Ex crew member reveals how clean cruises really are – will it stop the spread of viruses?

Cruise holidays are a popular way to mix adventure with opulent relaxation, which is why droves of people across the globe are opting to take to the seas for their annual vacation. With hundreds of passengers on board at any one time, it’s no surprise the spread of disease is a concern. Whether its a simple cold or something more extreme – such as the current Coronavirus pandemic – onboard cleanliness is incredibly important.


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However, with passengers milling about the ship at all hours of the day and night, how can the cleaning staff ensure every surface is clean?

An ex cruise worker shared a look behind the scenes at life onboard a ship and revealed just how clean ships really are.

“I worked on a ship for two summers and could answer loads of questions, but the cleaning standards are very high!” the former cruise worker wrote.

“There’s an organisation I can’t remember the name of that visits ships randomly to check cleanliness and if the ship doesn’t meet standards they can’t sail.

“I worked in the kid’s activity centre and the last day of every cruise we would do a 2-hour special clean with a certain cleaning solution and rags in literally every nook and cranny.

“Toys get steam cleaned, toys with small holes in them get hand-washed, toys with lots of crevices get cleaned with q-tips, etc.

“Last inspection my ship passed with like a 94 percent or something like that.”

Despite the rigorous cleaning methods, some passengers are still wary about hygiene and try to take things into their own hands.

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Brain David Bruns, another former crew member, offers a behind-the-scenes look at the cruise industry in his book “Cruise a la Carte”.

“Some people go to great lengths to ‘protect’ themselves from cruise-borne germs,” he says.

“Many a cruise guest enters his/her cabin and promptly wipes down every conceivable well-used surface with disinfectant wipes; light switches, doorknobs, faucets, and telephone.

“Some go so far as to place the TV remote control in a quart-sized Ziploc bag.”


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Yet, Brian says these methods are completely unnecessary due to the lengths crew go to in order to ensure everything is ship-shape.

“Every home port, room stewards disinfect every high touch item in the cabin, especially in the bathroom,” he states.

“That bathroom has about 400 times less bacteria than your office desk.”

Brun also points out that cruise ships must be cleaned “above and beyond” the standards of most land businesses.

As a result, he says: “I worked on ships for four years and never got sick once.

This is probably a welcome relief to passengers due to sail in the coming months, as the threat of global pandemic Coronavirus has sparked concern across the globe.

A ship with 6,000 passengers and 1,000 crew members was recently placed on lockdown after a couple on board were suspected to be infected with the virus.

The husband and wife from Hong Kong were being held in isolation in the onboard hospital with flu-like symptoms.

The Costa Smeralda was held in the port of Civitavecchia.

Lazio Coast Guard’s maritime director Vincenzo Leone said: “We are waiting to know the outcome of the checks still in progress, but everything that needed to be done has been done.

“The situation is under control and at the moment there is no reason for concern on board.

“We immediately activated the maritime health protocol envisaged in these cases.”

When illnesses are suspected onboard, it is not uncommon for cruise ships to put certain passengers into isolation, go into lockdown and up cleaning protocols.

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