In Blog, Microbiology, Partner News

The modern cruise ship is larger than ever before, with more opportunities for microbes to thrive in swimming pools, dining areas, spas, auditoriums and casinos. Cruise ships have even been referred to as ‘floating petri dishes’ in recent times, as they offer prime conditions for bacteria, mould and fungi to colonise. Fortunately, the industry has become more hygiene-conscious over the years to compensate for the high risk of cross-contamination.

How microbes travel on cruise ships

On a cruise ship, microbes can be spread via airborne, waterborne and foodborne routes. The likelihood of cross-contamination is relatively high due to the complex nature of this environment, with factors such as communal areas and limited space further increasing the chances for microbes to multiply.

High traffic within these areas can often make it difficult to maintain hygiene standards, resulting in bacteria, mould and fungi contaminating many surfaces aboard a cruise liner. The proliferation of microbes in communal areas, such as seating areas and leisure or childcare facilities can lead to negative effects on contaminated surfaces, such as unsightly stains, bad odours and material degradation. These effects can not only decrease the expected shelf life of contaminated products but can also have a significant impact on guest satisfaction. Within the travel market, a cruise ship is considered to be a space of luxury and upscale holiday ambience. This means that maintaining exceptional hygiene standards and avoiding unsightly stains or bad odours is essential to meet the high expectations of guests.

Common offenders: Microbes typically found on passenger ships

Cruise ships can act as an incubator for bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter jejuni. These microbes are commonly reported within this environment, with multiple studies finding evidence of the bacteria in elevators, toilets and seating spaces.

Another microbe that easily survives and multiplies within this environment is Legionella. Legionella is a waterborne bacterium, and so objects and locations such as swimming pools, spas, hot tubs, water coolers and fountains are at most at risk of contamination. The bacteria can be found in water pipes and can spread through air conditioning systems and water distribution points. A prevalence study carried out in northern Sardinia showed that Legionella spp. were isolated from 42% of the samples taken on board a cruise liner with a high microbial load. High levels of contamination require strict cleaning regimes to remove microbes from contaminated surfaces.

Antimicrobial technology to support stringent hygiene principles

Regular robust cleaning and disinfecting measures and strong hand hygiene are vital to successfully remove microbes from surfaces. In between cleaning, however, microbes are repopulating and multiplying on these surfaces, especially in such favourable conditions as those that are presented on cruise ships.

To create the ultimate hygienic solution, antimicrobial technology can be integrated into products and surfaces during manufacturing and work in between cleans to reduce the levels of microbes on those surfaces. Fewer microbes on the surface mean better hygiene levels as well as less microbes that cause odour, staining and material degradation. Working around-the-clock and lasting for the expected lifetime of that product, antimicrobial technology extends the usable lifetime of a product past that of an unprotected one, potentially creating additional sustainability within a product range.

Antimicrobial additives supplied by BioCote® have been tested and proven effective against a wide range of common microbes present on a cruise ship. Our scientifically proven antimicrobial technology will provide lasting and effective protection against microbes by up 86% in 15 minutes and up to 99.99% in a 24-hour period. Our additives can be easily integrated during the manufacturing stage into a broad range of material types, such as plastics, coatings, paints or textiles.

Innovative BioCote® product applications for cruise liners

With a broad portfolio of different antimicrobial additives available, BioCote® can be incorporated into a wide range of materials and products. For cruise liners, the following products from BioCote® partners can be of particular interest:

  • Incorporated into water pipes, such as Polypipe’s product range, the technology can provide continuous protection against microbes, as well as minimising the risk of bad odours.
  • To protect frequent touchpoints in high traffic areas such as grab rails, powder coating or wet paints from AkzoNobel, Teknos and HMG Paints can be applied
  • With a rich history in supplying the marine industry, Formica’s high-pressure laminates can be used to deliver antimicrobial protection throughout communal spaces and living quarters. Moreover, BioClad supply antimicrobial wall cladding and Maica provide decorative laminates for furniture and doors.
  • With kitchens amongst the hygiene hotspots on cruise liners, BioCote® can deliver a diverse range of solutions: CDN food thermometers, Monika temperature monitoring systems, Air Products gas cylinders and Unigloves‘ fortified glove range.
  • Antimicrobial protection in bathrooms can be delivered by a range of partners: Kohler Mira shower fixtures, Ponte Guilio bathroom fixtures, Metlam toilet partition hardware and Deb hand dispensers.
  • Doorways are often exposed to high levels of microbial contamination. There are a range of BioCote® protected products available to support: Salto electronic access control system and Abloy door furniture.

Whether retro-fitting an existing cruise ship or building BioCote® technology into the specification for a new ship, antimicrobial technology would be a supportive inclusion to achieve ultimate protection from a broad range of microbes in hygiene conscious environments.

How BioCote® can support you

If you would like to learn more about our antimicrobial technology or if you are looking to make your products antimicrobial, please contact a member of the BioCote® team today on +44 (0) 2477 712 489 or email us at [email protected]. Alternatively, you can contact us via the form below.

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