Coffee, tea and me…Tom’s worries about cruising…What about Norovirus in today’s news?

Beach view.

In this morning’s news its reported that two ships, Royal Caribbean’s owned Celebrity Infinity and also our upcoming ship, Legend of the Seas, have been stricken with hundreds of cases of the dreaded Norovirus. 

Here’s a portion of the article with the full article here:

“Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has two ships at sea along the west coast of California and Mexico, where passengers are experiencing gastrointestinal ailments that include vomiting and diarrhea.

An outbreak on the Legend of the Seas, on a two-week cruise ending tomorrow, sickened 114 passengers, about 7 percent of the total, and two crew members said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Infinity, part of the company’s Celebrity line, reported 106 sick passengers, or about 5 percent of the total, on a cruise ending Monday.

Outbreaks of norovirus on cruise ships aren’t uncommon during the winter season. Cruise line operators are required to report the total number of gastrointestinal cases, with online updates posted when they account for more than 3 percent of passengers and crew.”

Tattoo shop in Kapaa.

By the time I sat down to start my computer, Tom had already sent me the article. However, while I was getting ready to begin my day, Tom mentioned the following to me, “When we’re on the ship, take extra teabags each time you make a cup of tea. On this long cruise, they’ll probably run out of your favorite tea.”

I giggled aloud. That had never occurred to me. Once, a few cruises ago when they ran out of Earl Grey, my choice over their other options, a tea I never purchase when we’re “landed.” It was no big deal. 

Café along the Kuhio Highway, the main highway in Kauai from the north where we’re located to the south past Lihue where the airport is located.

A few days later, Earl Grey tea bags magically appeared. Either the ship picked it up at a port or someone bothered to go into the storage area to finally open an awaiting supply. 

My dear husband remembers these three days that I didn’t have Earl Gray tea. I drank Lipton. It was no big deal. But, for him, he was concerned that I didn’t have what I wanted. (I only consume tea with a jolt of caffeine so those fruity flavored herbal teas have never appealed to me).

Clothing store in Kapaa.

Drinking hot tea is only important to me a few times a day while on a cruise, once in the morning, two mugs full, and the same around 4:00 pm each day. The remainder of the time I drink iced tea or water.

My first choice of morning beverage is always coffee which we now have every morning using real cream. My way of eating prevents me from using half and half which contains too much milk sugar. Rarely do the ships have real cream available. On a few occasions, I’ve been able to get it. Instead, in the mornings on the ships, I drink plain tea. It’s no big deal.

Rainy day, sandy beach view.

Tom’s suggestion to take extra tea bags to save in the event they run out is pointless to me. Why would I always want my small pockets filled with tea bags, which are always full anyway with business cards, my phone, a tube of lipstick, and a cruise ID card?

Plus, it drives me nuts to see others loading up on supplies that they want to save to take home. We don’t do that. We can buy our own tea bags and stir sticks when we get to our next location. 

Mountain view with a fire nearby.

Of course, Tom worries about the norovirus. Based on the small percentages that actually become ill and the zillions of times per day we wash our hands and avoid touching anything, we’ve never had norovirus on these past 10 cruises. 

On three prior cruises, we did come down with the “cruise cough.” It’s hard to avoid someone coughing on the elevator or even in one’s face. On the last ship, on our way to Hawaii, while I was getting my breakfast (using a cloth napkin wrapped around my hand which I tossed in the bin before eating), I saw a man sneeze on a bunch of clean white plates and then walk away.

Views out to sea.

I stood at the plates to prevent anyone from taking one until a staff member walked past me so I could report it. I watched as they cleared every plate and washed the general area. How much of this actually occurs that we don’t know about?

Based on this, why would anyone choose to cruise? For us, it’s plain and simple. We have a blast doing our thing each day and basically attending a party each night when we meet six or eight new people at our dinner table from all over the world with whom we engage with considerable laughter and animated conversation. It’s so much fun! 

A trip to Kapaa on a sunny day.

Plus, stopping at various ports of call either on small group tours or on our own, is an enriching and rewarding experience. How else can one possibly see so much of the world in a relatively short period of time?

Worry? Yes, he’ll worry. But, not me. Until I’m eating onion sandwiches and sewage is running through the halls, I’m not about to worry.

                                              Photo from one year ago today, April 14, 2014:

The winding roads and fast driving by our driver made me car sick for the first time in decades. I was grateful when we finally returned back to the riad after cutting the trip short by a few days. For details, please click here.

Here it comes!…Round 2…plunge, twist and release!…

Oh, goodness!  Tomorrow is my second round of immunizations, this time including the scary “live” yellow fever vaccine. I must admit, I’m terrified.

Getting stabbed in my puny “years of hard-workout” muscles doesn’t scare me. Anyone that works out regularly, as I do can stand a little pain especially for the ten seconds it will take for Nurse Marcia to plunge, twist and release the four vaccines into my eagerly awaiting triceps.  Ouch! Definitely ouch, but then again, over quickly.
Nor does it frighten me that my arm may be sore, red, or swollen for days. Nope, not that.  But…becoming ill from the vaccine scares me!!  

In reading about the risks of the yellow fever vaccine at the CDC’s web site, the only added risk I may present is my age, over 60.  Darned that age thing!  Then again, if we weren’t so old we wouldn’t be retiring and wouldn’t be spending seven months in Africa.  

I can’t recall any time in my 45-year career that I could have gone to Africa, planning vaccinations well in advance and taking off the required time for receiving the vaccinations, preparations, and actual travel time.

Tom begins his vaccinations at the end of May with nary a worry or concern.  Its a guy thing…toughing it out.
I’ll report back tomorrow afternoon after the big event is over. Hopefully, I won’t have a reaction but if I do, I will post photos of my red, hot, swollen, puny muscles on my pale Minnesota arms. Say a prayer for me!