Posted August 5th, 2017, 12:02 PM
Last edited by CHPURSER; August 5th, 2017 at 12:19 PM
We are currently on the Noordam northbound from Vancouver, ending at Sitka (Anchorage) tomorrow, August 5.
This will be the third cruise in a row that the Noordam has had a huge Norovirus outbreak. The medical officer on this cruise refuses to confirm how many cases are on this current cruise.
Prior to the start of our cruise in Vancouver, we were sent an email by Holland telling us that our check-in would be delayed while they “super disinfected” the ship. This obviously didn’t work very well.
When we were checking in at Vancouver, the check-in clerk (a part-time, non-Holland employee) mentioned that the boarding was delayed due to “a couple cases of illness on the previous cruise”. I asked her who told her to say this, and she said they were briefed that day by someone from Holland.
The previous cruise has 142 reported cases! With the real number likely to be higher.
I came down with the illness overnight after leaving Skagway. I went down to medical to report my illness, and Holland wanted $95 for me to see the doctor. As there is no medication to treat Norovirus, I demurred from seeing the doctor. They told me that the only reports they take are after seeing the doctor. This is borderline fraud.
The CDC will at some point have a report about the number of cases on this cruise. But there’s clearly something systemic currently wrong on this ship. We’re previous cruisers on HAL in Europe, and we were surprised at the much different demographic on this cruise. The Lido Deck is generally jammed with cruisers while the dining rooms have been relatively empty. And there are lots of kids - and with the way children are let to run wild these days, it perhaps is part of the problem.
I’ve also found the last CDC inspection of this ship in April 2017, with a low score and NO remediation plan submitted by Holland.
I’ll have more to say after the cruise ends.
Well ChicagoDude, you have done a marvelous job of demonstrating to us how uninformed you are about Cruise Ship Sanitation.
On a ship of Noordams age, a 91 score is not bad - especially when you look at the less than serious observations and violations listed. I work for CDC part of the year when I am not managing cruise ships. I am willing to bet that if I inspected you house using CDC standards, your house would score far worse than Noordam
. By the way, how many backflow preventers - leaky or otherwise - do you have in your house?
At home, do you always store dirty dishes more than 2 feet away from clean ones?
I will not defend HAL. Having worked for them in the past, I know that the cruise line is absolutely terrible, a poor value for money, and the management in Seattle is too cheap to do anything properly.
But the cause of the three weeks worth of Norovirus on the ship is most likely the same cause as the Norovirus outbreaks on the many other cruise ships sailing to Alaska this month - unclean and dishonest passengers bringing it with them when they board.
The CDC estimates that EVERY cruise originating in a US port boards approximately 60 passengers who are infected with Norwalk Virus. Some of them know they have it and refuse to report it for fear of being denied boarding; others were exposed on the flight to the port, or they used hotels, buses, or taxis (or a cruise terminal) that were contaminated by sick passengers leaving the previous cruise. This second group have no symptoms yet, as Norwalk virus only shows itself 24 - 48 hours after exposure.
If you or your fellow passengers have symptoms on day 1 or 2 of your cruise, it is nearly guaranteed that you were exposed before you boarded the ship.
Should the cruise line provide free medical treatment to someone who contracts Norwalk virus on a cruise?
Should they provide free medical treatment to someone who contracts other viruses like the flu or a cold on a cruise?
How about if you stub your toe or break your leg when you go ashore?
What about people who eat too much and suffer indigestion?
Sunburn at the pool?
The CDC may very well never receive a report on this so-called outbreak. The ship is required to send them a special report when the total number of infected passengers and crew hits 3%. At that point the CDC calls it an outbreak. Noordam
could have over 3,000 people total onboard.
And yes, the actual number of infected people is usually quite a bit higher than the reported number. Why? Because many people who contract the illness are dishonest and refuse to report it.
The best places on a ship to contract Norovirus are the Buffet and the public toilets.
You have probably already spotted many people in the buffets displaying sub-human behavior with the food and utensils. People suffering from Norovirus are reluctant to go to the dining room, because a quick exit is difficult. But if they are in the buffet, it is very easy to get to a public toilet or their cabin in an emergency.
People suffering from Norovirus often think it better to use a public toilet than make a mess in their cabin toilet. So they spread it to you.
You need to know that a virus like Norwalk is difficult to catch. There are very few avenues that it can use to enter your body.
In nearly all cases, it is not airborne, so you cannot breathe it in.
The virus can only enter your body via your mouth, ears, nose, or eyes.
How does it get to those places? Usually on your hands.
If you keep your hands - clean or otherwise - out of your mouth, nose, ears, and eyes, it is nearly impossible to contract Norwalk virus. Civilized people should not be putting their hands there anyway.
There are really only 3 other ways that Norwalk virus can enter your body:
1. Contaminated hands (yours) touching food before you eat it. Civilized people should use utensils to eat food.
2. Contaminated hands (other passengers) touching food before you eat it. This is nearly impossible to control. That is why you should avoid buffets on ships.
3. Contaminated hands (crew) touching food before you eat it. This one is easy to investigate. If a crewmember is contaminating the food, many, many people are eating the same things. This type of contamination usually results in many hundreds or thousands of passengers getting sick all at the same time.
Wash your hands - and keep them away from your mouth.