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Caribbean Princess 2\2 Sailing Gastrointestinal Virus


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23 minutes ago, gpd17 said:

The Captain stated that the number of currently people has been declining for the last few days. Whatever bug that is going around has not been publicly identified except for a comment by the Captain that it is not coronavirus.

 

How could the Captain know this for sure? My understanding is that until just recently every "possible" US case had to be sent to the CDC for testing.  How could Princess have enough test kit resources, with that many people sick, to rule out CoronaVirus?  

 

I am not saying it IS CoronaVirus, I am asking how the Captain could possibly know it's Not? That there's None.... Zero cases?

 

Here is a link to the CDC Website about the Availability of Kits:

 

https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/p0206-coronavirus-diagnostic-test-kits.html

Edited by SunNFunCruzer
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On 2/6/2020 at 6:12 PM, Suncitycruiser1925 said:

We are currently on the Caribbean Princess and have been informed of gastrointestinal illness of a number of passengers.  Passengers are not allowed to serve themselves in the buffet.  Crew serves all drinks, hands you plates, silverware, etc.  We were just informed St Kitts port has been cancelled due to this tomorrow.  Does anyone on board know how many cases there are or any other information?  Lots of sanitizing is going on throughout the ship.  Thanks for any information.


Have not taken a cruise yet but considering.
How do cruise passengers get  Noro ?

Is Noro common on cruise ships?

Is Noto caught from passengers that do not sanitize  their hands  or cough before going through the buffet line,  or touching public things on the ship?

And, what are these hand washing stations and where are they located?  And are they monitored by crew?

What is my best way to avoid catching Noro?

Thanks.

 

 

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55 minutes ago, Justalone said:

Have not taken a cruise yet but considering.
How do cruise passengers get  Noro ?

Is Noro common on cruise ships?

Is Noto caught from passengers that do not sanitize  their hands  or cough before going through the buffet line,  or touching public things on the ship?

And, what are these hand washing stations and where are they located?  And are they monitored by crew?

What is my best way to avoid catching Noro?

Thanks.

Noro virus is reasonably common in places where there are a lot of people - nursing homes, schools, some holiday venues and cruise ships. A person with Noro will feel very ill and have diarrhoea and vomitting.

 

The Noro virus cannot enter your body through your skin. You can catch it if an infected person within a few feet of you sneezes and you inhale the droplets of the virus. You can also pick it up if the virus has been deposited on handrails or life buttons, but the virus only stays active for a limited length of time.

 

Even if you pick up the virus from handrails etc it still has to enter your body. Most adults don't suck their fingers so the most likely route for infection is on food. You should wash your hands thoroughly before eating, and if you want to take extra care, don't pick up any food (like bread rolls) with your hands.

 

You asked where the washing stations are - they are at the entry to the buffet area. At the entrance to the dining rooms, there are sanitizers. Both of these are monitored by the crew, and even more so if there is Noro on board.

 

When there are a significant number of Noro cases on a ship, passengers cannot serve themselves at the buffet. They have to indicate to a crew member what they would like put on their plates. All common items (like salt and pepper and drink menus) are removed from the tables.

 

If you exercise care, you are unlikely to contract the Noro virus.

Edited by Aus Traveller
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31 minutes ago, Justalone said:

Have not taken a cruise yet but considering.
How do cruise passengers get  Noro ?

Is Noro common on cruise ships?

Is Noto caught from passengers that do not sanitize  their hands  or cough before going through the buffet line,  or touching public things on the ship?

And, what are these hand washing stations and where are they located?  And are they monitored by crew?

What is my best way to avoid catching Noro?

Thanks.

Hi @Justalone! Welcome to Cruise Critic! I know you're considering cruising, and well, norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships do happen, as norovirus is highly contagious and a cruise ship is a confined space so it's easy to spread once it goes haywire. However, the vast majority of cruises do not have these outbreaks that you might see reported on the news or on the CDC website. I do want to show you some links for information about what norovirus is and how it relates to cruising before anything else -- you could try this from the CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association)this from this very site (Cruise Critic), or this from the CDC. The site that was cited a few pages back about the current outbreak on Caribbean Princess is from the CDC as they monitor and document every outbreak (notable ones, at least) and if you dig more on the last CDC link I included, you might even start to stumble upon the publicly accessible health inspection scores and reports of cruise ships (but that's another topic altogether). 

