| Remove these images from your brain |
| The Rocking and Rolling of the ship |
One of the biggest misconceptions I had about cruising before I did it was about the motion of the ship in the water. I thought it would be rocking and rolling like the Mayflower, causing hoards of people to barf up the gourmet cuisine I had heard so much about.
These giant ships are so big that I could sit here and describe them to you all day and not do their sheer size justice. The feeling you get at your first sight of one is much like seeing some phenomenon of nature (Twister's come to mind for this Kansas boy), amazing architectural accomplishment (think St Louis Arch, Golden Gate Bridge or Statue of Liberty) , or other "wonder of the world". The awe-inspiring sight of one for the first time can hook you on cruising in and of itself.
The "motion in the ocean" you will feel is, for the most part, slight due to giant stabilizer arms that extend from the hull of the ship, much like wings on an airplane. If Christopher Columbus had one of these babies he'd have touched base in America and swung right on down to the Caribbean for sure.
Will you get sick?
Not likely. We are a family of four. None of us have even come close. On our first cruise Lisa took the motion sickness medication Bonine in the morning before we got going for the day and never had a problem. She was just being safe. She's always being safe. And smart. She's always being smart. Always with the smartness that girl, rubs it in all the time. But on the cruises that followed she skipped it and had no problems just like the rest of us.
But if you're concerned about it, buy some Bonine. That should do the trick.
Other "remedies" include Dramamine (like Bonine but makes you sleepy--- no thanks, too much to do), a patch that?s put behind the ear (they have patches for everything now, Lisa wants me to get one and stick it on my head to make me smart like her), wrist bands ( the people that use these have attempted suicide at some time in their lives and are covering up the evidence) and other assorted snake oils and mirror tricks.
You will feel a slight movement which may throw you off just because on land, unless you're drunk, your living room is not floating. This will pass if you want it to as you become accustomed to it and get your "sea legs". Some people don?t want to become accustomed to it and actually enjoy the "Whoa, look at me, I'm tipsy!" thing. The cool part is that after your cruise when you get back home you will still have your "sea legs" for a little and find yourself compensating for the slight movement of the ocean in Toledo. I think that's a dirty trick the cruise lines play to get you to think about booking your next cruise as soon as you get home...like you needed any encouragement.
If you should need any of the many remedies for motion sickness or most any other incidental items, the gift shop on every ship packs a nice selection of things you might have forgotten, as well as all kinds of cruise line logo stuff.
| Just a bunch of old timers? |
In a word? NO
That may very well have been the case in the early 70's before Carnival Cruise Lines breathed new life into a dated industry on it's last legs much like radio was with the advent of television. Carnival started a fleet of "Fun Ships" that forever changed the nature of cruise vacations. They turned a sleepy crawl across the Atlantic or around the Caribbean into an action-packed getaway that allowed one to leave all their cares behind and truly unwind. Over the years they perfected this carefully orchestrated experience and other lines joined in with their own version.
You'll find older people on a cruise to be sure... along with couples, family groups, singles, organizations on a group cruise and more of all ages. Some lines cater to specific groups of people. Carnival, again, got the reputation as the "party" boats and couldn't shake that for decades. Only recently, with a concentration on families, singles and couples has the line been able to pull away from that. Pretty much any cruise line can be a good choice for anyone. The trick is knowing which one is a good fit for you.
You will NOT be swimming laps here.
One of the most surprising things about a cruise ship to me was that cruise lines fill the pools with salt water from the ocean.
Some lines do, others do not and use chlorine-style water like at your pool back home
I totally did not expect that. It IS filtered and clean but it's not like the pool back home at all. Plus, although there are several pools and whirlpools, even a huge water slide or attraction, they are not "swimming" pools. They are more like "gathering and games" pools. Located in the center of the action they are used allot. But they are not big enough to swim in really.
I think the notion of swimming is best left at home. You could swim in the ocean when in port. Lots of people (including us) seek out beaches. I don't see many people actually swimming though unless there is something anchored off shore to swim to. Its more like wading and saying "yeah!, I don't have anything at all like this in Kansas"
Another misconception is spawned from people's experiences with all-inclusive resorts. They ask if they miss the included dinner will there be some machines on board or a snack bar where they can get something to eat.
DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THIS
The times meals are served almost overlap plus there is always something to eat. Complementary Room Service and the Pizzeria are available 24/7. I think you would have to try pretty darn hard to miss all the different food options available. Some ships have more, some less.
YOU WILL NOT GO HUNGRY
| What About That Norwalk Virus? |
All this talk and valid concern about coming in contact with a virus that might result in us getting sick reminds me of some basic precautions we take to help insure a safe cruise.
One of the first stops we make is to our cabin where we spray everything with Lysol and then leave.
Throughout our vacation, from the time we leave home till we get back we're washing our hands frequently and using hand sanitizer practically every time we walk by it.
I still avoid the buffets on the lido deck which is probably overkill but I think I've just gotten out of the habit, choosing to eat in the dining room instead as much as possible.
The fact of the matter though is that much of the prevention of the norwalk virus is out of our hands and involves activities such as cooking shellfish throughly, washing raw vegetables and disposing of sewage in a sanitary manner. These things can usually be traced to some improper handling somewhere along the line.
The idea of using your foot to flush the toilet is one of the best I've heard as that button is one of THE most common places for the virus to be harbored.
When do symptoms appear?
Symptoms of norovirus illness usually begin about 24 to 48 hours after ingestion of the virus, but they can appear as early as 12 hours after exposure.
Are noroviruses contagious?
Noroviruses are very contagious and can spread easily from person to person. Both stool and vomit are infectious. Particular care should be taken with young children in diapers who may have diarrhea.How long are people contagious?
People infected with norovirus are contagious from the moment they begin feeling ill to at least 3 days after recovery. Some people may be contagious for as long as 2 weeks after recovery. Therefore, it is particularly important for people to use good handwashing and other hygienic practices after they have recently recovered from norovirus illness.
Who gets norovirus infection?
Anyone can become infected with these viruses. There are many different strains of norovirus, which makes it difficult for a person?s body to develop long-lasting immunity. Therefore, norovirus illness can recur throughout a person?s lifetime. In addition, because of differences in genetic factors, some people are more likely to become infected and develop more severe illness than others.
What treatment is available for people with norovirus infection?
Currently, there is no antiviral medication that works against norovirus and there is no vaccine to prevent infection. Norovirus infection cannot be treated with antibiotics. This is because antibiotics work to fight bacteria and not viruses.
Norovirus illness is usually brief in healthy individuals. When people are ill with vomiting and diarrhea, they should drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Dehydration among young children, the elderly, the sick, can be common, and it is the most serious health effect that can result from norovirus infection. By drinking oral rehydration fluids (ORF), juice, or water, people can reduce their chance of becoming dehydrated. Sports drinks do not replace the nutrients and minerals lost during this illness.
Can norovirus infections be prevented?
Yes. You can decrease your chance of coming in contact with noroviruses by following these preventive steps:
Frequently wash your hands, especially after toilet visits and changing diapers and before eating or preparing food.
Carefully wash fruits and vegetables, and steam oysters before eating them.
Thoroughly clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces immediately after an episode of illness by using a bleach-based household cleaner.
Immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with virus after an episode of illness (use hot water and soap).
Flush or discard any vomitus and/or stool in the toilet and make sure that the surrounding area is kept clean.