Following recent news stories regarding norovirus incidents aboard cruise ships, your clients may express concern about vacationing at sea.

As always, the safety and well-being of our guests and crew is the cruise industry's highest priority. Agents are welcome to use this communication to provide their clients with the latest norovirus information, including preventative measures the cruise lines are taking, plus steps your clients can take to reduce their risk.

According to the most recent information, the facts are as follows:

  • The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) is reporting a rise in norovirus incidents across the United States, in hospitals, day care centers, nursing homes and schools. The increase comes at a time of year when such events are more likely to occur.

  • With the reported increase norovirus cases on land, including areas of Virginia and Colorado, CLIA's sister organization, the International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL), has observed a corresponding increase in norovirus incidents aboard cruise ships.

  • According to CDC, the cruise lines have the highest sanitation standards in the world. Rigorous cleaning procedures are in place to disinfect and sanitize public areas including door handles, railings and elevator buttons. According to Dave Forney, chief of CDC's Vessel Sanitation Program, & Cruise lines [also] work meticulously and effectively to actually break the cycle of transmission during most cruises.

  • The most preventative measure guests can take to effectively prevent this temporary but uncomfortable condition is to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water.

Guests who experience symptoms should follow the medical staff's guidance to prevent the spread of illness. Norovirus symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps and may last one to two days. The most common means of transmission is person-to-person contact.

CDC estimates that 23 million people in the United States, or eight percent of the population, contract norovirus each year. In contrast, less than one percent of all cruise guests are affected by norovirus annually.

Should you seek additional information, including more on norovirus and proper hand-washing techniques, please visit the CDC Web site at or the Vessel Sanitation Program's Web site at


Terry L. Dale

Michael Crye

President & CEO


Cruise Lines International Association

International Council of Cruise Lines