 

Noro can be caught by passengers who are totally healthy from passengers who have it, mostly through physical contact, but it can potentially be caught from air particles if you find yourself in close contact with the sick passenger/whatever remnants they left too (i.e. air particles). Generally, one or more sick passengers will carry the virus on with them and start spreading it. You can't properly predict that it will come, but you can only anticipate it. Sick passengers who do not wash hands after using the restroom (primarily for #2 or vomiting) and touching anything you might touch (e.g. elevator buttons, buffet utensils, etc.) can and will spread it if it's not stopped early on. You can either come with the bug from home, or catch it in a port -- just like as if you were commuting to and from work or even catching it at your workplace.

 

Your best way to avoid norovirus or being sick at all is to be prudent and use a lot of common sense when it comes to personal hygiene. The #1 tip is to always wash your hands and wash them thoroughly. You should wash your hands often and especially after you touch anything you didn't feel comfortable touching and before you start using your hands to feed, because noro is most often transmitted through the fecal-oral channel. Avoid rubbing your nose and eyes.

 

In terms of washing stations, the buffets on Caribbean Princess, for example, have the wash basins stationed right outside the buffet on the forward and aft (back) parts of the buffet, on both port (left) and starboard (right) sides. For the most part, from my experiences with Princess, crew members in the buffet often man the stations for the first couple of days before no one mans them anymore and washing is no longer supervised, and when the hand sanitizer dispenser is within easy reach, some tend to opt for those instead. @Aus Traveller has covered what happens when an outbreak does happen. 

 

Some other tips you might like to know:

  • When you don't want to be in your room but want to be around the ship, try finding areas that you think won't necessarily be the most populated to lounge (AKA secret spots and they're bliss if you just need yourself some quiet "me time" out and about).
  • Spots with fresh air/a breeze are good for making sure you're not breathing in whatever is lingering in the space.
  • If you're not in the buffet, hand-washing basins are not located as frequently throughout the ship unless you enter a public bathroom. Public bathrooms are cleaned and maintained regularly every day, but if you want to be careful or if you are worried, you can always return to your room. 
  • Have hand sanitizers handy in a small bag/purse/pocket if you like, so that you have something to combat something like the common cold when a sink is not within easy reach. 
  • Norovirus cannot be killed with hand sanitizer or basic Clorox wipes; if you wish to use wipes, you will have to look into something more strong -- I have heard (but cannot personally recommend because I have not used) these wipes can help you kill Norovirus, but I've really only heard people wiping down their cabins with them on embarkation day and not really using them daily or in public areas as they are too strong and still require a wait time for the chemicals to "do their work." 
  • Sleep! Cruising can be exciting, but sleep keeps your immune system strong.
  • Just simply touch less, wash more, and take care.

Now, I know that what I described might be enough to scare you away from cruising forever, and the coronavirus outbreak has also not been the most staunch proponent of cruising, but I wanted to be upfront about what norovirus is and can be on a ship. The crew members are there to help you and if you would like something cleaned further in a public space, you may kindly request them to do another wipe down or to spray it. 

 

However, I want to let you know that most of all, people do not end up sick by the end of a cruise and walk away from a cruise filled with many happy memories, not having contracted noro or any bug at all. As one person, I cannot singlehandedly convince you that cruising is something that you would like to do. But I do want to reaffirm to you, that in terms of noro, whatever you're doing to stay healthy and prevent yourself from being sick at home is already something you can easily maintain doing on a cruise to keep yourself healthy. Just like you might not touch a shopping cart handle, you might choose to punch an elevator button with a sleeve or a knuckle. It's much easier said than done, but the key is to not think about it, as it can lead to being hypersensitive and turn into a negative spiral. I wouldn't necessarily recommend someone with a severe case of germophobia to take a cruise because it could wreak more psychological discomfort for them. I know you've been considering a cruise and during this virus outbreak, if you prefer to hold off on a cruise until you feel better about it, you definitely should hold off on it for your peace of mind. The most important thing is always your peace of mind, so with all this aside, if your wish is to travel through the open sea, appreciating the vastness of the ocean, all while having an open mind and a hunger to explore on a self-constructed pace with relaxed undertones, cruising can be the trip of choice for you. Hope this helps!

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8 hours ago, NoWhiners said:

 

gpd

 

I am so sorry to hear this. The numbers of ill people seemed to be increasing, so I guess this was the best decision. Can you tell us what conditions were like as more pax were found to be sick?

 

I am thinking about dining, bars, anything out and about on the ship. We will be boarding on Sunday 2/16 and are interested in what "could" happen.

 

Thanks and, again, I'm sorry.

 

ML

 

 

ML,

 

Other than the restrictions in the buffet and the frequent oral and written public service announcements regarding hygiene, life aboard is as normal as any other cruise. 
 

The announcement that we were returning to Ft Lauderdale was made a short time  after 10 pm. I had just turned in and did not go back out. Prior to that, people were in their normal good natured frame of mind. There was no restriction on movement. Venues were full, people were having fun.

