20 Years of Cruise Ship Norovirus Outbreaks listed by Cruise Line

Norovirus is nasty. Symptoms include…well…it’s a stomach virus, you know what they include – and they’ll ruin your vacation. The CDC has compiled the information on Norovirus outbreaks over the years and there are some clear winners and losers when it comes to keeping ships clean and avoiding large outbreaks.

The CDC investigates ship illnesses when 3% or more of the passengers or crew have symptoms on voyages from 3-21 days.

Norovirus incidents peaked in 2006, with 34 significant outbreaks and that number fell to nine last year (2013) – four of which were on Celebrity Cruises (Royal Caribbean).

Over the last 20 years, Holland America (Carnival Corp) and Princess Cruise Line (Carnival Corp) topped the list of outbreaks followed by Celebrity (Royal Caribbean) and Norwegian. Interesting to note: while the subsidiary lines of Carnival and Royal Caribbean had a high number of outbreaks, the signature brands that sail under those names (with many more ships) actually had lower numbers of outbreaks. Carnival Cruise Line didn’t have a single outbreak last year.
Norovirus Incidents By Cruise Line

Other news outlets are reporting that you should avoid longer cruises due to the increased risk, but the very graphic they put together seems to dispute the validity of that. It’s clear that 7, 10, 14, and 15 day sailings have the highest concentration of incidents, but they are also the most common. Also, the trend line in percentage affected by the outbreak is clearly declining with increased cruise length.

Norovirus Incidents by Cruise Length

For more information on specific outbreaks, the CDC has compiled a database.

8 Ways to Sneak Alcohol onto Cruise Ships and into Stadiums

It’s 2013, soon to be 2014, and security getting onto cruise ships and into stadiums/concerts is tighter than ever. Luckily, the research and development teams throughout the world are developing new products to help you sneak alcohol onto cruise ships and into stadiums without getting caught. $15 signature drink in a Carnival glass? $10 beers at the stadium (some college stadiums don’t sell any booze…the nerve)? All problems of the past thanks to these 20 ways to sneak alcohol onto cruise ships and into stadiums. Mind you, some of these are more clandestine than others – be wise when smuggling your hooch and use common sense on whether it’s worth the heat from security. In most cases, they’ll just toss out your booze.

1) The Rum Runner Flask Tried and true – especially for cruise ships. Put a few of these among your liquids in your checked bags, and 9/10 times they’ll sail through the security checkers. They have only a few hours to check thousands of suitcases that even if they do see it, they probably won’t remove it. However, your blatantly obvious 1.5L Jack Daniels bottle is sure to get confiscated – so put it in a Rum Runner Flask Also – no metal – in case you’re at a pro-sports game and they have the wands or the walk-through metal detectors. Yeesh.

2) Shambooze Bottles Unless you’re a weirdo, you’re not going to bring shampoo to a concert or ball game – so this one is for cruises only. The great thing about these bottles is that they never contained shampoo. You can try to remove the soap smell and flavor, but unless you want your rum to taste like Pert Plus – you should just get these instead of the DIY version. The ad claims they are better than the Rum Runners, but we’re not so sure. Just like your retirement portfolio, we recommend diversifying methods to ensure at least SOMETHING gets through to your stateroom.

3) Fake Binoculars Flask – Binoculars? Or Beer Goggles? Whatever you want to call them – they’d work for cruise ships, stadiums, and concerts. Granted, if you’re over 60, you’re more likely to be packing a set of sight extenders than a trio of 22 year old frat guys at a Nickelback concert (oof..they’ll need the booze), so beware that it’s easier to pull this one off if you look the part.

4) The Sunscreen Flask – Great for cruises and outdoor concerts and sporting events. These in particular would be great for re-filling in port, loading up on tax-free liquor, and getting it back on the ship! Our main concern is whether or not these leak as much as sun tan lotion bottles always seem to do. BUT – you could put it in a Ziplock bag with a squirt of real suntan lotion to complete the ruse.

5) The Camera Flask – They actually call this the BevCam – but it’s great for any event or cruise ships. I remember some concerts were real strict on small cameras, but I haven’t seen them scoff at a camera this size in years. I’m also pretty sure that the women with the huge purses that get ‘searched’ for a millisecond could actually smuggle in a large Nikon DSLR with a 70-200mm lens – which if a flask, could probably fit nearly a liter. I’m sensing a new product here…

6)The Wine Rack – Ladies what better way to add distraction to your booze smuggling portfolio than with a device that both distracts AND sneaks in alcohol? I give you the Wine Rack. It holds a whopping 750ml! Amazingly, it has good reviews too; “While the bra is machine-washable, the bladder must be hand-washed, but that hardly deters me from using it every day.” Bottoms up! Or maybe tops up? I’m not really sure here.

The Beer Belly Flask – Men, don’t think we forgot about you. While the beer belly flask seems like an excellent idea, the reviews are pretty terrible – from booze tasting like the bladder, drinks being warm from snuggling with your real beer belly, and finally – a few reports of leakage which makes you look like you peed your pants. No matter where you’re trying to go with this, looking like you wet yourself is a real good way of attracting more attention – probably the kind that gets you caught.

8) The Tampon Flask I almost didn’t include this on the list because it weirded me out. That’s also what makes them brilliant. What security man would ever take a closer look at these? In fact, one look and he’d promptly shut your bag and wave your entire party through the gate without another word. Just don’t ask me to take a shot out of them.

What about you? What’s your favorite method of sneaking alcohol?