Although cruising can be an idyllic travel option, it is no secret that there are some unique mishaps that can be encountered as you sail the high seas.
Now, a new study by finder.com.au has revealed the number one fear Australians have about cruising is getting gastro.
The research found that Aussie travellers were more concerned about the possibility of getting a stomach bug on a cruise than the ship sinking, losing luggage, violent storms, falling overboard or the ship leaving them behind.
The study found that 37 per cent of Australians were most afraid of gastro, which was an even bigger concern than regular seasickness.
The fear of getting gastro was so strong that two in five Aussies admitted they would never go on a cruise because they were afraid of getting sick.
Norovirus is a highly contagious virus with symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach cramping as well as fever, headache, muscle aches and fatigue.
Gastro outbreaks have been associated with cruise ships because of the enclosed environment onboard, which allows the virus to rapidly spread through food, surfaces and person-to-person contact.
In this year alone, 443 people have been impacted in seven major outbreaks so far.
An outbreak is considered “major” if it affects more than 2 per cent of all passengers.
“A massive two in five Australians wouldn’t go on a cruise solely due to concerns about getting sick,” finder.com.au’s travel insurance expert Bessie Hassan said.
“Unfortunately it’s a reality that gastro outbreaks on cruise ships can be common, but worrying about getting sick doesn’t need to ruin your holiday.”
Between December 2016 and February 2017, there were consecutive outbreaks of norovirus on eight Sun Princess voyages.
Sydney-based law firm Shine Lawyers has been preparing a large-scale action against Carnival Australia, the owner and operator of Princess Cruises.
Tips for avoiding norovirus on a cruise
Finder.com.au recommended passengers wash or sanitise hands regularly on a cruise, especially before eating and after using the bathroom. It is also important to clean your hands after taking part in an onboard activity or using public armchairs.
When turning the bathroom tap off, use a paper towel to avoid possible recontamination.
It is also important to keep a close eye on the buffet food as bacteria can thrive in foods kept at room temperature. It is also helpful to limit person-to-person contact – choose to wave instead of shaking hands.
What is your biggest fear about cruising? Let us know in the comments below.
Article created in partnership with Over60