(Corrects share price in 2d paragraph.)
* Affected people responded well to medication-company
* 16 norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships in '12-CDC
* Royal Caribbean, Carnival shares down
By Phil Wahba and Martinne Geller
March 8 Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd said
on Friday that its Vision of the Seas ship arrived in Port
Everglades, Florida after 108 people fell sick with a
gastrointestinal illness believed to be caused by a norovirus.
Royal Caribbean shares were down 2.9 percent at $34.35 in
afternoon trading, while Carnival shares slipped 1.5 percent to
The incident was the latest black eye for the cruise
industry trying to find its footing again after several high
Royal Caribbean said those sickened have responded to the
over-the-counter medicine they were given. Some 105 of 1,991
passengers and 3 crew members of 772 aboard fell ill.
Norovirus outbreaks are fairly frequent on cruise ships. In
December, some 194 passengers and 11 crew members aboard the
luxury cruise ship Queen Mary 2 were sickened and suffered from
vomiting and diarrhea.
In 2012, including the Queen Mary 2 incident, a total of 16
outbreaks on cruise ships were reported to the U.S. Center for
Disease Control, up from 14 in 2011. Vessels are required to
notify the agency when 2 percent of those on board develop a
Last month, thousands of passengers spent nearly five days
on a disabled cruise ship operated by Carnival Corp in
the Gulf of Mexico.
Carnival's Triumph was returning to Galveston, Texas from
Cozumel, Mexico, on the third day of a four-day cruise when an
engine-room fire knocked out power and plumbing across most of
In January 2012, the Costa Concordia, also operated by
Carnival Corp, ran aground off the Italian coast and killed 32
Norovirus causes an inflammation of the stomach or
intestines called acute gastroenteritis, producing stomach pain,
nausea and diarrhea, and is the most common cause of acute
gastroenteritis in the United States.
Each year, norovirus causes some 21 million illnesses, of
which 70,000 require hospitalization. It kills about 800 people
a year, the CDC says.
The 915-foot-long Vision of the Seas can accommodate 2,416
guests and 742 crew members. The vessel was ending an 11-night
Caribbean cruise that left Port Everglades on Feb. 25. It
previous port of call was Aruba on March 5.
The ship and the cruise terminal have been thoroughly
sanitized and Vision of the Seas will depart later on Friday as
scheduled, the company said.
(Reporting By Martinne Geller in New York and Phil Wahba;
Editing by John Wallace and Leslie Gevirtz)