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Additional procedures to prevent the spread of flu, etc. on board???

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We are boarding a cruise in the Mediterranean in March and are curious regarding what cleaning/health care procedures are currently in place on board to prevent the spread of flu, colds and the corona-virus. We realize that right now the corona-virus is primarily limited to China but there is no telling what the spread will look like in the future. Can someone who is either currently on board or just recently returned let me know if they notice greater precautions taking place or are things being left  up to the passengers? We have been on two previous cruises and saw very little encouragement by staff for passengers to wash hands or use the provided "purell". It was available to use but it was up to each passenger to use or not. Also, sick (looked like colds with coughs) crew members continued to clean cabins and serve drinks. Current information would be greatly appreciated, particularly if you have cruised with Viking in the past and can judge if they have instituted additional procedures or not. 

Thank you.

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On our recent ocean cruise everyone was stopped at the entrance to the dining facilities and “reminded” to either wash their hands or use the sanitizing mist spray before entering.

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Just returned from Viking Sea West Indies cruise.  There were a number of passengers suffering from a gastro intestinal illness, probably norovirus, but never positively identified.  Pools closed.  Doors between Wintergarten and pool propped open, place mats, salt & pepper shakers removed from tables in World Cafe, all food served by staff in World Cafe (WC) as we went through the line.  Hand washing strictly enforced entering the WC.  The objective was to minimize touching common areas.  Pool Grill closed too.Captain provided updates and encouraged frequent hand-washing.  I heard, but didn't see myself, that one room was sanitized by the crew wearing protective gear.  The procedures seemed to work after three days the pools were reopened and dining in the WC and Pool Grill returned to normal.  Other dining venues were ops normal.  

 

The best strategy it to take personal responsibility.  Wash your hands often and thoroughly, do not touch your hands to your nose, mouth or eyes.  Avoid getting overly fatigued.  We had a great time escaping the cold weather, enjoying new and revisiting old locations, seeing a number of crew from the 2019 World Cruise.  

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We are aware of basic sanitation practices and are always on guard for poor sanitation practices by others when traveling.  The basics:

 

Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands.  Resanitize after you go through the buffet line and touch ladle handles, the bottom of your chair when you pull it in, and any condiment containers.  DO NOT lay your silverware directly on the table - the table may have been sneezed on and then wiped down with a used cloth napkin (seen it done).  Be suspicious of any food worker wearing plastic gloves - they  work well to keep the person's hands clean and are even more effective in spreading germs from one surface to another.  Sit for a bit and observe all of the surfaces a person wearing those gloves touches as well as your food. 

 

Essentially, break the chain between the dirty world out there and what you put in your mouth.

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What I like about Viking is that they have nicely designed sink  areas with cloth towels outside dining areas.

Use them.

 I also use the hand sanitizer  they offer too.

Edited by Azulann

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I do NOT remember sinks into the MDR or other dining venues only the World Cafe!  Have they been added or perhaps on the newest ships.

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We are currently on the Viking Sea. There is staff present at every door leading into a food venue. There ar Ewing’s at the entrance and everyone is required to wash their hands with soap and water before entering. Plus there are sanitizers all over the ship. I think they are bing proactive.

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As passengers, we have always been cautious. I personally use precautions not only during vacation but also day to day as I work as a school psychologist. However, during our last cruise, our room attendant worked several days coughing and sneezing (as well as many of the staff members who were serving drinks). I will usually not order anything from someone who is ill and we will now be wiping down our room each day after it has been serviced (not only at the beginning of the cruise). It is not only passengers that pass around germs. Glad to see they are being more vigilant with the passengers washing their hands and I thank you all for the information.  I'm hoping there are also provisions in place to relieve sick workers when they need it. 

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On 2/20/2020 at 2:15 PM, janetcbl said:

On our recent ocean cruise everyone was stopped at the entrance to the dining facilities and “reminded” to either wash their hands or use the sanitizing mist spray before entering.

Sadly this doesn’t protect anyone from those who eat from their plate with their fingers at the buffet, lick their fingers and then handle tongues or fruit. I am disappointed to tell you that this happened lots on my recent Viking cruise and I have seen it on other cruise lines. I always ask the crew to change the serving utensils but they never speak to the offenders.

If you really care, wash your hands, use a napkin to handle tongues and do not think it is cool to eat food with your fingers.

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14 hours ago, aimhigh said:

Sadly this doesn’t protect anyone from those who eat from their plate with their fingers at the buffet, lick their fingers and then handle tongues or fruit. I am disappointed to tell you that this happened lots on my recent Viking cruise and I have seen it on other cruise lines. I always ask the crew to change the serving utensils but they never speak to the offenders.

If you really care, wash your hands, use a napkin to handle tongues and do not think it is cool to eat food with your fingers.

 

I, for one, speak up to the offended when I see a passenger ignore the serving tongs or ladles and use their hands at the buffet.  I hope it embarrasses them enough to change their behavior. I also notify a supervisor.  On a recent cruise I saw an ignorant passenger handle several rolls with her hand until she found the right one.  The tongs were right there, but she apparently didn't know what they were for.  I said "Please don't handle other people's food with your hands."  She  huffed and puffed and walked away mumbling about me being rude.

