Confined spaces as found on cruise liners are a breeding ground for illnesses such as Norovirus1. There are a number of acceptable ways to control Norovirus, including chemical disinfection and using high temperature steam. The CDC recommends exposing the Norovirus to 5 minutes of 158°F steam or 1 minute of 212°F steam2 to fully eliminate the virus.
Noroviruses are highly contagious, capable of causing an infection with as few as 10-100 virus particles. Most Noroviruses are trasmitted through food or water contaminated with fecal matter or via droplets of vomit. Indirect transmission is possible when one's hands encounter the virus from a contaminated surface and transmit the virus to the mouth.
Good hygiene practices are the best defense against Norovirus. Frequent hand washing in hot water is the best recommendation for individuals. Chlorine bleach is an effective cleaning agent if it has 10-20 minutes of contact with the surface. Proprietary cleaning agents vary in efficacy and costs, and should be evaluated based on application need.
Steam has been recognized by the CDC as a viable treatment to kill Norovirus. With steam, 5 minutes at 158°F or 1 minute at 212°F is needed to inactivate Norovirus. As the temperature increases, it is apparent that residency time needed decreases.