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Don’t let norovirus hijack your cruise: Top tips for prevention

The back of a cruise liner | Shine Lawyers

If you’re treating yourself to a luxurious ocean getaway this summer, sea sickness, sunburn and maybe the odd margarita-induced hangover should be the only ailments on your radar. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for the hundreds of passengers on cruise ships such as Carnival’s Sun Princess who have been struck down by an unpleasant stowaway – norovirus.

Shine Lawyers are currently investigating a class action on behalf of passengers who have been affected by norovirus while on board a Carnival Australia cruise vessel. Click here for more information. 

What is norovirus and what are the symptoms?

Norovirus refers to a group of gastrointestinal viruses named after a famed outbreak in Norwalk, Ohio. Although norovirus most frequently hits the headlines in association with cruises, it flourishes wherever people gather in close quarters and outbreaks are common in Australia. The most common symptoms are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Headaches
  • Chills, and
  • Stomach cramping.

How can I avoid catching norovirus?

Norovirus doesn’t cause serious health problems in otherwise healthy individuals, but an infection is a first rate way to turn your dream vacation into a nightmare. So if you’re sailing the high seas this summer, invest in the success of your cruise by following these top tips for preventing norovirus:

1 – Wash, wash, wash!

As obvious as it sounds, washing your hands thoroughly and regularly is the best way to fight off norovirus. Norovirus can survive on contaminated surfaces for weeks, ready and waiting to infect those who come into contact, and it only takes a few particles to make a someone ill. Don’t rely on hand sanitiser, as many of these are ineffective against the virus.

2 – Watch what you touch

Secondly, limit your contact with communal surfaces as much as possible. Objects such as bannisters, elevator buttons and door handles are common breeding grounds for the virus. If there’s been an outbreak (or you live by the philosophy better safe than sorry), try touching these surfaces with a disposable tissue instead.


3 – Think twice before tucking in

Thirdly, watch what you eat. Unfortunately, buffets are the riskiest meals, especially on cruise lines where customers serve themselves. Any uncooked food should be avoided.

4 – Keep your hands to yourself

As much as we love bonding with fellow crew mates, go easy on the handshakes. Limiting your physical contact with other people is an effective precaution against norovirus. But, at risk of offending your fellow guests, you may want to save this step for confirmed outbreaks or those showing symptoms.

Shine Lawyers – Norovirus compensation

If your high seas voyage was ruined by an outbreak of norovirus, you may be entitled to compensation regardless of whether you actually caught the virus. Shine Lawyers are experts in all aspects of travel and transport law, and are currently investigating a class action on behalf of individuals who were affected by norovirus while on board a Carnival Australia cruise vessel.

Get in touch for more information or to begin your legal journey today.

Written by Shine Lawyers on . Last modified: March 14, 2018.

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  • Dr. Adrian R. Clifford wrote:

    after taking a 35 day cruise on the sun princess in 2015, where a traveler was allowed to board with the ‘flu, 2000 passengers and 1000 crew returned infected. I subsequently wrote a 4 page letter to princess lines indicating what they could have done and what they should have done and it was totally ignored. As a medical practitioner, retired and having extensive experience with infection control I believe that buffet service should be removed from all cruise ships and food handling needs to be improved to prevent future and recurrent outbreaks.

  • Kay Kneebone wrote:

    My husband and I experienced half of a NZ Princess cruise confined to our cabin with the novo virus. ( we need to check the dates 2016 we think). We reported it and they kept coming in and scrubbing down the walls of our cabin and changing the sheets but two things they didn’t do were:
    We had to go physically down to the medical centre in order to get some medication and so touching banisters, lifts etc.
    We had no help in cleaning our personal belongings. I have rarely had ‘gastro’ but this was unbelievable with vomit and diarrhoea simultaneous and no control at all. Even shoes were covered. No way to get from bed to toilet in time. I asked about how to cope with laundry but was given no help so ended up washing things in the public laundry as I had no other alternative. I still feel bad that I may have infected others.

  • Cynthia leaman wrote:

    I could not leave the ship in Auckland as was confined to ship as I was to sick and they would not let me disinbark

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