Cruising isn't all fun and games when a passenger gets sick on board, but highly skilled medical staff are on hand to care for the ailing. YNN's Valarie D'Elia filed the following report.
Cruises these days can be gathering places for thousands of passengers, but unfortunately they can also be breeding grounds for illness. Elevator buttons, railings, buffet lines — there are so many possible places for germs to spread on a cruise ship.
According to Dr. Jennifer Bernardo, the senior doctor onboard Celebrity Silhouette, whom I interviewed as a media guest on a Caribbean cruise, our voyage was just bouncing back from a norovirus outbreak where 4 percent of the passengers reported symptoms.
"Abdominal cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, with or without a fever," says Bernardo.
An outbreak is declared on a cruise lasting more than seven days when at least 1 percent of the passengers are stricken.
"We cleaned the whole ship, basically not just cleaning, we sanitized the entire ship," says Bernardo.
To help prevent the spread of illness, embarking passengers are required to sign a health document, but do people tell the truth?
"I’ll be honest with you, not really," says Bernardo.
Once onboard, some sick passengers head for the hospital and others suffer in silence.
"I was under the weather for two days. I believe I caught a virus and I just stayed in my cabin till it blew over," says Janice Krippendorf of Spring Lake, N.J.
People who are officially confirmed with norovirus are forced out of the mix.
"Part of the procedure is isolating, or putting guests on quarantine in their stateroom," says Bernardo.
Guests are encouraged to take health into their own hands
"I do use the hand sanitizer at all times, wash my hands constantly and I still got ill," says Krippendorf.
For some, there’s a flip side.
"I’m the healthiest I've been in quite a while. I'm getting eight hours of sleep every night and I'm getting plenty of exercise," says David Zweifler of the Bronx.