May 2016 - Disney Dream to Caribbean - Bahamas
What should a cruise line do when a guest has symptoms consistent with Norovirus (Norwalk virus)? One might hope that they would try to quickly determine if it was Norovirus -- then work to protect other guests from infection. However, in our case, when reporting our son's acute vomiting and diarrhea, we were discouraged from seeing a doctor both by the nurse at Health Services and by Guest Services. And we were the only ones concerned with isolating our son from other guests. Although our son still had active vomiting and diarrhea at 7:30 am on the morning of disembarkation, we were told to disembark with the other guests and get on the Disney Cruise Line bus. They seemed to have no interest in protecting other passengers from a ship-acquired infection as long as they would make it off the ship before showing symptoms.
By limiting our son's hydration, we were able to prevent any major incidents on the bus. But our apologies go out to the next occupant of his seat. As well as anyone touching the hand rails he used.
It used to be that Disney was one of the few cruise lines that seemed able to avoid Norovirus infections, and that was one of the justifications for their price premium. Both recent news http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/tourism/os-disney-wonder-sick-vomiting-20160502-story.html
and our own experience suggest that is no longer true. And indeed one wonders how many reported infections there would be if guests were not discouraged from seeing the doctor. Handing out hand wipes is a good start. Efforts to prevent the spread of disease would be even better.
A few examples of specific steps that are not in place, but could help:
- Explosive diarrhea makes even adults incontinent. Stock up on big kid and adult diapers for use in the event of an outbreak.
- Use a rolling quarantine for disembarkation that isolated infectious guests from others.
- Notify bus lines of the need to disinfect surfaces after transporting sick guests.
We would have appreciated more compassion as well, but would settle for more concern about and efforts to limit the spread of disease both within and beyond the ship.