Health advisories for cruise ship passengers

Current Health Advisories
From time to time we receive information of certain health advisories that may affect passengers traveling to certain countries.  At this time the CDC is concerned with the Zika Virus which has been found in certain countries and is carried by the Aedes Mosquito.  Pregnant women need to be particularly vigilant concerning this virus.  For more information please click here.

General Information
Don’t risk spoiling your cruise vacation with an unexpected illness. Follow these tips for a safe and healthy cruise vacation.  For many people, a cruise is an ideal way to relax and see the world. You are surrounded by the gorgeous blue of the ocean, get waited on hand and foot, have activities and events planned for you, and are provided with a seemingly limitless supply of food and drinks—all while having the opportunity to visit multiple countries and destinations.

Although cruising has many obvious pleasures, potential health hazards are also a risk with cruise ship travel. Staying informed and preparing for these potential hazards can help you stay healthy and get the most out of your cruise vacation.

Vaccines
Regardless of your itinerary, you should be up-to-date on routine vaccines, such as measles/mumps/rubella, varicella, and seasonal flu. Crew members and fellow travelers often come from countries where these diseases are more common than in the United States and where vaccination is not routine. Consequently, outbreaks of chickenpox and rubella (German measles) have been reported on cruise ships.

Additional vaccines you’ll need depend on where you’ll be stopping and what you’re going to do there.  However, discuss the cruise itinerary and your specific travel plans with your doctor. If you’re stopping in a country only for a short time, or if you don’t plan to leave the tourist area around the dock, certain vaccines may not be necessary.

Even if you are not at risk for yellow fever during port calls, some countries in Africa and South America may require proof of yellow fever vaccination if you have previously visited a country with yellow fever. click on this link (Yellow Fever) for a country’s yellow fever requirements. Cruise ship companies sometimes have requirements that differ from those of the countries you will be visiting, so be sure to check with us about those requirements as well.

Nausea, Vomiting and Diarrhea
Cruise ship outbreaks of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, primarily caused by norovirus, have been reported. The best way to prevent illness is frequent handwashing with soap and water. Wash your hands before eating and after using the bathroom, changing diapers, or touching things that other people have touched, such as stair railings; it is also a good idea to avoid touching your face.

If soap and water are not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol) is a good second choice. You will see hand sanitizer dispensers throughout your cruise ship—use them.

While on shore excursions, especially in developing countries, follow basic food and water precautions: eat only food that is cooked and served hot, drink only beverages from sealed containers, avoid ice, and eat fresh fruit only if you have washed it with clean water and peeled it yourself.

If you are feeling sick before your voyage, ask your cruise line if alternative cruising options are available. Consult your doctor to find out whether it is safe for you to sail. If you feel sick during your voyage, report your symptoms to the ship’s medical facility and follow their recommendations. For more information about nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea on cruise ships, visit CDC’s website.