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10 Tips to avoid getting sick on a Cruise

Most cruise travelers sail happily and healthily but anytime you step out of your daily routine, you let your physical guard down and become susceptible to all sorts of illnesses. From tummy troubles to head colds, seasickness to sunburn and hangovers to jet lag, cruise ship passengers can easily succumb to a number of ailments.

Have we made you nervous? Don't be. It's relatively easy to stay healthy on a cruise ship if you take a few simple precautions. All you really need is a mental checklist and a few minutes a day.

While we can't guarantee you won't get sick -- for all you know, your germy coworkers may have already infected you before you embark on your trip -- here are our top 10 tips for staying healthy and minimizing your chances of getting sick on your next sailing.

1. Wash your hands
The number-one way to avoid getting Norovirus or other illnesses on a cruise is to thoroughly wash your hands -- more than you ordinarily would -- before and after you eat, after you use the restroom, when returning to the cruise ship after a day in port and every time you touch a stranger or an oft-touched item like a stairway railing or a slot machine. In this way, you'll kill any germs before they can infect you. In addition to ramping up hand-washing, also take advantage of the hand sanitizers strategically placed around cruise ships in the dining areas, by the gangway and even in various lounges and public spaces. But note that using a hand sanitizer is not a replacement for basic hand-washing.

2. Drink water
Staying hydrated is a great way to stay healthy, whether it's during a hot day at the beach or in the stale air of an airplane on the way to your port of embarkation. Bring a reusable water bottle and fill it up in the ship's buffet restaurant, or buy beverages ashore. If you're especially prone to dehydration in hot weather, try a sports drink like Gatorade, which contains electrolytes. Alcohol can also dehydrate you, so if you plan to spend plenty of time in the onboard bars, make sure you swap your beer or cocktail for a glass of water every so often.

3. Don't drink the water
I know we just told you to drink a lot of water, but in some destinations -- like Mexico or Egypt -- it's not necessarily safe to drink local water. Check the U.S. State Department's website (or the equivalent in your country of residence) for country-specific travel warnings; the section on "Medical Facilities and Health Information" will mention any restrictions on drinking water. In these destinations, you will want to drink only beverages in sealed bottles.

Also, avoid ice and fruit where you'd eat the skin, as well as uncooked vegetables. Bring your own drinks and snacks from the cruise ship to be safe -- though do be careful about breaking local laws in port that prohibit bringing meats and cheese ashore -- and when in doubt, ask whether items have been made or washed with local water.

4. Fight jet lag
You don't want to miss out on the first half of your cruise because you're so jet lagged that you're not sleeping well or sleeping at all the wrong hours. While everyone's body handles jet lag differently, one recommendation is to arrive at a far-away cruise port a day or two in advance. You can spend those early days in port getting acclimated to the time change so you don't collapse on your first day onboard. Other tricks include not taking a nap on your first day and staying up until a reasonable bedtime; spending a lot of time outside to take in as much natural light as possible; and choosing a medical remedy, such as melatonin, which helps your body's circadian rhythms adjust to a new time zone. (Just check with your doctor to make sure this option is right for you).

5. Wear sunscreen
You can just as easily get burned walking the streets of Europe in the summer, kayaking or scenic cruising in Alaska and doing just about anything in the strong sun of Australia as you can by sun-lounging poolside. While it can be a pain to apply and re-apply your SPF 30, you will be in greater pain if you burn -- which can also prevent you from enjoying the next few days of your cruise.

6. Pace yourself at the buffet
It's very easy to eat yourself sick on a cruise ship, and night after night of rich, multicourse meals can take its toll on your tummy. You're less likely to feel queasy, bloated or sluggish if you eat wisely onboard. Plus, you won't come home weighing 10 pounds more than you did before vacation. We're not saying to skip the bacon or the tiramisu, but do consider limiting yourself to one full plate at the buffet, skipping one course at dinner (or eating half of every dish) or having a light lunch so you can indulge more at night. Also, if you eat at a slower pace, you will more thoroughly enjoy your food. Just make sure to stop eating when you're full. Remember, you're on a cruise ship. There will always be more goodies to savor whenever you get hungry again.

