Hundreds Get Sick with Stomach Bug on Royal Caribbean Cruise

A recent Royal Caribbean cruise returned to Port Everglades with more than 200 sick passengers.

More than 300 passengers became ill on a Royal Caribbean cruise out of Florida last week, the second time in less than a month that sickness swept through passengers and crew on one of the cruise line's ships.

Royal Caribbean said 332 cases of gastrointestinal illness were reported on the Independence of the Seas before it returned Saturday to Port Everglades, Fla., after a five-night cruise.

Victoria Nolan of Genesee, N.Y., told WPLG-TV that she and six of 15 of her relatives on the ship fell ill. She described a horrific scene of people throwing up in elevators while going to the ship's medical facility. Nolan said she also went, but returned to her room after realizing the wait for medical assistance was more than four hours. 

"It's not their fault that it happened, but the way they handled it after people started getting sick made it 10 times worse," Nolan said.

Marsha Homuska told the TV station the crew worked hard to keep the ship clean during the outbreak, but the situation was overwhelming.

 “They started running out of water and basic supplies,” she said.

Royal Caribbean spokesman Owen Torres said the number of people sickened represented only about 6% of the more than 5,000 passengers and crew.

"Those affected by the short-lived illness were treated by our ship's doctors with over-the-counter medication," Torres said, "We hope all our guests feel better quickly."

The cause of the illnesses was not immediately released, but Torres said Royal Caribbean conducted "intensive sanitary procedures to minimize the risk" of further issues. The ship underwent additional cleaning procedures and then left Saturday on its next cruise. 

The outbreak came days after a Royal Caribbean cruise ship concluded a two-week cruise Dec. 7 from Singapore to Australia that saw more than 200 people become sick.

Mark Veitch, a physician and director of public health in Australia's Tasmania state, said five passengers required treatment at Royal Hobart Hospital.

Royal Caribbean Cruises employs 60,000 people from more than 120 countries who have served more than 50 million guests over more than 40 years, according to the corporate website.

© 2018 Associated Press


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