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Norovirus

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Now that I have your attention. I don’t want to freak anyone out, but have there been any reported cases recently on MSC? I did just hear RCI just returned a ship because of it. I know it is really prevalent this time of year and I have heard MSC really doesn’t enforce the hand washing like most other lines. Can anyone confirm if they have pressed this a little more recently? It is really ashame that you have to tell people to wash their hands, but apparently you do.

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Since sailing with MSC from 2011 I have never heard of a case of norovirus on any of their ships (that's not to say there hasn't been any cases - but I'd expect to read on here if there were any).  We've done 20 cruises with MSC and have not encountered any problems.  We did one Celebrity cruise;  the ship had a norovirus outbreak on the sailing before ours.

 

No cruiseline can "enforce the handwashing"  - I'm assuming you meant that MSC doesn't push for the sanitisers to be used.  They don't prevent norovirus from spreading, anyway.  

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5 hours ago, mvh said:

Now that I have your attention. I don’t want to freak anyone out, but have there been any reported cases recently on MSC? I did just hear RCI just returned a ship because of it. I know it is really prevalent this time of year and I have heard MSC really doesn’t enforce the hand washing like most other lines. Can anyone confirm if they have pressed this a little more recently? It is really ashame that you have to tell people to wash their hands, but apparently you do.

 

Not in my awareness, but then again norovirus is prevalent in all our shopping malls, churches, cinemas, workplaces etc. etc. and never 'reported'. As Beamafar has said the sanitisers do not prevent the spread of norovirus. Most lines are now recognising that and, in the newer ships, are providing wash basins at restaurant entrances....although few use them, sadly!

 

The best self protection is to use a tissue when opening doors etc.....that is something I do in public places wherever we go, as it never ceases to amaze me what many men do (rather, do not do) in toilets before opening the door to exit!!

Edited by hamrag

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5 hours ago, mvh said:

Now that I have your attention. I don’t want to freak anyone out, but have there been any reported cases recently on MSC? I did just hear RCI just returned a ship because of it. I know it is really prevalent this time of year and I have heard MSC really doesn’t enforce the hand washing like most other lines. Can anyone confirm if they have pressed this a little more recently? It is really ashame that you have to tell people to wash their hands, but apparently you do.

 

Why would you say MSC does not enforce hand washing?  What cruise line does enforce hand washing?  If you mean hand sanitizers that isn't true either at least not on the Divina.  Was on the Divina in December and there were hand sanitizer stations at all food venues just the same as any other cruise line.  No, they did not have someone stand over the hand sanitizer refusing admission if you don't use it but what cruise line does? 

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The closest to 'enforcement' I've seen is on NCL, when they had people stationed at the entrances to the buffet to supplement the dispensers. They'd chant 'washy washy' and I'm sure they catch a lot of people who would otherwise not bother using the sanitiser.

 

I know this is specifically about norovirus, but surely the sanitiser is good for reducing cold viruses and things like that, even if it isn't effective against noro?

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There is no European health requirement for cruise lines to report an outbreak of norovirus unlike in the US where all cruise lines that operate out of a US port must report any occurance of gastro-sickness. Wish we had the same rules.

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2 hours ago, jody75 said:

There is no European health requirement for cruise lines to report an outbreak of norovirus unlike in the US where all cruise lines that operate out of a US port must report any occurance of gastro-sickness. Wish we had the same rules.

 

The laws/rules for all MSC ships that transit US ports are the same as every other cruise line.  PHS/CDC inspectors routinely monitor all MSC ships that enter a US port. So has there been numerous reported outbreaks on Seaside, Seaview, Divina, or Armonia?  CDC reports are public information in the US.  

 

BTW, the EU is NOT an uninterested party in terms of shipboard health and safety either. So it is not just the US that cares about norovirus outbreaks.

 

As watchful of MSC as beamafar is I would expect it has not been that prevalent. FINGERS CROSSED.

