Booking a Cruise?
Your Protection Kit

Before calling your travel agent, here are a few considerations after putting down that travel magazine.

Why is Grumpy Gourmet 101 concerned with the cruise line industry? The danger factor to a degree, yes. But the primary reason people book cruises is the well-puffed food factor - some tubs, those with 4,000 souls aboard, offer as many as six meals every 24 hours. Shipboard eating is viewed as a sport. Official records are loaded with scurvy reports. Scurvy has been with ships since the sailing days of Christopher Columbus. Scurvy today has many names - hepatitis, E.coli to name popular ones. The food safety factor is of uppermost concern herein.

In case you missed Stan Sesser. Probably the most damning overall review of shipboard food came from a Wall Street Journal columnist, Stan Sesser, a national authority who spent his formative dining years with the San Francisco Chronicle. Consider this review classic after two cruises: "On both the QE2 and Freedom of the Seas, a lot of what I was served in the dining rooms could only be described as 'slop.'" The quantity of servings is not the issue. Sanitation is. Become familiar with Uncle Sam's Green Sheet, the CDC vessel sanitation scores:

There is one place, one authority for the public to check/read before booking a cruise. There is one source informing the public about the more than a dozen recent shipboard murders, rapes, crew assaults, burglaries and unresolved "lost-at-sea" reports...

More Protection:

Know before you go. Most popular cruise liner destinations are in tropical climes. Those for Arctic regions have concerns about ramming icebergs rather than pirates. So, to avoid dengue fever or the disease du jour, this website is the source for all sorts of places to avoid. For some reason cruise crowds tend to off-load in Jamaica. Be advised: Jamaican diseases warrant full pages of entries.

More advice: Today and yesterday, hot spots to avoid - Kenya, Somalia and Tanzania. For other reasons, best explained nightly by personages such as Nancy Grace and Greta Van Sustern - Aruba.

sinking ship
Wait...Wait, One more trip through the Cruise Line Buffet