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Over 100 ship passengers fall ill after Caribbean cruise

Sunday, March 10, 2013 | 8:20 AM    

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida (CMC) – A major cruise line says more than 100 passengers aboard an 11-day cruise to the Caribbean fell ill with a bad gastrointestinal virus.

On Saturday, Royal Caribbean announced that at least 105 of the 2,000 guests, as well as three crew members, fell victim to what was believed to be a norovirus, a common but potent virus that is typically transmitted by contamination in food or water.

The cruise line said the 915-foot vessel Vision of the Seas returned to port here on Friday after the 11-day voyage to St Kitts, Barbados, Grenada and Aruba.

Royal Caribbean said while at sea, crew members scrubbed the ship as soon as they realised passengers were getting sick.

“At Royal Caribbean International, we have high health standards for all our guests and crew. During the sailing, we conduct enhanced cleaning onboard the ship, to help prevent the spread of the illness,” the statement said.

Royal Caribbean said those who got sick were given over-the-counter medication during the trip, and most responded well to the treatment.

The outbreak marks another troubling incident for the cruise industry after a spate of upsetting incidents in recent weeks.

Last month, engines on the company’s Carnival Triumph broke down, stranding the ship and its more than 3,000 passengers for five days off the coast of Mexico with no electricity or plumbing and little food.

In another episode in February, an 18-year-old high school senior from upstate New York died aboard a Carnival Cruise Lines ship while on vacation with his family. Authorities are still investigating his cause of death.

Last December, 194 passengers and 11 crew members aboard the luxury cruise ship Queen Mary 2 were sickened suffering from vomiting and diarrhoea.

The Atlanta, Georgia-based US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention reported a total of 16 outbreaks on cruise ships last year, up from 14 the year before.

In January 2012, the Costa Concordia, also operated by Carnival Corp, ran aground off the Italian coast, killing 32 passengers.

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