What You Can Do When Boarding The Cruise Ship
1. Filling Out Your Health Questionnaire (If Asked)
Many cruise lines require passengers to fill out a health questionnaire during embarkation. It is important to fill out this form honestly to the best of your knowledge. If you are dishonest and lie that you were not sick or in contact with someone with a highly infectious disease you could be putting yourself and your fellow passengers in danger of getting ill. Questions on these questionnaires may vary. These questionnaires will help a cruise line determine if you are a high risk to the safety of other passengers and people in the foreign ports of call you will be visiting. Cruise lines may have you further screened by medical staff or denied boarding depending on the answers you provide. Some passengers lie to prevent a possibility of being denied boarding. Please don't lie. By being honest you could be protecting the lives and well being of up to thousands of other passengers.
What You Can Do Onboard During Your Cruise Vacation
1. Wash Your Hands Often
This may seem like common sense, but it can help. Wash your hands with warm water and soap prior to eating, drinking, after touching any surface, and after using the restroom. Some cruise lines provide hand sanitizer in dining areas. This is a good attempt on the cruise line's part to prevent the spread of germs, but hand sanitizer does not kill all germs. Washing hands is the best way to kill germs.
2. Feeling Sick? Visit or Call The Infirmary
If you believe that you are sick (whether you are contagious or not) you should speak with the infirmary. The infirmary may be able to give you medication or treatment that will help you. By doing this you are also giving the ship's infirmary staff a record that you are not feeling well and they can determine whether or not you are a threat to the health of others on board.
If you are contagious or don't have enough strength to walk to the infirmary you should call the infirmary from your stateroom phone. Tell them what is wrong and most likely they will send someone to your stateroom. This would allow you to keep from spreading germs in an elevator or in the cruise ship's public areas.
For those that walk to the infirmary, try to avoid crowded elevators and areas. Crowded environments make it easier for germs to spread quickly.
3. Report Unsanitary Behavior By Other Passengers
Just like on land, passengers can do gross things. There are some people who break health regulations by using the same cup twice at a drink machine. There are also some people that will use a cup and then put it back with the clean ones (witnessed this before). Consider telling a staff member discreetly that this happened. This could help stop the spread of germs from contaminated dishes.
4. Comply With Health Regulations Onboard
In the event you are quarantined or the ship is placed on "code red" because of an illness outbreak you should comply with the measures that have been put in place. If quarantined, you should stay in your quarantined environment. It probably won't be a fun time, but you were placed on quarantine for some specific reason that was determined by the ship. If your ship has a major illness outbreak the staff members may have to abide by specific buffet regulations (such as serving food). Follow all directions from the staff on the cruise ship.
Keeping Yourself Healthy - Additional Tips:
1. 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 sunset. 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.
2. 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 or rich foods than you can handle. Overall, watch what you eat and how much you eat.
There is not a way to 100% protect yourself from getting sick. Always be careful and use common sense while you are on a cruise.