It’s important to note that boarding a ship with a history of high scores does not guarantee that an outbreak won’t occur; indeed the Independence of the Seas’ most recent score was a near-perfect 98. So once you’re aboard the ship, your precautionary measures are really just beginning. Washing your hands is the most effective measure, according to both the CDC and the official guidance provided by Royal Caribbean to passengers aboard the Independence of the Seas (seen in the Tweet above). You should pay particularly special attention to hand-washing when it comes to eating, drinking, smoking, touching your face, and, of course, using the bathroom. Hand sanitizer is also advised, but only in situations where hand-washing is not available.

In addition, if you see someone who is ill—whether there is a known outbreak or not—it’s best to vacate the area and alert staff immediately, according to CDC guidance. If an outbreak has been announced, passengers are generally advised to stay in their rooms while sanitation measures take place. While this is certainly not how you might’ve imagined spending your holiday, it’s better than getting ill.

Lastly, once you’ve disembarked, it’s good to investigate your options as far as a refund. According to Cruise Critic, a UK-based cruise review community, “Cruise lines are not required to compensate guests who fall ill on a voyage. However, cruise lines will generally compensate passengers whose voyage is altered or canceled due to an outbreak.” Check with your provider for details.

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