Disney Cruise Line and Its Ports of Call LIVE! Guidebook

PassPorter's Disney Cruise Line LIVE! Guidebook
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Staying Healthy

Staying Healthy

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Staying healthy is easy with some preparation and knowledge. Folks who are already healthy may only have to worry about getting seasick (see the previous page) or picking up a virus. Here’s what you can do to prevent illness:

Getting a virus is less likely than seasickness, but still possible—any time you bring groups of people together for more than two or three days at a time, some percentage will become ill. Cruise ships are significantly less vulnerable than schools, hotels, nursing homes, and restaurants, contrary to the media attention the Norwalk-like virus received some years back—cruise ships account for 10% of the outbreaks, while restaurants, nursing homes, and schools account for more than 70%. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that normally 1–2% of a cruise population gets sick on a regular basis; during the Norwalk-like virus epidemics, this number may only rise to 2–4%. Nonetheless, Disney takes many precautions to avoid illness on its ships, including thoroughly disinfecting surfaces that are touched, encouraging hand-washing, providing hand wipes or hand sanitizer at the entrances to restaurants, and refusing passage to visibly ill passengers to reduce the risk of transmitting a virus to others.

To avoid catching a bug, get a full night’s sleep before you embark, eat well, drink lots of water, and wash your hands thoroughly and frequently. Hand-washing cannot be emphasized enough. Wash your hands for at least 15 seconds after using the bathroom, after changing a diaper, and before handling, preparing, or consuming food. Regular soap and water does the trick—there’s no need for antibacterial soaps (in fact, the Centers for Disease Control suggest that antibacterial soaps may contribute to the problem and suggests you do not use them). Alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used as a supplement in between times hands are washed, but it should not replace soap and water and isn’t effective after using the bathroom, after changing diapers, or before handling food. There’s no need to bring your own Lysol either—all surfaces are disinfected before you board as well as while you’re underway (besides, Lysol does nothing to stop the Norwalk-like virus). Tip: To make sure both you and your kids wash your hands for long enough, try singing or humming the “Happy Birthday” song slowly while washing your hands—when the song ends, your hands are clean.

If you get sick, be aware that reporting illness to the cruise staff is taken seriously—the cruise line is required to report any onboard cases of gastrointestinal illness to the CDC. You may be required to visit the medical facility onboard (see below), and if you’re found to have a gastrointestinal illness, you may be restricted to your stateroom to avoid passing the illness to others. And if you’re sick when you check in at the terminal, you may need to visit a medical professional before boarding—you may even be refused passage. If you’re prone to stomach ailments, bring your own remedies—none are sold onboard.

Viruses aside, there’s one medical problem that far too many cruisers contract during their cruise—sunburn. Bring that sunscreen (SPF of 30 or higher) and use it. And wear hats and cover-ups whenever possible. Don’t take your chances with a sunburn.

As much as we don’t like to think about it, accidents happen and guests get sick. Knowing that this is unavoidable, Disney has put a well-equipped medical facility aboard—it’s equipped with modern medical equipment such as cardiac life support equipment, ventilators, and an X-ray machine. Two doctors and three registered nurses are on staff. The care, we hear, is excellent and the fees are reasonable. Any medical care you receive is billed to your stateroom account and you bill your insurance company separately.

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Top Photo Slice: Handwashing station in the kids clubs (℗ 53522) Photo contributed by © Jennifer Marx



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