17 August 2015

Cruise Lines Ban Handshakes to Combat Spread of Diseases

Cruise Lines Ban Handshakes to Combat Spread of Diseases

“While the captain is pleased to meet you, he and the other staff receiving you refrain from shaking hands in order to provide the most effective preventative sanitary measure.”

This is the notice that greeted passengers aboard Crystal Serenity on a recent cruise with Crystal Cruises, according to passenger and journalist Charles Moore.

Crystal Cruises is one of many cruise lines that have recently adopted a policy banning passengers from shaking hands with the captain and the other staff members on ships. Other lines that discourage handshaking among staff members and passengers include UK-based Fred Olsen Cruise Lines and Carnival. According to cruise line representatives, this sanitation measure is in accordance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in order to combat the spread of norovirus and other infectious diseases.

In recent years, there have been many incidents of diseases, illnesses, and viruses infecting passengers aboard cruise ships. Infections can spread quickly across the ship if conditions are unsanitary, or if cruise staffers do no not take appropriate actions to contain their spread. Norovirus in particular has become a big health threat for cruise lines, with outbreaks reported on more than 20 ships within the last 20 years.

Norovirus is a virus that can affect the intestines and stomach, causing inflammation and gastroenteritis among victims. Symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, cramps, fever, and headache.

This virus can spread through both food and water, as well as physical contact with objects or people that have been infected. On cruise ships, handshaking is one of the most common ways to spread the disease, in addition to sharing food or neglecting to wash hands after using the restroom or changing diapers.

Tips for Avoiding Infection on Cruise Ships

Tips for Avoiding Infection on Cruise Ships

Whether or not your particular cruise line enforces a handshake ban, there are several protective measures you and your loved ones can take to avoid infection while taking a cruise.

Below, we’ve listed some important tips on avoiding norovirus and other diseases while traveling on a cruise ship.

Wash your hands.  Washing your hands thoroughly and often is one of the best strategies for avoiding Norovirus and other infections while on a cruise ship. Be sure to wash your hands before and after you eat, after you use the bathroom, and after touching a high-traffic surface like a railing, door handle, gambling machine, or elevator button.

Don’t touch your face. If you have come in contact with norovirus and other types of infections, touching your mouth, eyes, or nose makes it easier for them to enter your body.  Whenever you’re traveling aboard a cruise ship, make an effort to keep your hands away from your face.

Be careful of what you eat. It’s a good idea to avoid eating any lukewarm items on buffets, as well as raw or undercooked meats. If you see another passenger failing to use proper utensils or follow sanitary practices, let staffers know.

Stay hydrated and rested. When it comes to avoiding diseases, a healthy immune system is key. Be sure to get plenty of rest and drink lots of water to help your body stay protected and recover from infection.

Cruise lines have a duty to take appropriate measures to keep their passengers safe and healthy. If they fail to live up to this standard, they should be held accountable. If you or a loved one was infected by norovirus or another illness on a cruise ship, talk to a seasoned cruise ship attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer may be able to help you file a claim against the cruise line to obtain compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other costs related to recovery, while protecting others by forcing the cruise line to change the bad policies that caused your issue in the first place.

About the Author:

Since 1994, seasoned litigation and trial lawyer Anthony B. White has helped thousands of accident victims seek damages due to injuries sustained as a result of another party’s negligence. Included in America’s Registry of Outstanding Professionals and selected to the 2012, 2013, and 2014 editions of Florida Super Lawyers, Mr. White specializes in car accidents, insurance disputes, wrongful death, product liability, and medical malpractice cases. He is a longstanding member of the Florida Justice Association and the American Association for Justice and currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Broward County Justice Association.