One cruise line has recognized that cruises are a breeding ground for disease and general disaster, and are taking a stand: A no hand-shaking stand that will apply to interactions between captain and passengers. Seems like a good idea!
Crystal Cruises saw a viral outbreak in 2013, when 125 passengers (about 15 percent of the ship's passengers) were sickened by the very contagious norovirus, which causes vomiting and diarrhea.
ABC News reports that Crystal Cruises is taking other, basic preventative measures to prevent another outbreak, like disinfecting railings and door handles, and encouraging people to use the anti-bacterial wipes the crew gives out for free. And other luxury lines are taking measures, but they seem to be a bit more lax. ABC notes:
Carnival Cruise Line, for example, will instruct officers to cease handshaking during special events if the medical team advises there are an elevated number of guests with gastrointestinal illness symptoms. An example of an event would be a Captains Party, where there's normally a lot of handshaking.
You may remember Carnival Cruises for its notorious "poop" cruise, so-called because passengers spent days stranded on a boat that was eventually covered in human poop. One poop cruise passenger described her harrowing experience to CNN:
Terrified passengers huddled on decks worried about their safety [Kimberly Northom Townsend] said, with foul toilets overflowing into hallways, no power, near-total darkness, long lines for rationed water and almost no food.
Good thing there was no norovirus on that boat! Still, we think Townsend and her peers would have gladly skipped a round of Captains Party handshaking.
Danielle Wiener-Bronner is a news reporter.