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Caribbean cruise cut short as hundreds sickened with norovirus

 MARYLAND, United States, Friday February 6, 2015 – For more than 200 passengers and crew on board Royal Caribbean‘s Grandeur of the Seas, the trip was anything but grand.

The nine-day Caribbean cruise was cut short after an outbreak of the highly contagious gastrointestinal illness norovirus and a medical emergency requiring treatment on land.

Norovirus was confirmed as the “causative agent” of the widespread illness by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Two environmental health officers and two epidemiologists were despatched by the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program to collect samples on board the ship in Falmouth, Jamaica.

The samples will be tested, and the ship’s response to the outbreak will be evaluated, the federal agency said.

According to the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program website, the same vessel had two norovirus outbreaks last year.

Overall, the CDC reported nine norovirus outbreaks in 2014 on cruise lines that docked in US ports.

Meanwhile, Grandeur of the Seas passengers complained about the lack of information provided by the cruise line throughout the ordeal.

“It kind of seemed like they weren’t being very honest with us about the whole situation. We heard that there were three people sick. Then another person said it was over 100, so, I mean, we never got a clear answer from any of the crew members,” passenger Nick Canning was quoted as saying by CNN.

According to Georgia Moseback, some of her fellow passengers were sick for three days with vomiting and diarrhoea and described the episode as “just a cruise from hell.”

The experience reportedly fell far short of the honeymoon of passenger April Neall’s dreams.

“I was happy to leave Baltimore and go to the islands, and now I’m just happy to be home,” she said.

According to Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez, gastrointestinal illness sickened 193 guests (9.91 percent) and nine crew members (1.15 percent).

“Once all guests had debarked Grandeur of the Seas, we began an extensive and thorough sanitizing onboard the ship and within the cruise terminal, to help prevent any illness from affecting the subsequent sailing,” Martinez said.

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CMLF News Issue #7
27th January 2016