"" Writer's Wanderings: Cruising Under Code Red - Noro Virus!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cruising Under Code Red - Noro Virus!

Normally our experience with boarding a Celebrity cruise ship is quite pleasant and seamless and quickly done. When we arrived for our cruise this time we found it to be a whole new experience thanks to the Noro Virus.

The previous cruise had experience a small outbreak of the Noro Virus. Of over 2800 passengers and 1300 crew, the number of people reported sick was 60—just slightly over 1%. Still the numbers were enough to throw the ship into Code Red. The cruise line called in a company that specializes in cleaning and sanitizing the ship. The whole procedure backed up the boarding process by at least three hours and even when we were allowed on board, rooms were still being prepared. Ours had been stripped bare and was still in that condition until late afternoon.

Everyone seemed to get over the delay and our first few days at sea seemed to go smoothly—until the usual service and amenities available were held hostage by the Code Red restrictions. Library books are shelved behind thick plastic with signs reading that due to the virus, books will not be circulated until further notice. This morning (5 days into our cruise) however, we noticed that someone had broken through the plastic and obviously extracted some reading material.

Another thing we live with under Code Red is not being able to help yourself to coffee and beverages. Someone is always stationed there to pour and add your sugar and cream. We cannot serve ourselves in the buffet line which slows things down tremendously. There are no common serving utensils lest a virus be transmitted.

So many restrictions and yet. . .someone stood at the security box that logs in our boarding cards and touched each passenger’s card and handed them back. And salt and pepper shakers are on the table. At least we can add our own salt.

Tempers are a bit short on this fifth day. Funny how people are angry when they are not served and yet with all the extra “personal service” all I heard at breakfast this morning from those around us was “Let me pour my own cream!” Hard to please all the people all the time.

Rumor is Code Red will be lifted soon. Guess there are no more cases reported and by now the virus on anything should have died a natural death. Wonder if the library marauder will check his book out legally then?

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