A pox on your vessel!

Norovirus. Not actual size, unless your phone is really small.

Cruise ships are petri dishes with overpriced spas. The thousands of hand sanitizer stations you’ll find posted around the ship may mitigate the spread of some weakling strain of influenza, but they’re no match for a jacked norovirus that’s on the hunt for a thousand vacations to wreck.

Also, people have to actually use the hand sanitizer. Maybe half of the passengers do, and zero of them are children. The same children that touch every item in the dessert buffet.

An early iteration of Bruise Cruise featured quarantines instead of anchorings. If your ship was hit by a missile or torpedo and you had nothing left to jettison (life preservers, missiles, torpedoes), the ship would be quarantined at sea. In the final version of BC, The Unfathomables drop anchors on your vessel from space. The effect is the same: your ship can’t move, raid, claim ports, fire torpedoes, or do any other shippy things.

Why the change? I began researching norovirus, the most common infectious disease on cruise ships according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vessel Sanitation Program. It quickly became apparent that it would be more pleasant to have an anchor dropped on one’s head from space than to be among an entire ship suffering from norovirus.

It is mad gross.

If you’ve made it this far and are illiterate, here’s a set of carefully-placed colored ovals from the Minnesota Department of Health that depict the gory story of nory (my pet name for norovirus):


Here’s how everything plays out once you are stricken:

  1. You attempt to run toward a toilet. Failing at this, you begin to crabwalk toward a toilet or anything that could conceivably serve as one. Your imagination in this regard is boundless, and that’s bad news for everyone on board your ship.

  2. While crabwalking, you are struck with indecision over which direction to face when you arrive at the [makeshift?] toilet.

  3. Not to worry—you don’t even make it because you’re be a quivering mass of diarrhea and vomit...

  4. …As is everyone else on the ship because nory is highly infectious.

  5. Thanks, kids.

As 2019 concludes, norovirus once again claims its crown as emperor of cruise ship illnesses. Its dominance is undeniable:

The causative agent is “Unknown” for two of these voyages, but… come on…

Bruise Cruise is intended to be a bizarre experience, but I didn’t want anyone to be thinking about intestinal distress while playing it—hence the inclusion of anchors dropped from space instead of a vomit-inducing horrorvirus (another pet name). And now I have likely undone that work by writing this post, because you’ll think about norovirus whenever your ship is anchored.