Cruise vacations are magical opportunities for fun-filled family travel and allow you to create lifelong memories. The last thing you want is for those memories to be of you laid up in your stateroom bed turning green.
Whether you are cruising the Caribbean, touring Europe, Alaska or really anywhere a ship may take you, certain common concerns ring true. Between the exotic food and foreign locales, and the nature of being at sea itself, gastrointestinal distress is a constant concern. While recent media my have you scared, cruising is an incredible way for families to see the world and enjoy each others company in an almost all inclusive environment. Here are 6 tips to help you all stay healthy while enjoying an awesome family vacation.
Here is a Handy Checklist for Staying Healthy at Sea:
- Wash Your Hands frequently, with warm and soapy water. This is both the simplest and the most important tip for remaining healthy at sea. Cruise ships have a lot of communal areas, as well as a lot of opportunities to enjoy food and beverage. You should wash your hands before and after meals (or snacks), as well as after touching public fixtures like doorknobs and using public facilities. Don’t just rely on hand sanitizer as it is not as effective as warm water and soap.
- Rest Up because the best thing you can do for your immune system is give it a chance to recharge. The excitement of vacation, coupled with possible jetlag and the sheer number of activities on a ship can lead to a lack of sleep. Pace yourself and make sure to get enough R & R. This is especially true for children and teens. It is better to miss one or two things on a given day and rest, than miss an entire day because you get sick.
- Keep an Eye on the Buffet. Cruises often serve big meals buffet style and this canpotentially cause problems. Be sure to keep an eye on foods that are grabbed by hand rather than utensils, as well as other passengers near you unecesarily touching or getting close to food. You should also steer clear of anything seemingly room temperature that you know is meant to be served either hot or cold. While some foods may be exciting to see and to eat, play it safe and stick to things you know are safe in a buffet. Save foods better made to-order for sit down meals at other points in the trip.
- Hydrate. This is another simple but easily forgotten tip to help boost your immune system. Your body needs water to function properly, and the excitement of vacation and cruising can cause you to fall behind. Warm weather locations will sap your body of its water reserves more quickly, and the spreads of cruise ships often lead us to eat more than we would at home, which also necessitates a higher fluid intake. Keep an eye on salty foods and drinks like soda or anything with caffeine, and make sure the entire family is drinking enough water both on and off the ship. Err on the side of caution and drink only bottled water if you can.
- Do Some Research Ahead of leaving for the trip. You can find information on recent outbreaks of norovirus and similar concerns via the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program. Check the history of a ship and a cruise line before you book and only stick to those with the most reputable track records. Different itineraries are no more germ-laden than others, but certain ships may be. Also, winter cruises may be more susceptible to outbreaks just as any on-land location sees more people sick with viruses during the winter months than the summer ones.
- Use Common Sense above all else. While a cruise vacation is extraordinary, most of the things you need to stay healthy aren’t. Follow the same practices you would to keep you and your family healthy on dry land as you do at sea and you should be fine. Don’t let excitement distract you from good personal health and hygiene.