Although the media plays up reports of norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships, a recent CDC report showed that cruise ship incidents represent only 1% of the total number of outbreaks reported. That said, cruise passengers can take simple precautions to stay healthy onboard by first making use of the ubiquitous hand sanitizing stations at the entrances to dining venues on all major cruise ships. I also carry a pocket-sized sanitizer to use at the table – after I’ve perused a menu or shaken hands with new tablemates.
Hand washing, of course, is always the best defense against germs. Experts advise 20 seconds of continuous washing with soap and water. And for those long flights (with super-dry cabin air) on the way to or from a cruise embarkation point, travelers should apply saline gel to the inside of their nostrils. The lubrication provides a defense against drying and cracking membranes that are a host for airborne viruses and bacteria.
For added protection in my cabin, I always travel with a Verilux Clean Wave Portable Sanitizing Wand ($59.95), which instantly sanitizes hard-to-clean – or easily missed – surfaces like the TV remote or bathroom door handle with UV light. I use it religiously and thoroughly as soon as I come aboard and start unpacking.