Holland America Line's Veendam

Holland America Line’s Veendam

Well, news has surfaced that a Holland America ship returned with a NoroVirus outbreak. You know from my post last week that I don’t think it’s news, since Norovirus is an extremely common issue in the United States alone. I know…I know…why am I writing about it if I feel this way?

I reiterate…outbreaks occur on cruises mostly because of an infected person coming on board in the first place. Think about it…you put in for vacation time and save up money to take a cruise vacation with your family. The cruise is drawing near, and finally, the day has come…it’s go time. But, you feel a little something…a tingle in your throat, a nagging cough, or perhaps something else. You hand in your bags and go park the car, and you finally make your way to the first counter, where you have to fill out the Health Declaration Form. What are you going to write? Are you going to disclose that you possibly have the onset of flu, or something else? Are you going to risk being turned away, placing the entire trip (for you and your party) in jeopardy?

I am not condoning an omission…I am merely being realistic!

And, speaking of the mandatory Health Declaration Form, let’s take a look at the signing process. Thousands of people signing an “Okay To Sail” clearance form, using the same (provided) pens! So, if there are passengers hiding something, there is the potential to spread (whatever it is) during the embarkation process alone, regardless of your ship’s CDC Grade for cleanliness! Ah, the irony…potentially becoming ill, while signing that you are not!


The article about the Veendam is quick to mention that the ship received a failing grade (as part of the CDC Vessel Sanitation Program) back in September. What the article does not mention is that there were no reported illnesses at that time, and that this most recent report comes after Holland America’s Veendam received a score 99 (out of 100). Yet, passengers still fell ill.

OK, cue my eye roll.

It’s going to be short and sweet today. I’m just tired of the media making a big deal every time a person (or persons) get sick on a cruise ship. Here are a couple of figures from the CDC:

The average number of people who get Norovirus (annually)  in the United States is 19-21 MILLION.
The number of people (passengers AND crew) who got sick on cruise ships in 2013…2,315.  Once again, 2, 315!

It’s awful, and you feel miserable when it happens…I get it. I understand that! But what about city subway systems? Libraries? Airplanes? Department stores? I could go on. And, it is going to be very difficult to convince me that any of these (and other) places are monitored for cleanliness greater than cruise ships! No matter where, we are having to rely on human beings to stay away from others when sick…and that seldom happens! OK, rant completed…almost…