Cruise holidays: Avoid the agony of norovirus by drinking ‘carbonated’ water

Couple recall being struck down with Norovirus on cruise

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While cruise crew work extremely hard to keep ships clean, it can be easy to become ill on a cruise holiday.

Covid might have captured everyone’s attention in the last few years but there’s another illness that could ruin a cruise holiday.

Norovirus also called the ‘vomiting bug’ is a particularly unpleasant sickness that causes vomiting and diarrhoea.

People may also suffer from a high temperature, headache and aching arms and legs when they have the virus.

On Channel 5’s When Posh Holidays Go Horribly Wrong, one couple shared how their dream holiday was ruined by a bout of norovirus. spoke to Dr Sarah Brewer, Healthspan Medical Director, to hear her tips to avoid the virus.

She told “Visitors travelling abroad are especially susceptible to gastroenteritis as food hygiene may be less strict, and resistance is low to foreign bacteria and viruses to which you have not previously been exposed to.

“You will have to trust the ship’s kitchen staff in preparing food but use hand sanitiser yourself and wash your hands regularly.”

Passengers who are particularly worried could consider avoiding the ship’s buffet as that is likely to be the most high-risk area.

Dr Sarah added: “When going on trips off the ship take a full water bottle with you.

“If having to buy water off the ship, then ensure the bottle is sealed, carbonated is safer than still water as it’s less likely to have been filled from the tap.

“Make sure all hot food in restaurants seems cooked thoroughly and is served piping hot rather than merely warm.”

If there is an outbreak of norovirus on the ship, it’s a good idea to avoid close contact with other guests.

Passengers could even stay in their cabin if they are particularly worried about contracting the virus. also spoke to Hussain Abdeh, clinical director and superintendent pharmacist at Medicine Direct.

He told “Even before Covid, most cruise ships would ask that you sanitise your hands before entering restaurants and areas that serve food onboard the ship.

“Hand sanitiser stations are available all over the ship, and you should at the very least ensure you make good use of them when entering and leaving restaurants.

“Carrying a small bottle of hand sanitiser, which you can use when entering entertainment rooms, bars and gyms help to provide an added layer of protection.”

Where should you go on your next holiday?

Now that the world has opened up again it’s time to pack those suitcases and head off on a well-deserved adventure. Where should you be jetting off to? Take our quiz and find out.


With endless culture, gorgeous beaches and weather to die for, Greece is a great choice both for romantic getaways and family trips. Wander the historical streets of Athens and Thessaloniki or head to an island to soak up the sun – the choice is yours.


It may be far away but it’s definitely worth the trip. Japan has sprawling metropolises, stunning scenery, and a rich history and culture to boot. Check out the cities of Kyoto and Tokyo and make sure to get your fill of their world-famous cuisine while you’re in town


Hop across the pond and experience an array of cultures, climates, cuisines and more. You can leave the phrasebook at home and get truly immersed in everything that this sprawling nation has to offer, from the Grand Canyon to the Statue of Liberty


With some of the best food around and boasting the world’s most romantic city, France is a great choice if you’re in a hurry. Be in its glorious capital in just hours, grab a pain au chocolat and practice your language skills while wandering along the banks of the Seine


La dolce vita is calling! With its stunning views, fascinating history and world-famous Neapolitan pizza, Italy is a great choice, whether you’re after an adventure or want to dive into a big bowl of spaghetti


A little off the beaten track, Morocco boasts stunning architecture, winding street markets to get lost in, and beautiful landscapes. Soak up the sun in Marrakech or head to Chefchaouen for one of the most unique experiences a holiday-maker can have

The Caribbean

Sun, sea and sand – what’s not to love? Head to the Caribbean if you really want to unwind. With plenty of picturesque locations to choose from, from the streets of Havana to the beaches of Grenada, you’re sure to find something that fits your holiday dreams.


When most people think ‘holiday’, sunshine and relaxation comes to mind – but a different kind of trip can be just as rewarding. Splash around in the Blue Lagoon and try your luck at catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights. This is definitely one for the bucket list.


India is well worth a visit if you have some time to spare. With an array of different cultures coexisting in this vast and vibrant nation, as well as gorgeous food to be enjoyed at every turn, you’ll find yourself immersed in the experience. Take a trip to the Taj Mahal for that jaw drop moment

Swiss Alps

If snow sports are your thing, then this mountainous region is perfect for you. Venture down the powdered slopes and warm your hands at the après-ski afterward. Perfect for a group of friends, a romantic trip, or even some time with the kids – if they can stand the cold!

What kind of holiday do you like best?

What’s your budget?

How long do you have for your trip?

Who’s going on the trip?

How are your languages skills?

What’s your ideal climate?

Which is top of your bucket list?

He added: “Tell the staff if you notice anyone coughing on the food that is open to germs. Buffets and self service are very common aboard cruise ships and not everyone will take the safety and sanitation of others as seriously as you.

“Therefore, you should do your bit to ensure that hygiene standards are maintained, both for your sake and the sake of all other passengers.

“Notify staff if you see people helping themselves with their hands instead of using serving tongs, or not sanitising their hands.”

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