No matter what vacation destination you choose you run a high risk of being exposed to germs and bacteria. Just because you are on a cruise ship does not mean you are safe from the epidemics and diseases of the real world. Even though there is no way to completely protect yourself from getting sick there are some precautions that you can take to try to avoid sickness.
1. Wash Your Hands - Washing your hands with warm water and soap prior to eating, drinking, and after touching any surface will help prevent the spread of germs. If you are not able to wash your hands using hand sanitizer is a good alternative, but sanitizer does not kill all germs and should not replace constant hand washing. Before I eat on the cruise ship I wash my hands and also use hand sanitizer as an extra precaution. If you have small children make sure you are washing their hands often, as they may stick their hands in their mouth, nose, or ears at any time and the germs will enter their body.
2. Avoid Touching Surfaces - When possible try to avoid touching commonly touched surfaces. This may help reduce your chances of getting bacteria/germs on your hands or body. Even if you don't touch anything you might want to consider washing your hands.
3. Avoid Sick People - If you see a guest on the ship that is showing symptoms of being sick stay away from them. Don't touch any of the things that they have touched. If there is vomit on the floor avoid it and try not to inhale it. If someone in your cabin is sick make them stay in the cabin and then you can try to stay out of the cabin during the day. Use a public bathroom if possible. There will be times that you will have to go to your room, but the shorter amount of time you are in the room the less likely you are to catch the illness. I understand there are some forms of sickness that are not contagious (food poisoning sinus issues, etc.) but unless you know what that person has you might want to stay away from them as an extra precaution.
4. Stay Physically Active - Try to work off some of your food or calories in the gym or on the jogging track. Depending on the weather, I like to walk on the jogging track in the evening after dinner and watch the sun-set. I carry a camera and snap pictures as I go around in a circle. However, be careful onboard not to overwork yourself, pull a muscle, or get sick from trying to burn off your food/calories.
5. Don't Overeat - At meal times don't eat an outrageous amount of food or drink. If you are over-stuffed you could get sick and vomit. Be careful not to eat more greasy foods than you can handle or "rich" foods. Overall, watch what you eat and how much you eat.
These are just a few ways that you can stay healthy while on your cruise. There are many other ways to prevent illness. You have the power to try to prevent getting sick, but even if you try with maximum effort you could still get sick or hurt. Always be careful!