Handshakes Discouraged on Crystal Cruises Due to Health Concerns

Handshakes Discouraged on Crystal Cruises Due to Health Concerns
Image: Pixabay
August 5, 2015

Don't be offended if a certain cruise line's captain won't shake your hand. It's just procedure.

Crystal Cruises has implemented a no-handshake policy between crew and passengers in order to fight against the transmission of communicable diseases, especially norovirus.

"The safety and health of our guests and crew is paramount at Crystal Cruises. We maintain exemplary sanitation standards and facilitate preventive measures in accordance with Centers for Disease Control recommendations, including thorough disinfection of public areas, and high-touch surfaces like railings, door handles and elevator buttons," the cruise line said in a statement to ABC News. "Other measures involve encouraging guests to use the complimentary anti-bacterial wipes before boarding the ship. And while the captain is very pleased to meet all our guests, he refrains from shaking hands as an additional preventive measure."

Contagious diseases are a substantial cause for concern in such an insular environment, and early returns suggest that the policy is effective. Crystal Cruises hasn't had a norovirus outbreak since 2013, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"In an abundance of caution, cruise lines take numerous steps to help promote the health and well-being of passengers onboard. This particular practice isn't too common, but it is something we've experienced before on Crystal and a few other cruises. Ultimately, it's a decision made by the executive team," said Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor in chief of CruiseCritic.com.

Despite the success of the decision, some other cruise lines are following suit. Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines told ABC News that while there was no policy pertaining to handshakes, it "follows strict guidelines and regulations that govern shipboard public health."