It's been very interesting to watch the progression of the Norovirus
as it sweeps our lovely cruise liner.
If you'll recall, I got sick on Day 2 (meaning it was already lurking here when we boarded); was unnecessarily and unmercifully quarantined on Day 3; and we started to notice changes aboard the ship the very next day.
First of all, the salt & pepper shakers disappeared from the dinner table. If you ask for salt (or pepper), they bring you some little paper packets. On a nice platter, albeit still paper, like fast food or picnics or take-out gives you.
Classy, don't'cha think?
By the next morning, there was a change in the breakfast buffet line. Yes, we have room service with our suite, but, honestly, by Day 4 we've given up. It's wrong, it's cold, or they forgot the cream for the coffee. It's just not worth the aggravation. Plus, by now, after being quarantined, I'm ready to get out of that room. The full glassed-in upper deck where the breakfast buffet is served suites my mood better.
However, suddenly the staff is serving us in the buffet line instead of everyone helping themselves.
To be sure we got the message, they simply took the serving spoons away on our side.
Same with coffee. God forbid that you should pour your own. Basically, anything that you can touch (and thus pass on the virus to the unsuspecting guy behind you who just wants some bacon for breakfast) is being removed. Or replaced. Or guarded.
By the NEXT morning, they've swathed the food stations in plastic wrap. I'm wondering how big these packages of plastic wrap are. They could completely envelope a small European car with what they're using here.
For every meal.
And they hand us a plate (can't get your own); silverware too. They've gotten more efficient with the salt & pepper distribution, it would seem.
And of course, we must pause here to have the conversation about the end result -- how much wasted food?!.
Where I would have served myself a fraction of this lovely English breakfast (I sort of got hooked on the sauteed mushrooms and baked beans with their English "bacon" (more like our American ham, but not cured quite the same); instead, they served me what I would refer to as "cruiser portions".
I am not, by the way, a "cruiser".
And I ate only a fraction. And then felt guilty about all the starving children wherever they are in the world. Truly.
Lots and lots and lots of wasted food. Remember, our last International trip was to Peru and Ecuador. Lots of families there scrapping for food for their families. They certainly came to mind. Just sayin'.
Meanwhile, in the ladies' room(s), the nice terrycloth towels for drying your hands have been replaced with paper towels. And instructions for such.
There is a staff person posted at every restaurant, every restroom, elevator stations, everywhere, with goatskins of hand sanitizer. Going in, going back out, on your way in to the theatre for the evening show, even if you are dressed to the nines, you are expected to offer your hands, palms up, for a generous portion of disinfectant goo. God, they must have used a tanker truck full of this stuff!
The staff is now wearing plastic gloves. All of them. All the time. And they are still dropping like flies. The server you've had at dinner all along has been replaced, the coffee gal in the morning is different.
Remember this -- if enough of the staff goes down, the trip is pretty much over. Can't run a big ship without them. I'm watching to see if they start to ask for passenger volunteers, that would be my signal to take a flight home from the next port-of-call.
Next, they clear out the mini-bar in our room. No great loss, as we don't use it; but I'm starting to get a little paranoid.
The next casualty is our bed-skirt.
Next day the silver tray upon which our morning coffee service is displayed is gone.
As well as our morning coffee service supplies. Anything we can touch and leave the virus behind is disappearing.
They have staff disinfecting the railings -- full time.
Up one side, down the other, every staircase, all day long.
We now use our elbows for the elevator buttons.
Next the books in the on-board library all disappear.
(The upper shelves are all "fake". The lower shelves, which housed all the "actual" books, are empty.) The chess set and cribbage boards are gone, too.
By now I'm getting a little worried. Mr C did not share in my illness, and though it's just a 24 hour bug, if he catches it now, we're in danger of missing St. Petersburg!!
So, bottom line of all this is......Don't forget my travel tip ~~ lesson learned on this one. Always take some Imodium AD with along ~~ especially if you're on a cruise line. It was the gold from the Pirate's chest that they gave me as the cure (along with quarantine) for the Scourge of the Seven Seas.
I can't honestly say I'm lovin' cruisin' at this moment.......