Nobody enjoys being sick (no, we’re not talking about a doona-day), we mean really sick. When you’re on holidays, that’s even worse.

However, we’ve heard the cases of hundreds of people getting ill on cruises due to the fast-spreading norovirus outbreaks from time to time.

Though this shouldn’t convince you to rule out cruising altogether. In actual fact, contracting norovirus on a ship is actually a lot smaller than you might think.

Norovirus outbreaks are just much higher-profile when they strike a cruise ship than when they strike, say, a hotel (where people come and go, and you never know if other guests got sick) or a theme park (where visitors disperse at day’s end) or that roadside hot-dog stand.


By contrast, on a ship the outbreak is confined to one small, highly populated space; everyone is in that same place for usually about seven days; and everyone uses the same medical center.

Therefore, outbreaks are found and reported more quickly on a cruise ship than on land, and cruise-ship outbreaks are highly publicised too, perhaps because there’s something so dramatic and riveting about hundreds of people trapped in a floating petri dish, with apparently little control over their fate.

Here’s some advice on precautions to take on a cruise ship:


  • Wash your hands every opportunity you get.
  • When shipboard staffers try to spray sanitiser into your hands on your way into the dining areas, let them.
  • When you pass a sanitiser dispenser onboard, use it. But don’t think sanitiser is a replacement for soap and water. In advice about keeping hands clean on cruises, plain old soap and water disinfect better than alcohol-based products like Dettol.
  • Pack antiseptic wipes.
  • Avoid the ship’s public bathrooms and use the facilities in your cabin.
These tips were originally sourced by Wendy Perrin

Do you have any tips on how to avoid getting sick on a cruise?