Three ships, from two different cruise lines, had delayed their boarding last weekend for additional sanitation in the wake of an increase in illness on the ship during the previous week.
For details about last week's outbreak as well as information about Norovirus and other gastrointestinal illness (GI), see: Delayed Boarding Today Voyager of the Seas
Returning to Fort Lauderdale for Sanitation
Crown Princess will return to its Fort Lauderdale homeport on Thursday instead of Saturday, where it will undergo two days of sanitation in consultation with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Princess indicated that 114 passengers (3.7 percent out of 3,078) and 59 crew (5 percent of 1,178) on the weeklong Southern Caribbean cruise have reported a gastrointestinal illness believed to be Norovirus. Cruise lines participating in the CDC's Vessel Sanitation Program, which Princess and all major lines does, are required to report the total number of GI cases evaluated by the medical staff before the ship arrives at a U.S. port when sailing from a foreign port. A separate notification is required when the count exceeds 2 percent of the total number of passengers or crew onboard.
This cruise had already been delayed six hours for the vigorous sanitation program done under CDC oversight February 4th.
According to Princess, the upcoming two-day disinfection will include "bringing aboard additional cleaning crew to assist with a thorough sanitization of all public spaces and surfaces including soft furnishing and carpets, railings, door handles and the like. Additionally, once all of the passengers have disembarked on Thursday morning, all bed linens and towels will be removed from every stateroom. The staterooms will be sanitized multiple times before making up the rooms with fresh linens and towels on Saturday morning, just prior to passenger embarkation."
Compensation for Impacted Passengers
Impacted passengers will receive full refunds for the cruise, flights home, coverage of change fees if air was not booked through Princess, hotel accommodation if necessary and a 25 percent future cruise credit.
Norovirus Can be Prevented
Norovirus is the second most common illness next to the common cold, and is highly contagious, spreading easily in confined spaces like hospitals, hotels, dormitories and cruise ships. Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, and millions are infected each year.
It can be prevented if everyone washes their hands and uses sanitation liquids found throughout the ship. Also, if you have been sick prior to boarding the ship, please do your fellow passengers a favor and reschedule your cruise. It doesn't take much to turn a sanitized ship into a sick camp once the disease takes hold.
As of press time, the other two ships that had GI outbreaks last week, Ruby Princess and Voyager of the Seas have not reported a repeat of last week's outbreak.