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Trends in new ship design and furnishings may help spread COVID

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On 8/9/2020 at 8:02 AM, Grego said:

Interesting reply but it contradicts the information we received from multiple ship's officers during private conversations both on the bridge and at other functions. I can see the logic in what you are saying and there is certainly a reason to think you are correct.

I have found that not all ships' officers are knowledgeable - or maybe they just want to give an answer to end a conversation.  On one Celebrity cruise several years ago the chief engineer explained to an audience that a ship's displacement equals Gross Registered Tonnage...  The latter measuring useable volume and not weight.

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9 hours ago, JimmyVWine said:

We don’t need Covid to show us how cruise ships magnify otherwise manageable risks. Noro has been proving this point for years. Noro is everywhere. Universities. Hospitals. Hotels. Office buildings. But when it grabs hold of a cruise ship, it’s a whole new ballgame. Same with Covid. There is nothing about mega ships that works to counter these risks. The nature of these beasts is that they make bad situations worse. Recent design features may contribute marginally to the problem. But the fact is, the problem was already there. And it’s not just cruise ships. The Navy is seeing similar results. Crowded, close quarters is a virus’ dream scenario. 

As you said noro is everywhere. But it is only on cruise ships that it has to be reported. Do we really know the spread is worse on a ship than on those other types of places you mentioned?

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3 hours ago, ontheweb said:

As you said noro is everywhere. But it is only on cruise ships that it has to be reported. Do we really know the spread is worse on a ship than on those other types of places you mentioned?


While NORS (National Outbreak Reporting System) is voluntary, it is heavily used.  And the CDC has good data on this.  As for "worse", that is open to definition.  According to the CDC, cruise ships account for 1% of noro cases which is a far smaller percentage than the total number of cases found at health care facilities.  But the spread on a cruise ship is much faster and impacts a greater percentage of people.  Health care facilities do not "turn over" 3,500 people every week thus exposing a whole new crop of people to what the last group left behind. And patients in health care facilities tend to have a much smaller "universe" or perimeter that they explore.  For the most part, their food is brought to them.  They use communal bathrooms less frequently.  They don't use elevators 30 times a day. They don't touch as many handrails.  And finally, there is a difference in the "denial factor".  People in health care facilities are constantly monitored by the medical staff.  If they vomit or have diarrhea, it is noticed quickly and the symptoms get self-reported faster.  "Nurse! I don't feel well!" 


On a cruise ship, you have the "I am on vacation" syndrome.  "I'm not going to let this stop me."  "It must have been something I ate."  "I'm sure this will pass."  By the time the sickened person finally gives up, they are likely to have spread the virus to other people or surfaces.   Also, while it is true that the cruise industry has to report incidents, passengers don't.  The majority, (vast majority according to many studies), of people on cruise ships who experience noro do not come forward out of fear of quarantine. So for a number of easily explained reasons, the "spread" is worse on a ship even though the raw numbers are smaller.  As the CDC puts it: "Norovirus can be especially challenging to control on cruise ships because of the close living quarters, shared dining areas, and rapid turnover of passengers."

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While I have not researched all the big, new ships...I do recall our Sky Princess cruise in late February-March. The virus was becoming a topic of concern. What made me uncomfortable, even as a "younger" cruiser, was the volume of people on the ship waiting for elevators, cramming into the elevators, standing shoulder to shoulder to watch certain entertainment.  The buffet, although a huge area, was chaotic and often difficult to find a table. The assigned dining rooms were a more pleasant option in terms of space.

I know all ships have crowded conditions geting on and off for port calls, and disembarking. But to accomodate so many passengers I wish the ship had been designed with more staircases, and elevators.  But redesigning a ship is a huge financial undertaking.  

If we cruise again it will be on a much smaller ship.

Regarding Noro...my daughter's small college had it and it closed down the entire place.

Edited by Armonk27
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