Crystal Serenity Fights Norovirus

February 13, 2006

Passengers on Crystal Serenity's world cruise continue to fight the pesky Norovirus, which has making the rounds of the ship.

MHShapiro, who reports on the Crystal boards that his wife has been stricken with the bug, offers a report from onboard. "The medical staff, one doctor and two nurses, have been doing all they can to get it under control," he says. "However, the cruise staff has not been as aggressive as they could be, in my opinion, in getting the word out to passengers to be aware of possible symptoms and the need to report them immediately.

"There were a couple of messages about Norwalk in Reflections, but other than that the cruise director and his staff are keeping quiet about the situation. That may be good PR, but in my opinion bad public health.

"Considering the number of geriatric passengers on the world cruise, it seems to me, that perhaps they need a larger medical staff."

Shapiro does note some changes in response to the extremely contagious bug, saying that "I'm not sure if there has been extra cleaning going on in the public areas of the ship; however, there have been some changes in food service - hand sanitizers in the Lido lines, some less self service, etc."

For its part, Crystal told Cruise Critic today that 72 passengers and 26 crew members -- as of last Friday -- had reported gastro intestinal symptoms, primarily in the period between February 1 - 10.

"We are operating at the highest sanitation levels and isolating the sick for the periods of time they are believed to be contagious. The source of the illness has not been identified," says Crystal spokeswoman Mimi Weisband. "We are working with Dr. Elaine H. Cramer, MD, MPH, Medical Epidemiologist, National Center for Environmental Health, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and following her recommendations for conducting a complete investigation."