How to Stay Healthy on a Cruise

Back in 2017, more than 500 Royal Caribbean passengers became sick after two of the company’s ships were hit by a gastrointestinal illness. And this isn’t the first time. Every year, hundreds of people fall sick during cruises. Unfortunately, cruise-related health concerns aren’t surprising, as passengers are confined to a shared space for much of the trip. But cruising can be such fun. What' a potential traveler to do?

It’s not always possible to prevent an outbreak, but you can take steps to protect health while in the midst of it all. Let's round up some great plans and get you on your way, full of confidence.

Avoid Buffet Foods

Buffets are a bacteria hotspot, whether on a cruise ship or at a local restaurant. The norovirus commonly lurks in cruise buffets, and this is a common problem for cruise aficionados, but you may also encounter E. coli, listeria or salmonella so it may be best to give it a pass.

There are a few different reasons why bacteria thrives in buffets, including:

  • The high volume of diners and workers handling food
  • Foodservice employees who may not wash their hands regularly
  • Employees possibly ignoring food safety guidelines
  • Ineffective cleaning and sanitizing practices for dishes and cutlery

The sheer volume of food that must be produced to build a buffet for so many passengers contributes to the problem as one mistake can sicken hundreds and there's a lot of room for mistakes. Does that mean you’re guaranteed to get sick if you eat at a buffet on the boat? No, but proceed with caution.

Don’t Skip Medications

During a vacation, many of us slack on our daily routines. Unfortunately, this can make us sick, especially if we fail to take prescription medications for chronic conditions. Bring a list of all medications on the boat in case any are lost or stolen, and reach out to a doctor immediately if you run out or lose them.

Sometimes it’s safe to double up on medication after a skipped dose, but that’s not always the case, so ask to be sure before doing so. Seek medical attention to keep conditions under control with lifestyle choices while on board, also.

Invest in Travel Insurance

Passengers often decline travel insurance, but that decision can send you hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt if you need to seek medical care in another country. If an issue arises, you may need to be airlifted, and local hospitals may expect an insurance plan before treatment begins. Play it safe and shell out the extra fee for travel insurance before leaving home — the one time it may be needed is worth all of the times it wasn't.

If Illness Does Break Out

Consider bringing some snacks or hot water type soups to prepare in the room in case of an outbreak and until they get the situation under control. Better to miss a few on board meals than to fall seriously ill. Hand sanitizer, hand washing, and refraining from touching the face can also help keep the healthy from contracting illness, too. Remember this is a closed environment with a lot of people and a lot of germs so precautions may include tucking a reusable mask into the luggage just in case it's needed, or bringing in-room entertainment in case you need to stay in for a few days while the worst passes. Prepared travel is happy travel. Bon voyage!

Copyright 2019,

3/19/2020 7:00:00 AM
Wellness Editor
Written by Wellness Editor
Wellness Exists to Empower Health Conscious Consumers. helps people live healthier, happier and more successful lives by connecting them with the best health, wellness and lifestyle information and resources on the web.
View Full Profile Website:

Sorry, but cruises are nothing but floating petri dishes. You couldn't pay me to go on one.
Posted by Carla Kaye Worden does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment nor do we verify or endorse any specific business or professional listed on the site. does not verify the accuracy or efficacy of user generated content, reviews, ratings or any published content on the site. Use of this website constitutes acceptance of the Terms of Use.
©2024 Wellness®.com is a registered trademark of, Inc. Powered by Earnware