As a long-time journalist in the field of all things related to online gaming, I’ve written countless articles encouraging lovers of slot machines to take their action to the internet. Of all the reason why online casinos are more appreciable than the brick-and-mortar variety, there is one motivation I hadn’t even realized—until now. If you’re going to a land-based gambling establishment or on a casino cruise, do NOT forget to pack hand sanitizer!
As reported by ABC 10 News out of San Diego, California yesterday, more than 200 people became extremely ill during their voyage on Royal Caribbean casino cruise ships. Reports indicate the passengers on two casino cruise liners suffered sickness, including complaints of vomiting and diarrhea, on recent trips across the ocean.
Federal health officials reported 112 of the estimated 2,000 passengers and crew on the Celebrity Infinity casino cruise, owned by Royal Caribbean, became victims of the norovirus. According to the Center for Disease Control, norovirus is “a very contagious virus” that can be contracted from “an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces.”
The Celebrity Infinity left port in San Diego on March 29, and returned 15 days later. Celebrity Cruises, a subsidiary of Royal Caribbean, said the number of victims aboard the casino cruise was only 100, and that all responded to onboard medication. Upon return, the ship was quickly disinfected, boarded with new passengers and set sail for Fort Lauderdale, FL on Monday.
The other casino cruise liner involved in the incident was Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas, which debarked from Fort Lauderdale just one day later, March 30, and arrived back at port on Tuesday. On that voyage, federal health officials reported 114 of the 1,763 passengers and 747 crew members became ill, but the cause has yet to be identified. The CDC will be analyzing samples taken by the ship’s staff to determine the origins of the outbreak.
Like the Celebrity Infinity, the Legend of the Seas was promptly disinfected before resuming its schedule.
ABC 10 News took the story one step further by conducting their own investigation into the bacteria-ridden nature of slot machines and other items travelers often come in contact with during a casino cruise. Members of the news team went aboard a similar ship and swabbed various areas, then published the results of the test.
According to the report, “the bacteria on a slot machine handle and the buttons on the elevator had a reading of nearly four times normal germ levels.” That alone is enough to cause concern, but the results were much worse for other common items.
“Lounge chairs by the swimming pool had nearly eight times the normal level of bacteria,” reported ABC 10 News. “The worst item on a cruise ship was the handle on a serving spoon at the buffet, which had 20 times more bacteria than normal.” As for the cleanest items on a casino cruise, the report indicated that, “The cleanest areas to touch were the self-serve yogurt machine and the dinner menu.”
It’s clear that anyone who intends to set sail on a casino cruise, visit Las Vegas or head to a buffet should make sure to have a small bottle of hand sanitizer in their pocket at all times, and don’t be afraid to use it!