7. Chew ginger candies
Or eat green apples, wear acupressure wristbands, head outside for fresh air, look at the horizon or book a low-deck, midship cabin. Why? All of these tricks are ways to beat seasickness. You can also take over-the-counter meds like Dramamine, or ask your doctor about the Transderm patch. Alternately, book a very port-intensive itinerary (try Oceania or Azamara) in order to spend as few days at sea as possible. River cruising on Europe's normally placid waters is also a good bet for those worried about seasickness. And, Alaska's Inside Passage voyages are typically calm.

8. Take the stairs

It's quite tempting to become a daiquiri-guzzling, lounge chair-hogging, late-sleeping, food-demolishing couch potato on a cruise -- especially on warm-weather itineraries with lots of sea days. And, while you shouldn't have to spend precious vacation hours sweating it out in the gym, it's not a bad idea to slot a little bit of movement into your lazy, crazy days of cruising. One easy way to do this is to take the stairs. Not only will you use your muscles a bit every day, but you won't have to stand around waiting for an elevator. Another option is to take advantage of the promenade deck or outdoor jogging track to take a brisk walk.

9. Go easy on the alcohol
Yes, I've drunk my fill of mango mojitos and sung Billy Joel songs at piano bars until the wee hours of the morning -- and I've loved every minute of it. But, if you're looking to stay healthy onboard, excessive drinking is not the way to do it. Try to avoid boozing it up until you're sick or so drunk that you can't get back to your cabin. A hangover is the least of your worries -- excessive drinking can put you at risk of getting into a fight, becoming sexually compromised or even falling overboard. If you do plan to party, designate one of your travel companions as the sober one who can watch over the group and keep everyone safe.

10. Tell the truth
Our last tip is more about keeping everyone else healthy. Many cruise-ship illnesses come onboard on embarkation day with each new crop of passengers. These days, most lines ask guests to fill out forms indicating whether they've experienced certain symptoms in the past week. If you've been feeling under the weather, please answer these questions honestly. You will then meet with someone from the ship's medical team to determine the best course of action. It does not mean that you are automatically kicked off the cruise. While contagious cruisers may find themselves quarantined in their cabin for the first day, you are doing a great service to the rest of the passengers and crew by not spreading your virus around the ship and causing more travelers to become ill.

Source: Cruise Critic

10 of the Coolest Cruise Ship Excursions

Cruise ship excursions go far beyond the typical walking tours of the port city, as a number of cruise lines are offering exclusive adventures, special educational side-trips, and thrilling once-in-lifetime activities. From elephant riding to extreme snorkeling, here are 10 incredible shore excursions:

Riding Icelandic Horses Under the Midnight Sun
Hurtigruten offers an opportunity to saddle up on an Icelandic horse in the Lofoten Islands, one of Norway’s most scenic archipelagos. The trot brings passengers through powdery white sand, over hillsides, and past curious relics from the Viking age.

Experience the Art of Falconry

First created around A.D. 800, falconry is an ancient activity used by nobility and involves training hawks to hunt and return when they’re called. On Crystal Cruises’ itineraries to Scotland, passengers have the opportunity to try this unique sport firsthand.

Ride Elephants in Thailand
On cruises in Thailand, Oceania has an option to tour the historic center of Ayutthaya (near Bangkok) on the back of an elephant. The excursion also includes a visit to the Bang Pa-In Summer Palace, and exploration of the historic ruins of Ayutthaya.

Go Snorkeling in Antarctica
Expert diving guides lead passengers through the waters of Antarctica on snorkeling excursions with Aurora Expeditions. Gear up with waterproof dry suits and experience the icebergs from a different perspective. The crystal-clear waters make it easy to spot shipwrecks, penguins, crustaceans, isopods, starfish, and nudibranchs.

