5 Tips to Help Stay Healthy and Safe on a Cruise
Your cruise tickets are purchased, and you’re looking forward to a relaxing vacation of destination-hopping and open-water boating. But, how do you help ensure that you and your loved ones stay healthy and safe during a cruise? Following these tips may help.
1. Plan Ahead
Well before you leave, confirm you’re up to date on your routine vaccines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says. You may want to consult CDC destination pages for any additional vaccines needed for specific locations. And make sure to read up on the CDC’s Zika virus guidance as well.
Also, it may be a good idea to put together a first-aid kit, says Frommer’s, including sunscreen, prescription medications, adhesive bandages, an elastic ankle sprain bandage, anti-diarrheal and seasickness medications, antihistamine cream, antibiotic ointment and insect repellent.
If you’re worried about being seasick, Frommer’s recommends booking a lower-level cabin in the mid-ship area, where “seesaw” and “sway” motions are minimized. Once onboard, the site advises standing, keeping your eyes open and getting plenty of fresh air to help combat a bout of motion sickness.
2. Clean Hands Club
“Far and away, the most important thing for people to do is keep their hands clean,” says John Swartzberg, clinical professor emeritus at University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health.
Frequent hand-washing is a must for illness prevention, says the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program. Lather up with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds — that’s about the length of the “Happy Birthday” song twice — before eating or drinking, and after using the bathroom or changing a diaper, says the CDC.
Hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol can also help eliminate germs picked up from frequently touched items onboard, such as handrails, door handles, elevator buttons, ATM buttons, pens and gym equipment, says the University of California’s Berkeley Wellness.
3. Take Caution at the Buffet
Overindulging on the limitless food and drink available aboard cruise ships may make you feel queasy, not to mention adding some unwanted pounds, Cruise Critic notes. One Medical recommends drinking plenty of water and aiming for the healthy plate plan: half veggies, one-quarter protein, and one-quarter complex carbs (such as whole-grain bread).
Additionally, be aware that buffets may not be safe if foods sit out for long periods of time, aren’t kept at proper temperatures, or get cross-contaminated between different foods and utensils from various self-serve stations, Berkeley Wellness notes. Food served by the staff may be a safer alternative.
4. Be Safe on Land, Too
Food and drink precautions may apply when you’re exploring off the boat too, This means you may want to eat food that is cooked and served hot, avoid street vendors, drink beverages from sealed containers, skip ice and stay away from raw produce (including things like chutney and salsa), according to the CDC and Berkeley Wellness.
You should skip unpasteurized eggs and dairy as well, says Condé Nast Traveler — they may contain salmonella, listeria and other microbes that cause gastrointestinal distress.
5. Use Common Sense
To avoid vacation ruiners like injury and theft, a little common sense goes a long way, Frommer’s says. The site suggests that travelers wear helmets when riding mopeds or bicycles, wear seat belts in taxis and other car rides, and keep valuables such as jewelry, cash and passports hidden and secure.
Vacations are supposed to be fun. By following these five tips, you can help keep yourself healthy and safe while you’re on your cruise.