While economic uncertainty still plagues the nation and the world, travelers are still planning vacations. Despite the recent Costa Concordia Cruise Line accident and the most recent Norovirus (flu-like virus) outbreak on a Princess Cruise Line ship, vacations are up.
As reported by ABC News, Travelocity’s annual travel confidence report showed that 53% of people polled plan to travel more in 2012 than they did in 2011. For those that plan to travel more, 2/3 of them plan on spending more money.
Hats off to these people; however, the smart traveler knows where to find the deals.
However, this optimism comes after another debacle in the cruise industry. Recently a Princess cruise was forced to end its trip to Aruba and Curacao two days early. They were forced to return to port due to an outbreak of the Norovirus, a flu-like virus that targets the intestinal system. While this is a common virus affecting about 300 million people a year for about 24-48 hours, it is particularly nasty and contagious.
“We sincerely regret having to cut short our passengers’ cruise vacations because of this highly-unusual situation,” said a Princess Cruise Line representative. “We will, of course, be refunding their cruise fare, arranging flights home, including covering change fees if air was not booked through Princess, providing hotel accommodation if necessary, and offering a 25 percent future cruise credit.”
Princess Cruises said they have set up precautions to avoid situations like this; however, sometimes they are inevitable. They stated that they have developed their sanitation program in cooperation with the CDC (Center for Disease Control) so an outbreak of this magnitude was surprising.
As Princess Cruises explained in a statement, “Our sanitation program has been developed in coordination with the CDC and includes such measures as disinfection of high-touch surfaces; encouraging correct hand washing procedures and enhancing this with the use of hand sanitizing gels placed throughout the ship; isolating ill passengers and crew in cabins until non-contagious; encouraging passengers to use their own cabin’s bathroom facilities; and providing regular verbal and written communication to passengers about steps they can take to stay well while onboard.”
Despite these precautions, the disease still afflicted multiple staff and guests on the ship. Princess Cruises reported that 114 passengers 3.7% of all passengers, and 59 crewmembers, about 5% of the crew, were infected.
The CDC has decided that if over 2% of the passengers on board are infected then it is officially an outbreak and the ship must dock. The Ruby Princess and the Royal Caribbean’s Voyager cruise lines have also reported similar viral outbreaks on their ships.
While an outbreak of this kind can cut a vacation short, it should be no reason to cancel a trip. As signs in the economy start to look up, there are great prices for vacations out there. And the likeliness of running aground or contacting a virus is actually very small, so go and have fun.
All it takes is a few minutes to search online and find a pretty decent discount. As discount online purveyor MoneyOnTheGo.net says, “Users can find offers of up to 50% savings on cruises world-wide” with their services. They don’t just help with cruises though, “Room costs pale in comparison to the costs of food, drinks and activities. But you can avoid these additional costs with an all-inclusive vacation package.”