Tag Archives: cruise line

Hallo Captain – the cruise ship norovirus handshake

Boxer lady
How do you do? Yes ma’am I’ve washed my hands

Fist bump, not hand clasp.

And the Cunard cruise line has actually banned contact altogether.

No more courtesy greeting gestures, the Captain is officially off limits.

Shaking off sickness

Norovirus paranoia has finally spoken – with recognition that the bug is spread by physical contact.

Hence all the hoo-hah about alternative greeting actions, like fist bumps.

Fist bumps?

Er, no. For a classy £5,000-a-head swank-arama cruise on one of Cunard’s Queens, a “hey dude” greeting like a fist bump doesn’t exactly fit the protocol.

Not any ordinary cruise line, right?

Like, for a company currently celebrating 175 years in the No 1 slot of high society leadership, where’s the tradition and ceremony?

Because the time-honoured ritual of shaking hands is not just going through the motions, it’s a centuries-old signal of peaceful intentions – open demonstration that no weapon is threatening, the meeting is non-hostile.

Kind of important to a cruise line where the Captain is always in dress whites – you can even imagine a ceremonial sword too.

And you’re not a pirate.

Fist bump? Not on his watch!

Norovirus hysteria

OK, so the story has hit the headlines – and norovirus is the bad guy, again.

Notice how carefully everybody steps around the real issue behind ANY norovirus issue.

Somebody’s got dirty hands.

Uh huh.

Which is why all the nonsense with fist bumps – the norovirus handshake.

Not good enough, Jim – the stuff spreads on contact. The only way to be virus-free is the Ebola handshake – no contact means NO CONTACT.

Oops!

Denial, denial, denial

As if any of your top rank dowagers are going to admit dirty paws. Or any of your high-flying millionaire business types either. Dirty hands are dirty hands – exactly the same for celebrities and nobodies both. A revelation about white gloves for ceremonies, isn’t it?

And anyway, fist bump – where does that come from?

Pro boxers squaring up in the ring before a fight, that’s where – since the early 1900s. Legends like Joe Louis and Jack Dempsey. Shake like gentlemen and come out fighting.

Yeah, right. So your intentions ARE warlike.

You want to beat someone up – AND you want to pass on your norovirus – our modern take on the age-old insult “you make me sick”.

Reality check

Because, make no error – norovirus IS the Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease.

You don’t get it from something you’ve eaten or dodgy hygiene in a restaurant. Not always, at any rate. Truth is, that is probably rarer than you think. Though restaurants always get the blame. For every one finger pointing, there’s always three pointing back.

Nine times out of ten it’s germs from your own unwashed hands that give you the stomach bug. The burger you chowed on during the shore excursion – or a close relative.

Puts a whole new perspective on food labelled “Gastro” doesn’t it? (Is it guaranteed to give you gastroenteritis?)

Because if we’re honest, when was the last time ANY of us washed our hands? A whole morning? A whole day?

And how many times have we been to the loo in that time?

Enjoying ourselves on a cruise ship – cokes, margaritas, milk shakes. Let’s not kid ourselves – that’s at least two diversions for a sprinkle.

Ew!

Down and dirty

And you ate that burger with your fingers?

Makes you queasy just reading about it, hey?

But there’s an answer. One that none of us seem to WANT to accept.

Denial is easier, it can’t happen to me.

Until the first cramps happen – the first upchuck.

There ain’t no immunity – and this stuff spreads like wildfire. But there is protection – we do have a defence.

Soap and water – easy.

Yet we run scared in denial, like vampires from garlic.

We even KNOW germs make us sick, yet still skip scrubbing up.

Masochists, right? We must want it to happen.

Unless of course, it’s enforced. They can’t make us do it at home – but they can at sea.

Safety Drill

ATTENTION PLEASE, THIS IS YOUR CAPTAIN SPEAKING – ALL PASSENGERS MUST WASH THEIR HANDS BEFORE COMING ABOARD.

Aye, aye, Cap’n sir.

And instead of the norovirus handshake, maybe we should salute.

After all, issuing that order just saved us from the Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease.

Disobeying it at sea is mutiny – risking the death penalty.

And that’s true.

Yup, get real. Norovirus is as common as the common cold and kills 200,000 people every year.

So over to you – it’s in your hands now.

Originally posted 2015-08-06 15:41:53.

You’re actually suing the cruise line for norovirus? Seriously?

Doubtful doctor
Norovirus? Most of us are so careless, we give it to ourselves

You might just want to re-think that.

Because you know it’s a virus, don’t you?

Like a common cold – and just as easy to catch. Just as common too.

You even catch it the same way. No, not by breathing – by contact.

Spread by touch

Not necessarily from someone who’s got it either. But by touching anything with germs on it that might give it to you.

Like door handles, hand rails, ATM keypads, mobiles, vending machines, PDQ card machines, access panels, serving tongs, self-service coffee flasks, turnstiles, keys, light switches, pens, shopping baskets, clothing racks, jewellery trays, salt & pepper shakers, menus, table mats, audio guides, poker chips, playing cards, billiard cues, bowling balls… you get the picture.

All fomites – the things we touch, that other people touch, that transmit germs. And our faces too – like 3,000 times a day.

Uh, huh. So it’s on your hands, right?

And when did you last wash your hands before getting on the boat?

So that you washed off whatever might have contaminated you before you touched your eyes, your nose or your mouth – the usual way that germs enter your body.

Or after using the loo?

Uncomfortable facts

Because 62% of men and 40% of women NEVER wash their hands after going to the toilet.

Is that you?

And even if you did, 95% of people don’t wash their hands properly.

Is that you too?

How about that only 12% of people wash their hands before eating?

If you can honestly say that you washed you hands after touching all of these things – and after going to the loo – as well as before you ate anything – you might just have a case.

But we don’t just mean before you boarded the ship. We mean EVER.

Because norovirus takes anywhere from 12 to 48 hours to show itself.

So unless you can guarantee that you washed your hands before you ate anything, or touched your face for the two days before you got on the boat – AND kept them washed while you were on board – AND made sure they were washed during your shore excursions – you’re telling porkies.

Who’s really to blame

Sure it’s not nice when the cruise you paid all that money for is cut short with norovirus. But that’s not necessarily the cruise line’s fault – in fact it seldom is. Wash Hands Logo

You got it, most cases of norovirus are caused by the victims themselves. That’s why we call it the Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease – and if anyone should take blame, it’s the person in the mirror.

We’re all too slap-happy, aren’t we? All too used to this casual lifestyle that allows us to get away with pretty well anything – including liberties with our health.

We could avoid the common cold too, if we washed our hands more often. OK, we could get sneezed at, but that’s not how most of us catch it. So we pay for our dirty hands with germy misery.

Lengthening the odds

Which means if you’re suing the cruise line, that it’s not just you that has to take precautions against norovirus. It’s your 1,350 fellow passengers as well – double that, if you’re on one of the big jobs.

1,350 people who can genuinely promise that they washed their hands carefully at the right times for the two days before embarking – and the whole duration that you were on the water.

You’re all together, see? Literally in the same boat – lots and lots of you sharing the same enclosed space, almost on top of each other – in close contact for weeks, or even months. A travelling hygiene hotspot if ever there was one.

Which makes it amazing that cruise lines are so successful at keeping illnesses away as much as they do. Out of hundreds of cruises every year, carrying upwards of 20 million passengers, only a handful run into norovirus or other illnesses – less than 1%.

Meanwhile, back here in UK, we’re still waiting for the sun to shine.

Atishoo!

You still sure you want to sue those guys?

Originally posted 2015-06-19 11:34:26.