Norovirus

Rhapsody of the Seas hit with norovirus

In:
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30Oct2012

The Fiji Health Ministry is reporting Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas has been the site of 51 cases of norovirus, which prompted health officials to quarantine the cruise ship as it was docked at Suva Wharf.

The ship, which has 2300 passengers and 870 crew, took measures immediately to combat the virus as soon as the crew received reports of cases.

Affected passengers have been isolated and no one is allowed to enter the quarantined area on the ship except the medical response team.

According to Doctor Joe Koroivueta, Rhapsody of the Seas will leave for Noumea, New Caledonia tonight.

Norovirus causes symptoms such as symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain.  It's spread from person to person, through contaminated food or water, and by touching contaminated surfaces.  It's important for every cruise passenger on every cruise ship to take steps to avoid getting norovirus.

Royal Caribbean passengers win court battle over norovirus outbreak on cruise ship

In:
29Jun2012

Three cruise ship passengers from Royal Caribbean's Vision of the Seas won a court decision in Brazil after seeking compensation following a norovirus outbreak aboard the ship back in March 2010.

The ship departed from Port Santos, Brazil when 348 people onboard were contracted norovirus.  Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea were some of the symptoms experienced by the passengers, who resorted to the court system to be reimbursed for the damage.

The attorney that specializes in consumer law, Ferrette Sueli Maria Gomes, was approached by three passengers dissatisfied with the consequences of the outbreak. 

One of the plantiffs was Freire Lourdes Domingues, 79, who was infected and claims to have almost died because of the  norovirus. The other two passengers who sought legal action felt changed in Vision's itinerary caused greater injury to them since they were prevented from getting off the ship at their destinations.  The trip included stops in Buzios, in Rio de Janeiro and Ilhabela in São Paulo coast. 

According to the lawyer, setting the value to be paid for each passenger fell to the judge, as Royal Caribbean did not offer to make a deal. The only deal the company was offering was a 25% discount on a future trip. 

Royal Caribbean had to pay about $33,000, including punitive damages and reimbursement of passages (R$ 2,994.00 each). The compensation was increased to Lourdes, due to contracting gastroenteritis. She received $12,000 in damages only. The other two tourists won £6,000 each by the hassles. 

Among the complaints made by passengers, is there being only one doctor to serve the people, without priority for children and seniors. Furthermore, it was alleged that the norovirus can spread via unwashed food and water, which was a possible sign of poor hygiene. 

When asked about the ruling, Royal Caribbean said in a written statement it is appealing the verdict. Royal Caribbean also announced that as soon as the symptoms were detected on board the Vision of the Seas,  the ship immediately reported the incident to the ANVISA and "took all actions necessary to ensure the welfare of the guests on board." 

The company also noted that viral outbreaks can not be directly related to the ship. "A virus from external sources can be installed on the vessel human transmission and thus did not cause any problems as food and water on the ship."

Royal Caribbean also mentioned that all ships coming to Brazil are subject to the control of various organs and meet strict standards, controls and taxes from international organizations. 

How to avoid getting norovirus on your cruise

In:
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07Feb2012

Recently another Royal Caribbean ship was affected by a norovirus outbreak, where many passengers became very sick.  Over the years we've heard reports of outbreaks on other ships but there are definite precautions you can take to avoid getting sick yourself.

What is norovirus?

Norovirus is a virus that causes acute gastroenteritis.  This means people will have symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain.

Noroviruses spread from person to person, through contaminated food or water, and by touching contaminated surfaces. Norovirus is recognized as the leading cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks in the United States. Outbreaks can happen to people of all ages and in a variety of settings.

How to prevent contracting norovirus

Norovirus is commonly contracted by

  • Eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with norovirus (someone gets stool or vomit on their hands, then touches food or drink).
  • Touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus and then putting your hand or fingers in your mouth.
  • Having direct contact with a person who is infected with norovirus (for example, when caring for someone with norovirus or sharing foods or eating utensils with them).

Generally speaking, people with norovirus illness are contagious from the moment they begin feeling sick until at least 3 days after they recover.

You can prevent getting sick by

  • Washing your hands, especially after using the restrooms and before eating or preparing food. 
  • Avoid shaking hands during outbreaks.
  • Do not prepare food for others if you become sick for up to 3 days after becoming sick.
  • Wash laundry that may be contaminated with vomit or stool.

Norovirus outbreak aboard Voyager of the Seas delays departure

In:
05Feb2012

About 200 passengers aboard Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas contracted norovirus while the ship was still docked in New Orleans.  The outbreak delayed Voyager of the Seas' departure by two hours.

 

A report says 20 of the 200 passengers had to be quarantined due to their condition.

