FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The Princess Cruise Line ship “Crown Princess” has returned to Port Everglades after another outbreak of the norovirus, which attacks the gastrointestinal system, the second for this ship in as many weeks.
Nearly 60 crew members and 114 passengers reported illness on the current voyage, according to Princess Cruises.
“I was quarantined to my room for two days,” said a female passenger who did wish to be identified. “I didn’t come on this ship sick, but I went and got sick. It was not fun.”
Last weekend the Crown Princess underwent specialized cleaning for this sailing after nearly 400 people became sick on its last voyage.
Many who got sick were confined to their rooms as they dealt with bouts of vomiting and diarrhea.
“There’s not much you can do in your cabin and the television is not worth nothing, so it’s kind of a hard thing to do,” said Harry Barefield.
But it wasn’t bad outing for everyone. The more than 2,700 passengers who didn’t get sick said they had a great time.
“We ate all the time, we went to shows, we were by the pool, it was a perfect cruise and Princess could not have been nicer,” said Rita Conway. “They’re refunding all the money, it was like a free vacation.”
The new outbreak caused the ship to return to Port Everglades Thursday morning, two days early, for an extensive two-day cleaning, Princess Cruises said in a statement.
“The enhanced disinfection of the ship in Fort Lauderdale 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. 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.”
In addition to refunding the cruise fare, Princess Cruise Lines said they will help arrange flights home, pay for flight change fees, provide hotel accommodation if necessary and offer a 25 percent discount on a future cruise.
Princess said the next scheduled cruise of the Crown Princess, set to leave on February 11, will leave on time.
Cruise ships have struggled with containing the threat of the norovirus, which is common in the general population but which spreads more easily among large groups in concentrated areas, like found in a cruise ship.
The disease is passed by contact with infected people, items they touch, such as food in buffets, and human waste. Most cruise lines have hand sanitizer stations aboard, and regularly urge passengers to use them.
However, it’s easy for the disease to spread even in clean environments.
Princess Cruise is owned by Doral-based Carnival Cruise Lines.