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When an entire ship gets sick because Karen's too stubborn and lazy to take care of her child, things get a little out of hand.

"Two or three years ago, I went on a cruise with my mother, my friend, and his mother. We grew up together, as our families are really close, so we were practically like siblings. This was an eight day cruise, departing from New York City, going around the Caribbean, and then going back up. The ship featured tons of restaurants, pools, and water slides, with a capacity of over 2000 guests. On the second day, our parents made friends with another group of families, and we decided to head out together that day once the boat pulled into port. We met at breakfast to plan the day. There were quite a few families with younger kids, and of course all the young kids were left to their own discretion at open buffets. They were wild and kinda gross. Later on, I overheard a Karen complaining to someone about their kid. Apparently kid wasn't feeling well and hadn't wanted to come, but she didn't want to leave him behind to laze around in their room, as 'they had spent so much money to go out and have fun!' I didn't think it was something too serious, so we carried on.

We docked for the day and a bunch of us went on this hike on a small mountain. I started having these serious stomach cramps. They got to the point where I would have to stop and breathe every ten minutes or so. My mom and my friend decided to leave the rest of the group to help me back to where our tour bus was waiting, as I was clearly in no condition to continue hiking. It took us a while, but eventually we got back on the bus where I could attempt to sleep and wear it off. We assumed I had gotten food poisoning or ate something bad. What I hadn't known and found out later was that the kid from earlier wasn't just 'not feeling well', he had a very contagious norovirus. Symptoms include severe vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, muscle aches, fever, and fatigue. It can last days and is extremely contagious, especially in close quarters. Well guess what, we just happened to be in a closed-off ship with thousands of people, with open buffets, just waiting to be contaminated. By the next day, I wasn't the only one not feeling well Everyone in our room had got it, including my mom, my friend, and his mom. There was a small line in front of the clinic by the time we got there, with literally everyone suffering from similar symptoms. The medical staff gave us some sort of Tylenol medication and told us to stay in our room for the next while, so we didn't pass it to anyone else. We listened to them. The Karen did not.

This Karen continued to take her kid around to the waterslides, buffets, and shows, despite everyone warning her not to. Her son was still very much sick, but she wanted him to have 'the best experience' on his first ever cruise. On the fourth day, word of mouth told me that it was quickly spreading. The cruise started offering free movies and in-room catering for those who were sick, in a futile attempt to keep them in their rooms. Live shows were cancelled, because even the performers were getting sick. On the fifth day, the cruise announced that they could not dock the ship at the stop of the day. Local authorities had heard of the outbreak and forbid us from entering the port. Everyone was in a lot of pain, I could barely hold down water without throwing up, and I felt dizzy if I did as much as stand up.

I had Tylenol and rest though, and by around the sixth day, both my friend and I were well on the mend. We dared to spend a few minutes outside. The population outside was decimated. If you've never been on a cruise before, it's like a mall on boxing day. There are usually people everywhere, talking and laughing and eating and doing whatever you do on a cruise. But that day the ship was almost empty, other than some employees wearing gloves and masks, along with a few lucky stragglers. We probably saw around 100-200 people out, in comparison to the 2000-person capacity. In order to have a good time, Karen let her kid spread the norovirus to almost everybody on the ship. There is no vaccine for norovirus, so literally nobody could have been safe. Not to mention, cruise ships always have many retired elderly with lower immunity levels. She didn't just ruin literally everyone's vacation, she put people at genuine risk as well. I don't think her son should even had been allowed to board the ship in the first place if they had known he was sick, as I believe there are some regulations about bringing contagious diseases into the closed environment. Anyhow, moral of this story is, don't take your sick kids on vacation! If you do have to, for whatever reason, at least leave them in the room and let them recuperate instead of passing it around. It's not only better for everyone else, it's better for them too. Also, avoid open cruise ship buffets if possible.

We did ask the cruise line for a refund after our trip, but we never got a response. Basically, all we got out of the experience was some free movies and chicken soup while we were sick. I'm not sure if that Karen was fired or banned from the cruise line, but I sincerely hope she did. Honestly, it spread so quickly that it became less about containing the one kid and more about preventing more people from falling under."

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