Low Budget Cruises
How to Stay Healthy on a Cruise Ship
By Alex Stewart

Along with the glamour and fun associated with cruise travel comes a real need to be aware of your personal health and safety. If you're concerned about health and safety issues on board a cruise ship, keep reading for great tips on how to stay well during your next cruise vacation.

1. Check a Boat's Report Card

The Vessel Sanitation Program operates through the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Their job is to inspect ships regularly. They look for cleanliness issues, food storage facilities, food preparation methods, water sanitation, hygiene, pest control and a ship's disease prevention methods.

After the Vessel Sanitation Program inspects a ship, they issue a report card. That report card is then made available on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention web site. So, before you book your next cruise, research and read your proposed ship's report card and check their score.

2. Visit Your Doctor Before You Depart

Make an appointment with your family doctor at least a few weeks before you're scheduled to depart. Be sure you have all necessary vaccinations that will be required, an extra supply of your medication and, if you have specific health problems, a copy of your medical chart.

For travelers who need a yellow fever vaccination, you may want to plan farther in advance to book a vaccination at a local public health or travel clinic.

3. Be Diligent About Germs

Remember that a cruise ship is an enclosed space holding a lot of people. Germs and disease can spread quickly on board a ship, so take precautions like always keep your shoes or a pair of flip-flops on at all times, use hand sanitizer regularly (carry some in your pocket) and wash your hands often.

4. Watch What You Eat and Drink

Cruise ships are typically safe for water and food, but if you're planning on any shore excursions, only drink bottled water and try to only eat at reputable and "safe" restaurants. You don't want your cruise vacation tarnished by a bout of food poisoning.

5. Put Your Children's Safety First

If you're booking a cruise with your children, even a "kid's cruise," always be aware of the cruise line's policies regarding child safety. Ask them about how they screen their child care employees, whether or not all crew are required to have first aid certification and - even if you're cruising with the best - always be aware of where your children are on board at all times.

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