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Redditor Takes an All-Nude Cruise: ‘No Bare Butts on Any Surface Ever’

According to the traveler, there are strict strict hygiene rules for nudists—and our expert warns of at least one health risk to being naked on vacation

<p>Getty</p> Stock image of cruise passenger

Getty

Stock image of cruise passenger

A Redditor who went on an all-nude cruise shared details from the trip — specifically concerning how stringent the rules are around hygiene.

In a post on Reddit’s “AMA” subreddit — where commenters are encouraged to “ask me anything” about a specific experience — wisecommenter2, who says they've been a nudist for years, shared details about their trip aboard the Bare Necessities cruise.

As they pointed out, “This was a cruise for nudists, not a ‘lifestyle’ cruise. Accordingly, there was no public sex and no erections that I saw. An erection would be considered poor form in this environment.”

They also shared a rule that nudists follow: “No bare butts on any surface in any public space. Ever. That's not a difficult concept,” they wrote.

<p>Getty</p> Stock image of towel on a cruise ship deck chair

Getty

Stock image of towel on a cruise ship deck chair

“Nudists are as interested in hygiene as much as if not more than the next guy.”

This was confirmed in a later comment when someone asked, “Does it smell funky with everyone nude or are people usually really clean?”

“No smells. People are clean. One can’t put one’s bare butt on any surface; a towel is required,” wisecommenter2 said.

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PEOPLE reached out to Norwegian Cruise Line, which operates the Bare Necessities cruise, and was referred to their guide book, which points out “Failure to comply with any of the decorum and etiquette described in this section will be grounds for dismissal from the cruise.”

And as Dr. Bruce Hirsch, Attending Physician in Infectious Disease at Northwell Health, tells PEOPLE, following these types of guidelines ensure that there aren’t any increased health risks by being nude on a cruise.

<p>Getty</p> Stock image of woman on a boat

Getty

Stock image of woman on a boat

“Being packed into a tight space and being nude, it's basically about the same as being packed into a tight space and being clothed,” he said.

In fact, “the only difference is that if there's some kind of infection on the skin,” which “poses more risk to other individuals if the wound is uncovered.”

Related: Redditors with Cancer Share the No. 1 Thing They Bring to the Hospital, Plus Other 'Time-Tested Hacks' to Improve Their Stay

“But the benefit of being on a cruise in which everyone is naked is you can see what you're gonna get,” Dr. Hirsch added.

And as for infectious diseases like the highly contagious gastrointestinal illness norovirus, which notoriously spreads quickly on cruise ships, Dr. Hirsh tells PEOPLE that just brushing up against a nude person with the virus isn’t the problem.

“The sweat itself doesn't contain the pathogen,” he said. “If a person is sick, if they're splattering diarrhea all over deck four, that's not a good thing. But that's not the usual circumstance, and if that's the case, you'll see it faster if they're naked than if they're soiling their cruise clothes.”

The way norovirus spreads, Dr. Hirsch explains, is “it gets onto surfaces and then we touch those surfaces and we pick up the norovirus that way. That's not gonna happen differently if the person is naked or if they're clothed.”

Related: These Cruise Ships Have the Highest and Lowest Sanitation Scores in 2023

In fact, he says, as long as people follow the Covid-era recommendations of hand-washing and avoiding touching their face, they should be able to avoid illness with the same effectiveness as if they were clothed.

There is, however, one inherent health risk to being nude on a cruise, as both Dr. Hirsch and wisecommenter2 pointed out.

<p>Getty</p> A person applies sunscreen.

Getty

A person applies sunscreen.

“Certainly the skin on the genitalia in men is thinner and might be more vulnerable to severe sunburn,” Dr. Hirsch tells PEOPLE. “Avoiding prolonged periods of time in the sun directly in one's genitals, I think would be a reasonable accommodation.”

And as wisecommenter2 said, when it comes to sunscreen, they apply “The same amount you usually need, and then a little more.”

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