How Do Cruise Lines Handle Illness Outbreaks?

Every year thousands of cruise ship passengers are sickened by illness outbreaks. The most common illness affecting cruisers is norovirus, which can cause vomiting, extreme nausea, and diarrhea. Because these illnesses can spread so quickly, cruise officials must act quickly to prevent contagion. 

Today the British website ran an article in which a cruise ship doctor discussed “the drastic lengths staff go to in order to clamp down on sickness spreading.” This includes massive scrubbing and disinfecting campaigns across the ship.

But the most alarming part of the plan includes quarantining passengers. When an outbreak reaches code red status, “[a]ny or all passengers can be quarantined in their cabins. We can close off single decks or whole sections of the ship. It’s an exhaustive and exhausting operation,” the doctor said.

We have blogged about many cases in which cruise passengers were quarantined for the majority of their trips, and not issued any refund or compensation from their cruise line afterwards.