Can this trip be saved? Salvage my “absolutely horrifying” cruise, please

Spend a little time on a cruise ship, and you’ll notice how germ-phobic the seafaring class seems to be. From the ever-present dispensers of Purell hand sanitizer, to the employees offering antiseptic towelettes at the all-you-can-eat-buffet, they look as if they could show Howard Hughes a good time.

Well, there’s a reason for that: Norwalk virus, a painful gastrointestinal illness, also goes by the name Cruise Ship Sickness. Cruise lines like to blame passengers for bringing the illness on board. Passengers say it’s employees, some of which may still have third-world hygiene, who are at fault.

Joe LoTempio is one of those customers. He just returned from a seven-day cruise on the Carnival Valor — an experience he calls “absolutely horrifying” — and is looking for help salvaging his vacation.

It all started when LoTempio and his girlfriend embarked on the Valor and headed to lunch at Rosie’s Restaurant. Shortly after that, his girlfriend began feeling ill.

“Within the hour she experienced severe vomiting and diarrhea, and by the evening she was so violently ill that we had to place an emergency call to the medical facilities,” he says. “She was so weak by that time that we had to call for a wheelchair to take her down to Deck 0 because she couldn’t make it under her own power.”

Then things got worse.
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How safe is a cruise?

The debut of two brand-new new cruise ships — Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth earlier this fall and Royal Caribbean’s massive 16-deck Allure of the Seas in December — coincides with the beginning of “wave period,” a time of year when most people book their cruise vacations.

But talk of cruises inevitably raises the subject of cruise safety. A few weeks ago, a 79-year-old British man disappeared from a cruise ship in the English Channel. He’s only the latest in a list of passengers who either vanished or fell overboard.

The cruise industry contends a trip on the high seas is safer than a drive to the airport and a stay at a hotel. But just how safe is it?
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But what a lovely way to burn

I probably shouldn’t be writing this. I have a 102-degree fever, but I can’t sleep. That Peggy Lee song is going through my head. Over and over. You know which one.

If you’re still with me, I do have a point to make: I haven’t felt like this since being ravaged by the Norovirus on a river cruise in Europe.

Like then, I’ve found there’s nothing like a little illness to put everything into perspective.
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Yuck! 5 most disgusting cruise ships in the world

prideNo one wants to be stricken by a nasty gastrointestinal virus on a cruise. So to keep the traveling public informed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention inspects ships and publishes the results. A score of 85 or lower is consider a “fail.”

Some of the ships on this list are obscure charter operators, but others are familiar to anyone who cruises.

So, without further ado, here are the winners … I mean, losers. (I’ve included an excerpt from the report for your reading enjoyment.)
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