If you’ve ever sailed aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise, a song lurks deep within your subconscious: a kiddie-style earworm about washing your hands that loops endlessly in the buffet entrance and in-room TVs.

“Wash your hands, like 50 times a day,” the tune goes, imploring passengers — with a cartoon octopus cleaning its multitude of hands — to do what it takes to avoid a norovirus outbreak, or worse. It’s far from the ambient music of a five-star hotel, where in-room TVs are more likely to feature swells of orchestral strings. But it’s what’s necessary to keep 6,000-plus passengers from inadvertently fuelling a public health fire...

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