Cruise ships have become a popular mode of transportation for tourists, and the amenities that they include have become more and more impressive with each passing year. One of the amenities that is expected on every cruise ship is access to drinking water. However, with stories about norovirus and other outbreaks on cruise ships making headlines, many people are beginning to question the safety of the drinking water on these vessels.
To understand the safety of the drinking water on a cruise ship, it’s important to first understand where the water comes from. Most cruise ships operate on a closed water supply system, meaning the water on the ship is sourced, treated, and then recycled for drinking, cooking, and showering. Typically, the water is sourced from either the ocean, or from ports that the ship visits. Once the water is onboard, it is treated with a variety of chemicals and filtration methods to ensure that it is high-quality and safe to use.
The United States requires cruise ships that visit U.S. ports to comply with strict water quality standards. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regulates the quality of water on cruise ships to ensure that it is free of harmful bacteria and other contaminants. The CDC regularly inspects ships to ensure compliance with these standards, and publishes their findings on their website. Cruise lines are required to submit water samples to the CDC, which are then tested for bacteria, viruses and other contaminants. If a cruise ship fails to meet the CDC’s standards for safe drinking water, they are required to take corrective action before returning to U.S. waters.
In addition to U.S. regulations, cruise lines have their own water quality standards and procedures in place. For example, many cruise lines use their own proprietary water treatment systems to filter and purify the water onboard their ships. These systems are highly advanced, and can remove a wide range of contaminants, including bacteria, viruses, and chemicals such as chlorine and fluoride. Cruise lines also use UV radiation and other methods to kill off any remaining bacteria and viruses in the water supply.
Despite these extensive regulations and safety measures, outbreaks of norovirus and other gastrointestinal illnesses still occur on cruise ships occasionally. However, these outbreaks are typically caused by contaminated food or water brought on board by passengers or crew members, rather than the drinking water supplied by the ship itself. Cruise lines invest heavily in training their staff on the importance of maintaining good hygiene and sanitation practices, as well as monitoring for any signs of illness among passengers and crew.
Overall, the safety of drinking water on cruise ships is highly regulated and closely monitored. The combination of U.S. government regulations, stringent safety procedures by the cruise lines, and advanced water treatment technologies, means that the risk of getting sick from contaminated water on a cruise ship is low. However, as with any travel, it is important to take common sense precautions such as washing your hands regularly, avoiding drinking untreated water in ports of call, and avoiding food or drinks that may have been contaminated. With these measures in place, you can relax and enjoy the luxury and comfort of a cruise without worrying about the safety of your drinking water.