cruise lines that visit the USA, there is an inspection by The Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which issues a ‘Green Sheet’ report of the Vessel Sanitation Program of the inspected ship. To check out the latest inspections go to the list.
The VSP carried out the following on all ships based in the USA that carry more than 13 passengers and all foreign ships that have an itinerary that includes USA ports;

Periodic and unannounced operational sanitation inspections and scheduled construction inspections
Monitors gastrointestinal illnesses and investigating or responding to outbreaks
Training of cruise ship employees on public health practices
Provides health education and current public health information to the cruise ship industry, the public, and health professionals


There are some drawbacks to being stuck on a floating hotel. Sinkings have occurred (think Titanic), also people fall overboard, people go missing and there are sexual assaults. A larger cruise ship is full of people, and people means crime.

Just because you’re having fun, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t forget to take the same precautions that you would on land.

  • Use the ships safe for your valuables
  • Don’t overdo the alcohol. Decks are very dangerous places when you think that you’re invincible
  • Don’t go off with a stranger
  • If you win big at the casino don’t go mad with the celebrations. Also use the ships safe for your cash winnings