Jan 26 More than 300 passengers and crew members
fell ill aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, many with
vomiting and diarrhea, the Centers for Disease Control said on
Royal Caribbean confirmed the outbreak of a
gastrointestinal illness, saying that the 10-day cruise would
end two days early, with the ship returning to its home port in
"New reports of illness have decreased day-over-day, and
many guests are again up and about," Royal Caribbean said in a
written statement. "Nevertheless, the disruptions caused by the
early wave of illness means that we were unable to deliver the
vacation our guests were expecting."
The CDC said in a statement that 281 passengers and 22 crew
members aboard the Explorer of the Seas reported becoming sick
during the voyage. The ship was carrying 3,050 passengers and a
crew of 1,165.
The ship was on a Caribbean cruise after departing Cape
Liberty, New Jersey on Jan. 21.
The CDC said the cause of the sickness was unknown but that
an environmental safety officer and an epidemiologist would
board the ship in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands to
determine the cause of the outbreak and the proper response.
The ship's crew increased cleaning and disinfection
procedures and had collected specimens from those who reported
being ill following the outbreak, the CDC said.
"After consultation between our medical team and
representatives of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, we think the right thing to do is to bring our
guests home early, and use the extra time to sanitize the ship
even more thoroughly," Royal Caribbean said.
The cruise line said it believes the illnesses are
consistent with norovirus, a highly contagious virus spread from
an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching
contaminated surfaces, according to the CDC.