Norovirus Outbreak on Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship

The Explorer of the Seas Royal Caribbean cruise ship is the latest ship to deal with a Norovirus outbreak. The CDC has reported that over 600 passengers had fallen ill during the planned ten-day voyage. Fifty crew members had also reported feeling sick during the trip. The cruise has been cut short and the ship sailed to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The main symptoms reported by passengers and crew members included diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain. These symptoms match those found with the Norovirus illness. It is an infection that is extremely contagious.

Norovirus can be passed through contact with a person who has it. It can be passed by drinking or eating an item that is contaminated. It is also possible to get it by just touching an area that has been tainted. The passengers that were sick had been quarantined after they reported feeling ill. Non-prescription medication was given to the passengers to help with the symptoms.

All 15 decks of this enormous cruise ship have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. However, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with a Royal Caribbean medical team had made the decision to end the voyage ahead of schedule. The cause of the illness is still a mystery. Tests to determine where and why the illness started need to be done.

According to the Royal Caribbean line, this will give them a chance to do an even deeper cleaning on board the vessel. Passengers who are currently sick will be able to recover in the comfort of their homes. It will also keep even more passengers from becoming infected.

The cruise originated from New Jersey. The ship will be docked back at Bayonne, New Jersey upon its return. Further investigation and even more extensive cleaning will be in order. The ship will not be sailing again until it is considered safe.

The Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas cruise ship outbreak of Norovirus is not the only reported case so far in 2014. There was a report on the Norwegian Star where 130 passengers and twelve crew members fell ill. Royal Caribbean also had a cruise ship with a reported Norovirus outbreak in March of 2013.

Some passengers are calling it the worst vacation of their life. Other passengers are praising the crew and the captain of the ship for a job well done in the way the situation has been handled. There are people on board who are wondering why the cruise was not cut short three days into the voyage. That is when the symptoms became dreadfully apparent. Tweets have been going out in regards to the seriousness of this illness.

Royal Caribbean has stated that these types of outbreaks rarely happen onboard their ships. The company is taking every precaution available to make sure this does not happen again in the future. An outbreak of any kind onboard a ship is a serious matter.

The Norovirus outbreak on the Explorer of the Seas Royal Caribbean cruise ship has prompted the company to compensate each and every passenger. So far there is talk of a $400.00 refund and a 50 percent off voucher on a future journey. Any passengers who are scheduled to travel on the next voyage are being reassured that everything possible is being done to ensure a problem free cruise.

by Saki Kahala

Cruise Critic
Herald Tribune

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