You’re excited about going on a cruise vacation, stopping at exotic ports of call and enjoying the luxurious cruise ship facilities – and if you take some simple health precautions it’s much more likely your dream cruise will be a perfect memory. Cruise Travel Essentials – The first step in planning your cruise vacation and cruise ship travel Travel by cruise ship often congregates large groups of people from different parts of the U.S. and the world. In such settings, diseases can spread from person-to-person contact (e.g. measles, rubella, certain respiratory illnesses such as influenza, and certain gastrointestinal illnesses such as Norwalk-like virus). Additionally, if a ship stops and passengers disembark to sightsee, they may be at risk for diseases in the geographic areas they visit, although such risk is difficult to quantify. It is also important to note, certain diseases can be transmitted before symptoms are apparent and that some people who become ill while on a cruise ship may have been infected prior to travel. Anyone who becomes ill while on a cruise ship should seek medical attention on board and see a health care provider upon returning home. Ill persons should limit contact with the general population on board as much as possible to reduce further spread of disease. Ship authorities are required to report infectious diseases of public health significance to state or federal health officials. People planning cruise ship travel should make sure they have adequate travel health insurance. Anyone older than 65 years of age, anyone with acute or chronic illnesses or pregnant women should consult with a health care provider prior to travel for advice and possible preventive medication. And be sure to take enough supply of any medication you regularly need, since it may be scarce or unavailable in your destination country. Other measures to prevent the spread of infectious diseases on cruise ships include frequent hand washing and obtaining immunizations appropriate to your travel destinations prior to travel. World Travel Guide – Your cruise vacation planning resource for discount cruises, luxury cruise lines, best cruise destinations, cruise packing tips, travel packing list, packing for a cruise, plus health and safety tips for cruise travelers and more.