Last weekend nearly 700 passengers, on three different ships, contracted the flu-like Norovirus causing Princess and Royal Caribbean cruise lines to delay departure of this week’s sailing for extensive cleaning. Now, another outbreak on one of the same ships has caused its cancellation, mid-sailing, and an early return to port for even more cleaning.
Princess Cruises Crown Princess was on a seven-night Caribbean cruise when the outbreak occurred and will skip calling at the ports of Curacao and Aruba to come back two days early.
“In consultation with the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), who has informed us that there are widespread outbreaks of Norovirus occurring in the US, it was agreed that the best course of action to stop the spread of the illness is for the ship to undergo a two-day extensive sanitization,” said Princess Cruises in a statement on their website.
To make that happen, Crown Princess, scheduled to return to Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, February 11 will come back two days early, ending the current sailing on Thursday, February 9th.
Passengers on the current sailing will receive a full refund, assistance re-booking flights if they had been booked through the cruise line as well as hotel accommodations if necessary and 25% of what they paid as a credit to use on a future cruise.”On the current sailing 114 passengers (3.70% out of 3,078) and 59 crew (5.01% of 1,178) have reported gastrointestinal illness,” said Princess. On the previous cruise, 364 passengers (11.73% of 3,103) and 30 crew (2.57% of 1,168) were affected.
The move by Princess is unusual but not unprecedented. Norovirus, which causes vomiting and diarrhea, is a common illness that is easily transmitted in closed environments like nursing homes, schools and cruise ships.
Photo: Princess Cruises