While cruise ships only account for 1% of reported norovirus outbreaks in this country, they make a big splash in the news when they do happen. Understandably, no one wants their vacation marred by gastrointestinal disease.
A few days ago, Princess Cruise Line confirmed at least 100 of the 2000 passengers on the Sea Princess were sick with norovirus-like symptoms. This ship was on a 26-day round-trip journey from Fremantle, Australia to Singapore, with several stops in-between. It left on August 18 and people began getting sick a few days later. The ship recently stopped in Singapore to take on more passengers.
Sick passengers were asked to stay in their cabins, guests were no longer able to serve themselves from the buffets, and the crew performed extra sanitation and disinfection measures around the ship.
If it is norovirus, this would not be the first time the virus has caused trouble aboard the Sea Princess. According to the Vessel Sanitation Program website, which tracks gastrointestinal outbreaks on cruise ships, the Sea Princess had two closely-timed norovirus outbreaks in 2011. The ship and those onboard have certainly had a challenging week, as the Sea Princess is also docked in Fremantle for mechanical repairs, forcing the company to cancel its next cruise.