Spent the Night in a Gorilla Forest Camp
Silversea passengers can explore deep into the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and spend the night in a gorilla sanctuary. Guided safaris through this area in Uganda – which is home to half of the world’s mountain gorillas – embark the following morning.

Snowmobile to a Glacier
On voyages to Iceland, Crystal Cruises passengers can travel by snowmobile over the Langjökull Glacier, the island’s largest glacier. The excursion also includes a visit to Hraunfossar falls and Deildartunguhver hot springs.

Take an After-Hours Palace Tour
Azamara Club Cruises often overnights in ports, allowing the company to offer special evening excursions like the “Doge's Palace After-Hours Tour” in Venice. A private evening tour explores the gothic architecture, courtyard, and Bridge of Sighs that connects the palace to a former prison. After, visitors can explore the Piazza San Marco, a popular historic square before being transported by pontoon back to the ship.

Visit a Black Pearl Farm
On Paul Gauguin’s French Polynesia cruises, guests can tour a black pearl farm in Raiatea and Taha’a and learn about the island’s precious jewel. Tours also include snorkeling in a coral reef outside of a motu (tiny island), followed by a beach barbecue lunch on a private island.

Get Grandstand Seats in Monaco
Crystal Cruises offers prime seats to the Formula One qualifying sessions for the 73rd Grand Prix of Monaco near the start/finish line. This excursion is exclusively available on the May 17 cruise on Crystal Serenity.

A Concert in a Cave
Azamara’s “AzAmazing Evenings” include unusual musical performances such as the Royal Gibraltar Regiment Band, which plays a set inside a massive limestone cave that serves as an all-natural auditorium. Passengers also have a chance to spot Barbary macaque, an ape colony that is unique to Europe and Gibraltar.

Source: TravelPulse

The Crystal Espirit tops the Passenger Crew Ratio study

Ever wondered how many crew members there are serving one passenger? A study by Cruise Watch passenger will tell you just that.

The below list of Cruise ships is sorted by the best ratio first, which clearly indicates which ship has the most crew ratio available per passenger.

# Ship Passenger / Crew Ratio
1   Crystal Esprit             1 : 1.5
2   SeaDream I             1 : 0.86
3   SeaDream II             1 : 0.86
4   Silver Explorer             1 : 0.85
5   Seabourn Encore             1 : 0.78
6   Silver Shadow             1 : 0.76
7   Silver Whisper             1 : 0.76
8   Star Breeze             1 : 0.76
9   Star Legend             1 : 0.76
10   Star Pride             1 : 0.76

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The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company will diversify into the cruise market with a Yachting concept

The legendary name with the service to match "Ritz-Carlton" is planning to enter the cruise market with a new concept in the form of large 190M super-mega-yacht, catering for a capacity of 298 Guests, featuring 149 all balcony-suites.

In total, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. is planning 3 luxurious cruising yachts. The first vessel of which will enter service in Q4 - 2019.

The concept was developed by the Ritz-Carlton maritime experts, namely Douglas Prothero and Lars Clasen, in collaboration with funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management. The new Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection desires to bring to market a new level of excellence in hospitality service within the framework of a long-term arrangement. Moreover, we understand from media reports, that the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will bring its own fresh and distinctive style to the luxury market, with its yachts likely to stand out and capture attention at the most exclusive ports around the world. testament to this fact, the modern craftsmanship and interior finishes of each yacht will be co-designed by The Ritz-Carlton and Tillberg Design.

Certainly this is a refreshing move and the uniquely combined yachting and cruising concept will be defined as a new edition to luxury travel for guests seeking to discover the world in what is promised and best described to be "a relaxed, casually elegant and comfortable atmosphere, featuring the highest level of personalized service".

