In a statement released by Princess Cruises, 37 of the 3,161 passengers aboard its ship sailing down the California coast have been reported to be struck with an illness, and the line suspects it to be norovirus. The virus is said to be common and extremely contagious, with anyone obtaining it through any contact with a contaminated source, including food and water, surfaces, and someone else already carrying it. Norovirus causes gastroenteritis, which occurs when the sufferer’s stomach or intestines or both become inflamed and agitated. Most common symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain and vomiting. Other symptoms are body aches, fever and headaches.
The Crown Princess ship is on a week-long trip along the California coast, making stops in different cities. A spokeswoman for Princess Cruises, Karen Kandy, said that it was discovered when passengers struck with the illness were heading to the infirmary, all with the same symptoms of norovirus.
Kandy mentioned that the crew (consisting of 1,176 aboard the ship,) have been increasing the procedures for sanitation in order to help prevent the spreading of the virus, including cleaning things that are frequently touched, such as railings, elevator buttons, and door handles. The cruise line has also instructed all those aboard the ship to frequently wash their hands to prevent contracting and spreading the illness. Passengers who are already struck with norovirus on the Princess Cruises ship have been confined to their rooms until they recover completely.
Princess Cruises started in 1965 with only one ship sailing to Mexico. The line has since expanded and is the third largest cruise line worldwide. It has been renowned for its modern ships, the variety of on-board options it offers to its passengers, and the impressive customer service. When a ship belonging to the cruise line called Pacific Princess was featured in the show The Love Boat in 1977, the line immediately saw a boost in its popularity. Currently, Princess Cruises owns 17 different ships and serves approximately 1.7 million passengers each year.
There have been a multitude of other incidents reported to the U.S. Coast Guard concerning ships belong to Princess Cruises. Issues include incidents ranging from the relatively minor to major, with some concerning equipment failure and others dealing with passenger injury, with only some cases resulting in death. In 2011, the Coral Princess had equipment failure, which was resolved when it was concluded the turbine contained small particles of metal in the lube oil system. After the turbine was secured and the ship switched to diesel electric, the ship continued. In a more serious incident, a passenger died aboard the Caribbean Princess in early 2010 from multiple organ failure.
The Crown Princess ship was docked in San Francisco for a few hours on Monday and has been reported to have already left bound for Santa Barbara. Representatives of Princess Cruises mentioned that none of the passengers, including those struck with norovirus aboard the ship, left while docked in the city. After making a stop in Santa Barbara, it will dock in San Diego and Ensenada. It is scheduled to return to Los Angeles on April 12.
By Jessica Cooley