 

Dennis

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3 hours ago, Captain-John said:

The closest to 'enforcement' I've seen is on NCL, when they had people stationed at the entrances to the buffet to supplement the dispensers. They'd chant 'washy washy' and I'm sure they catch a lot of people who would otherwise not bother using the sanitiser.

 

I know this is specifically about norovirus, but surely the sanitiser is good for reducing cold viruses and things like that, even if it isn't effective against noro?

"Hello, good morning ….Washy washy, happy, happy" :classic_love:

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33 minutes ago, kelleherdl said:

So has there been numerous reported outbreaks on Seaside, Seaview, Divina, or Armonia?  CDC reports are public information in the US.  

Correct, the outbreaks are posted on the CDC website on the page “Vessel Sanitation Program”, grouped by year.

Link: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/vsp/surv/GIlist.htm#modalIdString_CDCTable_1

 

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On Divina over Xmas and New year they had people at the main entrances with hand sanitizer at breakfast and lunch.

Since we began sailing with them in 2012 I cannot recall any outbreak on one of their ships, there was also an inspection carried out on Saturday on the ship, some staff were up all night cleaning and others until around 4am having already been working all day.

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The CDC site only monitors cruise ships when they are sailing in US waters. A quick google search showed the Sinfonia had a noro outbreak in South Africa several years ago. Since MSC has the vast majority of their itineraries sailing outside of the USA, the CDC site isn't a great indicator for MSC (although quite interesting). 

 

 Outside of the US, we have no idea if ships are required to report Noro and/or what those requirements are. I'm all ears if someone has this information including the parameters.

 

In line with the CDC information, you may find this site interesting: https://www.cruisemapper.com/accidents

 

With all that said, the two times I sailed on MSC in the USA were exceptionally clean. I would not worry. No cruise ships are exempt. Even if MSC had lots of reports on the CDC cite, I'm not sure that is a fair indicator of the ship cleanliness.

 

Wash your hands, lots. 

 

enjoy

 

 

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I figure I'm much more apt to catch something from flying to the port, or from the remote in the hotel room the night before sailing.

 

I'm not a germaphobe, but I am very conscientious about hand washing when I travel.  I can't trust others to wash theirs, so it's up to me to keep mine clean and keep them away from my face.

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11 hours ago, Captain-John said:

The closest to 'enforcement' I've seen is on NCL, when they had people stationed at the entrances to the buffet to supplement the dispensers. They'd chant 'washy washy' and I'm sure they catch a lot of people who would otherwise not bother using the sanitiser.

 

I know this is specifically about norovirus, but surely the sanitiser is good for reducing cold viruses and things like that, even if it isn't effective against noro?

 

My understanding is that the sanitizers do nothing to stop viruses at all, so all the pushing of Purell is more sanitation theater than anything.  Personally I think just living life without all of the real or imagined hyper-sanitary precautions is the best vaccine against a lot of this stuff.

Edited by Toofarfromthesea

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3 minutes ago, Toofarfromthesea said:

 

My understanding is that the sanitizers do nothing to stop viruses at all, so as the pushing of Purell is more sanitation theater than anything.  Personally I think just living life without all of the real or imagined sanitary precautions is a best vaccine against a lot of this stuff.

 

 

Yes, I'm by no means paranoid at all (certainly not to the extent you sometimes read about, the products people bring with them on holiday and the things they do!). I just presumed that Purell et al had at least some kind of effect on something, else it really is pointless.

 

 

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12 hours ago, Toofarfromthesea said:

 

My understanding is that the sanitizers do nothing to stop viruses at all, so all the pushing of Purell is more sanitation theater than anything.  Personally I think just living life without all of the real or imagined hyper-sanitary precautions is the best vaccine against a lot of this stuff.

I think a dose of gastroenteritis may change your outlook.  

Many people fail to wash their hands on leaving the toilet and purcell or similar is an added precaution for the rest of us as it is 99% effective in combatting bacteria and the transfer of the like.  