Crew aboard Voyager of the Seas spent an extra two hours cleaning the ship.

Norovirus strikes Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas

In:
28Nov2011

Over 50 passengers aboard Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas suffered from the effects of Norovirus on their cruise last week.  Royal Caribbean promptly sanitized the ship before another cruise could go forward.

Royal Caribbean reported 54 passengers and 10 crew members who became ill due to Norovirus on the cruise that finished on Saturday.

Oasis of the Seas was sanitized to help combat the spread of the illness and Oasis left port again on schedule to begin another seven-day cruise.

Illness outbreaks down in 2010

In:
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11Jan2011

Good news for those worried about the recent outbreak of norovirus on Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports number of outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness on cruise ships sailing from U.S. ports dropped again in 2010.

There were 14 outbreaks of norovirus in 2010, down from 15 in 2009 and 2008, 21 in 2007 and 34 in 2006.

More encouraging is the number of outbreaks dropped despite an increase in cruisers overall.  The Cruise Lines International Association has estimated the industry carried 14.3 million passengers in 2010, up from 13.4 million in 2009.

In 2010, Royal Caribbean only reported one outbreak

Retired couple complain about Norovirus treatment

In:
22Jul2010

A retired couple that took a cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas this past June are upset about how they were treated following an outbreak of the Norovirus on their ship.  John and Christine Stevens were on a Baltic cruise aboard Jewel of the Seas when John contracted the Norovirus that left him with stomach cramps, severe vomiting and diarrhea.  They take issue with how they were treated after catching the nasty bug.

The two have law hired firm Irwin Mitchell to investigate a claim on their behalf say they were not the only ones who were affected.  Allegedly, the onboard doctors were so backed up, that John was forced to simply take Imodium while he waited.  In addition, while under the influence of the bug, he was quarantined in his stateroom and was unable to obtain food and drink during their confinement in spite of several phone calls to room service and one to Passenger Relations.

We want answers. I find it unacceptable that a travel company can just take money off people like us and not live up to their side of the bargain. I want to understand how so many of us fell ill and what Royal Caribbean is going to do about it so that it never happens again.”

Jewel of the Seas hit with norovirus again

In:
25Jun2010

There's a new report that Jewel of the Seas has been struck by the norovirus once more.

Approximately 86 passengers were suffering symptoms of the dreaded gastro bug aboard the Royal Caribbean ship which arrived in Harwich today.

Earlier this month there was a report of Jewel of the Seas being affected by the norovirus where 292 guests and 16 staff members were affected by the virus.  Royal Caribbean is once again giving the ship an “extensive and thorough sanitization”.

"Jewel of the Seas, which began its sailing in Harwich on June 12, is experiencing an elevated number of persons with a gastrointestinal illness. Over the course of that sailing, 86 guests have experienced the illness, thought to be a Norovirus. Those affected by the short-lived illness responded well to over-the-counter medication being administered onboard the ship. At Royal Caribbean International, we have high health standards for all our guests and crew. Therefore, in an abundance of caution, once Jewel of the Seas arrives in Harwich on Thursday, June 24, we will conduct an extensive and thorough sanitizing onboard the ship and within the cruise terminal, to help prevent any illness from affecting the subsequent sailing.” 

Vision of the Seas suffers fifth cruise in two months with Norovirus

In:
15Jun2010

A Norwegian media site, dagbladet.no, is reporting that Vision of the Seas has had five separate cruises in the last two months that have resulted in passengers getting ill from the Norovirus.  The latest cruise had 50 sick, according to the company with a total of around 600 passengers infected since the outbreak began on May 1st.

Vision of the Seas set sail from port this past Saturday and that evening was the first report of the disease case according to Norden manager Roar Meidal by the shipping company Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines told Dagbladet.  49 passengers and a crew member became ill during the seven-day cruise.

Compounding the issue of eradicating the disease from the ship is the fact of how easy it is to spread Norovirus.  Between people, the virus can spread quite easily and once an issue, it's difficult to fully remove it.

Norovirus on Jewel of the Seas?

In:
10Jun2010

A user on Cruises.co.uk is reporting that their cruise aboard Jewel of the Seas has had an outbreak of norovirus onboard.  Those passengers that are scheduled to sail on Jewel of the Seas on June 12, 2010 have been informed that they should arrive late because embarkation will start at 4:30pm instead as no passengers will be allowed on board before that time.  

In addition, the ship is going through "enhanced sanitizing" on Saturday and that if any passengers have had gastrointestinal symptoms within the last three days, they should consider rescheduling their cruise.

Royal Caribbean, as well as other cruise lines, take the threat of norovirus very seriously.  Norovirus, or norwalk gastroenteritis, is transmitted by the fecal-oral route via contaminated water and foods.

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