 

My sense is that the ship is returning to be sanitized for your cruise coming up. Our loss may be your gain.

 

Circumstances such as this are part of cruising. Everyone who does knows, or should know, that itineraries can change. This one is a bit out of the ordinary given the reason. 
 

The world wide coronavirus concern may be exacerbating the closing of ports. Your forthcoming trip may be more affected by that than the conditions aboard the ship.

 

Best wishes for what awaits you. 

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1) What is the test that is run for Noro (nasal swab? blood? other...)??

2) Does a ship typically have capability to test in this high of cases?

3) How long does the test take to receive results?

4) It is likely all passengers have confirmed cases of Noro and not something else (not suggesting its CoV, could be influenzaA/B). 

 

In other words, is it likely they have conclusive evidence this is noro?

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On 2/9/2020 at 6:47 AM, Suncitycruiser1925 said:

So far they refunded port charges of about $5 per person for missing St. Kitts port.  I have not checked to see what the refund was for missing Barbados.  

 

On 2/7/2020 at 10:25 AM, fishnchips said:

Not surprised , we were on there 2 weeks ago and commented on the lack of sanitizing !

No one on washing hands duty and actually washed our hands on the way OUT of the buffet.

many people just walked past the sinks going in..

Very conscious of our own hand washing on that cruise ,after seeing not much sanitizing after tables removed of plates ect ,in all areas...

I never eat in the buffet, however I walk thru it a lot on the way to the pool.  Yes, people should wash their hands if they are eating but not everyone does.  There should be a path to the pool that doesn't take you thru the buffet.  

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So for what its worth, my parents did a B2B and were on the prior cruise where there was no noted noro issue.  They have friends in Florida and had received an email that one of them had a bad stomach bug and that it was going around the area, so presumably it came onto the ship with someone who boarded in Florida.  My parents emailed a few days ago  or so that the buffet was no longer self service, that was the first sign to them that something was going around, then the missed ports.  Presumably the ship will have a deep cleaning before the next cruise and also it seems that they were not going to be able to make their planned ports of call.  My parents are well, fortunately, and probably have been overly cautious--they are not going to the buffet and have not been to shows but have gone to the MDR at night, and have probably limited themselves more than they needed to but I an appreciate the concern particularly as they are in their late 70's.  There is one big production show that they was not able to be performed on the prior cruise and I have encouraged them to attend.  They are disappointed but have been anxious about getting sick so say they will be glad to be off the ship.  They said that the crew has been out in full force cleaning and wiping down everything, so it sounds like appropriate actions are being taken.  Very unfortunate all around, and Princess will undoubtedly get terrible press for it between this and the Diamond Princess incident but my parents felt like they were doing all they could.

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3 hours ago, BermudaBound2014 said:

 

 

1) What is the test that is run for Noro (nasal swab? blood? other...)??

2) Does a ship typically have capability to test in this high of cases?

3) How long does the test take to receive results?

4) It is likely all passengers have confirmed cases of Noro and not something else (not suggesting its CoV, could be influenzaA/B). 

 

In other words, is it likely they have conclusive evidence this is noro?

It used to be that cases on cruise ships were listed as GI illness until stool samples were tested at CDC.  Now, there are several field test kits, that use a stool sample, and take 15 minutes to incubate.  Relatively small boxes contain about 25 test kits, so yes, the ship's medical facility will have several hundred on hand.  And, you are mixing GI illness like noro, with a respiratory illness like nCOV (the latest strain of COV, there have been many over many years) or influenza.

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28 minutes ago, Helenek8 said:

How do you think, Princess will refund the cruise? 

See Princess notice given on-board ship before they disembark. They might put it on Princess website too
 

 

 

 

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From the CDC website at 3PM Eastern February 10:

 

Investigation Update on the Caribbean Princess

Related Pages
 

Cruise Line: Princess Cruises

Cruise Ship: Caribbean Princess

Voyage Dates: February 2–16, 2020

Number of passengers who have reported being ill during the voyage out of total number of passengers onboard: 299 of 3,035 (9.9%)

Number of crew who have reported being ill during the voyage out of total number of crew onboard: 22 of 1,161 (1.9%)

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7 hours ago, gpd17 said:

ML,

 

Other than the restrictions in the buffet and the frequent oral and written public service announcements regarding hygiene, life aboard is as normal as any other cruise. 
 

The announcement that we were returning to Ft Lauderdale was made a short time  after 10 pm. I had just turned in and did not go back out. Prior to that, people were in their normal good natured frame of mind. There was no restriction on movement. Venues were full, people were having fun.

 

My sense is that the ship is returning to be sanitized for your cruise coming up. Our loss may be your gain.

