Carnival Holiday still sick???? a passenger reports

Posted by Ed, on February 2nd, 2008 at 6:44 pm“My wife and I boarded the Holiday on Monday afternoon January 28th as part of a group and just returned this morning (2 Feb) from a 5 day cruise. When we arrived at the port, the first thing we received was a written notice that there had been an outbreak of “Noro” virus during the previous cruise and that our departure on Monday would be delayed in order to disinfect the ship. We were provided information on the nature and symptoms of the virus along with recommendations on how to minimize the chance of contracting it while we were on board. We briefly discussed the idea of not going, but we decided to go ahead since the rest of our group wanted to proceed and Carnival did not make any offer to re-book anyone who didn’t want to go. We had no idea that the outbreak during the previous cruise was so severe that it had made the news. When we arrived at our cabin, we did not notice anything out of the ordinary. Everything appeared clean and smelled fresh. Within 24 hours of our departure, a large number of people took sick and the number appeared to steadily increase during the trip. Ultimately, 4 of the 8 folks at our dinner table became ill during the trip and were confined to their quarters for the duration. Turns out that about a third of our group became ill. We had rough seas on the return from Calica, so I’m sure that didn’t help matters. By this morning, the hallway around our cabin had a sour smell of vomit and sewage and all the crew members were gloved and masked as they cleaned the cabins. Thankfully, my wife and I came through healthy. I must say that the crew appeared to “Soldier On,” remaining cheerful the entire time. Some friends of our who both took sick told us that they were very impolitely treated by members of the infirmary staff. This was our second cruise on the Holiday and although it was marred by sickness and rough seas, we kept our health and had a decent time.”

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4 Responses

  1. I read recently of the noro virus outbreak on the Holiday. We cruised on the Holiday in December and it was our first cruise on Carnival. We’ve previously cruised twice on Royal Caribbean and I quickly noticed one significant difference between the two.

    On RCL’s ships they had hand disinfecting stations with lotion dispensers at the front of each dining area. Staff was posted there requiring everyone to disinfect their hands before entering the dining room. There were also stations located at various other places on the ship and at the disembarkation stations when we were in ports, for mandatory use when re-boarding.

    In fact, when we ported at St. Marteen on RCL there was a Carnival ship opposite ours that had sailed on a relocation from Europe. We learned that there had been a serious noro virus outbreak shortly after they left Europe with one passenger death. Many people were sick and confined to cabins.

    We spoke to one passenger in port who said that the biggest problem was cabin confinement. Many people would hide their symptoms as long as possible to avoid being confined to their cabins. That merely served to help spread the virus. A little preventative action on Carnival’s part might have prevented all that.

    Fortunately there was no apparent problem on Carnival when we sailed. However, I attribute that to luck and a good cleaning crew and not to any extra precautions such as disinfecting stations.

    I’ll take a little extra cost any day if it helps ensure a safe cruise over economy at the cost of the health of passengers and crew. The noro virus is a serious health threat and it’s just bad customer policy to shortchange passengers’ health to save a few dollars per ticket. On top of that I can’t imagine how angry I would be to have to spend my cruise confined to a cabin, because of that minimal cost savings.

    Anyone who risks their health and enjoyment of their cruise to sail on Carnival is ‘penny wise and pound foolish,’ as Ben Franklin once said.

    I’ll not sail Carnival again until I learn that they have joined the 21st century in their infection control practices.

  2. Interesting comments. My wife and I are still “novice” cruisers, but this whole episode has really given us a lot to think about before we decide to cruise again. One thing I was told was that “waterless” hand cleaners were not effective against the Noro virus, so I wonder how effective additional hand washing stations would be unless they used soap and water? During our cruise, we were very cautious about washing our hands often with hot water and soap and using the air dryers rather than paper towels. I think that may have been the biggest reason (other than luck) why we stayed healthy. I agree with your comments about confinement to cabins. That was the most upsetting part of getting sick to those in our group. Having said that, I’m not sure what else the medical staff could have done at that point to limit the spread of infection. I would have to do some research before I would agree that cheaper cruise fares equate to increased risk of infection outbreaks. It seems to make intuitive sense but I can only find one other instance when the Holiday had an outbreak severe enough to get media coverage. Given that the ship has been in service for 23 years, that’s seems like a pretty good track record.

  3. I will soon get married and I would like to go, for the honeymoon in a European Cruise. As far as I see, you are a ‘pro cruiser’ (let’s say like that) – and I simply want to ask your opinion.

  4. I am planning a first time cruise aboard the Holiday. In my research I found that the Holiday was inspected by the CDC at the end of March 2008 and scored a 95. Here is the report.

    http://wwwn.cdc.gov/vsp/InspectionQueryTool/Forms/InspectionResults.aspx

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