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There’s nothing worse than getting sick on vacation. All of those plans, cash, miles and points go up in smoke when you can’t enjoy the big trip.
But wherever there are a lot of people crammed into a small space, there are bound to be some germs. Sickness on cruise ships often makes the news, and because of that, some people are leery to go on a cruise. I’ve gotten sick on a few of my cruises, and it really affected my whole vacation.
However, my experiences have made me more vigilant about avoiding germs on cruises. Here are some tips for how to not get sick on a cruise. Disclaimer: I’m a travel blogger, not a medical expert. These tips are what have worked for me.
Wash Your Hands Often
Norovirus (or the stomach bug) is spread easily on cruise ships. Many people avoid cruising for fear of getting the Norovirus. But, major Norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships are actually somewhat rare. I’ve been on 10 cruises, and no one in my family has ever gotten the Norovirus (knock on wood). The key is to wash your hands all the time! Wash them before meals, wash them going in and out of the kids’ club, wash them after touching the staircase railing, etc.
Be Aware of What You Touch
My kids like to run their hands on the railings as they walk down the hall and as they go on the stairs. I always cringe at this, thinking of all the germs. It’s ok to touch things on the cruise, but just wash your hands before eating or putting your hands on your face.
Take Preventative Medication for Seasickness
Many people worry about getting seasick on a cruise. I get motion sickness on small boats and on simulator rides, but I’ve never gotten seasick on a cruise. But, I do take preventative medication just in case. My recommendation is to take Bonine every night before bed.
Spend Time Outside
While I’ve avoided getting Norovirus on all my cruises, I haven’t avoided getting some major colds, sore throats and congestion that have made me downright miserable on my earlier cruises. Those types of sicknesses are airborne, and washing your hands often doesn’t guarantee you won’t get the flu or an upper respiratory infection. On my last several cruises, I’ve avoided these ailments, and I think it’s partly due to an effort on my part to spend more time outside in the fresh air. If you can afford a balcony cabin, book it. If not, spend some time outside on the upper decks as much as possible to breathe in the clean, germ-free air.
Boost Your Immune System
As an insurance policy, I start taking Airborne effervescent tablets about a week before the cruise. While I’m on the cruise, I take two tablets a day. I haven’t gotten sick on a cruise ship since I started doing this.
Get Good Sleep and Drink Water
The basic advice for avoiding sickness at home also applies on a cruise ship: get good sleep, and drink lots of water. Arrange your flights so that you get a decent amount of sleep the night before your cruise starts. Skip the soda package, and drink the plain or flavored water offered for free on the ship.
I am happy that my family didn’t get sick on our last several cruises. Cruising is so much more fun when you’re not coughing or feeling miserable! But just in case, always get travel insurance for a cruise so that you can be reimbursed if you end up quarantined in your room.
Have you ever gotten sick on a cruise ship? Do you avoid cruising due to the fear of getting sick?
Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.