Thousands of Louisiana cruise vacationers are in New Orleans this morning preparing for their great ocean adventure. The Port of New Orleans is one of the Gulf Coast's leading cruise ports and with a hurricane currently blowing into Galveston, you can bet the sailing will be a little bit smoother from the Big Easy than it will be from The Strand.

Traveling with Jennifer Sparks Savoy via YouTube
Traveling with Jennifer Sparks Savoy via YouTube
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Many of the cruise ship itineraries that sail out of the Port of New Orleans include stops in the Caribbean. Among those popular stops are the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Cancun, Cozumel, Roatan, and Belize City. As you might expect many of the ship's guests like to take some time at these destinations to enjoy a little beach time and a lot of the local color.

Despite the fact that you're supposed to be relaxing while on vacation the seasoned traveler understands the need to be vigilant. The U.S. Department of State has issued several travel advisories about some of the more popular ports of call that cruise ships visit. Most of those safety briefings are common sense. They suggest you stay with your group, don't travel alone or at night, and leave your valuables on board the ship in the safe.

Yash Mannepalli via Unsplash
Yash Mannepalli via Unsplash
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But what the State Department and even your travel agent might not warn you about are the unseen dangers of visiting a country where the health and hygiene standards are less than those in the United States. And now cruise lines are warning guests of one particular activity, that's usually enjoyed by ladies to be reexamined.

Gift Habeshaw via Unsplash.com
Gift Habeshaw via Unsplash.com
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That activity involves the braiding of hair. You've probably seen women on cruise ships or island beaches with their hair braided in the style of the island residents. It looks cool, it is a great "souvenir" of a trip to the beach, and it can also infect your head with creepy crawlies. 

Since most of the "hair braiding" on the beach is done by "independent contractors" there is very little government regulation. That means hygiene standards are basically nonexistent. This means the same comb and brush that was used to braid your hair may have been used on someone else. That someone else might also have lice.

American Academy of Dermatology via YouTube
American Academy of Dermatology via YouTube
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We should point out that there are licensed and regulated hair braiding shops at many of the locations served by the major cruise lines that sail out of New Orleans. However, the "freelance" braiders you might encounter on the beach are not subject to those regulations and that's where you can run into problems.

And one other thing, you probably won't find medicated shampoo onboard your cruise ship even in the shops. So, if you plan on having your hair braided bring a spare brush and bring your own lice-killing shampoo, you're welcome.

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Gallery Credit: Bruce Mikells

 

 

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