Most cruise trips are a dream come true and cruise travelers enjoy a happy and healthy trip. But whenever you travel you are at risk of illness and injury. Cruise ships pose problems for travelers in the form of tummy troubles, seasickness, jetlag, sunburn and more. But don’t worry. It is relatively easy to stay healthy on board ship. You just need to take a few common-sense precautions with these cruise ship health tips. No one can guarantee you won’t get sick, but you will have a better chance of avoiding cruise ship bugs and dangers.
1. Do Your Research on Vaccinations
Effective cruise health guidance suggests that you make sure you check the health status of each country you will be visiting so you can look out for malaria and vaccine recommendations. Even if you don’t think you will be disembarking at a particular port it still makes sense to have the vaccinations and in many cases it will be required. In the case of malaria you may not need to take anti-malarial if you are not onshore at night when the mosquitoes bite, but seek professional advice before you make your decision. Make an appointment at the travel clinic or with your physician at least a couple of weeks before you sail and take along a copy of your itinerary.
2. Get Travel Insurance
While all cruise ships will have medical facilities they may be basic and they will not be free. If you fall sick you may need to be taken to the nearest onshore facility and you will need to pay for the cost of transfer and your treatment. Health insurance is essential for your cruise journey.
3. Check Out Travel Sickness Remedies
Even if you do not normally suffer from travel sickness or motion sickness you never know when it may strike. Ask your pharmacist for anti-sickness medication to take with you. You can also try ginger tea or dried ginger, eating green apples, and booking a low-level cabin.
4. Use Hand Sanitizer
One of the most important items in your bag will be your alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Use it a lot, particularly during your shore visits and when you get back on ship.
5. Always Wash Your Hands
Practice basic hygiene safety and wash your hands before meals and after you visit the bathroom. Coupled with hand sanitizer, regular hand washing with soap helps prevent many of the most common infections on board ship.
6. Protect Yourself From Insect Bites
Many of the destinations for cruise ships are areas where insect-spread diseases like chikungunya and dengue fever are common. There are no vaccinations for these diseases so you need to try as much as you can to prevent bites by using insect repellent and covering up in the evenings when you are on shore.
7. Take Care on Deck
Decks and walkways can be hazardous, particularly in bad weather or after rain. Take care when walking on deck and particularly in rough weather. Never sit or stand on a deck or balcony railing.
8. Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen
Many activities both onboard ship and onshore expose you to strong sunshine which can cause sunburn and dehydration if not properly managed. Protect your skin with high-quality, high-factor sunscreen, wear a hat, cover your arms and shoulders, and wear sunglasses.
9. Drink Plenty of Water
Staying hydrated helps you stay healthy whether you are on an excursion or sitting by the pool. Drink water all day (make sure it is bottled water in areas where the local water is unsafe), and watch out for the amount of alcohol you drink – substitute an alcoholic drink with water to avoid overindulging.
10. If You Are Sick, Speak Up
Report any illness early to the medical team onboard the ship – don’t leave it too long otherwise you risk complications, or passing on something infectious in the close quarters of the vessel. If you experience symptoms of cough, fever, flu, or diarrhea when you get home, tell your doctor as soon as possible and say you have been on a cruise.
Follow these guidance and have a healthy and fun trip. Take care, and enjoy!