U.K.'s Mail Online reports that passengers aboard the Queen Victoria cruise ship could be refused entry into the U.S. after an outbreak of viral gastroenteritis - a/k/a the "vomiting bug."
A spokesman for Cunard Line said that the passengers' clinical symptoms are consistent with norovirus, "which had been confirmed by sample analysis."
The newspaper reports that the Queen Victoria will not be allowed to dock if the virus reaches an epidemic rate, where 15 per cent of those onboard are affected, authorities warn.
It appears premature to talk about preventing the cruise ship to dock because, so far, only 30 passengers are sick.
The Master of the cruise ship has reportedly ordered a major cleaning effort to protect the remaining 2,000 or so passengers and crew.
The Queen Victoria was in the news exactly two years ago when 78 passengers got sick with the norovirus bug during the cruise ship's maiden voyage. The British press labeled the cruise ship "cursed" when Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, failed to smash a bottle of champagne against the bow during the naming ceremony in Southampton, U.K. - a traditional omen of bad luck.
Several days later stories emerged regarding a "cruise from hell," according to the U.K.'s Daily Mail, where passengers began puking. Other passengers complained about "appalling" service, stopped-up toilets, and a woman collapsing in the ship's dining room.
A Fox News article reported that passengers can bring the bug on board. Similar outbreaks on past cruises were linked to poor hygiene by the cruise lines' food handlers, the Fox News story reports. Business Week says that cruise ships can be an ideal place to spread germs because passengers are confined in a rather small space. It refers to suggestions to help avoid getting sick -- or spreading disease -- on your next cruise vacation.
A few days ago we reported on the Balmoral cruise ship which has been hit by three norovirus outbreaks this year.
The popular online cruise community CruiseCritic.com reports that the norovirus bug recently found its way aboard HAL's Noordam and even Royal Caribbean's new giant cruise ship Oasis of the Seas. CruiseCritic also mentions that Fred Olsen's Boudicca and Balmoral cruise ships were plagued by the virus during recent Christmas and New Year's sailings.
Cruise Cleaners Telegraph.co.uk "Cruises: Norovirus Questions & Answers"
Queen Victoria cruise ship and the Duchess of Cornwall USAToday CruiseLog "Curse of Camilla hits Cunard's new Queen Victoria"
Queen Victoria cruise ship sydney-australia.net.au