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Regarding hand sanitizers, norovirus is not the only cause of gastroenteritis, there are plenty of bacteria that will cause it, E-Coli for instance.

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Sailed on around 22 cruises of 5 nights up to 21 nights and we have never been ill, hand washing property and using sanitiser has worked for us.

 

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On ‎1‎/‎10‎/‎2019 at 10:48 PM, mvh said:

Now that I have your attention. I don’t want to freak anyone out, but have there been any reported cases recently on MSC? I did just hear RCI just returned a ship because of it. I know it is really prevalent this time of year and I have heard MSC really doesn’t enforce the hand washing like most other lines. Can anyone confirm if they have pressed this a little more recently? It is really ashame that you have to tell people to wash their hands, but apparently you do.

If you are thinking that its possible to predict future Noro problems based on the past...forget it!  The reality is that Noro is one of the most prevalent viruses in the world and it is thought that most problems on cruise ships are brought aboard with new passengers...some of whom likely were exposed on planes or in airports.

 

As to telling folks to wash their hands, based on first-hand observation a majority of passengers ignore the suggestion.  Some cruise ships (not the Divina) actually have convenient hand washing stations near all the Lido buffet entrances.  DW and I have managed to cruise all over the world (more then 1000 days on cruise ships) without ever contracting Noro (I have had it on land, but never on a cruise).  We just practice basic precautions including lots of hand washing (with soap and water) and using a special hand sanitizer sold  online  by a company called "Nozoo."  This product used to be carried by CVS stores (under their own CVS Brand) but is now nearly impossible to find.  It is a different product then the typical alcohol-based products such as Purell and is somewhat controversial...although some think it is effective against Noro.  If nothing else, the minimal amount of alcohol in the Nozoo product decreases the dried skin issues many experience with frequent use of alcohol.  And alcohol is proven to not be effective against Noro...although it sure helps against many other bugs.

 

The other very valuable tip we got from a CDC Physician (who we met on a cruise where he was conducting crew training) is a real simple common sense thing.  Try to minimize (or eliminate) touching your face with your hands.  Noro gets on your hands (where it is harmless) but becomes a problem when it somehow gets into your body through eyes, nose or mouth.

 

Hank

 

Hankk

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On 1/10/2019 at 11:48 PM, mvh said:

Now that I have your attention. I don’t want to freak anyone out, but have there been any reported cases recently on MSC? I did just hear RCI just returned a ship because of it. I know it is really prevalent this time of year and I have heard MSC really doesn’t enforce the hand washing like most other lines. Can anyone confirm if they have pressed this a little more recently? It is really ashame that you have to tell people to wash their hands, but apparently you do.

If you check the CDC web site you will see Divina has a very high score of 97 for cleanliness.

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2 hours ago, LDEE said:

If you check the CDC web site you will see Divina has a very high score of 97 for cleanliness.

Yes and you will find plenty of other ships with similar or even higher scores.  But that has little to do with the Noro problems since it is generally carried aboard by passengers (or crew).  Noro does quite fine...even in clean environments.  As to the scoring system for ships, it does not rate the vessel on the stupidity of cruisers that do not regularly wash their hands (the best prevention for Noro and most other bugs).  Noro is a very difficult virus to kill as it has its own protective shell.  Chemicals like Chlorine or bleach are very effective,....but unfortunately not very safe for humans (even Clorox wipes do not have any chlorine or bleach).  

 

Hank

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I don't disagree. Its a problem on all ships and I have seen many instances of poor food handling by passengers. I am hoping a high CDC is at least better than a lower one 

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Does anyone who has sailed both MSC and RCI care to compare the cleanliness levels? I usually sail RCI and the last few cruises I have noticed the common areas are a little less than clean at times. They have really let things go so no wonder there's norovirus. I have heard MSC is cleaner, true?

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36 minutes ago, Toofarfromthesea said:

When did cruise ships start with the sanitizers?  Is it something of long standing or is it something that started in more recent years?