 

Circumstances such as this are part of cruising. Everyone who does knows, or should know, that itineraries can change. This one is a bit out of the ordinary given the reason. 
 

The world wide coronavirus concern may be exacerbating the closing of ports. Your forthcoming trip may be more affected by that than the conditions aboard the ship.

 

Best wishes for what awaits you. 

 

gpd

 

Thanks for the update. At least people are still allowed to be out and about and the precautions seem 'as usual' for noro. I am sure things are a bit more subdued now onboard and I hope Princess makes it right for everyone.

 

This is bad timing, with the coronavirus outbreak, as you say. We were expecting an actual medical check prior to boarding. I guess that "fast onboard" thing with the Medallion is probably out 😉 Too bad--I just got it all working on my phone!

 

I hope you can enjoy what is left of your cruise. Yes, we all know this can happen onboard but we all hope it doesn't happen to us. Sorry it got you guys.

 

I am now wondering if you guys will dock at Pier 4 or if they will put you further into the port. Pier 4 is where the PE site was saying we would embark, but I bet that changes. I think I'll go check if another ship is supposed to use that spot on Saturday.

 

Thanks again for the update, take care.

 

ML

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So, what happens now?  Does Princess release this population out into Fort Lauderdale hotels?  Does Princess help with returning home.  Do these sick PAX get booked for air travel?

 

I not being critical, just wondering how it gets handled after they leave.

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3 minutes ago, Daniel A said:

So, what happens now?  Does Princess release this population out into Fort Lauderdale hotels?  Does Princess help with returning home.  Do these sick PAX get booked for air travel?

 

I not being critical, just wondering how it gets handled after they leave.

EZAire will handle if they booked with them.  Otherwise, travel insurance would kick in.  

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6 minutes ago, suekel said:

EZAire will handle if they booked with them.  Otherwise, travel insurance would kick in.  

Thanks, that answered part of my question.  I'm also interested in knowing if they just dump a bunch of very contagious people into airplanes and hotels in FLL...Or do they do something else for those PAX who are known to be stricken?  I Can't imagine spending 6 hours on a plane with nausea and diarrhea.  I also can't imagine sitting next to that person on a plane for 6 hours either.

 

I know the cruise industry has handled this type of problem for years.  I just wonder how they handle it.

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2 minutes ago, Daniel A said:

Thanks, that answered part of my question.  I'm also interested in knowing if they just dump a bunch of very contagious people into airplanes and hotels in FLL...Or do they do something else for those PAX who are known to be stricken?  I Can't imagine spending 6 hours on a plane with nausea and diarrhea.  I also can't imagine sitting next to that person on a plane for 6 hours either.

 

I know the cruise industry has handled this type of problem for years.  I just wonder how they handle it.

Good question, I have no idea!

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As a port agent, when we were notified by the ship of noro onboard, we would have those passengers disembark first. A staff member would escort them from the ship separately and remain with them (as a group) until they were either at their hotel/airport etc. Immigration/customs officials were notified ahead of time so that they would be equipped with gloves, etc. Once they were at their next point of travel, they were no longer the responsibility of the cruise line. The most I ever had to deal with was around 20 - I was lucky!

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6 hours ago, suekel said:

 

I never eat in the buffet, however I walk thru it a lot on the way to the pool.  Yes, people should wash their hands if they are eating but not everyone does.  There should be a path to the pool that doesn't take you thru the buffet.  

 

I second and third this!!  For the life of me I just can't understand why Princess and some other lines design ships that have a (narrow) pathway through a dining area.  I eat in the MDR as much as possible and skip the HC but will go through a few times a day to just get to the back deck touching nothing along the way.  

 

Wishing those currently onboard safe travels for the rest of your cruise and on your way home. 

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From Princess..

 

Updated February 10, 2020

Caribbean Princess, which had been on a 14-day cruise in the Caribbean, has curtailed its voyage out of an abundance of caution due to guests reporting symptoms consistent with a mild case of gastrointestinal illness. Those individuals are being treated by the onboard medical team, and there are no cases of coronavirus identified among guests or crew.

The ship, with 4,196 guests and crew, is now sailing back to the Port of Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, and is scheduled to arrive at the port at 7:00 AM Eastern Time on Thursday, February 13.

This is a highly unusual development and we share the disappointment of our guests. However, the health and safety of our guests and crew is our top priority, and in working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it was decided out of an abundance of caution, in this specific instance, to discontinue the cruise.

All guests will receive a 50% refund on their voyage and a future cruise credit valued at 50% of their cruise for this inconvenience.

Caribbean Princess will resume its schedule with a February 16 departure from Port Everglades for a round-trip Circle Caribbean cruise.

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