9 Ways to Get Sick on a Cruise Ship

February 20, 2015 | By | 27 Comments

Sick on Vacation - photo courtesy of epicseurope/Shutterstock

Cruise ships get a bad rep when it comes to Norovirus. Call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure the stomach flu can happen wherever people are in a small area. Since health officials are only required to track illnesses on ships — not hotels or resorts – it seems TV cameras congregate only when sickness happens seaside.

Rest assured that cruise lines are all about promoting good hygiene. If you’ve cruised before, you may have noticed crewmembers offering hand sanitizer outside dining areas or signs kindly asking passengers to refrain from refilling water bottles. But there’s only so much they can do.

It’s time to face the real problem: Inconsiderate cruisers. Apparently, some people want to spend three days in a row “incapacitated” during their vacation (see, what it’s like to be under cruise ship quarantine). If you’re one of them – or think “that would never happen to me” — here are nine sure-fire ways to get sick on a cruise ship.

1. Don’t wash your hands after using the restroom.

8 more paths to sickness

    Hot on the Forums: The puzzle of Cruise Ship Jigsaw Etiquette

    February 20, 2015 | By | No Comments

    On a recent cold and snowy river cruise, I was tempted to pick up a jigsaw puzzle from the library to while away the afternoon. The moment passed when the only one available featured an unremarkable photo of an unknown (to me) European royal family. I also wondered if the lounge staff would clear away my work if I left the table before having the satisfaction of slotting in the last piece.

    I now realize my fleeting conundrum was nothing compared to the literal puzzle faced by Cruise Critic member kayelbee, who took to the message boards to raise the subject of jigsaw etiquette. Namely, is it OK to pitch in when someone else has started a puzzle? And does it make a difference or you’re simply helping with the easy parts or taking the glory by completing the final piece of sky or expanse of grass?

    kayelbee, who prefers to work alone, told a tale of jigsaw wars over a partially completed puzzle on P&O Cruises’ Oriana:

    Read on for the full story

      Cruise Critic Live! Can You Afford a Luxury Cruise?

      February 19, 2015 | By | 1 Comment

      Aft Suite on a Regent Seven Seas Ship - photo courtesy of Regent Seven Seas

      Our next Cruise Critic Live! chat takes place a week from today (Thursday, February 26) at 11 a.m. ET and looks at the world of luxury cruising. Although the base price of a luxury cruise can seem out of reach, when you look at what the fare encompasses – often drinks, tips and shore excursions – a luxury cruise can end up giving you more for your money.

      Cruise Critic Live: Can You Afford a Luxury Cruise?
      February 26, 2015, 11:00 AM ET
      Think a luxury cruise is too expensive? Think again. Join luxury travel agent Scott Anderson as he talks about high style on the high seas!
      Add to calendar

      Our special guest is someone who knows a thing or two about the luxury cruise sector – Scott Anderson, general manager of the Luxury Cruise Company. We caught up with Scott to quiz him ahead of the chat and here’s what he had to say:

      CCWhat kind of trends are you seeing in the Luxury sector?

      Scott: The luxury cruise lines are now offering a more inclusive experience than ever before onboard the ships. Regent has for a few years now included all tours, and we are seeing other lines starting to follow. Silversea has recently announced that on their Mediterranean sailings they are offering Silver Shore Select Excursions – which offers the guest two complimentary tours in every port. Also Silversea is offering complimentary Wi-Fi and other lines offer this in higher grades of accommodations. I don’t think it will be long before free Wi-Fi is standard on the luxury lines.

      CCWhat are good entry level points for luxury? How do you know you’re ready?

      Read on for the answer

        Steal of the Week: No Solo Fee on Europe River with Avalon Waterways

        February 19, 2015 | By | No Comments

        piggy bank sailing worldwide
        Everyone is looking for the deal of the century. So how do you choose the one that’s right for you? Check the Lido Deck each week to get the scoop on our favorite deals — then grab the phone and pack your bags.
        THE DEAL: Avalon Waterways is offering waived single supplements on a variety of 2015 Europe river cruise itineraries.
        WHAT WE LOVE: Solo cruising is a popular mode of travel and a break on cruise fare is always a welcome incentive to go on that trip of a lifetime to see the famed Dutch tulips or the Black Sea of Istanbul. There’s something to be said for Europe in spring, and these sailings offer prime dates on a number of gorgeous itineraries (including cruises more than eight days).
        WHAT GIVES US PAUSE: If you’re a single cruiser who likes to plan your trips well in advance, this deal does not offer dates more than four months away. The supplement is only waived on select dates and sailings this spring and summer, which may be an expensive time to book airfare to Europe. Also, only ten fares without a supplement are available per sailing, so even if you book by the March 24 deadline, you may not qualify for the sailing or date you’re looking for.
        HOW TO BOOK IT: For all the nitty-gritty on these deals (including that pesky fine print), click here.
        Compare flight prices with our sister site TripAdvisor’s meta-search tool.
        * Looking for cruises for under $75 or even $50 a day? We’ve got ‘em listed on our Cheap Cruises page.
        * Get great cruise deals — and exclusive member offers — delivered weekly to your inbox.

