Sick Ships in Europe and Alaska

Posted Jun 7th 2010 09:55 AMUpdated Jun 7th 2010 10:08 AM



gailf548, flickr

Passengers on two big cruise ships have been attacked this month with the highly contagious stomach bug known as Norovirus.

On the 1,950-passenger Celebrity Constellation, 204 guests and 34 crew members were ill with the gastro-intestinal illness, a Celebrity Cruises spokeswoman said. The 12-day cruise of Scandinavia left Amsterdam on May 28.

The ship is due to arrive back June 9, and before its next cruise will be delayed a few hours in Amsterdam to give ship personnel time to do "some enhanced sanitizing," the spokeswoman said. She added the cruise terminal itself would also be sanitized as well to prevent any illness from affecting the next sailing.

Guests arriving for the June 9 sailing will be provided with a $25 onboard credit to cover any expenses they might occur, such as having lunch while waiting for the ship to be readied, the spokeswoman said. The cruise line will also be providing complementary shuttle buses into Amsterdam.

Meanwhile in Seattle, King 5 TV is reporting that nearly 100 people on the 2,670-passenger Sapphire Princess came down with Norovirus on a weeklong Alaska cruise last week. The TV station quotes a Princess Cruises spokeswoman as confirming 96 passengers sought medical attention, and that the crew was on "red level" calling for the highest level of sanitary precautions. The ship was extensively cleaned after passengers disembarked, and before it left on its next Alaska sailing on Sunday.

Norovirus can cause severe vomiting and diarrhea. Sick passengers are typically asked to stay in their cabins to prevent spread of the illness to others.

Celebrity was plagued by an unprecedented number of outbreaks on sailings from Charleston this winter, prompting Celebrity's President and CEO Dan Hanrahan to respond that people should not get on cruise ships if they are sick.

One of the best ways to prevent getting Norovirus is to wash your hands before you eat. Nearly every shipboard restaurant now has a hand-sanitizing station nearby for passenger use. While cruise lines are required by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to report outbreaks of Norovirus, the disease also spreads in other public places including schools, apartment buildings and shopping malls.
Filed Under: News

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

Just returned from a cruise where every precaution was taken everywhere EXCEPT IN THE CASINO.

My cabin was filled with nasty fumes to "sanitize" it and I was the only occupant.

No one could touch a bread basket, or pour their own cream into their coffee....

but anyone could enter the casino (no one asked to sanitize my hands either upon entering or exiting the casino) and play cards and/or slot machines, therefore touching coins and chips and cards without any request to sanitize hands.

We all enjoyed lounges with piano bars, entertainment where beverages were sold and no precautions were taken. It did seem that if an activity was a money making activity the idea of "disease prevention" was forgotten.

After returning home it took three or four days for my nose bleeds to stop and I felt sure that the fumes from all of the spraying irritated my nasal passages causing this problem.

No more cruises anytime soon.

June 23 2010 at 8:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well, I have a lot to say. I was on the princess sapphire that is in the story! This is NOT due to the ship not being clean or the food being, what was said... "Distressed". They serve the best meals I've ever eaten, EVER! These ships are cleaned 24/7 top to bottom everyday! The staff is educated- i guess janna has not ever been on a cruise before. Would you hire idots? The cruiselines don't either. These things happen when you have 2500+ guests in a small space. The message that needs to get out to everyone is "Wash, wash, wash your hands!!". The ships are aware of the problem and is doing their part. Just like at home, to stay germ free you must wash your hands! I love cruising and will continue to cruise. I just wash my hands.

June 08 2010 at 10:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This has become a regular with our ships. This is not old news and it sounds like the ships itself need more that a GOOD cleaning. Think about it. They travel half way around the world some times. Who the hell knows what they may pass or encounter along the way. I for one will not go on a ship now. Who the hell wants to pay a couple thousand dollars to get sick? Take your ships and shove them. I'll drive to my next vacation. Or simply go RV'ing. It is much more safe and fun anyhow.

June 08 2010 at 5:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It only takes one person being sick the week prior to a cruise....either preparing food...or a passenger who has been (maybe unknowingly) exposed to a virus...coming on board. Three to four days later in a confined area (such as a cruise ship) you will have MANY who get sick. When you're talking about a 'stomach virus', it affects different people in different ways. Some will show bad signs while others will have it and not know they have it because their symptoms are mild.

My niece had two people come to work sick. She is a 'wait person/server'. Employer needed the sick ones at work so they weren't given time off. My niece visited us the next day but didn't mention her co-workers illness. Three days later, she came again. She sounded as if she was getting a sore throat and layngitis. She began to wear a mask because my mother's health is delicate. Well, by then it was too late. My father got sick, 3 of the CNAs got sick, another sister got sick (who had visited) and every single person in my niece's home got sick.

