Miscellaneous Topics

Tourist Cruise Ship Travel

​Overview: For many people, a cruise is an ideal way to relax and see the world. Although cruising has many obvious pleasures, a cruise ship travel could also pose potential health hazards. Follow the tips below for a safe and healthy cruise vacation:

  1. Vaccines: No matter what the itinerary of your cruise is, you should be well-informed on routine vaccines, such as: MMR combined vaccine (measles, mumps, rubella), chickenpox, and seasonal flu. The ship crew and fellow travelers often come from countries where these diseases are more common, such as the United States where vaccinations are not a routine procedure. The additional vaccines you need will depend on where you will be stopping. This is why it is important to discuss the itinerary of the cruise and your travel plans with a doctor. If you are only stopping in a country for a short time, certain vaccines may not be necessary.
  2. Vomiting and diarrhea: The best way to prevent diseases is to wash your hands with soap and water frequently. This includes handwashing before eating, after using the bathroom, changing baby diapers, and touching things that others have touched (e.g. stair railings). It is also important to wash your hands during excursions on the beach, especially in developing countries. Take basic food and drink precautions by eating only hot, cooked food, drinking beverages only from airtight containers, avoiding ice, and eating fresh fruits and vegetables after washing them with clean water and peeling them yourself.
  3. Other health concerns:
    • The most frequently reported cruise ship outbreaks involve respiratory infections. Washing your hands frequently can help you avoid them. Coughing or sneezing into a tissue (not your hand) can also prevent you from spreading germs. Furthermore, getting a flu vaccine is the best way to prevent getting the flu.
    • Seasickness is also common during a cruise. If you think you have it, talk to your doctor about medication to reduce symptoms. Many common medications, including some antidepressants, painkillers, and birth control pills, can also worsen nausea caused by seasickness.
    • Stresses of cruise ship travel (e.g.  varying weather, environmental conditions, changes in diet and sleep patterns) can lead to the exacerbation of chronic diseases. Be prepared to monitor your health while on a cruise (such as: Checking your blood sugar more frequently if you have diabetes). Also, if you regularly take medication for a chronic illness, bring a sufficient quantity for the duration of your cruise, with a spare quantity in case a delay occurred. Take your medications according to the normal schedule.

Zika virus:
  • When you travel to an area where Zika virus is endemic, be sure to follow the recommendations to stay healthy and safe. People traveling to infected areas must avoid mosquito bites. Zika virus can be transmitted sexually from a person to their partner.
  • Furthermore, Zika virus can cause serious birth defects to a fetus during pregnancy. Pregnant women should not travel to areas where the virus is prevalent. Couples who are trying to become pregnant should talk to their doctor about their travel plans and how long you should wait to get pregnant after travel to an area with Zika.
  • You should take steps to prevent mosquito bites for 3 weeks after returning from an area with Zika. If a mosquito bites an infected person while the virus is still in that person’s blood, it can spread the virus by biting another person. You should also use condoms after travel to areas with Zika to protect your partners. Couples with a pregnant partner should either use condoms or not have sex during the pregnancy.

Because of the unprecedented nature of the novel coronavirus pandemic, and the increased risk of transmission of COVID-19 on cruise ships, it is best to defer all cruise travel. Older adults and people with underlying medical conditions (e.g.  heart disease, chronic lung disease, and diabetes) are at a heightened risk of severe illness if infected with the novel coronavirus. If you do go on a cruise during the COVID-19 pandemic:
  • Do not board a cruise if you are sick, if you know you have COVID-19, or if you were exposed to a person with COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
  • Discuss cruise ship travel with your doctor.
  • Avoid close contact by staying at least 6 feet (2 meters) away from others.
  • Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when in public settings.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • If you get sick with fever or new or worsening cough or trouble breathing during your cruise, stay in your cabin and notify the onboard medical center immediately.

  • Could cruise ship travel exacerbate other health conditions?
    • Due to changes in temperature and weather, diet and physical activity, cruises may cause chronic health conditions to worsen, especially in the case of older adults.

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Last Update : 27 September 2020 04:23 AM
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