 

I also speak to the supervisors when I see tables pre-set with drink ware - especially if unused drink ware is left on the table for the next person to use.  

 

The next time you are on a cruise, any cruise, watch to see how the buffet tables are cleaned between uses.  I often see the tables given a swipe with a used cloth napkin and then drink ware placed upside down on the table surface or the multi-use placemat.

 

And then they wonder how viruses spread.

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2 hours ago, SargassoPirate said:

 

I, for one, speak up to the offended when I see a passenger ignore the serving tongs or ladles and use their hands at the buffet.  I hope it embarrasses them enough to change their behavior. I also notify a supervisor.  On a recent cruise I saw an ignorant passenger handle several rolls with her hand until she found the right one.  The tongs were right there, but she apparently didn't know what they were for.  I said "Please don't handle other people's food with your hands."  She  huffed and puffed and walked away mumbling about me being rude.

 

I also speak to the supervisors when I see tables pre-set with drink ware - especially if unused drink ware is left on the table for the next person to use.  

 

The next time you are on a cruise, any cruise, watch to see how the buffet tables are cleaned between uses.  I often see the tables given a swipe with a used cloth napkin and then drink ware placed upside down on the table surface or the multi-use placemat.

 

And then they wonder how viruses spread.

Agree.  Not to be rude, but it’s time to speak up. 

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7 hours ago, SargassoPirate said:


 

I also speak to the supervisors when I see tables pre-set with drink ware - especially if unused drink ware is left on the table for the next person to use.  

 

The next time you are on a cruise, any cruise, watch to see how the buffet tables are cleaned between uses.  I often see the tables given a swipe with a used cloth napkin and then drink ware placed upside down on the table surface or the multi-use placemat.

 

And then they wonder how viruses spread.


We got off a cruise last month and while I can’t say it happens this way on all ships, I noticed it on the Jupiter.  Glasses and cups were not placed upside down on the table.  When the waiter came to get drink orders, unused glasses and cups were removed from the table.  We were on the Jupiter in Oct. too, and I do remember seeing it then too.  Our trip before that, everything was placed upside down as you described, so their protocol changed sometime between Dec 2018 and Oct 2019.  

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On the Viking Sun, the "Old Man's" Noon announcement always ends with a wash your hands reminder and to use the get provided throughout the ship. AT World Cafe, they are specifically requesting we wash our hands and at all other venues to use gel.

 

People coming aboard are having temperatures checks, as at a recent port the local performers were prevented from boarding, as one of them had a temperature.

 

Nothing is fool proof, but Viking are definitely trying.

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On 2/21/2020 at 4:21 PM, aimhigh said:

Sadly this doesn’t protect anyone from those who eat from their plate with their fingers at the buffet, lick their fingers and then handle tongues or fruit. I am disappointed to tell you that this happened lots on my recent Viking cruise and I have seen it on other cruise lines. I always ask the crew to change the serving utensils but they never speak to the offenders.

If you really care, wash your hands, use a napkin to handle tongues and do not think it is cool to eat food with your fingers.

As often as we can, we grab a napkin to use on handles when we eat in World Café.  Then we use wipes we bring before consuming our food, even though we have washed our hands at the door.  Also, we often wipe off where we are eating with a wipe. Yeah...we are germaphobes, but it makes us feel better.  I am glad to hear they took off the placemats. They look really nice, but they are germ catchers.  

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I'm a real germaphobe and wash my hands, use the gel spray provided at the World Cafe and MDR. I also carry and use antibacterial wipes. Result? - I always seem to catch a cold when on cruises!! It's so frustrating. I can't do more than I already do. Sigh. 

Edited by Nippy Sweetie

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7 hours ago, Nippy Sweetie said:

I'm a real germaphobe and wash my hands, use the gel spray provided at the World Cafe and MDR. I also carry and use antibacterial wipes. Result? - I always seem to catch a cold when on cruises!! It's so frustrating. I can't do more than I already do. Sigh. 

hate to say it .. but sometimes you can be too clean.  So clean that your body doesn't build up the reserve of antibodies it  needs to combat the normal level of bugginess out there. Not advocating being a slob .. but a certain level of dirtiness is .. well.. good for you!  Please don't scream in alarm on your end!  I'm really a nice person!🙂

Edited by CharTrav

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I KNOW! That's why I posted it. It was to show that despite best efforts bugs are transmitted. Cruise ships aren't hospitals. Catching viruses can be so easy despite all precautions. Viking do their best. Can't ask more. 

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last year on a Northern Pacific Passage cruise about 50% of the pax came down with Type A flu. The menus and salt and pepper shakers were all removed, and we were required to wash our hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before entering the World Cafe, and they timed us. We are now onboard the Sun for the Australia, Indonesia, and Asia/China cruise. We are missing the whole Asia part and have been circling Australia for over two weeks and are hitting a few ports in Indonesia. We are required to wash our hands often, use the sainitizers whenever we walk by them, not allowed to enter the World Cafe without using the washbasins before hand, no exceptions. They are doing everything possible to keep us safe but there is always a possibility of picking something up along the way. Hand railings are probably the worse and we always wash our hands or use sanitizer after using them.

