Tampa Bay, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
I know there are literally thousands of you out there dying to go on your next cruise. OK poor choice of words I agree. However, there are a lot of people with a lot of pent-up demand to get back on the boat and head for the buffet line.
The cruise industry is reeling from the effects of the pandemic, and literally dozens and dozens of cruise ships are sitting empty.
Before you decide to book that next cruise with your favorite travel agent, who is probably calling you frequently, check out the information below.
From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: COVID-19 and Cruise Ship Travel
CDC recommends that travelers defer all cruise travel worldwide.
- Widespread ongoing spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been reported in some countries. Other countries have reported sustained community spread.
- Cruise passengers are at increased risk of person-to-person spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19, and outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported on several cruise ships.
- Cruise travelers should stay home for 14 days after returning from travel, monitor their health, and practice social distancing. See Travelers Returning from Cruise Ship and River Cruise Voyages.
What can travelers do to protect themselves and others?
CDC recommends that travelers defer cruise travel worldwide. For most travelers, cruise ship travel is voluntary and should be rescheduled for a future date. If you do go on a cruise during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Do not board a cruise if you are sick.
Avoid contact with sick people.
Discuss cruise ship travel with your healthcare provider. Older adults and people of any age with serious chronic medical conditions are at increased risk for severe disease if infected with the novel coronavirus.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
It is especially important to clean hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
If you get sick with fever or new or worsening cough or trouble breathing during your cruise, stay in your cabin and notify the onboard medical center immediately
For more information:
From USA TODAY, by Chris Woodyard and Morgan Hines: 'Inherently high-risk setting': Are cruise ships unsafe – and will they change?
The cruise industry does not have a particularly stellar reputation when it comes to dealing with highly contagious viruses on their vessels. One only has to harken back to those news reports of cruise ships infected with one virus or another and the images, tweets and Facebook posts of what were once happy cruisers vomiting over the side.
I don't see anything that encourages me that the cruise industry can anymore contain or control the coronavirus than they have been able to contain, control and prevent previous viral outbreaks on their ships.
Cruise ships are a closed environment with recirculating air with often thousands of people in close proximity and even assuming they can begin to enforce the six-foot separation rule it's highly unlikely that they will.
For now, it's probably wise to pass on the buffet, save your money and wait until a few of the ships get out there with a load of passengers and see how things go. This is especially true if you are in the high-risk category of over 65 and definitely if you have some overriding health conditions.
I know, multiple trips to the buffet with a plate stacked high are a temptation hard to resist. But a long stay in a hospital hooked up to a respirator is just not a buffet.
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