Not difficult to connect the dots here. I hadn't even had a cold in five years. My health had been great. But because I had also been caring for my mother I was tired so my immunity was apparently low. I got bronchitis. My father had the flu. Illness from this 'virus' she had brought home to us and her family ranged from fevers, flu, bronchitis, intestinal upsets, headaches, etc. It covered the spectrum. None of us were around anyone else who was sick. My niece unwittingly brought it home to all of us because her employer demanded the two people sick come to work !

Imagine this on a cruise ship? Not difficult to see where hundreds could get ill enough to seek medical attention. Others probably had it but didn't have bad symptoms.

Best thing anyone could probably do in a case where you may be 'confined' is to get antibiotics in your system prior to leaving. Won't kill you....and may save your trip. Just like taking anti-nausea (sea sick) pills PRIOR to a trip on a boat. Taking them AFTER you're on the boat doesn't work as well.

Fresh air (top side) more than staying confined below deck may also help prevent contracting air born infections, but really won't help intestinal (stomach) ones. Wash hands. That rail you just touched, the magazine you just picked up, the coins you had in your hand....were handled by someone else before you. THAT someone may have been sick !

Just saying. Common sense and a little bit of precaution.

June 08 2010 at 5:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Dear Cruising folk's and related commentaries ., Sailing aboard several if not many foreign flagged vessel's of considerable size, and also other's of somewhat less , offering more intimate comfort , as the Executive Chef de cuisine from the early 60's through the early 90's, I can proudly announce that not one person , passenger or crew, was ever sick in the manner we hear of today on my watch . In addition I also continued to work on numerous private yacht's of considerable size , to complete my career at sea of 34 years .
I feel seriously obliged to announce that this so called '' Noro Virus'', is nothing more than pure ''bogus'' , in an effort to protect the interests of Cruise Lines at large, not to mention the Chef's and their accompanying staff's, protected by this hideous umbrella of complete farce . Even the so called Medical Staff that perpetuate this ruse , should be ashamed of themselves .
Two Cruise Vessel's both in seperate far off destination's , and having the same condition present on board in specific number's, lead's to one obvious , glaring , suspicion, that no Cruise Line wishes to admit . They have Food Poisoning on board , caused by very poor sanitary condition's in their ship's galley's . Period .

June 08 2010 at 3:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My husband and I have been on 11 cruises most of them on Carnival. I have had some tummy upsets after eating smoked salmon on cruises. Fortunately, we have remained relatively healthy on all our cruises

I don't think certain foods are refrigerated enough. I agree with the comments stating that the cruise lines clean the ships 24/7. I also agree with the reasons for the noroviruses are people who do not wash their hands properly. I believe that the people who use the casinos put their hands on the machines and then use the handrails, buttons in the elevators, contribute to the spread of the norovirus. However, if the cruise lines told the potential clients about potential spread of viruses in the casinos that their cruise lines wouldn't be as profitable. The hand sanitizers are typically located at the dining room entrances and ramps onto the ships but also should be placed at the entrances and exits to the casinos and in various places around the casinos along with free handiwipes near the machines. Carnival instituted a form which all guests need to sign during check in that states that they haven't had caughing, diarrea, or other communicable ailments within the last week or 2 prior to their cruise. Unfortunately, there are people who think more about the potential loss of a vacation investment than the other passengers safety.

June 08 2010 at 1:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The cruise ships do not allow sick people to cancel without huge documentation and even a simple cold can turn dangerous, who is the cruise to decide this, if you are sick you are sick........even airplanes, they want to charge if you are sick, forcing well people to get coughed and sneezed at..............

June 08 2010 at 12:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
yes it true

People should wash their hands. I've cruised 6 times never been sick and besides I've seen 50 plus year old women leave restrooms without cleaning their hands.

June 08 2010 at 12:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have been on 4 cruises and I am taking my fifth soon and I have never been sick from Norovirus or my husband or our kids. We always use the hand sanitizer stationed at the entrance to the buffet and I carry it in my purse and we all use it before we eat anywhere. However, if someone in the kitchen has contaminated a dish or dishes of food and we all eat it then all our sanitizing is of no use. I think it's coming from the kitchen staff, not from the passengers. I don't think it's coming from the dining rooms because the food/service in those restaurants is impeccable. I haven't had one bad experience from eating on a cruise ship, but I only use the same cruise line as well.

June 08 2010 at 12:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

michelene, I am not a dope and I do realize that NCL has no control over the veracity of the ocean. To further not discredit NCL, I will say that everytime we entered the buffet, there was a crew member with a spray bottle saying washy, washy and sprayed your hands before entering the buffet. Who knows, maybe some people told them, I cant be bothered and just walked on into the buffet. I guess you cant be forced to permit them to spray your hands. In any event my cruise days are over !!

June 08 2010 at 12:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Around the Web

  • Even when you're traveling, follow what's going on in your neighborhood.
    Get the Patch app.
  • .