Did you know some cruise ships are so clean they’ve never failed an inspection? It’s true even though it may seem hard to believe given the frequency of headlines describing diarrhea-drenched disasters at sea. Sadly, headlines never proclaim the arrival of the many ships that return to port with nothing but healthy passengers disembarking with happy memories.
Cruises can be the ideal destinations for many couples planning a romantic babymoon escape so don’t let sensationalist headlines keep you landlocked. Millions of people enjoyed cruises last year alone but, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only about 1,300 passengers or crew members got sick from the norovirus, the most common culprit for contagious onboard outbreaks. That’s a very small portion of the 20 million Americans in the general population who contract the norovirus each year.
Caution is always advised when traveling during pregnancy and the CDC makes that easy. The CDC inspects all passenger ships that carry 100 or more passengers and they publish the results of these inspections online for all to see.
A good bet on cleanest ships for your babymoon cruise comes from six cruise lines. Some ships within these lines have even earned perfect scores:
- Costa: 30 inspections, 37% perfect scores
- Norwegian: 143 inspections, 28% perfect scores
- Oceania: 26 inspections, 27% perfect scores
- Disney: 48 inspections, 21% perfect scores
- Crystal: 31 inspections, 16% perfect scores
- Seabourn: 38 inspections, 5% perfect scores
These may be the cleanest six cruise lines leaving or arriving at US ports but the sanitation inspection program keeps most ships in good, clean working order. Since 2010, the CDC inspected more than 900 ships that passed inspection while only 27 others failed. Standards are high; a score of 85 or lower (out of 100) is a failing score.
Infectious outbreaks don’t always begin on the cruise ship. Sometimes tainted food and other supplies bring contagious agents aboard but sometimes it’s a fellow passenger or crew member who arrives on board without any awareness of being exposed to an infectious agent. Andrew Waks, a maritime lawyer, says he files frequent claims against cruise lines but they’re mostly personal injury cases. He never takes norovirus cases because they are usually not the cruise line’s fault.
In the rare (but much-publicized) event that an outbreak does occur on a cruise ship, a very thorough “barrier” sanitization process is commenced as soon as the ship is landed and empty of passengers. It remains at port until it has been tested and proven to be safe for passenger travel once again.
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