The world’s largest cruise ship returned to dock in Miami Sunday with more than 380 passengers and crew members recovering from a contagious stomach illness. The 338 sick passengers and 46 crew members accounted for about 7 percent of the 5,225 people aboard Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas, the Miami-based cruise company said.
The norovirus outbreak happened during a seven-day cruise to Mexico, Cayman Islands, Jamaica and Haiti. A passenger likely brought the stomach illness on board when the cruise began from Miami on Nov. 26, according to a statement from Royal Caribbean spokesman Michael Sheehan.
Affected passengers and crew members received over-the-counter medication, the company reported. The ship was able to complete the cruise itinerary and return on schedule Sunday. Noroviruses are short-lived intestinal disturbances that affect about 23 million Americans each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
Last month, a norovirus outbreak sickened more than 700 passengers and crew members aboard a trans-Atlantic cruise based out of Port Everglades. The next voyage of Carnival Cruise Lines’ Liberty was delayed two days so the ship could be decontaminated.