Quantcast
  

Sunday, April 20, 2014         

 Print   Email   Comment | View 2 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

Caribbean cruise ended after outbreak of illness

By David McFadden

Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 06:59 a.m. HST, Jan 27, 2014


KINGSTON, Jamaica >> The Royal Caribbean cruise line on Sunday ended a ship's 10-day trip in the Caribbean early after hundreds of passengers and crew members were sickened with a gastrointestinal illness.

The Miami-based company made the announcement a few hours after officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention boarded the Explorer of the Seas during its U.S. Virgin Islands port call to investigate the illness and evaluate the outbreak response.

"New reports of illness have decreased day-over-day, and many guests are again up and about. Nevertheless, the disruptions caused by the early wave of illness means that we were unable to deliver the vacation our guests were expecting," Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. said in a statement.

The decision to end the trip came after consultation between CDC officials and members of the cruise line's medical team, the company said.

The CDC said early today that 577 of the 3,050 passengers aboard the 15-deck ship reported getting sick during the cruise that left Bayonne, New Jersey, on Tuesday. Forty-nine crew members also reported feeling ill, according to Bernadette Burden, a spokeswoman for the CDC. She said the CDC team will remain on board the ship until the vessel returns to the United States later this week.

Tests would have to confirm what caused the outbreak, but fast-spreading norovirus is often to blame for similar symptoms sweeping closed quarters like those on cruise ships.

Royal Caribbean said special cleaning products and disinfectants proven to kill norovirus were being used to clean ship before it returned to the U.S. It said a full sanitization program would be carried out after the Explorer of the Seas reached its home port Wednesday.

Janet Diaz, a company spokeswoman, said CDC representatives boarded the Explorer of the Seas during the afternoon when it docked in St. Thomas, the main island of the U.S. Virgin Islands. During the previous port call in Puerto Rico, the ship underwent "extensive and thorough sanitizing" to help prevent more people from getting sick, she said.

Passengers and crew who fell ill have "responded well to over-the-counter medication being administered onboard the ship," Diaz said.

On Friday, an Explorer of the Seas passenger named Arnee Dodd tweeted that she had fallen ill aboard the ship and was quarantined with the other sick people. The Connecticut woman wrote that ship employees "put a lock down on food & are constantly cleaning everything."

Royal Caribbean said it was "taking several steps" to compensate passengers for the shortened trip. It also sought to assure customers scheduled for the ship's next voyage that "all possible measures will have been taken to prevent further problems."







 Print   Email   Comment | View 2 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

COMMENTS
(2)
You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
cojef wrote:
Mega-ship woes, wide spread norovirus outbreak! Started cruising in the late 80's on ship not larger than a thousand passengers and with the emergence of the larger vessels, quit cruising in 2009 to avoid the crowd and the glitzy accommodations. The smaller ships offered elegance as opposed to family oriented in the larger ships.
on January 27,2014 | 07:36AM
Nevadan wrote:
Cruising can be fun. The problems are not the ships and the crew. They are pros. The problems are the passengers. They do not cover their mouth when they cough. Some deliberately pass the hand sanitation into the dining room.
on January 27,2014 | 12:18PM
IN OTHER NEWS
Breaking News