The moment we book our cruise-filled holiday, we begin envisioning what life will be like at sea. Will we see dolphins swimming alongside our cruise? Will the buffets be larger than life like they are in the pictures? Aside from all the fun that's about to be had, there are safety precautions every cruise passenger needs to follow (which will be detailed while on the cruise). Aside from safety drills and being wary of strangers, passengers should also be reminded of how quickly germs spread on cruises.
With hundreds of people on one ship for a long period of time, viruses and germs can spread like wildfire. To make sure you stay safe and healthy while at sea (come on, no one wants to be sick!), be aware of these 10 spots on cruise lines that tend to be the dirtiest.
10 BACK AWAY FROM THE BAR
If you've worked in the service industry before, then you know that cleaning the kegs and beer taps is meticulous work. And when you're working at a bar among hundreds of people at any given time, cleaning the taps isn't so easy.
RELATED: 10 Cruise Secrets Guests Didn’t Know
According to Cheat Sheet, a health inspector found out one ship, in particular, didn't clean their taps for more than two months, which resulted in a bunch of gross substances building up. If a beer is calling your name, try asking for one in a bottle or can if they have them.
9 THE KIDS' PLAY AREAS
It can't be a surprise to anyone that kids areas on cruise ships are downright filthy. Kids are constantly getting sick in play areas and schools because they simply don't understand small sanitary gestures (covering your mouth when coughing, washing your hands, etc...). Cruise ships are the same way.
Most cruise lines have a family-friendly area where kids can run around and play but some cleaners have found sticky substances and unsanitary things among the toys. If your kids are playing in the family area, be sure to bring hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes.
8 STAY AWAY FROM HOT TUBS
There aren't many things that relax you quite like soaking in a hot tub... but once you start thinking about all the people who have been in that hot tub before you, bad thoughts can rush in.
According to Cheat Sheet, the water in hot tubs is supposed to be changed every 72 hours, but they found one cruise line who didn't change the water for a week! Although chemicals were probably used to clean the water, considering how many people jump in hot tubs, this isn't acceptable.
7 ICE MACHINES AREN'T AS FRESH AS YOU THINK
Millions of people who stay at hotels and motels adore using the ice machine. Unlike most of our fridges, we can take as much ice as we want! We can fill up a bucket and keep our champagne cold or we keep our waters perfectly icy all day. It's a small perk but it goes the distance.
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that some ships didn't clean the inside of their ice machines nearly as often as they're supposed to. Inside one ship's ice machine, there was black debris found inside! Now that's one thing none of us asked for in our water.
6 POOL CHAIRS ARE GRIMY
There's nothing more relaxing than posting up in a pool chair for an entire day, relaxing in the sun. Once you put your items down next to the chair, you can call dibs on it all day. However, if you don't put a towel on the chair before laying down on it, you may want to become one.
MSN noted that deck lounge chairs were dirtier than elevator buttons (please see below)! Due to the bacteria from the water and human perspiration, you may want to wipe these chairs down before laying on them because apparently it's not done well enough by the staff.
5 ELEVATOR BUTTONS ARE STICKY
It's not just cruise line elevators you need to be wary of, it's practically every elevator. Think about how often we actually wash our hands. Now think about all the things a person can do in a day before touching an elevator button...
According to a Rossen Reports team, one elevator aboard a cruise ship "tested at 370 on a bacteria meter," noting that 100 is the failing number... We suggest putting a napkin under your finger before touching the elevator buttons.
4 HAND RAILINGS
Whether you've been in the sun all day, had too much to drink, or are on your way back to your hotel room after breakfast, thousands of passengers touch and lean on hand railings for balance.
RELATED: The 10 Best Disney World Boat Rides
Many of simply see hand railings as support and something that helps us keep our balance while on the high sea! But like elevator buttons, thinking back to everything we do in a day and how often we actually scrub our hands, we're doing nothing but touching thousands of germs while spreading out own. You can, of course, use hand railings, just be sure to wash your hands more frequently.
3 BE AWARE OF UNWELL STAFF
The staff aboard a cruise ship works incredibly hard. They're on a vessel that has people roaming, eating, swimming, and partying all hours of the day. Workers all have their own shifts and off-days to rest, of course, but that doesn't mean they're invincible to getting the common cold. With only a short number of staff on deck, some need to fight through their flu symptoms just to get the job done.
This means when they're cleaning our cabins, shaking our hands, grabbing our luggage, and preparing our foods, the chances of getting sick ourselves only rises.
2 AND THE WAY THE KITCHEN STAFF PREPARE FOODS
As amazing as buffets are, they are an easy target for bad things to happen. Knowing how much food cruise lines need to offer their passengers throughout the entire day, some are left out for too long. Food that's sitting around all day can lead to harmful bacteria.
Even back behind kitchen doors, cross-contamination can happen anywhere and it hits cruise lines hard since there are not many places these passengers can go and they're all eating the same foods.
1 THE VERY WATER YOU DRINK
If you've taken a cruise before, have you ever wondered where your water is coming from (provided it's not bottled, of course)? According to Cheat Sheet, it's most likely drawn from the ocean it's surrounded by and then put through an extensive process to make the water drinkable.
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that the water cannot be taken from polluted or unsafe waters nearby. In one instance, a ship was nearby the Amazon and was actually soaking up soiled water from the nearby rivers.