There are two elephants in the room right now in the cruise industry; the sinking of the Costa Concordia and the reoccurring Norwalk virus or Norovirus breakouts. As I watched the news unfold about the Costa Concordia, it occurred to me that I had never given much thought to my family’s safety or health while onboard the Disney Fantasy cruise this week.
I interviewed Rebecca Peddie, a Public Affairs Manager with Disney Cruise Line, to better understand Disney’s safety protocols and procedures for families.
Disney Cruise Safety and Health Tips for Families
What type of safety training does the Disney crew receive?
At Disney Cruise Line, nothing is more important to us than the safety and well-being of our guests and crew members. Disney Cruise Line meets or exceeds regulatory safety requirements in all areas of our operation, and this is accomplished in large part through the rigorous training of crew members and officers with continuous practice, drills and repetition. You may even see the crew involved in on-going safety drills while the ship is in port.
Our ships have lifeboat capacity to accommodate all guests sailing, and there are specific guidelines in place to focus on the welfare of children in our care during an actual emergency.
What happens if a child becomes separated from their parent?
Onboard the ship. If parents should become separated from their child who is not in a Youth Activities program, they should contact the nearest Crew Member who have specific procedures to follow.
Onshore excursions. It is at the discretion of the parents as to whether or not they wish to leave their children in Youth Activities while they go ashore. The Wave phones supplied only work around the ship and onboard our private island, Disney’s Castaway Cay.
Children in the Kids’ Club or Youth Activities. If children are in Youth Activities without check-out privileges and there is a ship wide emergency, they would be escorted to their assigned Assembly Stations if their parents were unable to retrieve them in a timely manner.
In the case of a ship wide emergency, loud speakers will broadcast additional information to passengers.
Note about the Norovirus from Ciao Bambino.
The most common illness on cruise ships is the gastrointestinal Norwalk virus or Norovirus. It is not a “cruise ship” virus, but because the Center for Disease Control requires that cruise ships report it if more than 2% of passengers become ill, we hear about it more often. Symptoms are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. A low-grade fever and headache are also possible. It’s short lived; symptoms last 1-2 days, and speaking from experience (not while cruising), it’s much worse than a regular stomach flu.
On cruise ships, the virus spreads through physical contact or by touching surfaces that an ill person has touched. Hand washing is key to preventing the spread of the Norovirus.
What does the Disney Cruise Line do to prevent on-board illnesses?
For the health and well-being of everyone onboard our ships, we have hand washing guidelines posted in all restrooms; in addition, dining room hosts provide hand sanitizers to guests entering restaurants to assist in guest sanitation. We also have stringent cleaning practices for our ships.
Thank you Disney Cruise Line for sharing this information with us. You can find additional information on safety and health guidelines in the cruise ship industry on Cruise Line International Association.
Photos courtesy of Disney Cruise Line