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Old 02-07-2008, 09:24 AM   #81
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Something's been bothering me about this issue of sickness on cruise ships.

I spent 2 1/2 years of my 3 1/2 years in the Navy on board ship. I don't remember ANY instances where there were these types of infections on board my ships or any other ship where I knew someone. Are these bugs just more patriotic than most bugs, or is there something peculiar to cruise lines that contributes to the problem? Some of you have had a lot more exposure potential, like Nords on subs, so maybe I just didn't have enough experience to see it.
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Old 02-07-2008, 10:27 AM   #82
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That's a good question. My take is that:

a) these things never used to get publicized; for some reason diarrhea has become interesting in recent years

b) such outbreaks on naval vessels are not much more than a nuisance, and most recover quickly. On a cruise ship, the population is much more vulnerable and people can die.

c) liability issues.

Times have changed.
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Old 02-07-2008, 11:11 AM   #83
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Uh, this is a random question, but what about seasickness on a cruise? I tend to get motion sick pretty easily, so I have always put cruises in the "not for me" bucket. Mistake?
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Old 02-07-2008, 11:12 AM   #84
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I had a fabulous time on a small boat cruise in the Galapagos through www.oattravel.com. It's not really a "cruise" in the sense that you all are discussing but it really made me want to do another small ship cruise. I'm thinking about Greece and/or Alaska.

As a single woman who is shy, I don't think I could tolerate a huge cruise ship atmosphere where you have dinner with different people every evening. Also, I'm not interested in Las Vegas on a boat -- shows or casinos or night clubs or big buffets.
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Old 02-07-2008, 11:13 AM   #85
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Uh, this is a random question, but what about seasickness on a cruise?
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Old 02-07-2008, 11:30 AM   #86
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Uh, this is a random question, but what about seasickness on a cruise? I tend to get motion sick pretty easily, so I have always put cruises in the "not for me" bucket. Mistake?
It happens, but much less common than before, maybe due to better boats and forecasting of rough seas. Only 8% get anything beyond mild symptoms (a cruise ship study of > 20k passengers).

What helps: lying down when mild symptoms start; often that's all you need; ease back on the alcohol. Caffeine also helps. Accupressure (the wrist band contraption) has been shown to be helpful in some weak studies, not in others, so I'm not sure.

I'm not a big fan of scopolamine patches due to common side-effects, but they do reduce the risk. I have had patients on scopolamine develop acute bladder retention, lots of dry mouth, palpitations, sleepiness. One older lady applied her patches every 3 days as directed, but forgot to take the old one off. She had seizures.

My deal, after assessing the patient's medical history, is to advise meclizine 25mg proactively at the first hint of symptoms. Have a cup or two of coffee around the same time; repeat in 2 hours once only if the symptoms haven't improved. This is an antihistamine available over the counter, but does have some potential for side-effects, shouldn't be used with certain medical conditions (e.g. glaucoma, prostate symptoms among others). The patch may be OK for some people. Your primary doctor can tell you which is best and safest for you.

In most cases, they never need the medication and if they do as above, they have minimal or no symptoms and enjoy their cruise. That said, there are always a few who just can't handle it.
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Old 02-07-2008, 11:38 AM   #87
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I spent 2 1/2 years of my 3 1/2 years in the Navy on board ship. I don't remember ANY instances where there were these types of infections on board my ships or any other ship where I knew someone. Are these bugs just more patriotic than most bugs, or is there something peculiar to cruise lines that contributes to the problem? Some of you have had a lot more exposure potential, like Nords on subs, so maybe I just didn't have enough experience to see it.
I actually had to study the medical stuff for qualifications, and part of the curriculum was a comparison of cruise ships (Legionnaire's Disease back then) to Navy ships. A Navy crew tends to be more homogenous than 2000 cruise-ship passengers (similar ages & health). If the crew's in the later stages of a pre-deployment workup then the vast majority have been together for a while and everyone has already shared their viruses and developed some sort of antibody. And I've never ridden anything bigger than an LPD, but I've never seen a buffet line on a Navy ship or a submarine.

The first week underway on a sub, everyone has the sniffles. It lasts about a week and then there's absolutely nothing for the rest of the underway-- everyone's immune to everyone else's germs and the corpsman actually runs out of business. Of course if any riders come onboard or the sub hits a liberty port then the cycle starts all over again. (Don't even get me started on Subic Bay RP or Chinhae ROK.) If there's any intestinal issues then it's usually blamed on the food service attendants.

The medical downside of submarine life was the regular boosters for tetanus, tuberculosis, and hepatitis A & B. The high C02 levels tended to slow the healing of cuts and cellulitus was always a concern. And if I got that first round of sniffles when I was overfatigued then it'd turn into bronchitis & pneumonia.

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Uh, this is a random question, but what about seasickness on a cruise? I tend to get motion sick pretty easily, so I have always put cruises in the "not for me" bucket. Mistake?
I'm a seasickness wimp (that's why I joined the submarine force) and the bigger ships have excellent motion stabilizers. You won't feel much in open ocean at slower speeds-- a barely detectable 1-2 degrees-- and near shore you won't feel anything.

If they crank it up to 26 knots in a storm, well, you'll feel 5-10 degrees, but it won't make you sick. The unpredictable motion just makes you a little wobbly on your feet. Usually the crews work very hard to avoid weather and it's not an issue.

