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Royal Caribbean Reports Norovirus Outbreak Onboard Four-Night Cruise

Jan 18, 2014 3:00 pm

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Approximately nine outbreaks of the stomach illness occurred in 2013, and this is the first of several likely outbreaks to plague the industry again in 2014.

— Samantha Shankman

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Brett Levin  / Flickr

Royal Caribbean's ship Majesty of the Seas in the Bahamas. Brett Levin / Flickr


Dozens of passengers on a Miami-based cruise ship fell ill during a four-night Caribbean cruise that returned to port Friday.

Royal Caribbean International said 66 guests and two crew members aboard Majesty of the Seas suffered gastrointestinal illness believed to be norovirus. That’s roughly 2.5 percent of the 2,581 passengers.

According to the cruise line, those who fell ill “responded well” to over-the-counter medication they were given on the ship.

During the cruise, which stopped in two Bahamian ports and Key West, workers did extra cleaning to keep the illness from spreading. And once the cruise ended Friday, the ship and the terminal at PortMiami got “an extensive and thorough sanitizing” to keep the suspected virus from making anyone else sick.

When passengers boarded Friday, they received a letter asking if they have experienced gastrointestinal symptoms within the last three days. Anyone who felt uncomfortable taking the cruise was allowed to reschedule their trip.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vessel Sanitation Program posted updates about nine outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness on cruise ships last year. The agency posts the information when 3 percent or more of passengers or crew report symptoms to a ship’s medical crew during a sailing.

(c)2014 The Miami Herald. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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