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Look out, that cruise brochure might have germs!

By Celia Rivenbark

Well, it looks as if I’m going to have to lose weight through diet and exercise since I don’t have much desire to book a Royal Caribbean cruise this spring.

Another cruise ship, another creepy intestinal virus. And, no, it’s not all that comforting to hear that the employees have “used extra bleach” to get things shipshape and germ-free again. It’s not a day care, for God’s sake; it’s a sun-soaked “vacation of a lifetime!”

As I told Duh Hubby earlier this week, I don’t want to think about “massive germ remediation efforts” when the time comes to book a cruise for our upcoming 25th wedding anniversary in May (“if we make it that long” according to Duh). The brochures are gorgeous and so enticing!

But I can’t help but look at all those couples of a certain age lounging about on the Lido deck and wonder if, instead of wearing those weird matching white cotton outfits (the latest in what I call Cialiswear these days), they should be wearing something more in the line of hazmat suits instead.

When I read about those poor souls aboard a Princess cruise having to endure being served meals by gloved and masked wait staff instead of diving into an all-you-can-eat buffet seven times a day as advertised, it broke my heart.

I know, I know. It’s tough keeping any sickness from spreading when you’ve crammed 3,000 vacationers into a relatively small space. And, yes, I know that the odds of getting sick on a cruise ship are minuscule when compared with getting the same virus back at home doing normal stuff instead of getting hammered on frothy rum drinks while trying to twerk to a Captain & Tennille tribute band.

It’s just that it’s so much scarier to think that you would get sick at sea among strangers. At home, you can nurse your norovirus with Netflix, a familiar bathroom and a king-size bed. At sea, you are among strangers who wrongly think they are worse off than you.

Only 20 percent of the passengers aboard Royal Caribbean’s “Explorer of the Seas” (more aptly, Explorer of the Bowl) actually got sick before the trip was cut short and passengers were returned to Bayonne, New Jersey, last month.

Wow. Talk about your rock and your hard place.

Through it all, the cruise lines have been admirably generous in compensating the passengers for their vacation being you-know-what canned. All were given refunds and vouchers toward future cruises aboard a ship with, hopefully, fewer airborne pathogens. And experts say that there has never been a better time to book a cruise because rates are rock-bottom.

Do the viral outbreaks make me rethink a 25th anniversary cruise? Of course. Should they? Of course not. Statistically, I have a greater chance of getting spit on and egged by Justin Beiber than I do of getting sick on a cruise ship. At least I think I do.

rivenbark.com

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