          Carnival Live! Two Minutes with Martina McBride

          February 18, 2015 | By | No Comments

          Martina McBride  - photo by Dori Saltzman

          To celebrate the arrival of its third year-round cruise ship to the port of Galveston, Carnival Cruise Line hosted more than 1,000 members of the U.S. military and their families onboard Carnival Freedom to enjoy a concert by country superstar Martina McBride on Valentine’s Day 2015.

          Though she has performed several times onboard a cruise ship as part of Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Live! concert series (read our concert review from Carnival Ecstasy), McBride has yet to set sail for a full cruise herself (performers are flown in for the gigs). Cruise Critic caught up with McBride for a brief chat before the concert to talk about cruising.

          Our chat with Martina McBride

            Wanderlust Wednesday: Off the Grid

            February 18, 2015 | By | No Comments

            Antartic cruise  - photo courtesy of scl901/Cruise Critic Forums

            Destination: Antarctica

            Why Go?: With no indigenous people, government or economy, Antarctica is one of the most mysterious destinations in the world. Its untouched lands are not only breathtaking, but also an ideal hangout for multiple species of penguins, seals and whales. In fact, it has the largest concentration of marine wildlife in the world.

            Member: scl901

            Every Wednesday, we’ll be taking you on a journey around the world to some of the most interesting places our members have trekked, swum or merely witnessed from afar while cruising.

            Whether these photos inspire you to plan a relaxing escape or walk on the wild side, we hope they ignite your senses and give you ideas for your next cruising adventure. If you have a photo you’d love to share, send it to us at photos@cruisecritic.com or post it in our member photo gallery. Feel free to send us your Twitter or Instagram handle. Maybe you’ll get a shout-out next #WanderlustWednesday!

            Find interesting places to visit based on region.

            Everything you need to know about planning a cruise.

            Explore Trip Reports of unique itineraries.

              Pros and Cons of Island Hopping in the Canaries

              February 17, 2015 | By | No Comments

              Fred. Olsen ship Boudicca

              My first cruise on British cruise line Fred. Olsen was also my first sailing with so many intensive port stops in so many days.

              I’m used to the traditional port day schedule — arrive at 9 a.m. and leave at 5:30 p.m. — but on a cruise around the Canary Islands, you can’t help but leave late and arrive early. And when I say leave late, I’m talking about next-day departures in the early morning — around 12:30 a.m.

              For this particular cruise, I sailed on Boudicca, which initially departed Southampton in the U.K. (though I joined the ship at its first port of call). The itinerary included three days at sea and a visit to the gorgeous island of Madeira followed by five Canary Islands in five days: La Palma, La Gomera, Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote. The ship then pressed onto Lisbon before returning home, so a fortnight in all.

              We left Funchal in Madeira at 5:30 p.m., but the rest of the stops (bar Gran Canaria) were 12:30 a.m. departures.

              It also happened to be Carnaval — the weeklong fiesta when the Spanish really party — so the timing could not have been better, allowing passengers to (theoretically) party until the early hours.

              But such late departures have pluses and minuses.

              Read on for the pros and cons of island hopping.

                Member Review of the Week: Solo in South America

                February 17, 2015 | By | 1 Comment

                Punta Arenas, Chile - photo courtesy of Ekaterina Pokrovsky/Shutterstock

                Cruise Ship: Princess Cruises’ Golden Princess

                Itinerary: South America and Antarctica

                Member: ccastner

                Background: This Rio-to-Valparaiso cruise was two years in the making. So when solo cruiser ccastner finally decided to take the plunge, he knew exactly what he needed to plan the perfect vacation — which included a balcony cabin (see why, below). Between trivia and shows onboard to extensive tours off the ship, the cruise kept him busy with just enough time to relax and recharge.

                Onboard Highlight: The service, especially in the Explorer’s Lounge. The crew had his favorite drink memorized and waiting for him. 

                Port Highlight: Punta Arenas, Chile, where ccastner toured a local ranch before setting out to Fort Bulnes near the Straight of Magellan.

                Don’t Miss: The Mexican lunch at Horizon Court.

                Watch Out For: Deck loungers are in high demand on sunny days, so ccastner recommends booking a balcony cabin to get your dose of vitamin D.

                More: Read ccastner’s full review for details about the ship and exotic itinerary.

                For their efforts, ccastner, Trialawyer, teriwinkle hawklady and andrewmatt receive Cruise Critic logo items.

                Each week, we choose five cruise reviews written by our members, and showcase one as the Member Review of the Week.

                Read more reviews or write your own cruise review.

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