According to infectious-disease specialist Kent Sepkowitz, cruise ships are the scariest destination of all when it comes to health risks. Writing for the Daily Beast, Sepkowitz states that “from a medical standpoint, it’s time to call it quits on cruises.”
“There is one thing that scares me to death, a single place so threatening, so teeming with contagious organisms that I can’t believe that it is a $36 billion worldwide industry—a place people pay to spend time…Cruise ships.”
Sepkowitz also discusses the risk of norovirus and its symptoms, noting that old people are at the highest risk.
While the percentage of those affected by norovirus and other illnesses onboard cruise ships are still relatively low, he points out that those numbers are “underreported” as they must be reported to the crew.
He also calls norovirus a “persistent pest” and uses science to explain how easy it can be to contract the illness aboard a cruise ship, where passengers are sharing restrooms.
But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only roughly 170 of the 4,100-plus people aboard the Crown Princess fell ill with norovirus. That’s about four percent, and not that much.
However, there will always be some level of risk taking a vacation, but as long as travelers are aware of the potential risk, the cruise ship industry should be allowed to flourish.