More Than Just Sea Sickness! More Than 600 People Become Ill On Royal Caribbean Cruise

January 28, 2014  |  

More than 3,000 passengers aboard Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas cruise ship are confined with 577 sickened guests and 49 ill crew members. Headed for the U.S. Virgin Islands over the weekend, the 10-day cruise had to be cut short as vacationers reported symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting, CNN reports.

There’s speculation that culprit behind the widespread illness is the norovirus, an infectious disease that comes from food and water being contaminated by fecal matter. Simply put, it’s the stomach flu. Nearly 20 percent of the passengers caught the gut bug.

The cruise, carrying 3,050 people, left on Tuesday from New Jersey with planned stops at San Juan, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and St. Maarten. But as the suspected norovirus spread, the tropical getaway had to be cut short two days earlier than expected.

According to In Transit, the cruise skipped a planned stop to Haiti and went straight to San Juan to sanitize the ship extensively. Passengers were given over-the-counter medication to ameliorate their symptoms. On Sunday, members of the Center for Disease Control boarded the ship in St. Thomas. The CDC reps reported that more than 600 passengers were ill. That day, Royal Caribbean released a statement: “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.”

“I’ll never come back again. We were with [Royal Caribbean] two years ago. The same thing! The ship was overrun with this sickness. It’s the most disorganized trip I’ve ever been on in my life and I’m also 80 years old,” one furious passenger told CNN.

As the livid passenger notes, this certainly isn’t the first time a Royal Caribbean cruise has sullied vacations. Just last week, on January 17, 66 passengers and two crew members got the stomach flu during the Majesty of the Seas cruise. And in March, we reported 100 sick guests that were stranded on Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Sea liner. (Carnival has also had its fair share of problems in the past year or so.)

For those who have scheduled a trip for Royal Caribbean’s next trip out to sea, the company says that guests can be “confident that all measures had been taken to prevent future illness,” according to NBC.

The troubled vacationers are expected to return to Cape Liberty, NJ on Wednesday.

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