Spring Break Healthy Cruise Tips – You may not be green with envy3 min read
I admit that I am prone to seasickness. Even though I once participated in competitive sailing, it seems that any time I am on a boat that isn’t moving a whole lot, or is stuck in an ocean of swells, I turn green. Being seasick is one of the worst feelings, mostly because there is no place to go for relief. You are stuck on the boat and literally need to ride it out. Due to this history of mine (I once got sick the night before a fishing trip just dreaming about the day ahead), I was a little hesitant to jump on board the decision to take a family cruise to the Caribbean for spring break. Also contributing to this hesitancy is the fact that I had read the late David Foster Wallace’s title essay in “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again” many years ago. This decidedly negative piece that he wrote for Harper’s recounted his experiences on a one week trip aboard a cruise ship.
However, after a little research I learned that the large size of the ships and the generally good weather conditions this time of year in the Caribbean drastically reduce the chance of my getting seasick. I will still be prepared by taking along some Bonine, vitamin B6 and ginger – all common treatments for nausea. There is also scopolamine, which is a prescription drug normally used in the form of a small, circular, transdermal patch worn behind the ear. It is also available in pill form. I am not worried enough to go that route, however.
What worries me far more is a little thing called norovirus. It seems that as soon as we booked our trip, I started reading about horrible outbreaks of illness on cruise ships. Doing a quick Google News search for “+norovirus +cruise” turns up 859 hits in the last day! A small sampler of headlines:
- More than 300 fall sick on Caribbean cruise
- Stomach bug hits cruise ships
- Outbreaks of stomach illness hit four cruise ships in one week
- Charleston cruise returns early after third norovirus outbreak
- Sick ships: cruises see rise in norovirus cases
Countering this concern was information from the CDC that outbreaks had been dropping in recent years: 34 in 2006, 21 in 200, and 15 each in 2008 and 2009. However, 2010 is tracking about 50% ahead of those last two years. The CDC has a web page listing the outbreaks by ship. I won’t jinx our ship by naming it here, but it had an outbreak in 2006. Luckily, it was the only one listed. I will be going over all of the cruising tips provided by the CDC with my family repeatedly and keeping my fingers crossed. I also will be packing some Purell with my Bonine.
I will be sure to follow up with a post on how the trip went. Hopefully, the post will focus on non-health related issues.