Is Cruising Safe With Zika?

Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

The Zika virus has been on everyone’s mind since the outbreaks in Miami and Miami Beach last year. However, in case you have not heard of it, let us give you a quick rundown on it.

According to the CDC, the Zika virus spreads through infected Aedes species mosquitoes, which bite both during the day and at night. Having sex with an infected individual can also spread the virus. Although mosquito bites are generally a nuisance, the issue with the Zika virus is that it has the ability to pass from a pregnant mother to her unborn fetus. The transfer of the virus often results in serious birth defects such as microcephaly.

Because there currently is no vaccine for Zika, pregnant women need to be especially cautious. Wearing long sleeves and mosquito repellent, as well as abstaining from having sex with someone who has traveled to an area where there is a high risk of Zika contraction until you are sure they have not been infected, are the best ways to avoid the unwanted consequences of a bite from a Zika-infected mosquito.

With all of this in mind, you may be wondering, “Is cruising safe with Zika?”  You have come to the right place to get your answer.

In the wake of the Zika outbreak, numerous major cruise lines have updated their websites with information for travelers. Currently, there are travel notices in place for the Caribbean, Central America, South America, the Pacific Islands, and some areas of Africa and Asia. This means that all travelers should be mindful of the potential to contract the disease, and follow Zika prevention tips both during and after their trip.

The Choice Is Yours

Cruises will continue to operate in these areas, so individuals will need to make the choice for themselves, regarding whether or not they will continue with the voyage as planned. The CDC estimates that this virus may have been present in many of these areas for years, as the symptoms can make it difficult to differentiate from other illnesses. Therefore, although the concern around the disease feels new and urgent, you may not be at any greater risk than you were before.

In fact, you may even be safer than in years past, as you now can prepare in advance and know how to keep yourself and your loved ones protected from the Zika virus. Thus, in terms of Zika virus contraction, cruising may be safer now than it was before. After all, when there is greater discussion surrounding something, there is a much higher chance that you can take the necessary steps to stay safe.

Ultimately, the decision to go on a cruise to an area where Zika contraction is high is completely up to you. Some cruise lines, such as Royal Caribbean, are offering pregnant women the option to reschedule their vacations without penalty for areas where Zika transmission is ongoing. Therefore, it truly does come down to your comfort level and your trust in the available preventative measures.

We have handled countless cases for clients who have suffered injuries or become ill because of a cruise vacation. As a result, we think it is important to know the facts, before you head out. If you find yourself the victim of cruise line negligence rest assured that we are here to help.

A maritime lawyer on our team is ready to listen to your story and help you get your life back on track. So if you are ready to take the first step towards your future, do not hesitate to contact us.