Cruise ship returns with 384 sick passengers, crew

By | December 5, 2006

Cruise ship returns with 384 sick passengers crew

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.

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