Of course if you do one of the little barefoots or windjammers... well... good luck with that.
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Old 02-07-2008, 11:45 AM   #88
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The high C02 levels tended to slow the healing of cuts
How high were typical sustained CO2 levels? I am lead to understand that it doesn't take much over a prolonged period to start affecting people.
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Old 02-07-2008, 02:16 PM   #89
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Uh, this is a random question, but what about seasickness on a cruise? I tend to get motion sick pretty easily, so I have always put cruises in the "not for me" bucket. Mistake?
My experience has been that when a ship begins to roll from sea swells, everyone feels a little bad until their systems adjust, some adjust sooner than others. In REALLY rough seas a lot of people feel bad all over again, some throw up and feel horrible, but storms end. I remember one Radarman 2nd class that lived at sea with a trash can between his knees. After some engine repairs we did a "fast cruise", simulated getting underway while tied to the pier. We turned the screws forwards and backwards and the ship rocked ever so slightly. The same sailor threw up in his trash can. I always wondered why in the world he join the navy.
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Old 02-07-2008, 02:20 PM   #90
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Presumably to see the world, meet interesting people, and kill them.

Seriously, if he was young when he joined, maybe he'd never been at sea before. I know I did stupider things when I was 18.
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Old 02-07-2008, 03:01 PM   #91
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Uh, this is a random question, but what about seasickness on a cruise? I tend to get motion sick pretty easily, so I have always put cruises in the "not for me" bucket. Mistake?
I also get seasick fairly easily, but on these big ships, even when you are rolling, it doesn't seem to be a problem. My first cruise, first day and the ship was rolling like crazy, but for some reason it never bothered me. The odd thing was when we took the ferry from Playa Del Carmen to Cancun, my son and I immediately got sick.
Something about the big ships that just makes it feel more peaceful. BTW, I take along Dramamine, but have never used it.
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Old 02-07-2008, 04:28 PM   #92
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We have been on one 7 day cruise. Departed San Juan, St Thomas, Grenada,St. Kitts, Venuelza(sp), Aruba, then back to San Juan. Our luggage caught up with us in Aruba day 6. Pretty much sucked. Imagine going to formal dinner in a rented tux, black socks, and sandals. Or wearing one pair of underwear one day while the other pair is drying in the shower and feeling lucky because my wife hadn't packed spare underwear or swimsuit in her carry on. I still get upset thinking about that trip.
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Old 02-07-2008, 05:24 PM   #93
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Uhhhh, they have stores on the ship. I think I might have invested in fresh underwear.
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Old 02-07-2008, 05:43 PM   #94
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I never get motion sick, even on small boats in rough weather. But man, did I get the queasies for a couple of days on a cruise ship before I got used to it.
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Old 02-07-2008, 06:57 PM   #95
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Uhhhh, they have stores on the ship. I think I might have invested in fresh underwear.
Indeed this ship had stores, they sold perfume, jewlery, t shirts, swim suits etc. but no underwear, socks, shoes, the meat and potatoes of clothes. The ship gave us a $200 credit to use in the onboard stores, I am still wearing some nice counterfit Armani cologne from that trip. You may also ask why didn't we go to Walmart in St Thomas our first stop. The purser assured us our luggage would catch up to us in St. Thomas, no need to worry its a hop skip and a jump from San Juan. After we left St. Thomas sans luggage we were assured it would meet us at the next island, this continued all the way down the islands. When our luggage did finally catch up to us it had an amazing collection of tags on them. Bless the women of St. Kitts, they are decendents of a tall tribe in Africa and my wife was finally able to find some clothes that fit her.
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Old 02-07-2008, 09:36 PM   #96
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Uh, this is a random question, but what about seasickness on a cruise? I tend to get motion sick pretty easily, so I have always put cruises in the "not for me" bucket. Mistake?
I was really worried that I'd get seasick, so I wore the wrist bands and also took half of a Bonine preventatively for the first 3 or 4 days. I was glad I did that because we did have some rough seas (try dancing on the forward part of the boat during rough seas sometime...interesting!). I never got sick, did feel a little "funny". My vestibular system must have accommodated as I didn't need the medicine later in the week when we had rough seas again.

We booked midship, low, just to be safe.

Maybe try a 3 or 4 day cruise first if you are really concerned?
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Old 02-08-2008, 11:45 AM   #97
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I don't love cruises, I'd rather be somewhere in nature or in cities or whatever.

But, I did a western Caribbean cruise about 6 years ago, which was OK.

I am going on an Alaskan cruise this summer which I think will be really good - but I'm following it with a week of camping/hiking in the interior.

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Old 02-08-2008, 12:45 PM   #98
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Quite a few years ago we did 10 days in Hawaii and since I'm one of those who has to see and do everything, we jumped to three different islands. Well we spent so much time packing and unpacking and catching flights at the airport that we lost at least of full day of vacation. What I love about cruising is the one time unpacking and every morning I wake up somewhere new.
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Old 02-09-2008, 01:49 PM   #99
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I just got back from a 14 day NCL cruise to southern and western Caribbean.

Was a blast, and watching the Super Bowl on the ship was really cool.

Didn't care for Samana much, but everywhere else was great.
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Old 03-22-2008, 06:15 PM   #100
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To bring up an old thread. Anyways how far in advance do you guys recommend booking. We are looking to go Jan,Feb of 2009?
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