They have been doing this for some time. Some are more strict about using them before entering the dining room than others. 

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I cannot speak specifically to cleanliness, but our opinion of the Divina was it appeared (from a passenger perspective) to be one of the most immaculate ships I have every seen (and we have cruised on more than 65 ships).  I actually had a chance to mention this to the Divina's young Captain and you could see the pride in his face.   We were on the ship more then 2 weeks before we actually spotted a tiny bit of rust near one of the pools.   I suspect its gone now.

 

Hank

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To All, Just FYI, the CDC has a handy list of cleaning agents effective against norovirus.  https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-06/documents/list_g_norovirus.pdf

    

How is the stomach flu transmitted (norovirus and others)?

Annie Pryor, Ph.D. Sourced from http://www.stopthestomachflu.com/Home/how-is-the-stomach-flu-transmittedI found this on RCI site Norovirus from two great CC posters!

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12 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

I cannot speak specifically to cleanliness, but our opinion of the Divina was it appeared (from a passenger perspective) to be one of the most immaculate ships I have every seen (and we have cruised on more than 65 ships).  I actually had a chance to mention this to the Divina's young Captain and you could see the pride in his face.   We were on the ship more then 2 weeks before we actually spotted a tiny bit of rust near one of the pools.   I suspect its gone now.

 

Hank

 

I agree with you, the Divina is one of the most immaculate ships I have ever seen and 41 cruises here.  We were on for 32 days and I missed that rust spot lol.  This is the first ship that I have been on that I did not see rust somewhere or everywhere (Carnival Glory)

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The worst rust we could find on board the Divina was in the Royal Suite on the bottom of the bathroom door. The chair on the balcony looked like bird poop, but was just stained.

IMG_0222.jpg

IMG_0277.jpg

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We just got off the Seaside yesterday.  The ship was absolutely spotless.  I've not seen such a clean ship before. There were no hints or reports of illness. There was hand sanitizer at each dining entrance.  We've experienced GI problems on other ships.  Not this one.   

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7 hours ago, HeavySeaman said:

Does anyone who has sailed both MSC and RCI care to compare the cleanliness levels? I usually sail RCI and the last few cruises I have noticed the common areas are a little less than clean at times. They have really let things go so no wonder there's norovirus. I have heard MSC is cleaner, true?

I sailed Divina in 2017 and Adventure of the Seas in 2018. Divina was much cleaner, almost spotless. Adventure not so much. I got food poisoning on Adventure also. 

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On 1/10/2019 at 11:48 PM, mvh said:

Now that I have your attention. I don’t want to freak anyone out, but have there been any reported cases recently on MSC? I did just hear RCI just returned a ship because of it. I know it is really prevalent this time of year and I have heard MSC really doesn’t enforce the hand washing like most other lines. Can anyone confirm if they have pressed this a little more recently? It is really ashame that you have to tell people to wash their hands, but apparently you do.

no, they don't force you to wash hands and they don't have Noro reports . :classic_laugh:

 

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By the way, I took a look at the CDC Incidence reports (where they post reported outbreaks) and MSC has not ever had a single reported incident (I went back to 2010).  Of course these incident reports would not necessarily show problems in Europe or on cruise ships that do not call at US Ports.  The most recent incident was on the Oasis of the Seas 1/6/19 - 1/13 which is still listed as an "unknown" meaning they have yet to officially identify the causative virus or bacteria.

 

As to the scores under the CDC Vessel Sanitation Program, the Divina did get a 96 back on 3/8/18 and the Seaside got a 94 on 4/28/18.  

 

For those that put a lot of stock in these reports, you might want to go to the CDC web site at

https://wwwn.cdc.gov/InspectionQueryTool/InspectionResults.aspx  and read the details of some of the reports.  If it does not put you asleep, you might be impressed by level of detail in the reports and how difficult it is for any ship to achieve a high score (most ships do get very high scores).  I doubt if any or our home kitchens would pass this kind of scrutiny.

 

Hank

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