Edited by Insanityx4

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How do they deal with those of us who cannot use the hand sanitizers. I was considering a Viking Cruise but really don’t want the hassle of being hounded every time I enter a cafe or whatever and having to explain myself both to crew and other passengers who chip in. 

(I use my own product by the way). 


I appreciate the reasons for the regimental approach might be thought the best one, but if it’s a standard practice with someone also timing me when I wash my hands, this doesn’t fit how I like to cruise so maybe a smaller more personal line is better for me. 

 

I was heading to push the button on a Viking cruise but I’m not sure I should now. 

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As you enter the World Cafe as well as the hand santizer there are facilities to wash you hands with soap and water which is my choice, cant speak about the MDR as we never eat there.

 

 

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1 minute ago, Haworth said:

As you enter the World Cafe as well as the hand santizer there are facilities to wash you hands with soap and water which is my choice, cant speak about the MDR as we never eat there.

 

 

Thanks. I suspect I won’t be able to use their soap but I suppose I could pretend!  (It’s also easier if I apply my product in my room every four hours as prescribed and then head for meals with it on but looks like I’d be washing it off sometimes.)

Think I need to give this some more thought. 

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2 hours ago, uktog said:

How do they deal with those of us who cannot use the hand sanitizers. I was considering a Viking Cruise but really don’t want the hassle of being hounded every time I enter a cafe or whatever and having to explain myself both to crew and other passengers who chip in. 

(I use my own product by the way). 


I appreciate the reasons for the regimental approach might be thought the best one, but if it’s a standard practice with someone also timing me when I wash my hands, this doesn’t fit how I like to cruise so maybe a smaller more personal line is better for me. 

 

I was heading to push the button on a Viking cruise but I’m not sure I should now. 

hello uktog

 

I don't judge, and obviously you have a routine which you feel is more than adequate for hygiene purposes in your day-to-day life.

 

However, when I am on the ship and I leave the cabin I hold the door knob, I press the lift-call button, if the lift is slow I walk up or down the stairs sliding my hand on the rail, I open at least two doors before I arrive at the World Cafe, Restaurant, whatever. If I am lucky, I am greeted by one of the many staff who I know and say hello to, and I shake their hand.

 

Even if I am sterile when I leave the cabin, there is a chance I may have picked up an undesirable bug on the way. For that reason I sanitise or wash my hands in the basin when I arrive.

 

Of course you may be able to open the door, avoid the lift, avoid the hand rail and avoid all the other potential hazards on your journey, but nobody else will know that.

 

All they will see if a person entering the food service area without doing what everyone else does. Nobody will know what you have done before you arrived in the food service area.

 

You could wear a sign around your neck notifying everyone what your policy is, or you could have room service deliver food 3 or 4 times a day so you don't have to eat in the food service areas. 

 

But seriously .. if you want to engage with fellow passengers, if you want to eat in the food service areas with a whole bunch of other travellers, and if you want to - dare I say - not rock the boat, you will need to sanitise and / or wash your hands with soap in the basin provided.

 

If those options are counter to your lifestyle / hygiene choices, it is likely you will encounter some negative feedback from fellow passengers.

 

Including me.

 

I wish you well and I admire your honesty, but I don't think it matters which cruise line you choose - especially in the current Coronavirus era - I think refusal to sanitise or wash hands as you arrive in food service area may be inviting trouble.

 

I love Viking Ocean and I hope you give them a try, but I encourage you think about how you would react if the role was reversed and you were watching me walk into a food service area without using the sanitizer / hand basin.

 

Cheers from me, LM

 

 

 

 

Edited by Little Monty
error

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Thanks, I cruise with another smaller line where the staff know you and its not an issue.  They do monitor sanitiser use but know who does not use it for good reason.  Other guests respect the staff monitoring and leave it at that.

Personally I take no interest in the behaviour of others as they enter the dining room.

This has been very helpful, I can see that whilst there was a lot I liked about Viking, to avoid issues for others, its not the cruise line for us if we are going to be seen as guests inviting trouble.

At least we learned beforehand, though I might just ping Viking an email to get their view as we have already been talking with them re food allergies.

Edited by uktog

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2 hours ago, uktog said:

Thanks, I cruise with another smaller line where the staff know you and its not an issue.  They do monitor sanitiser use but know who does not use it for good reason.  Other guests respect the staff monitoring and leave it at that.

Personally I take no interest in the behaviour of others as they enter the dining room.

This has been very helpful, I can see that whilst there was a lot I liked about Viking, to avoid issues for others, its not the cruise line for us if we are going to be seen as guests inviting trouble.

At least we learned beforehand, though I might just ping Viking an email to get their view as we have already been talking with them re food allergies.

I have also sailed a number of times with "the other line", I feel confident that you would enjoy Viking, the ships feel very spacious, the bathrooms are marvelous, heated floors anyone? and we have always found the staff both professional and very friendly, Viking is a class act

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