Passengers sick again, cruise line cancels sailing

PassengersLast 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.


Virus Leaves Cruise Ship Passengers Seasick

Photo: Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises to Galveston: Here we come again

It was 2007 when Princess Cruises last sailed from the Port of Galveston but the Love Boat cruise line returns next year, offering 19 departures from Galveston between December 22, 2012 and April 27, 2013 with one of their most popular ships, Crown Princess.

“We’ve received a great deal of feedback from cruisers interested in sailing from Galveston again,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “So we’re excited to be returning in 2012 to bring our Western Caribbean sailings back to Texas.”This is no shabby ship. Crown Princess is not an old rusty has-been with no place to go, on the way to the cruise ship glue factory. The 3,070-passenger Crown Princess offers greater capacity than Princess ships previously based in Galveston. The 113,000-ton vessel offers the line’s popular signature features, including a piazza-style atrium with International Café and Vines wine bar; the 300-square-foot Movies Under the Stars poolside theater; The Sanctuary, an adults-only “oasis of tranquility”; and a variety of dining, recreation and entertainment options.

“Welcoming back Princess Cruises and hosting Crown Princess is a great addition to the Texas cruise market. We’re excited that the return of Princess Cruises will offer our passengers additional options of cruise vacations sailing from Texas’ premiere cruise port,” said Steven M. Cernak, Galveston port director.

Things are looking up indeed for the Port of Galveston which will also get sister-line Carnival Cruise Lines shiny new Carnival Magic this year. New ships debuting someplace other than Florida are rare and Galveston seems to have what it takes to support the newer, larger ships.

Now if they can just control that pesky fog problem at the port, it should be an exciting season sailing from Texas.

Flickr photo by MoToMo

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