Itineraries are expected to focus on a more exclusive type of destination such as Capri, Portofino, St. Barths and Cartagena. The pace of the voyage will be relaxed, which includes overnight stays, within varying voyages ranging from 7 to 10 days. The first yacht will cruise a vast range of the world's waters including but not limited to:
  • Mediterranean
  • Northern Europe
  • Caribbean
  • Latin America
Apart from the balcony suites, each yacht will boast 2 x 138 sqM Duplex Penthouse Suites. Highlights also include
  • A restaurant by Sven Elverfeld of Aqua
  • A 3-star Michelin restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg
  • A signature Ritz-Carlton Spa
  • A Panorama Lounge and wine bar, offering a wide variety of entertainment
  • Curated experiences (destination linked) by collaborating with local chefs, musicians & artists
This new exciting luxury project distinguishes the Marriott International (parent company of Ritz-Carlton) to be the unique provider of luxury accommodation on both terra-firma and at sea. What's interesting, is that this is not the first venture into cruising for the Marriott International, as it once had an interest in Sun Line Cruises.

Top 10 cities experiencing the greatest Cruise tourist volumes


A common theme these days is congestion in port cities, caused by the rapid rise and seemingly exponential growth of the Cruise Industry. Here below, are the world's top 10 port cities experiencing the greatest Cruise Tourism visitors:

1. Miami: 4.9 million passengers
Known to many as the capital of the Cruising! Home Port base for Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, NCL, Oceania and Regent among others.

2. Port Canaveral: 3.9 million passengers
Certainly one of the fastest growing ports in North America and perfectly located for a twin Center vacation (Cruise and Stay) in Orlando. The $150 million new passenger Terminal, supported its recent rise in passenger volume. Port Canaveral is the home base for Disney Cruise Line.

3. Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale: 3.7 million passengers
This port destination claims to offer more Cruise Lines, more sailings and more itineraries than anywhere else on the planet. Port Everglades opened the world’s largest Cruise Terminal in 2009 and became the base for the once world’s largest ships “Oasis of the Seas”.

4. Cozumel, Mexico: 3.6 million passengers
Situated on Mexico’s largest Caribbean Island, just off the Yucatan peninsula, featuring beautiful beaches, mangrove forests and wonderful nature, as well as extreme sports and mainstream activities.

5. Shanghai International Port, China: 2.8 million passengers
Shanghai skyrocketed towards the top half of the list in the past few years, mainly as a result of China’s relaxed visa restrictions for Cruise passengers introduced in 2015. For example foreign tourists arriving to Shanghai on a Cruise, are now permitted to stay in the city for up to 15 days. Cruise Lines are beginning however to complain about the yield of Chinese Cruises and with restrictions calling to Taiwan and Korea, it may have a Commercial impact in coming years.

6. Barcelona, Spain: 2.6 million passengers
Europe’s number one! In 2018 Barcelona will possess 7 Cruise Terminals, however it’s not all plain sailing as many local residents are starting to complain that the city is rapidly turning into a theme park for adults.

7. Civitavecchia, Rome, Italy: 2.3 million passengers
Strategically located 1.5 hours from the eternal city of Rome. Civitavecchia is a strong Home Port for Italians and a major Mediterranean transit port, fearing an array of Shore Excursions to Rome.

8. Nassau, Bahamas: 2 million passengers - A lively and tropical Cruise HUB, Nassau is ideally located as a port of call close to the top 3 of the world’s embarkation ports in Florida (mentioned above). 

9. Galveston: 1.7 million passengers
 Galveston overlooks the Gulf of Mexico and is the ideal west Caribbean embarkation port. Once a playground of the rich in the 19th Century, today Galveston is not so well known outside of Cruising circles.

10. Grand Cayman: 1.7 million passengers
Gateway to stunning beaches and the famous Stingray City excursion. Cruise ships are forced to tender in Grand Cayman, which often takes away the pleasure of the experience.

Where is Southampton I here the British reading this article saying? Well Southampton came 11th and was pipped to the post by Grand Cayman. Venice hit a lowly 13th place and this wonderful city is unlikely to grow further, due to protests and restrictions coming into force.
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